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After leaving China Women News, Lü Pin began to work with women intellectuals pioneering women’s rights advocacy in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2009, Lü Pin founded ‘Feminist Voice.’ Its sharp interpretation of women issues through a feminist lens attracted many young educated women. A small NGO called ‘One-yuan Commune’ was established in Beijing that quickly became a springboard for street activism from 2012 to 2015.


China Change, June 29, 2019 On June 6, Ms. Huang Wan (黄婉) received her “certificate of release from community correction” (解除社区矫正证明书) from the Justice Bureau of Chaoyang District in Beijing. From that day on, she was a free woman, and she had made plans to travel to the United States for a long-waited reunion with her aging parents. “From December 1, 2013,” she wrote on her Twitter the same day. “I have been subject to two days of detention without due process, 319 days of residential surveillance at a designated place (指定地点监视居住), 590 days in a detention center, 10 days of release pending investigation (取保候审), and 1095 days of community correction, making a total of 2016 days that I have been without freedom.” But on […]


Ai Xiaoming, March 26, 2019 This is the tenth year since I was barred from leaving the country. I still remember the last time I came back to Shenzhen, from Hong Kong, on March 17, 2009. After that I have never been out of Luohu Border Control. The first time I was barred from leaving the country was in 2005, because I had made the documentary “Taishi Village” (《太石村》). Perhaps it was because the police putting the restrictions on me hadn’t gotten in touch with the customs yet, or because my passport hadn’t expired (the digitalization of personal data wasn’t as strict back then), so between 2005 and early 2009, I left the country several times for meetings or screening tours to universities abroad. Over […]


Tang Jitian, January 30, 2019 On December 10, 2018, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (La Commission nationale consultative des droits de l’homme) has awarded the annual French Republic Human Rights Prize to six personalities or organizations that have distinguished themselves in their country for the defense and promotion of human rights, and Chinese human rights lawyer Tang Jitian (唐吉田) is one of them. He was unable to travel to France to receive the prize. On January 14, 2019, the French Ambassador to China, Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, presented him the award in Beijing. –– The Editors Ladies and Gentlemen:  I […]


Tan Zuoren, January 13, 2019 Huang Qi’s trial opens today (January 14, Beijing time) in Mianyang Intermediary Court, Sichuan Province. – The Editors Huang Qi (黄琦), 55, is from Neijiang City in Sichuan Province (四川内江市), southwestern China. He holds a bachelor’s degree and is the founder of 64 Tianwang (六四天网) as well as the China Tianwang Human Rights Affairs Center (中国天网人权事务中心). He has for years devoted himself to public interest work, and he is also a dissident. Huang Qi’s late father was a soldier. His mother is a retired cardiologist Ms. Pu Wenqing (蒲文清), 85 years old this year. Huang Qi graduated from the Radio Department of Sichuan University in 1984. Following his graduation, he worked for years as a businessman. In 1998, Huang Qi […]


Andrea Worden, November 25, 2018     Over the past several years, the Chinese government has steadily been promoting its own version of human rights –– “human rights with Chinese characteristics”–– at the UN, and maneuvering to insert language trumpeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with Xi Jinping as its core wordsmith, into various UN resolutions, with an eye toward assuming a leadership role in global human rights governance. China’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the Human Rights Council (HRC) on November 6, 2018 provided a high-level global forum for the government to announce its newly formulated five-pronged “human rights development path with Chinese characteristics.” In a press conference following the review, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun claimed that more than 120 countries […]


Yaxue Cao, November 11, 2018       Around 10:10 pm eastern time on Nov. 8, as I was browsing my Twitter timeline and taking a breaking from editing a website post, a tweet by Wu Gan (吴淦) jumped into my vision. Even though he has gone for three years and a half, his avatar immediately stood out. It’s an auto-generated tweet that reads: “I just activated @Tweet_Delete on my account to automatically delete my old tweets (is.gd/delete)!” Instinctively, I pressed the “prt src” key: It was 11 am on Nov. 9, Beijing Time. Wu Gan, better known as the “Super Vulgar Butcher,” is serving an eight-year sentence in a prison somewhere in the mountains on the border of Fujian and Jiangxi provinces. He was […]


