Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明) is a retired professor of Chinese modern literature at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. In recent years she’s best known for her participation in social movements and documentary making. Her work includes Three Days in Wukan (乌坎三日), The Central Plains (中原纪事), Why Flowers Are So Red (花儿为什么这样红).
Bao Tong (鲍彤) was the secretary of Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳), the CCP Secretary General sacked for his sympathy for the students during the Tian’anmen Square protest in 1989. Bao Tong was also director of CCP Central Committee’s Political Reform Office. He was jailed after the Tian’anmen incident and expelled from the party membership. He now lives in Beijing and writes commentaries about current Chinese affairs for overseas media outlets.
Chang Ping (长平), former chief commentator and news director of Southern Weekend. In April, 2008, Chang Ping was removed from his positions for the article Tibet: Truth and Nationalist Sentiments, published in the Financial Times Chinese edition. In August, 2010, ordered by the CCP Propaganda Department, the Southern Media Group banned his writings from the Southern Metropolis Daily and Southern Weekend, and the ban soon became nation-wide. Websites were ordered to take down everything written by Chang Ping. In January, 2011, he was asked to leave the Southern Media Group. He then worked in Hong Kong as the editor in chief of iSun Affairs (《阳光时务周刊》) until the authorities denied him a work visa out of pressure from the Chinese government. He lives in Germany now and is a current affairs commentator for South China Morning Post.
Chang Tieh Chi (張鐵志) is a Taiwanese commentator on politics and music and authors of multiple books. He’s currently the editor-in-chief of City Magazine in Hong Kong.
Chen Jiangang (陈建刚) is a human rights lawyer in China.
Chen Zijuan (陈紫娟) is a biologist and the wife of human rights lawyer Chang Weiping (常玮平).
Fan Chenggang (范承刚), a journalist with the Southern Weekend.
Fang Zheng (方政) was a college senior in 1989 and a participant in the Tian’anmen democracy movement. His legs were crushed by PLA tanks in the morning of June 4th, 1989, in Liubukou (六部口) across street from Xinhuamen (新华门), the entrance of CCP Headquarters. He now lives in Frement, California.
Gao Yu (高瑜) is a Beijing-based independent Chinese journalist and columnist. She used to work for China News (中新社), and later she was the deputy editor-in-chief of the Economics Weekly (《经济学周报》). She was twice imprisoned for her participation in the Tian’anmen democratic movement in 1989. Her work has wide influence.
Ge Xun (葛洵) is a Chinese American and a human rights activist living in the Bay Area in California. Attending his mother’s funeral in early 2012, he was kidnapped by security police in Beijing, interrogated about his activities in the US and beaten up when he refused to surrender his Gmail and Twitter passwords. We translated his account Twenty-one Hours in Beijing (part 1 and part 2).
Gu Chuan (古川) is an internet author and a dissident now living in the New York City.
Guo Baosheng (郭宝胜) is a U. S.–based commentator on Chinese current affairs and religious issues. A participant in the June 4th movement in 1989 and one of the earliest organizers of workers’ rights in the 1990s, he was sentenced to three and half years in prison on subversion charges.
Guo Yushan (郭玉闪) is the head of the Transition Institute (传知行), an independent think tank in Beijing that advocates political and economic liberalization. Mr. Guo was one of the founders of the Open Constitution Initiative (Gong Meng公盟). Among his many distinctions, Mr. Guo was a key figure in the Free Chen Guangcheng movement and the very person who took Chen from Shandong after his escape and delivered him, eventually, to the safety of the US Embassy in Beijing.
Terence Halliday is a research professor at the American Bar Foundation, and co-author of Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work.
Han Lianchao (韩连潮) is a visiting fellow at Hudson Institute, working on the Institute’s Future of Innovation Initiative. He worked in the U.S. Senate for 12 years, serving as legislative counsel and policy director for three active U.S. Senators. He has also been a veteran overseas Chinese democracy advocate.
He Qinglian (何清涟) is a Chinese economist who lived in China before 2001. In her bestseller The Pitfalls of Modernization (《现代化的陷阱》), she argues presciently that, as the power of local governments grows, officials who have favored reform would come to oppose further reform because it would limit their ability to trade power for money and money for power. The book was banned in China, Ms. He was forced into exile. In 2006, she published China Shrouded in Fog (《雾锁中国》) which studies how the Chinese government manipulates and, to some degree, controls overseas Chinese-language media. Ms. He lives in New Jersey with her family.
