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Liu Xiaobo, Charter 08 co-author, given 11 years in prison on Christmas Day

The Canadian Clive Ansley practised law in Shanghai for 13 years before returning to British Columbia. His article in the March 2007 B.C. trial lawyers' publication, The Verdict, explains it all for those confused by the Liu decision. His piece notes in part:

"There is a current saying amongst Chinese lawyers and judges who truly believe in the Rule of Law and this saying, familiar throughout all legal circles in China, vividly illustrates the futility of Canadian attempts to "assist China in improving its legal system" by training judges. It is "Those who hear the case do not make the judgment; those who make the judgment have not heard the case.

This saying reflects the function of the "Judicial Committee", the most important body within each "court". The "Judicial Committee" is a standing committee composed of between five and seven "judges", depending on the size of the "court". It meets regularly, usually once a week. It is here, behind closed doors, completely away from public view and scrutiny, that most cases are decided. Nothing which has transpired in the "courtroom" has any impact on the "judgment".

The full article can be accessed at

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