Yaxue Cao, October 18, 2018     Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is a small liberal arts college with around 2500 students. The Campus Center is the central meeting place with a bookstore, a cafe, a post office, computer terminals, a small auditorium, lounge areas and art exhibit space. On October 1, a photo exhibit was mounted along the hallways of the center. It is called, adopting a well-known Mao Zedong quote, “Weightier Than Mount Tai, Lighter Than a Feather: Human Rights Experience of Chinese Contemporary Art.” Featuring ten artists (all but two lived in China), the exhibit includes photographs, conceptual compositions, negative images of Tiananmen Square in 1989, and photographs that depict a wide range of life in China: the student movement in […]


Yaxue Cao, October 15, 2018     On the morning of October 11, Ms. Pu Wenqing (蒲文清) arrived in Beijing accompanied by a couple of supporters. Ms. Pu is 85 years old, a retired doctor living in Neijiang, Sichuan province (四川内江市). As soon as she stepped off the train at Beijing West Railway Station, she spotted six people who had followed her all the way from Sichuan. In China, they are known as “jie fang renyuan” (截访人员), or local government workers whose job is to trail, stop and take back to their hometown petitioners who have gone to the capital on a quest for justice. That is what brought Ms. Pu to Beijing –she was seeking justice for her son. With the help of activists, […]


August 10, 2018     It is now clear, from numerous reliable sources, that shocking human rights atrocities are being perpetrated in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China (XUAR). The Communist Party authorities have established a large number of political re-education centers in Xinjiang, detaining people without any judicial process, stripping them of their personal liberty, imprisoning them, and detaining them for indeterminate ‘sentences.’ Estimates of the numbers detained range from hundreds of thousands to over a million, primarily targeting Uighurs, but also Kazakhs, Hui people, and other minorities who follow Islam. Among those detainees are peasants, workers, university, college, high-school and middle-school students, teachers, poets, writers, artists, scholars, the head of a provincial department, bureau chiefs, village chiefs, and even Uighur police officers. […]


A continued call on behalf of Liu Xia (China Change Exclusive) Liao Yiwu, Chinese writer in exile, June 1, 2018         Dear friends, I am hereby once again publicizing a portion of a conversation with Liu Xia (劉霞), this time on May 25, 2018. The recording runs 21 minutes; I have excerpted the final 8 minutes. Liu Xia said: “Loving Liu Xiaobo is a crime, for which I’ve received a life sentence.” This is enough to make one burn with rage. Since when did love become a crime? When Xi Jinping’s father was labeled an anti-CCP element and jailed by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, his mother didn’t abandon him, and nor did she get locked up for years like Liu Xia […]


May 9, 2018       Background On July 9, 2015, Wang Yu (王宇) became the first target in a campaign of mass arrests against human rights lawyers in China. Over the next roughly two weeks, over 300 rights lawyers were arrested, interrogated, detained, and threatened — thus begetting the notorious ‘709 Incident.’ After over a month in secret detention at a black site in Beijing, Wang Yu was transferred to Tianjin for a continuation of her detention, then under so-called ‘residential surveillance at a designated place’ (指定居所監視居住). For over a year she was not allowed to see her lawyer, family, or communicate with the outside world. Another 20 or so lawyers and activists, including Wang Yu’s husband Bao Longjun (包龍軍), were given similar treatment. […]


May 2, 2018 The following is an essay by Liu Xia’s longtime friend Liao Yiwu (廖亦武) explaining the circumstances of the phone call and providing an excerpt of the call for the first time. — The Editors     ‘Dona, Dona,’ Give Freedom to Liu Xia Liao Yiwu, Chinese writer in exile   On April 30, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. in Germany, I spoke to Liu Xia at her home in Beijing. She said: “Now, I’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If I can’t leave, I’ll die in my home. Xiaobo is gone, and there’s nothing in the world for me now. It’s easier to die than live. Using death to defy could not be any simpler for me.” I felt like I’d just been […]


