Informant Likely to Testify as Defense Witness in Jan. 6 Sedition Trial
The first witness in the trial of a Chinese university professor charged with leaking state secrets is a fellow American who has been working as a foreign correspondent in Beijing and an “intelligence specialist” for the CIA. The defendant, Yang Jianli, is the chief editor of Liaowang, the official magazine of the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army. The magazine’s most recent issue is due out today, and Yang has been in prison since last July.
The prosecution has called as its first witness Roberta Liu, a Chinese journalist and a professor of law at the University of Maryland Law School, who is described in court papers as “the first foreign journalist to receive national media credentials in China.” She will testify that in November 1991 she went to China to work as an intelligence specialist for the CIA.
The prosecutor calls her “an expert in both U.S. and Chinese espionage and counterintelligence,” and notes that she had “been serving as a source for a U.S. media conglomerate with offices in Beijing for most of the past quarter century.”
The defense attorney calls him “a highly intelligent and articulate person” who worked in a bookshop in the city of Harbin for more than 20 years, the first part of the three-year period of detention during which he was not allowed to speak to news media. However, he says, “Mr. Yang Jianli was not a person of any great fame, and had never been named as an expert in any field.”
The defendant will testify to the same basic facts: working as a reporter in Beijing for the Communist Party-sponsored magazine Liaowang, reading the magazine to learn about the military, and then reporting on those activities to another magazine, the People’s Liberation Army Daily. But in his interview with reporters during his arrest last year, the defendant said he was in China to attend an