CHANGSHA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Jiang Tianyong, a former Beijing-based lawyer, stood trial Tuesday in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, accused of inciting subversion of state power.
During the open trial, Jiang, 46, said his legitimate rights had been fully protected during the investigation and denied rumors that he had been tortured.
He also said he had fabricated rumors that a former Hunan lawyer, Xie Yang, had been tortured by Chinese authorities, an act that smeared the image of the Chinese government and judiciary.
Jiang said he fabricated the accounts to seek benefit and fame.
Prosecutors accused Jiang of making defamatory statements about the Chinese government, judiciary and political system on multiple occasions on the Internet and in overseas media.
Jiang intentionally exaggerated a number of "sensitive cases," unscrupulously distorted facts, and incited others to gather and cause trouble in public areas, according to the indictment.
He was also accused of colluding with anti-China forces overseas and inciting hostility against the government.
Prosecutors said that his crimes had seriously harmed national security and social stability.
Since 2009 Jiang made over 33,000 posts on social media, including on Twitter and Sina Weibo, with 214 direct attacks against the Chinese government.
In 2016, on learning of the trial of Zhou Shifeng, a former lawyer convicted of subverting state power, Jiang used overseas social media service Telegram to incite others to "crowd and make trouble" at the trial court. He also slandered China's judiciary in an interview with Voice of America.
In another case, Jiang instigated Zhang Kai, a former lawyer being investigated for disrupting public order, and Zhang's family to confront the judiciary. He obtained cash and a cell phone worth a total of 23,326 yuan (3,504 U.S. dollars) from anti-China forces overseas to sponsor Zhang.
After Xie Yang had been placed under "compulsory measures" for suspicion of inciting subversion of state power, Jiang instructed Xie's wife, Chen Guiqiu, to fabricate a series of articles about Xie being tortured during detention. Jiang even polished some of the articles.
Xie stood trial for inciting subversion of state power and disrupting court order in May and told the court that he had not been coerced into a confession nor had he been subjected to torture.
The indictment also accused Jiang of exaggerating a case in Shandong Province.
In his final statement, Jiang pleaded guilty and expressed remorse.
"I feel ashamed and regret for what I have done in the past ... I am willing to receive due punishment from deep in my heart," he said.
He also expressed regret to the country and society as well as to his parents, wife and daughter, saying that he hoped the court would give him a chance to start afresh and rectify his wrongdoing.
A pre-trial meeting was also held before Tuesday's hearing.
During Jiang's trial, evidence including documents, witness testimonies, as well as audio, visual and digital materials were presented by prosecutors in court, along with Jiang's statements. The defendant, and his lawyers Yang Jielin and Zeng Jie, examined the evidence. Both sides fully expressed their opinion in court.
Over 40 people, including Jiang's family, legislators, political advisors, domestic and overseas journalists, and members of the public, attended.
Videos of the trial were published on the Changsha Intermediate People's Court official Weibo account. The verdict will be announced on a later date.