Hu Ping (胡平) was a graduate student of philosophy at Peking University in the early 1980s and a leading candidate in the elections of the people’s district representatives that swept across the campus in the fall of 1980, the first spontaneous democratic exercise in post Mao China. One of the most respected dissent intellectuals, he now lives in New York and edits Beijing Spring (《北京之春》), “a monthly Chinese-language magazine dedicated to the promotion of human rights, democracy and social justice in China.”
Ilham Tohti (伊力哈木 土赫提) is a Uighur economics professor at Minzu University in Beijing. Authorities formally charged him with separatism on February 25, and have so far denied him access to his attorney. For years, Ilham has discussed and commented on not only Chinese policies in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where the vast majority of this Turkic Muslim population lives, but also the state of Han-Uighur relations. He founded the Chinese-language website 维吾尔在线 (Uighur Online) to facilitate communication and understanding between the two peoples. He was arrested on January 15, 2014 on “separatism” charges. The PEN American Center has recently named Ilham as the 2014 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award winner.
Ji Ye (季业) is the director of Phoenix TV’s Warm Life and Cold Life show (冷暖人生). Visit his Weibo here.
Jia Jia (贾葭) is a Beijing-based journalist and columnist who has worked for Oriental Outlook (《瞭望东方周刊》), iFeng Weekly (《凤凰周刊》) and GQ Chinese. For years he has been writing columns for the Southern Metropolis Daily (《南方都市报》), Beijing News (《新京报》) and Vista (《看天下》). You can read his blog at Tencent Dajia blog.
Jiang Xue (江雪) is an independent journalist in China, and the author of “Ten Days in Xi’an” (長安十日), an account of the month-long “zero-COVID” lockdown in Xi’an starting late 2021, the first major city lockdown since Wuhan in early 2020.
Li Fangping (李方平) is a human rights lawyer in China.
Li Huaping (李化平), also known online as “Norwegian Wood” (挪威森林), is a dissident and activist based in Shanghai. A key figure in the New Citizens’ Movement, he was arrested in August, 2013, charged with “assembling a crowd to disrupt public order.”
Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵) is a human rights lawyer in China.
Li Xuewen (黎学文) is an independent writer in Beijing. This article was first published to WeChat, and later censored. China Digital Times preserves an archived version.
Li Yuhui (李宇晖) is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at UC Davis.
Liang Xiaojun (梁小军) is a human rights lawyer in Beijing.
Liao Yiwu (廖亦武), renowned author of For a Song and a Hundred Songs, God Is Red, and more books.
Liu Shuqing (刘书庆) is a lawyer and a professor of chemistry at Qilu University of Technology (齐鲁工业大学) in Shandong.
Liu Yuting (刘玉婷) is a bereft mother whose son died in the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008.
Lu Chiou-yuan (呂秋遠) is an executive partner at the Universal Master Law Office (宇達經貿法律事務所) in Taiwan that specializes in commerce.
Lü Pin (吕频) is a feminist activist and writer.
Luo Shengchun (罗胜春) is an engineer and the wife of civil rights leader Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜).
Mo Zhixu (莫之许), pen name of Zhao Hui (赵晖), is a Beijing-based Chinese dissident intellectual and a frequent contributor of Chinese-language publications known for his incisive views of Chinese politics and opposition. He is the co-author of “China at the Tipping Point? Authoritarianism and Contestation” in the January, 2013, issue of Journal of Democracy.
Qing Lang (晴朗) is a commentator for Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese service.
Ren Zhiqiang (任志强) was the chairman of the Hua Yuan Real Estate Group until late 2014 when he retired and one of the most well-known, and well compensated, executives in China. His regular, biting social commentary on current affairs has attracted over one million followers on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Rose Tang (唐路), a U.S. citizen born and raised in China and a Tiananmen Massacre survivor. She was a journalist with CNN and ABC Radio Australia.
Shunni (顺妮), according to this verified Sina blog, is a journalist for China Entrepreneur magazine.
Song Zhibiao (宋志标) was a commentator with the Southern Metropolis Daily in Guangzhou and well received for his commentaries on current affairs in China until May 2011. He was suspended that month for his article commemorating the third anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake. Now he describes himself as a media watcher. Translated by Rogier Creemers.
Sui Muqing (隋牧青) is a human rights lawyer in China.
Sun Liping (孙立平) teaches sociology at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Teng Biao (滕彪) is a legal scholar, human rights lawyer, a pioneer of China’s rights movement, and one of the founders of the Open Constitution Initiative (Gong Meng公盟) that offers legal assistance to the disempowered and the wronged. Dr. Teng Biao writes extensively about the death penalty in China. He is the recipient of several international human rights prizes. ChinaChange.org has translated several essays by Dr. Teng.
