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First PRC Lawyer Jailed for Leaking State Secrets

by Pamela Pun
Hong Kong iMail
15 May 2001

A mainland lawyer who gave court documents to a client's family has been jailed for leaking state secrets, according to an official report.

The Qinyang municipal court sentenced Yu Ping, 35, a lawyer based in Jiaozuo city, Henan, to a year in prison for leaking state secrets on April 28, the Legal Daily reported yesterday.

She was charged with giving the documents, which were said to be confidential, to her client's family.

The newspaper said it was the mainland's first case in which a lawyer had been imprisoned for leaking state secrets.

It did not say whether Yu had appealed against the sentence.

On the mainland, any document internally circulated within government departments or which is only accessed by personnel from government and party organs, legislative bodies, army units and courts can be classified as a state secret.

Yu was found to have copied the documents and leaked them to the family members of client Ma Minggang, a Qinyang municipal official, who was accused of involvement in a corruption scandal.

Ma, a former vice-director of the Qinyang municipal economic and trade committee, was to have been put on trial last year.

His family hired Yu and Lu Xin, an assistant lawyer in Yu's law firm, to defend Ma in August.

On November 3, after Lu had copied some court documents concerning Ma's case, Ma's wife -- Ms Zhu -- asked Lu to leave the copies with her "to have a look", the report said. Lu contacted Yu for advice and was told to leave the copies and a copy of the indictment with Ms Zhu. After having thoroughly read the documents overnight, Ms Zhu found witnesses mentioned in the documents and persuaded them to commit perjury in favour of her husband, the report said.

On November 11, Yu was said to have left other court documents with Ma's wife after Ms Zhu invited her to stay in a Qinyang luxury hotel during an investigation trip to the city.

Yu was also alleged to have told Ms Zhu to persuade a witness to give false testimony that backed up statement's Ma had made to police.

The report said Yu also encouraged Ma's family members to conduct a series of counter-detection activities which resulted in witnesses changing their original testimony. As a result, Ma's trial had been delayed twice.

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