Chairman of the Chinese Democratic Party [party website, in Chinese] Albert Ho [official website] on Thursday challenged the election of Hong Kong's new leader Leung Chun-ying [BBC News profile]. Ho filed two separate lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results [AFP report], claiming that Leung made false and misleading statements during the election. Leung, a land surveyor, pledged that his house had no illegal improvement works but local media last week discovered [South China Morning Post report] his house containing six illegal structures. The newly elected leader was forced to demolish the structures and to publicly apologize. Leung's main rival Henry Tang lost a significant number of supporters [BBC News report] after it was found that his house contained an illegal basement used as an entertainment suite, a jacuzzi and wine cellar. Leung was chosen by a committee of 1,200 business leaders and other influential citizens who support Beijing. Ho, who also ran in the election but finished third, argued that the election was far from democratic and fair. It was reported that over 400,000 people participated in a demonstration on Sunday against Leung's leadership and Beijing's involvement in the local affairs, the demonstration taking place only hours after Leung was sworn in as the chief executive.
In late June a Chinese court in the southwestern city of Chongqing overturned the sentence [JURIST report] of a Chinese blogger and former forestry employee for lack of evidence. He had been detained for a year in a police-run labor camp for posting a brief poem on his microblog criticizing and mocking a former Communist Party chief in the city, Bo Xilai [China Vitae profile], and his former police chief, Wang Lijun [China Vitae profile], who had used force against critics and accused gang leaders. During the same month dissident artist Ai Weiwei [BBC News profile] was banned from attending the first hearing in the case brought by his company, Fake Cultural Development Ltd., against Beijing tax authorities, despite the fact that the Chinese court had agreed to hear [JURIST reports] the case in early May. Also in May the blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng [BBC News profile; JURIST news archive] asked the US to increase its effort in promoting the rule of law in China a week following his arrival in New York after he left the US embassy [JURIST reports].