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China Change, October 31, 2018 This is part of China Change’s new interview series that seeks to understand the effort of civil society in bringing change to China over the past 30 years. The interview was conducted in June 2018 by Yaxue Cao, editor of this website, at Professor Xu Youyu’s home in Flushing, New York City. — The Editors     Yaxue Cao (YC): Professor Xu, would you mind first introducing yourself to our readers? Xu Youyu (XY): My name is Xu Youyu (徐友渔); I was born in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in 1947. I was in the graduating class at the Chengdu No. 1 Secondary School in 1966 when the Cultural Revolution erupted — right when I was enrolling for the national college entrance […]


Xie Yanyi, October 15, 2017   Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) is one of the twenty or so 709 detainees during China’s sweeping, still ongoing crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. He was held incommunicado  from, July 12, 2015 to January 18, 2017, in Tianjin. As a human rights lawyers, Xie Yanyi’s career spans from 2003 to the time when he was detained, representing dozens of cases involving religious freedom, freedom of speech, forced expropriation of land and property, corruption, local elections, political prisoners, and more. Meanwhile, he has been known for passionately advocating democratic transition in China. During the 553 days of disappearance, his wife gave birth to a baby girl, and his mother died without him knowing it. In September he posted a book […]


Zhao Xin, September 11, 2016 “Chinese state media spilled much ink on the “three factors” and “five main proposals” to demonize Hu Shigen, but avoided discussing Hu’s “three stage” roadmap to change. This is because if the 88 million Communist Party members hear about such a moderate and rational roadmap for transition, some of them may very well embrace it, leading to fissures within the ruling clique itself.”     From August 2 to 5, The Tianjin Intermediate People’s Court carried out a four-day so-called “open trial” against Hu Shigen (胡石根), Zhou Shifeng (周世锋), Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民), and Gou Hongguo (勾洪国), where they were charged with subversion of state power. The first two were sentenced to 7.5 and 7 years of imprisonment, while the latter […]


August 6, 2016     Over the last week, we all wondered whether the American Bar Association would go ahead with conferring its inaugural International Human Rights Award to the Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu. On August 1 she appeared on camera in China, repenting her courageous work fighting for justice and the rule of law, and repudiating the ABA award because she is a Chinese person and loves her country — as though receiving the award would be a betrayal of China. It was indeed Wang Yu speaking, but from an undisclosed location, after nearly 13 months in secret detention, to three people whose faces and identities were hidden. We cannot begin to fathom what has happened to her and dozens of other […]


August 4, 2016 This is indeed an extraordinary week. In a beguiling internet style, the Weibo account of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Youth League posted another 4-minute video on August 4, obviously shot by domestic security police, a day after posting one that portrays rights lawyers and dissidents as part of a vast American conspiracy undermining China. In addition, under the hashtag #警惕颜色革命 (“Beware of Color Revolutions”), the Youth League account also posted numerous music videos and articles attacking the United States, rights lawyers, activists, President Tsai of Taiwan and internet freedom. This wave of propaganda is not just for a domestic audience; it aims to intimidate the U.S. and the free world too. A transcript of the narration in the […]


Ren Bumei, August 2, 2016 In 2005, when Hu Shigen was serving the 13th year of his 20 year prison sentence for forming the Chinese Free Democratic Party, he was awarded that year’s Outstanding Democracy Activist Award by the California-based Chinese Democracy Education Foundation. This is an excerpt of a speech given by exiled dissident Ren Bumei (任不寐) titled “Hu Shigen and the Highest Aspirations of Our Age” (《 胡石根与我们时代的精神高度》), upon accepting the award on Hu’s behalf. Hu, among the first four of the July 9, 2015 detainees to be indicted, is being put through a show trial today (August 3, Beijing Time) in the Tianjin Second People’s Intermediate Court. This is our first post in a series about Hu Shigen. — The Editors.   […]


China Change, July 15, 2016   On late Friday afternoon on July 15, the Second Branch Procuratorate of the Tianjin People’s Procuratorate announced on its official Weibo account that four of the several dozen lawyers and activists detained since July 2015, in what is known as the “709 Incident” or “709 Crackdown,” have been indicted. The message was quickly re-posted and reported by People’s Daily and other mouthpiece media: On July 15, 2016, the Second Branch Procuratorate of the Tianjin People’s Procuratorate, upon review, has decided according to law to indict Zhou Shifeng, Hu Shigen, Zhai Yanmin, Gou Hongguo respectively in the Tianjin Second People’s Intermediate Court for the alleged crime of subversion of state power. Zhou Shifeng is the director of Beijing Fengrui Law Firm, and […]


Every year in  March, China holds its annual Two Meetings—the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) –to “discuss and decide” the important matters of the country. Chinese citizens might not know who in the Great Hall of the People represents them, but they do know life becomes considerably more inconvenient during the Two Meetings. For some, it can mean major infringement on their rights and freedom. For still others, it can be outright scary and brutal. If you are a dissident, a rights lawyer, an activist campaigning for any cause, or an outspoken intellectual, you have probably been placed under some sort of house arrest. Since February 22, dissidents across the country have been Shanggang-ed (上岗). That is, outside […]


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