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Wu Gan’s Statement After Being Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for ‘Subversion’

China Change, December 26, 2017



Wu Gan on June 8, 2015, two weeks after he was arrested: ““My case is an absurd and entertaining movie. The filming has begun, and I have gotten into character.”


On the morning of December 26 courts in Tianjin and Changsha announced the verdicts respectively of Wu Gan, a seminal activist, and Xie Yang, a human rights lawyer. Xie Yang was found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” while Wu Gan’s refusal to cooperate led him to receive the more severe “subversion of state power.” Both were “convicted,” but Xie Yang was exempt from punishment, while Wu Gan was handed a heavy sentence of eight years.

In a live broadcast, Xie Yang was made to once again deny that he had been tortured, and to thank all parties for a “fair” trial and for “safeguarding” his rights. The first time he was forced to make this false admission was during his trial in May.

On the other hand, Wu Gan’s lawyer reported that he told the court, immediately after the sentence was announced, that “I thank the Communist Party for conferring me this high honor [subversion]. I will not forget my original aspiration, and will roll up my sleeves and work harder.” His remarks were a play on the official words of Xi Jinping; observers found it remarkable that a man who had just received such a harsh sentence would have the sense of humor, and guts, to do so.

It wasn’t until hours later that the authorities released a short clip of Wu Gan in court. Viewers will see why it took time: the authorities doctored the video, using clips of Wu Gan’s secret trial in August to show he was “contrite.” In August, Wu Gan wore a short sleeved T-shirt and read from a sheet of paper that he would not appeal, while yesterday he wore a dark, long-sleeved top.

Wu Gan’s lawyer Ge Yongxi (葛永喜) described on Twitter what the official clips purposefully omitted: Following “I admit that I have harbored thoughts of subverting state power,” Wu Gan added, “but I believe this is a citizen’s right, and my actions do not constitute crimes.”

Lawyer Ge Yongxi challenged the authorities to show the court recording in its entirety.

After Wu Gan’s sentence, his lawyers released a statement on his behalf.


Wu Gan’s Statement About His Sentence

For those living under a dictatorship, being given the honorable label of one who “subverts state power” is the highest form of affirmation for a citizen. It’s proof that the citizen wasn’t an accomplice or a slave, and that at the very least he went out and defended, and fought for, human rights. Liang Qichao (梁启超, famous reformist at end of Qing dynasty) said that he and dictatorship were two forces inextricably opposed; I say: If I don’t oppose dictatorship, am I still a man?

They have attempted to have me plead guilt and cooperate with them to produce their propaganda in exchange for a light sentence — they even said that as long as I plead guilty, they’ll give me a three-year sentence suspended for three years. I rejected it all. My eight-year sentence doesn’t make me indignant or hopeless. This was what I chose for myself: when you oppose the dictatorship, it means you are already walking on the path to jail.

I’m optimistic despite the harsh sentence. Because of the internet, more and more people are waking up. The ranks of those ready to stand at the funeral of the dictatorship is growing stronger and larger by the day. Those who try to use jail to frighten citizens pursuing freedom and democracy, thus obstructing the progress of human civilization, won’t meet a good end. Their tyranny is based on a lack of self-confidence — a sign of a guilty conscience and fear. It’s a dead end. When the masses wake up, will the dictatorship’s end be far off?

I have been subjected to torture and other forms of inhumane treatment during my detention thus far — and it’s not an isolated occurrence, but a common phenomenon. I appeal to the international community to closely follow the deterioration of human rights in China, follow the Chinese Communist Party’s criminal detention of its own citizens, and especially of dissidents, along with the other abuses they’re subjected to, including: false charges, secret detention, forced confessions to the media, forced appointment of state-controlled defense counsel, torture and abuse in custody, and the stripping of every civil right of Chinese citizens.

I hereby name the individuals involved in persecuting, torturing, and abusing me: An Shaodong (安少东), Chen Tuo (陈拓), Guan Jiantong (管建童), Yao Cheng (姚诚), Yuan Yi (袁溢), Wang Shoujian (王守俭), Xie Jinchun (谢锦春), Gong Ning (宫宁), Sheng Guowen (盛国文), Cao Jiyuan (曹纪元), Liu Yi (刘毅), Cai Shuying (蔡淑英), Lin Kun (林崑).





The Twelve ‘Crimes’ of Wu Gan the Butcher, China Change, August 13, 2017.

Why Is Wu Gan ‘The Butcher’ So Important?, China Change, August 17, 2017.

Wu Gan’s Pretrial Statement, China Change, August 10, 2017.

Wu Gan the Butcher, a profile by Yaqiu Wang, China Change, July 22, 2015.




  1. Marcia says:

    The doctoring of the courtroom footage nicely puts the seal on the authorities’ guilt and on the irreproachable decency of Wu Gan’s chosen path.

    Wu Gan can go to his prison cell with a clear conscience. Can the majority of people in that courtroom or, more pertinently, the elite group of politicians responsible for the way that courtroom operates, even to the point of determining the verdicts it gives, enjoy their “freedom” with a similarly unclouded conscience?

  2. […] Wu’s lawyer managed to release a copy of his four-paragraph statement to the court after the verdict. It is a wonderful document of courage in the face of a fascist state and is worth reading in its entirety. It can be found here. […]

  3. […] thank the [Chinese] Communist Party for conferring me this high honor,” Wu said on the stand at his sentencing—referring to his conviction. “I will not forget my […]

  4. […] Wu Gan’s Statement After Being Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for ‘Subversion,’  China Change, December 26, 2017. […]

  5. […] explained in his statement (via China Change) that he had refused to trade a lighter sentence with public […]

  6. […] 当谢阳的宣判在法院的微博上进行宣传时(点击此处观看),吴淦的庭审则是采取闭门审判,没有任何现场视频公布,不过,人权组织ChinaChange指出随后当局发布一个剪辑过的吴淦庭审视频 (英文),实际上是篡改自今年夏天的庭审录像,此举加以证明了他们无法掌控直言不讳的吴淦。 […]

  7. […] on the court’s Weibo (watch it here), Wu’s was a closed trial and no live video was released. Chinachange noted that a short clip released later of Wu’s trial had been doctored with footage from a […]

  8. […] explained in his statement (via China Change) that he had refused to trade a lighter sentence with public […]

  9. […] a expliqué dans sa déclaration (via China Change ) qu'il avait refusé d'échanger une peine plus légère avec des aveux […]

  10. […] ha spiegato nella sua dichiarazione (tramite China Change) che si era rifiutato di scambiare una condanna più leggera con la confessione […]

  11. […] ha spiegato nella sua dichiarazione (tramite China Change) che si era rifiutato di scambiare una condanna più leggera con la confessione […]

  12. […] صحيفة (تشينا تشينج)، أعرب عن رفضه القاطع والصريح للمقايضة بحكم أخف نظير […]

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