Tsering Woeser (唯色) is a Tibetan writer and poet born in 1966 in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, and lives in Beijing. “She writes to both a Han (Chinese) and a Tibetan audience, and her writings are said to give public expression for the first time to the emotions and experiences of a people and a culture previously hidden from the mainstream.” Read more about Woeser here.
Wan Yanhai (万延海) “is one of the most prominent leaders in the global campaign against HIV/AIDS. He launched China’s first HIV/AIDS counseling hotline in 1992 while working for China’s National Health Education Institute. In 1994, he founded AIZHI Action Project, an NGO that uses health education, research, publishing, and conferences to confront the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in China. He directs the Beijing Aizhixing Institute, the largest AIDS NGO in China. The institute works on HIV/AIDS and public health related policy, legal aid and human rights, and community outreach among the most vulnerable population. Yanhai organized several challenging campaigns in China including a national compensation campaign for the victims of HIV infection caused by blood transfusion or blood products, a national working group for the educational rights of people with HIV, hepatitis or other health problems, and a China HIV/AIDS NGO Network.” (From Yale World Fellows) Fleeing persecution, Dr. Wan left China with family in 2010. He now lives in the U. S.
Wang Dan (王丹) is a leader of the Chinese democracy movement, and was one of the most visible student leaders during the Tiananmen protests in 1989. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University and has been teaching in Taiwan until recently.
Wang Jiangsong (王江松) is labor scholar in China.
Wang Lixiong (王力雄) is a Beijing-based Chinese writer best known for his political prophecy fiction, Yellow Peril, and for his writings on Tibet and China’s western region of Xinjiang. Wang is regarded as one of the most outspoken dissidents, democracy advocates in China. Between 1980 and 2007 when My West China; Your East Turkestan (in Chinese) was finished, he made nine trips to Xinjiang and his travels brought him to every part of the region. While traveling in Xinjiang in 1999, he was briefly detained by the Chinese secret police for suspicion of collecting classified information. But his prison time in unexpected ways helped the writing of this book. Wikipedia (in English) has a list of Mr. Wang Lixiong’s works.
Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭) is a human rights activist and the wife of 709 lawyer Li Heping (李和平).
Wang Qinglei (王青雷), until late November, 2013, was a CCTV producer. He has since been fired for criticizing CCTV on social media.
Wang Shuping (王淑平) was the first medical professional to discover HIV contamination in Henan province in the 1990s. It would go on to infect approximately 300,000 people, mostly the rural poor. Dr. Wang eventually left China due to persecution. She now lives in the US.
Wang Tiancheng (王天成) was a lecturer and editor of a legal publication at Peking University when he founded the “Chinese Liberal Democratic Party” in 1992 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He now lives in the US. His recently-published book, The Grand Transition: A Research Framework for the Strategy to Democratize China (《大转型：中国民主化战略研究框架》), examines cases of democratic transition around the world and lays out a blueprint of how a democratic China can be realized.
Wang Yu (王宇) is a human rights lawyer in China.
Wang Zheng (王政) is a professor of women’s studies at University of Michigan.
Wen Donghai (文东海) is a human rights lawyer based in Changsha, Hunan province.
Wen Kejian (温克坚) is a Hangzhou-based liberal thinker, a Charter 08 signee, and an important voice in China’s vibrant discussions of political change.
Andrea Worden is a human rights activist, lawyer, and writer. She has worked on human rights and rule of law issues involving China throughout much of her career, and previously held positions as the Acting Executive Director of Asia Catalyst, Advocacy Director with the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), and Senior Counsel at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). Her essays and articles on human rights issues in China have appeared in such publications as the The Pro-Democracy Protests in China: Reports from the Provinces, Yale-China Review, Georgetown Journal of International Law, South China Morning Post, and China Rights Forum, among others.
Wu Qiang (吴强) is a political science professor at Tsinghua University.
Xiang Songzuo (向松祚) is a professor at Renmin University School of Finance and former chief economist of China Agriculture Bank.
Xiang Xiaokai (项小凯) is completing his PhD in information science at Tokyo University. He is also emerging as a fresh voice in discussions of China’s political transition.
Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍) is a rights lawyer in Beijing and a key participant of the New Citizens’ Movement. She recently arrived in the US with her young daughter to avoid possible arrest.
Xiao Meili (肖美丽) is a Guangzhou-based feminist activist.