Andrea Worden, April 9, 2018     During the past year, China, supported by authoritarian allies like Russia, Turkey and Egypt, has taken an increasingly aggressive anti-human rights posture at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) and elsewhere in the UN system where human rights are a core focal point. Its aim appears to be nothing less than “disappearing” the existing human rights framework –– one of the UN’s three pillars established by the UN Charter — from the mission and work of the UN, and replacing it with a Chinese version that focuses almost exclusively on “the right to development,” “dialogue” and “mutually beneficial cooperation.” China hasn’t won yet, but it’s seizing the moment of the Trump presidency, Brexit, the rise of authoritarianism […]


China Change, April 4, 2018     Between February and March this year, rights activists from provinces around China were summoned, questioned, and threatened by secret police who demanded that they withdraw from the ‘Rose chatgroups,’ also known as the ‘Rose team.’ These chatgroups have attracted relatively large numbers of internet users on different portals such as QQ, Skype, WeChat, Telegram, and WhatsApp. The intervention by Chinese police took place following the criminal detention of Xu Qin (徐秦), a leading activist and a spokesperson among these online groups, on February 9. She was accused of ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble.’ Prior to this, the initiator of the Rose chatgroups and Wuhan dissident Qin Yongmin (秦永敏) was detained on January 9, 2015. Between March 2013 and […]


China Change, January 24, 2018       On Monday evening the Guangzhou-based lawyer Sui Muqing (隋牧青) was notified by his law firm that government officials from the provincial Justice Department would inspect the firm the following morning and that Sui, in particular, must be present. He felt a nervous chill and began to suspect that his communications on a series of human rights cases he has represented had upset high-level officials. On Tuesday morning (January 23), two officials from the Justice Department arrived, announcing on the spot that Sui’s law license had been revoked. The written announcement cited two incidents as cause of the punishment: that he disrupted court order while defending New Citizen Movement activists on April 8, 2014, by quitting the court […]


Huang Yu, January 5, 2017   Zhen Jianghua has been placed under secrect detention known as “residential surveillance at a designated place,” his lawyer Ren Quanniu was told over the phone on December 13, 2017. Zhen continues to be denied access to his lawyers. — The Editors        Zhen Jianghua (甄江华) hadn’t yet gone to bed at midnight on September 1, 2017, when police burst into his apartment and put him in handcuffs. As he was being led out, he was unperturbed, and simply told his roommate: “Make sure you tell Xiao Li (小丽) to check Taobao and pick up my packages.” Xiao Li is Zhen Jianghua’s ex-wife. The phrase was code to say that she should spread the news of his arrest. […]


China Change, December 26, 2017     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 […]


Yaxue Cao, December 13, 2017     Humanitarian China celebrated its 10th anniversary in Los Angeles last Sunday, December 10, on International Human Rights Day. I was there with more than 200 others, one of the largest recent gatherings of overseas Chinese who support democracy and human rights in China. Gone is the time when, in the wake of the Tiananmen Massacre, several thousand Chinese students and visiting scholars gathered in Chicago in 1989 to form the Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars and give their support in words and actions to the cause of democracy in China. “Where are all the Chinese?” Someone asked me once, referring to the puniness of a June 4th Massacre commemoration one year. I asked back: “Where are […]


Teng Biao, December 7, 2017   This is the Foreword to The People’s Republic of the Disappeared: Stories From Inside China’s System for Enforced Disappearances, a newly published book about China’s “Residential Surveillance at a designated location.”       Those holding unchecked power often seek to hide their cruelty behind euphemisms. In China, classic examples range from “land reform” to the “Cultural Revolution.” You can’t easily see the cruelty from the surface of such words. Expressions like “the three year natural disaster,” used by the Communist Party to describe the Great Leap Forward of 1958 to 1961 in which tens of millions died, or the “6/4 counterrevolutionary riot,” the description of the Tiananmen Democracy movement, are shameless acts of misrepresenting history and reversing right […]


