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June 24, 2018     China’s community of human rights lawyers have made enormous sacrifices to defend the rights and freedoms of citizens and promote China’s progress toward the rule-of-law and democracy. As representatives of China’s wider community of lawyers, human rights lawyers have, since the beginning of the rights defense movement in early 2000s, been the constant target of severe government repression. This has included, without letup, cancellation of legal licenses, being stalked, being threatened, being publicly defamed, being kidnapped, being secretly disappeared, and being subject to forced labor, long-term incarceration, or torture. On July 9, 2017, marking the second anniversary of the Communist Party’s most brutal persecution of human rights lawyers with the ‘709 incident,’ 14 human rights organizations held an ‘Inaugural China […]


Yaxue Cao, March 21, 2018 Continued from The Might of an Ant: the Story of Lawyer Li Baiguang (1 of 2)     Rights Movement Spread All Over the Country By 2004, Zhao Yan and Li Baiguang were under constant threat. Fuzhou police told the village deputies that Zhao and Li were criminals, and demanded that the deputies expose the two. The Fujian municipal government also dispatched a special investigation team to the hometowns of Li and Zhao to look into their family backgrounds. A public security official in Fu’an said: “Don’t you worry that Zhao and Li are still on the lam — that’s because it’s not time for their date with the devil just yet. Just wait till that day comes: we’ll grab them, […]


Li Heping, Ai Weiwei, August 21, 2016 This is a translation of an Ai Weiwei interview of lawyer Li Heping (李和平) in July 2010 (here, here, here, and here) that was released only recently. Beginning from his first involvement in “sensitive” cases around 2002, Li Heping went through the trajectory of his years as one of China’s earliest rights lawyers, including police brutality against him in 2007. Over the past decade or so, many early rights lawyers have withdrawn from the scene under duress, but Li Heping is one of the few who have persevered. He was arrested in July, 2015, as one of dozens of rights lawyers in what is known as the “709 Crackdown” of human rights lawyers and activists. After a year […]


Gao Zhisheng, July 14, 2015     The legal profession is weak under the tyrannical Chinese Communist Party, yet there has been no lack of individual lawyers who stick to the law and principles. Because of their profession, lawyers witness or experience countless incidents of injustice or suppression bred by the cruel system itself. As the saying goes, the great waves sift the sand. In the face of this injustice and suppression, most lawyers simply try to get on with their lives. Some, acting as puppets, even join forces with the tyrants for selfish gains. But there is one group who instead have developed the towering wish to change the fate of the Chinese nation and people, and shoulder the special historic role of relieving […]


– A commentary in the wake of false charges against Guo Feixiong Gao Zhisheng, November 28, 2015 Translated by Matthew Robertson; posted on December 3, 2015 Gao Zhisheng composed the following letter after hearing about the six year prison sentence handed to rights activist Guo Feixiong, and after reading Guo’s spirited defense and condemnation of the Party’s rule. As the letter made the rounds on social media, the Chinese authorities promptly cut off Gao’s cell phone service and placed him under house arrest in his late mother’s cave dwelling in Shaanxi Province. Both Gao Zhisheng and Guo Feixiong are Christians. — The Editors     I rarely suffer insomnia, but I woke up at 2 am this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. This is […]


– Questions for China’s Thuggish Government   Pastor Bob Fu posted on social media the following note, as well as lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s piece on an incident on November 10. “Three Internal Security (国保) agents burst into Gao Zhisheng’s (高智晟) cave home on November 10 and stopped him from traveling. Gao had for the last several days been preparing to travel to Xi’an for a long-needed dental appointment but was suddenly prevented from doing so. The agents also told him to inform Yang Hai (杨海), a friend in Xi’an who was helping organize the trip, that Gao himself chose to stay home. Originally, public security agents in Xi’an had told Yang Hai that it was no problem, that they could accommodate Gao’s dentist visit in […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: September 23, 2015   On March 31, when China’s youngest political criminal Huang Wenxun (黄文勋) heard that Xi Jinping was going to visit America, he wrote President Obama a letter. He had just turned 25, and had been held in a police lockup awaiting trial in Chibi, Hubei Province, for one year and ten months (as of this writing, it’s over two years and four months). In his letter, he told his own story and also tried to get Americans to “learn about a different China.” He seemed to truly believe his letter would make it in front of President Obama, and apologized for occupying the president’s precious time. But he reasoned: this could be counted as “a time for international […]