Xiao Shu (笑蜀), the pen name of Chen Min, is a former columnist for the Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly and the Chinese magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu, and an active participant in the New Citizens Movement. He is currently a visiting scholar at National Chengchi University in Taiwan.
Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) is a human rights lawyer in China.
Xu Zhiyong (许志永) is a legal scholar, a pioneer of China’s rights movement, and one of the founders of the Open Constitution Initiative (Gong Meng公盟) which offers legal assistance to the disempowered and the wronged. On July 16, 2013, he was arrested for advocating the New Citizens’ Movement. ChinaChange.org has translated Dr. Xu extensively.
Yang Jianli (杨建利), President, Initiatives for China, former political prisoner of China (2002-2006).
Yaqiu Wang (王亚秋) is a researcher at Human Rights Watch and a past contributor to China Change.
Yaxue Cao (曹雅学), founder and editor of China Change.
Ye Du (野渡) is a Guangzhou-based dissident writer.
Youyu Xu (徐友渔), a signatory of Charter 08, was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences until his retirement. He is author/editor of over twenty books in Chinese, from the Copernican Revolution in Philosophy and Bertrand Russell in 1994 to A Study of Contemporary Western Political Philosophy in 2008. He translated, from the original German, Wittgenstein’s Remarks On the Foundations of Mathematics. His outspoken defense of liberalism, in works such as Discourse of Freedom (1999), Facing History (2000), and Unremitting Spiritual Pursuit (2002), has won him a wide readership in China. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford, Harvard, Taiwan’s Academia Sinica and other academic institutions around the world. He also taught at Stockholm University and France’s École des hautes études en sciences socials. “I will give the rest of my life to speaking the truth for the sake of China’s real progress. I am not afraid to pay a price, even the price of life, for it,” he once told a friend.
Yuan Fengchu (袁奉初) is a human rights activist and a political prisoner in China.
Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) is an activist, blogger and scholar. She is currently doing her Ph.D. on state-society online/offline relationship, feminist practice, cyber activism and documentary activism in China. Among her recent publications is “The Politics of Emotion in Grassroots Feminist Protests: A Case Study of Xiaoming Ai’s Nude Breasts Photography Protest Online,“ The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 15(1), 2014. Together with Hu Jia she documented their life when he was in house arrest in the film Prisoners in Freedom City (2007).
Zhai Minglei (翟明磊) is a Chinese journalist and a well-known activist in the Chinese NGO field. He was a reporter for the Southern Weekly for about three years from 2001 – 2003, and the magazine Civil Society (《民间》) he founded in 2005 was shut down in 2007 by the government. His most recently book A Big Incident Happened (《出大事了》, available in bookstores in Hong Kong) examines major public events during 2003-2012 where citizen activists played significant roles in shaping the development as well as the outcome of the events. He lives in Shanghai.
Zhang Dajun (张大军) has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for several transnational corporations. In recent years, he has worked with the Transition Institute (传知行研究所) in Beijing, held forums on citizenship and social advocacy, and translated works on democratic transitions. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Zhang Jialong (张贾龙) is a popular young blogger and, until May 22, 2014, a financial page editor at qq.com. He was fired following a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry during which he called for the U.S. to help tear down the Great Fire Wall of China.
Zhang Xuezhong (张雪忠) is a law professor at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai.
Zhao Chu (赵楚) is a Shanghai-based independent commentator and a long time researcher on international strategy, global military and social issues in China.
Zhao Sile (赵思乐) is a Guangzhou-based freelance writer and feminist journalist.
Zhao Xin (赵昕) is a student leader in 1989 and one of the earliest rights movement activist. After years of being blocked from traveling overseas, he was able to leave China recently and relocate to San Francisco.
Zheng Yefu (郑也夫) was born in 1950 in Beijing. He was one of the 17 million “educated youths” sent down to the countryside, and served in the Heilongjiang Construction Corps. He is now a retired sociology professor from Peking University.
Zhou Fengsuo (周锋锁), “A senior studying physics at Tsinghua University in 1989, Mr. Zhou was a leader of the Beijing Students Autonomous Federation. …He was imprisoned for a year, and left China in 1995 for the United States, where he earned a graduate degree in business at the University of Chicago. He became a Christian in 2003 and has worked in finance in recent years. He is a co-founder of Humanitarian China, a group that promotes the rule of law and civil society in China and raises money for Chinese political prisoners.” (From the New York Times Sinosphere blog)
(The list keeps growing.)