China Change, November 8, 2017     The city of Weimar announced on June 30 that, in compliance with the Weimar City Council’s recommendation, they were awarding this year’s Weimar Human Rights Prize to Ilham Tohti in recognition of his work upholding the rights of the Uighur people and promoting understanding between Uighurs and Han Chinese. In accordance with tradition, the Prize is awarded every year on December 10—International Human Rights Day. The Weimar City Council, in announcing the award, said: “As a professor of economics and sociology at the Central University for Nationalities (Minzu), for decades Ilham Tohti spared no effort in publicizing the economic and social difficulties faced by Uighurs in Xinjiang. At the same time he advocated the peaceful coexistence of Uighurs, […]


Yaxue Cao, November 1, 2017     Li Aijie (李爱杰) is from Henan province, China’s central plains. She married a man named Zhang Haitao (张海涛) in Urumqi, Xinjiang, who moved from Henan to the far northwestern region in the 1990s seeking job opportunities after being laid off from a state-owned enterprise. He made a living trading in electronics. The couple were very much in love. Embittered by personal injustices in the hands of authorities, he was attracted from 2009 onward to the thriving rights defense activism around the country. He partook in online forums that discussed democratic ideas; he volunteered for the human rights website Human Rights Campaign (“权利运动”); he signed a petition urging the Chinese government to abolish the extra-legal Reeducation Through Labor detention system; he gave interviews […]


Meng Han, October 11, 2017     Continued from Part One   Governmental Dysfunction and NGO Work In our time of great changes, the term “NGO”—when applied to our Service Center—inevitably has some political connotation. NGO workers have nothing to do with any criminal activities, but have everything to do with governmental dysfunction. It is precisely because of this that we drew attention from society. It is also because of this that the media, scholars, and workers have taken an interest in us and observed our work. As a matter of fact, it is inevitable that NGOs will impact the government in any country. The core issue is in what manner NGOs are making an impact. In my opinion, the involvement of the Service Center […]


China Change, September 22, 2017 We believe that the combination of reduced visits, denial of communication, gag orders, and family reprisals, have been carefully engineered to punish the Uighur scholar with degrading treatment and psychological torture, while at the same time keeping the attention on his plight from the outside world to a minimum.   September 23, 2017, marks the 3rd anniversary of the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti’s sentencing to life in prison for peacefully speaking out for the economic, cultural, political and religious rights of the 10 million Uighur people inhabiting the northwestern region known as Xinjiang. A Summary of the Case Ilham Tohti is the most renowned Uighur intellectual in the People’s Republic of China. For over two decades he has worked tirelessly […]


Yang Jianli, September 22, 2017     Recently, the long detained Taiwanese citizen and human rights activist Lee Ming-che appeared in a bogus trial in Chinese courts and was forced to plead guilty to “subverting (Chinese) state power”. Outraged family members and Taiwanese supporters might want to come to the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms for help — but they can’t. This is because they, as citizens of Taiwan, are not represented at the world governing body. With pressure from China, even Taiwanese tourists are routinely excluded from visiting the UN Headquarters with Taiwanese passports. Egregious and ridiculous as such is the reality facing us today. The only thing preventing Taiwan, a full democracy, from taking its rightful seat in the UN is China, and China’s aggressive posture on the international stage with respect […]


Hermann Aubié, September 5, 2017       During the eight and a half years that Liu Xiaobo spent in Jinzhou prison, only intermittent attention to both his fate and Liu Xia’s detention kept him from becoming gradually invisible, despite being the world’s only imprisoned Peace Nobel laureate. Now that Liu Xiaobo has passed away of liver cancer on July 13, 2017, there is an even greater danger that what he expressed and stood for will be either poorly remembered or completely forgotten. In the absence of a comprehensive bibliography of his writings, I compiled this list of Liu Xiaobo’s texts that were found on various Chinese websites, magazines, journals and books that had mostly been published in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as part of […]


