On April 23, the Chinese high court affirmed the verdict of the lower court and sentence 22-year-old Niu Tengyu to a 14-year prison term. The verdict was issued in the absence of the defendant, the lawyers and the defendant’s family members. Niu and 23 other young people were accused of leaking the personal information of the daughter of Xi Jinping on the Internet.
In May 2019, the personal information of Xi Jinping’s daughter Xi Mingze and Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law Deng Jiagui appeared on two overseas websites called, “The Hong An Foundation” and “Shina.” China’s Ministry of Public Security formed a task force. Cyber police from Maoming city in Guangdong province arrested the members of “Esu wiki,” a website on the mainland. It was said to have connections with the two overseas websites because they were unable to catch the leakers overseas.
On December 30, 2020, the Maonan District Court in Maoming City, Guangdong Province issued a verdict that all 24 people who were arrested were found guilty. Niu, the primary suspect, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and the rest of the people were sentenced to 1 to 4 years in prison. Niu was only 20 year old, and he is considered a computer genius.
Hong Kong Apple Daily reported that the Niu’s family accused the Maoming police of torturing and forcing Niu to “confess” that he was the primary lead in the case because they were unable to arrest the owners of the foreign websites. Niu’s mom has met with foreign diplomats from countries such as the U.S., the U.K and France to appeal her son’s arrest. She told Voice of America that she wishes that the diplomats would convey the truth to their country’s leaders because the arrested kids are being used as scapegoats and were wrongfully charged. She said that the authorities knew that the owners of the foreign websites admitted that they leaked the information and it has nothing to do with the members of Esu wiki. However, the authorities still told the parents to cooperate with the investigation and even closed the online chat groups that the parents had set up. They told the parents not to speak with any foreign media and threatened the defense lawyers, telling them that they cannot file a not guilty plea for the kids. Niu’s current lawyer is the fifth one. The police from Tianjingy took them away on April 23. Niu’s mom said Xi Jinping promoted the rule by law but the local officials have been covering up their mistakes and they have been “juggling” with the law. She assured those that she communicated with that the case is a wrongful conviction and she is going to fight for her rights all the way to the end.
Source: Central News Agency, April 23, 2021