2016 was one for the books. In China, one prominent judge recalled the year in justice and declared a victory for human rights, by praising the arrest of a human rights lawyer. He specifically called out Zhou Shifeng and commended his “severe punishment” for “endangering state security.”
Known for taking politically sensitive cases and defending dissident scholars and sexual abuse victims, Zhou was sentenced to seven years in prison for subverting state power, which drew much criticism from international human rights groups. It was part of a widespread crackdown on activists that kicked off in 2015.
Chief Justice Zhou Qiang also applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping’s for leading his long-running, anti-corruption crackdown. Chinese courts heard 45,000 corruption cases in 2016 involving 63,000 people — up from 34,000 cases the previous year, according to figures given by Zhou.
He highlighted how the Supreme People’s Court had heard 23,000 cases in 2016 with just 1,076 defendants being found not guilty. That’s a 99.2% conviction rate.