Wu Gan, August 9, 2017   Wu Gan (吴淦), arguably the most celebrated activist in recent years in China’s struggle for justice and human rights, and a seminal user of online mobilization and peaceful direct action, was the first detainee of what has come to be known as the 709 Crackdown. Wu Gan became known for his role in mobilizing public support in the Deng Yujiao case (邓玉娇案) in 2009, and in the years following was involved in countless cases, both large and small. He became well known for his audacity and creativity. He also wrote three guides for potential activists and petitioners: Guide to Butchering Pigs (《杀猪宝典》) , Guide to Drinking Tea (《喝茶宝典》) and Guide to Petitioners Fighting Against Forced Demolition of Homes (《访民杀猪宝典》). […]


Hermann Aubié, August 9, 2017     Dear Xiaobo, About three weeks ago, shortly after the world learned about your terminal liver cancer diagnosis of late May 2017, you died aged 61 in the Northeast region of China where you were born. As the poet Tang Danhong wrote, you departed as “an innocent prisoner into the eternal light” (无罪的囚徒,融入永恒的光芒). What a cruel tragedy to live out your last days in a hospital bed under lock and key after fighting most of your life for freedom and human rights! Although I’ve never had the chance to meet you in person, I feel like I’ve lost someone very close to me, as if your death has torn away a part of myself. While you were behind bars […]


By Yang Jianli, July 22, 2017 “The U.S. should implement targeted sanctions against those personally responsible for Liu Xiaobo’s death. The U.S. can use the Global Magnitsky Act as a tool to sanction them—banning them from traveling in the U.S. and freezing their assets in this country—and also encourage its allies to do the same. It should also consider trade sanctions. In addition, the U.S. can honor Liu Xiaobo’s life and legacy by passing legislation to permanently rename the street in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC as ‘Liu Xiaobo Plaza.’”       The world lost a hero when China’s only Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, died of liver cancer in Chinese custody on July 13, 2017. In life as well as in death Liu Xiaobo represents the best of what China can ever be. He possessed […]


By Chang Ping, July 18, 2017     On July 7, the German professor Markus W Büchler, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, traveled to Shenyang to take part in diagnosing the condition of Liu Xiaobo. Media reports noted that it was the first time in almost a decade that Liu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, had seen a foreigner. When I read this line I felt full of grief. The visit of a doctor isn’t anything like that of a friend calling in. Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for his speech and thought, and apart from the small number of family members who’ve long been under house arrest, no one has been able to see him for all these years. Until he […]


China Change, July 15, 2017     Dr. Xu Zhiyong (许志永), leader of the New Citizens Movement, was released from prison on July 15, after serving a 4-year sentence. Xu Zhiyong’s defense lawyer Zhang Qingfang (张庆方) confirmed that Dr. Xu has returned home in Beijing. He was picked up earlier by the security police, a source said. Yesterday, scores of citizens traveled to the vicinity of Kenhua Prison in Ninghe District in Tianjin where Xu Zhiyong had been imprisoned since he was sentenced in February 2014. Dr. Xu, 44 years old, is a legal scholar and the founder of Gongmeng, a civil society group that pioneered China’s “rights defense movement” and in recent years campaigned for equal education rights for migrant workers’ children in large […]


July 4, 2017       China’s human rights lawyers have since 2003 become one of the most active and effective forces in the country advancing the ideals of universal values, because of their unique role and professional positions. Their work defending the civil rights and liberties of Chinese citizens extends from the internet to the streets, from courtrooms to jails. They’ve fought hard to promote the rule of law and democracy in China. As prominent representatives of Chinese lawyers, human rights lawyers have been the target of the Chinese government’s persecution since the beginning of the rights defense movement. They’ve had their licenses to practice law revoked, they’ve been followed, threatened, publicly slandered by state media, abducted, disappeared, sent to forced labor camps, imprisoned […]