By Gao Zhisheng, published: September 23, 2015 In a sudden move, according to sources, deputy secretary of State Tony Blinken is meeting families of Chinese political prisoners today, September 23rd, ahead of the Obama-Xi Jinping summit on Friday. Lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s wife is among those who are invited to the meeting which purportedly will discuss how human rights issues will be addressed during the summit. Gao Zhisheng was released from prison on August 7, 2014, but a year later he is still under house arrest and denied of proper medical treatment and freedom to travel. Calls for the U. S. to help the Gao family to reunite has gone fruitless. Ms. Geng He cancelled her trip and posted Gao’s message to her on Twitter. China […]


China Change, published: July 5, 2015   Violent beatings to the head, electric shocks, forced feeding, injection with drugs, sexual violence, suffocation, denial of toilet, solitary confinement, forced smoke inhalation, and burning. These are some of the forms of torture that Chinese security forces have taken up against lawyers in China, in particular those who dare to use the law as an instrument to protect individual rights, and by corollary limit the arbitrary use of power by the Chinese Communist Party. The brutalization of these lawyers is documented in detail in a new report by the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (《中国律师酷刑个案概览(2006-2015)》. Despite the report’s detail — it looks at the abuse of 34 lawyers, and runs to nearly 50 pages — a version […]


By Xiao Shu, published: January 8, 2015 A verdict awaits the pioneer of China’s rights movement after he stood trial the second time last November. Veteran commentator Xiao Shu, writing originally in the New York Times Chinese, places Guo Feixiong in the larger picture of the rights struggle in China. – The Editor   A civil rights movement has been unfolding in China. As Martin Luther King Jr. was to the American civil rights movement, essential figures have been emerging from the movement in China. Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), who was tried on November 28 for “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” is one of them. While the American Civil Rights Movement fought for the rights of millions of African Americans, the […]


By Teng Biao, published: January 6, 2015 A shorter version of the article appeared in Washington Post on December 28, 2014. Here is the full text.  – The Editor   I’m afraid that those of you who excitedly applauded the Communist Party’s rehashing of the term “governing the country according to the law” have forgotten the famous words of Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu, who once warned sternly, “Don’t use the law as a shield.” I don’t understand why some people only remember the pleasant words they speak and but forget their blatant opposition to universal values; why some people are always willing to believe what they say, but disregard all the things that they do. The Communists once boasted wildly about “liberty and constitutional […]


Published: September 12, 2014   Geng He (耿和), wife of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), held a press conference on September 9, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., appealing to the U. S. government and the international community to help bring Gao Zhisheng to the U.S. to receive medical treatment and reunite with his family. With her permission, the following is a translation of her statement. – The Editor   Good morning ladies and gentlemen, My husband Gao Zhisheng is a Chinese lawyer. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to defending the rights of disadvantaged groups in Chinese society and providing pro bono legal services to them. Standing against the power of the state, he used his legal expertise […]


China Change, published: September 1, 2014   Since Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s release from prison on August 7, we have learned that he is in poor health after enduring five years of solitary confinement without sunlight and malnutrition. On August, 27, Geng He (耿和), Gao Zhisheng’s wife who fled China in 2009 with their two children sent a series of tweets (here, here, here and here) from her home in California, detailing Gao Zhisheng’s dental problems. She said he needs urgent attention which he has not been able to receive in Urumqi where he has been staying with, and has been taken care of by, his in-laws while remaining under surveillance by government minders. “Gao Zhisheng has seen a dentist. The dentist said, ‘your […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: August 15, 2014 Few Americans know Gao Zhisheng. He was a Chinese lawyer who ran a successful practice, until his insistence on the law being respected pitted him against reality in China where rule of law is no more than a stage prop, and the legal system itself, doing the bidding of the Communist Party, tramples the law underfoot. Gao represented business owners whose properties were forcibly expropriated by the state, farmers whose land was taken and homes demolished illegally, victimized workers, and house church Christians. Victims of injustice from all over China thronged to his office in Beijing. When he couldn’t win cases for his downtrodden clients in a system where power overrides the law, he fed and clothed them. […]


By Xiao Guozhen, published: July 23, 2014 This is China Change’s second profile of Guo Feixiong. Read the one by Xiao Shu.    On August 8, 2013, Guangzhou-based rights activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄, a.k.a. Yang Maodong) disappeared. Ten days later following a sustained uproar on social media, his sister finally confirmed his criminal detention upon receiving a notice of such from the Chinese police for allegedly “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Assembling a crowd? Disrupting order? Where? People familiar with Guo Feixiong wondered, including myself. His lawyer at that time, Sui Muqing (隋牧青), explained: the allegation has to do with  street demonstrations in support of the Southern Weekend at the beginning of the year. Before him, in Beijing, starting that spring, the New […]


