The indictment against the seven defendants suggested that prosecutors werent interested in airing what happened during the election in Raolefu. The group was charged with gathering a crowd to attack a state organ interfering with government offices where theyd petitioned against Wei. A district judge sentenced them to between three and five years in August 2011.
Villagers in Raolefu said it was common knowledge that a close associate of Weis got promoted last year to director of the judicial bureau in the district where the case was tried. A local government website confirmed that the official in question, who previously worked at the sub-district office that oversees Raolefu, was in fact transferred to head the judicial office.
Then in December, an intermediate court in Beijing remanded the decision to the district office, saying the facts werent clear and the evidence was insufficient.
Prosecutors changed tactics and added the elections to the indictment, saying the group had engaged in a conspiracy to unseat Wei that included paying and organizing people against him.
It was those charges of gathering a crowd to disturb social order that Ma faced last month as her husband watched in the courtroom. A verdict has yet to be issued.
Whatever the final court decision time served with probation is a possibility Ma hasnt been a free woman for two years.
Raolefu didnt hold another election. Instead, Wei was quietly shifted out of office and given a new position, as a senior official in the demolition department of a state-owned company. The firm works in the area around Raolefu on the very sorts of development projects that villagers accused Wei of using to fuel his corruption.
A staff member who answered the phone at the demolition office confirmed that Wei is a director there and took a phone number and message. The call was not returned.