Li Aijie, April 29, 2017 This is the second and last installment of Li Aijie’s account of her trip. Zhang Haitao was sentenced to 15 years in prison on January 15, 2016, for “inciting subversion of state power” and 5 years for “providing intelligence to foreign organizations.” He’s currently imprisoned in Shaya Prison in remote western Xinjiang. He believes that he is innocent, and has retained an attorney to represent him for a petition for retrial (申诉). — The Editors     On April 22, 2017 I took a train from Urumqi, and arrived in Aksu on the morning of April 23 at around 8:00 a.m. Human rights volunteer Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏) was already waiting at the train station. After breakfast the four of us—Huang, […]


China Change, April 21, 2017     Since the publication in early January of the “Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang,” made by lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), detailing a series of meetings with Xie Yang (谢阳) at the Changsha 2nd Detention Center, the Xie Yang case has taken many bizarre turns. The revelations of torture in the interviews, the first meticulously-recorded and lengthy account of the abuse meted out to a human rights lawyer, offer a shocking view of the “709 crackdown” since mid-2015. As of now, four human rights lawyers and a number of activists are still in detention, and in the case of lawyer Li Heping (李和平) and Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), have been denied access to their lawyers for well over 600 […]


February 16, 2017     Torture has long been a chronic disease plaguing China’s judicial system. It is not only that nearly every case of judicial injustice in China is attended by torture, but that torture is much more widely applied than merely as a means of extracting a confession during the criminal investigation process. It’s often used as a form of humiliation, a torment of the flesh and the spirit simultaneously, with an array of methods that are unrestrained and completely unscrupulous. The goal is to have the captive or internee surrender their minds to the authorities, and so prisons and extra-judicial detention facilities — like Legal Education Bases (or centers), brainwashing classes, and shuanggui facilities — make widespread use of torture. Torture aimed […]


Wang Qiaoling, January 13, 2017 Li Chunfu (李春富) is a human rights lawyer and the younger brother of the well-known rights lawyer Li Heping (李和平). On August 1, 2015, he was taken into custody (less than a month after his brother was also detained on July 10) and put under residential surveillance for six months. In January 2016 he was formally arrested on charges of “subversion of state power.” On January 5, 2017, he was granted China’s version of bail awaiting trial, and on January 12 returned home by police. Following is the first report by Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭), Li Heping’s wife, of the homecoming. We know from multiple cases of personal testimony, both published and privately relayed, that the 709 detainees have been subjected […]


January 12, 2017     Tianjin Municipal People’s Procuratorate Number Two Branch Bill of Indictment TJ 2d Br Proc Crim Indict (2016) No. 10001   Defendant Wu Gan (吴淦), male, [redacted], identification card number [redacted], Han ethnicity, high school graduate, a native of Xiamen city Fujian province, administrative employee of Beijing Fengrui Law Firm (北京锋锐律师事务所), registered address [redacted], residence [redacted], placed under criminal detention by Public Security Bureau of Siming precinct of Xiamen municipality, Fujian province, on May 27, 2015, on suspicion of picking quarrels and provoking trouble and defamation. With the approval of this procuratorate, arrested by the Xiamen Public Security Bureau on July 3, 2015, on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power and picking quarrels and provoking trouble. His period of detention […]


January 10, 2017       On December 23, 2016, President Obama signed into law “The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act” (NDAA 2017, section 1261-1265). The law authorizes the U.S. president to levy sanctions against foreign nationals who engage in the following acts: significant corruption, extrajudicial killings, torture, violation of international human rights covenants, and persecution of those who expose government corruption or seek to defend internationally recognized human rights. The mechanisms it provides to the president to carry out such sanctions include prohibiting or revoking U.S. entry visas or other entry documentation; freezing and prohibiting U.S. property transactions of an individual if such property and property interests are in the United States, come within the United States, or are in or come within […]


January 8, 2017     July 9, 2015, marked the beginning of a large number of arrests of human rights lawyers and rights defenders in China. Dozens of lawyers and human rights defenders have been disappeared, and hundreds of lawyers and defenders have been called in for intimidating “chats” with the police, or been temporarily detained. The campaign has extended to 23 provinces, shocking both China and the world alike, and is now known as the “709 mass arrest.” The “709 mass arrest” is the most severe attack on the rule of law and human rights in China for the last decade. This is shown clearly in how it has turned lawyers into imaginary enemies, making their lawful activities a primary target of attack. They’ve […]


Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, January 2, 2017     Time sweeps by, the seasons change, and another year is upon us. As we bid farewell to the old and welcome the new, China’s human rights lawyers greet 2017. We bore witness to too much in 2016. We saw the hidden poverty that lies behind the bright and orderly image of the nation. Due to poverty, a 13-year-old in Jinchang, Gansu, leapt from a building to her death after being humiliated. She had pilfered and eaten a few chocolates at the local market — the first time in her life that she’d savored the taste. Due to poverty, a student from Linyi, Shandong, who had matriculated but not yet begun college, died after falling into […]


China Change, September 19, 2016       Ilham Tohti (伊力哈木), a Uighur scholar known for his incisive writings on China’s policies in Xinjiang, was named by the European Parliament to be one of the five nominees for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on September 15. Ilham has for years been a vocal advocate for the economic, cultural, and religious rights of Uighurs in Xinjiang. His role as a rational voice for Uighur autonomy led to his arrest in January, 2014, and a sentence to life imprisonment in September that year. Incidentally, on the same day that Ilham won the nomination, Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was received by the European Parliament where he spoke of his admiration for “the spirit of […]


China Change, September 1, 2016 Human rights cannot be treated as a stand-alone issue anymore.   President Obama is going to China again, this time to attend the G-20 summit on September 4 and 5 in Hangzhou. Every time the President, the National Security Adviser, or the Secretary of State visits China, or every time Chinese leaders visit the U.S., human rights organizations and activists, inside and outside China, take it as an opportunity for change, asking the President or the senior leaders to pressure the Chinese government for human rights improvements, and to raise a number of individual cases. To be sure, the administration makes an effort to hear from activists and NGOs. Just two days ago, for instance, National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Chinese […]


Tang Jingling, August 28, 2016 Chinese was published on May 20, 2016   “I can’t help but sigh over how much more civilized the South African apartheid regime of 50 years ago was compared to the Chinese Communist regime of today.”  – Tang Jingling “Other people don’t know better than the Chinese people about the human rights condition in China and it is the Chinese people who are in the best situation, in the best position to have a say about China’s human rights situation.” – Wang Yi, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, June 2, 2016.     Recalling his nearly 30 years in prison, Nelson Mandela wrote in his memoir Long Walk to Freedom: “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until […]


Yaxue Cao, July 26, 2016 Li Tingting (李婷婷), also known as Li Maizi (李麦子), is one of the “Feminist Five” in China who were detained on the eve of the International Women’s Day in 2015; they were planning a protest against sexual harassment on public transportation, which is insidiously prevalent in China. The women were released after 37 days in detention following an unprecedented international outcry. I met with Li Tingting recently over a Sunday brunch, and we spoke about her detention, women’s rights, LGBT advocacy, and civil society. — Yaxue Cao   YC: Let’s begin from your experiences during the arrest of the Feminist Five on March 6. Li Tingting: At that time my girlfriend and I were living in a rental. The police […]


André Gattonlin, Marie Holzman, and Noël Mamère, July 18, 2016 This is a translation of Donnons le prix Sakharov à un intellectuel ouïghour published in the French newspaper Libération on July 14, 2016. – The Editors   The Sakharov Prize is awarded every year in October, to honor individuals or organizations who have dedicated their lives to defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. The award, which was created in 1985 by the French MP Jean-François Deniau, may well be awarded this year to an Uighur intellectual who was sentenced in 2014 to life in prison. It turns out that this professor from Minzu University (University for Nationalities) in Beijing had been discovered in 2008 by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was invited to spend […]