By ChinaChange.org Last weekend, the Guangzhou-based dissident and activist Guo Fengxiong (郭飞雄, real name Yang Maodong 杨茂东) was reported missing for several days. A local source later tweeted that he was safe but on Saturday, August 17, Guo’s sister, as well as his lawyer, confirmed to the media that he had been criminally detained since August 8th for allegedly “assembling a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” according to the detention notice his sister received. His lawyer Sui Muqing (隋牧青) said the direct reason for Guo Feixiong’s arrest has to do with his involvement in the street demonstration in support of the Southern Weekend at the beginning of the year, but the lawyer also pointed to the recent wave of arrests of dissidents […]


By Ai Xiaoming, translated by Yaxue Cao Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明) is a 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, about the struggle of HIV contamination victims in Henan province, with English subtitles), Why Flowers Are So Red (花儿为什么这样红, about citizens’ investigation of student deaths during the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008). Sometimes Professor Ai Xiaoming is referred to as the Ai in the south, as opposed to the Ai in the north (Ai Weiwei). The original was published in the author’s blog as well as the latest issue of iSunAffairs  (No. 50). Independent documentary maker […]


In an interview with the New York Times in late May when his “probation” ended, China’s most famous artist, Ai Weiwei, recounted the details of his forced disappearance in April, 2011. “The policeman yanked the black hood over Ai Weiwei’s head. It was suffocating. Written in white across the outside was a cryptic phrase: ‘Suspect 1.7.’ At the rear of a white van, one policeman sat on each side of Mr. Ai. …They clutched his arms. Four more men sat in the front rows.” It must be jolting enough to be pulled out of the crowd from the bustling Beijing International Airport. But there was something else that bewildered Ai Weiwei. “‘Until that moment I still had spirit, because it didn’t look real,’” Mr. Ai said. […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: June 1, 2012   When I last visited China in 2004, I did what a visiting overseas Chinese typically does: spending time with family and friends, sightseeing, and enjoying the food. In Beijing I felt like a time traveler arriving at a future time from a quiet, immobile past. I hardly recognized the city at all. When my brother drove me from Beijing to Shanxi on sparkling highways that stretched down the endless great middle plain and then through the mountains of Taihang (太行山), tunnel after tunnel, I had to remind myself that these were the same mountains I used to gaze at from the train and observe a rock or a hut basking in the lazy afternoon light. In my […]


“Chungking Jungle” is the name of the play, and it now enters Act III: Silence! Silence!, starting with arrests of “rumormongers,” sanction of websites, and a three-day suspension of comments on Sina and Tencent Weibo. Weibo now feels unreal because of the absence of what people are dying to do—rumormongering. Meanwhile, Jeremy Page of The Wall Street Journal reported on his latest findings about the British man who died in Chongqing last November. It looks like he is becoming more relevant by the day: He feared for his life, and his relationship with the Bo family deteriorated drastically in the months leading to his death. Earlier this week, the news came that Gao Zhisheng, the persecuted and imprisoned rights lawyer, is alive and his older brother and […]


By Yaxue Cao   Xi Jinping (习近平), the vice president of China and heir-apparent of the Communist regime, was in town to visit on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. Protesters gathered in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. I went too, with a Chen Guangcheng sign I had made the night before. Of the diverse groups there, the Tibetans were the largest. Before I walked into the park, I had already seen a jungle of snow lion flags and heard shouts of slogans. A lot of Falun Gong practitioners were there too. Some held banners calling for “Stop Persecuting Falun Gong”, but more were meditating on their mats over the east lawn of the park. I don’t think I heard them shouting any slogans. […]


This week, all eyes are on Wukan as the world awaits to see how the unprecedented struggle of one Chinese village develops. If Christian Bale didn’t get to see his personal hero on Thursday, he more than succeeded in throwing a hand grenade at the feet of the Party while lighting a firestorm—a joyful one—among Chinese netizens. Friday, we finally heard words from the authorities about Gao Zhisheng after he had gone missing for more than a year and a half. Also in this issue are items taken from Weibo before Yaxue’s account was obliterated earlier this week (possibly for helping spread information about Wukan). Click on date below item for link to the original. I have had a growing dread all week and it […]


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