By Chinese Urgent Action Working Group (中国维权紧急援助组)   CHINA – Detention of human rights professional Peter Dahlin   Sometime after nine pm on 3 January 2016 a human rights professional, Mr Peter Dahlin, a Swedish citizen, disappeared on his way to the Beijing Capital Airport. He was scheduled to fly to Thailand via Hong Kong shortly after midnight. Peter’s girlfriend, a Chinese national, has also disappeared. Peter Dahlin is a co-founder of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group (China Action), an organization based in China working to promote the development of the rule of law and human rights through training and the support of public interest litigation. According to Chinese authorities, Peter was detained on 4 January 2016 on suspicion of endangering state security. These […]


— New Year Greetings from the 300-member Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group     Times goes on, but the laws of nature are the same. As the first rays of the morning sun will surely burst through the darkness, we cast our gaze, brimming with hope, upon a new year. The China Human Rights Lawyers Group (中国人权律师团) hereby imparts to everyone our most sincere New Year’s greetings! 2015 was a year replete with manmade disasters: A capsized boat on the Yangtze River, the Tianjin explosion, and the Shenzhen landslide one after another. And in each case the truth of what happened was concealed by the miasma of official power, forming a deep and dark human rights black hole. 2015 was also a year when Chinese […]


By Yang Jianli and Han Lianchao, published: September 26, 2015   26 years ago, after the bloody massacre in Beijing in 1989, we came to Washington to urge the U.S. government to link China’s most-favored-nation (MFN) status to China’s respect for human rights. Without such a linkage, we argued, continuing normal trade with China would be like a blood transfusion to the Communist regime, making it more aggressive and harming the interests of both the American and Chinese people. But our warning fell on deaf ears. After a lengthy debate, the U.S. government decided to grant permanent MFN to China in 1992. We were assured by U.S. policymakers that democratic development would inevitably follow from economic development. 26 years on that warning has become a reality. […]


Liu Shihui, human rights lawyer, September 16, 2015   The Chinese stock market crashed again today (September 15), with multiple market indices reaching their yearly lows. As they plummeted, Xi Jinping’s dream of a heavy-handed market rescue was irreparably shattered. As the economy enters a quagmire, Li Ka-shing (李嘉诚), the richest man in Asia, and many other tycoons are pulling their capital from China. Xi Jinping now has no means of restoring prosperity, and in the midst of internal and external pressure, the Party is trying to drive exports to Europe and America. The hope is that exports will inject some energy into the stagnant Chinese economy, stirring up modest signs of life. At this point, the Chinese Communist Party isn’t feeling as confident as […]


By Deng Chuanbin (邓传彬), published: June 11, 2015   On May 30, 2015, I returned to my parents’ home at Peishi Township, Nanpei District, Yibing municipality in Sichuan province (四川省宜宾市南溪区裴石乡). My plan was to celebrate my mother’s 66th birthday on May 31, and attended my daughter’s singing competition in school and videotape it. Around 9 pm on May 30, someone downstairs called out my father’s name. My mother thought it was a customer – my parents run a shop selling supplies for traditional worshipping. She went downstairs and opened the door. Four or five men rushed in, led by Mr. Yao, the head of the Peishi Township police station. They walked upstairs and came to the door of my room where I was lying down […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: December 11, 2014   This time last year, volunteers and I were busy writing and translating articles to prepare for the New Citizens Movement trials. Many Chinese voices were speaking out forcefully against these trials: law professors, rights lawyers, liberal commentators, as well as a group which called itself the “New Beijingers.” They were Beijing residents and taxpayers without Beijing household registration and their children had difficulty enrolling in schools and could not take college entrance exams in the city where they lived.  Dr. Xu Zhiyong was not one of these parents but, because of the Education Fairness Campaign he had led, the legal scholar and initiator of the New Citizens Movement was charged with “disrupting order in a public place.” […]


By Lan Wuyou, published: October 29, 2014   Affirmation in words, negation in actions In today’s world, mankind has developed a common understanding of values like freedom and democracy, even dictatorships feel compelled to make claims of being free and democratic, except that they make up a different set of interpretations to suit themselves. This is also true in the way they treat international law. Such regimes treat both freedom and democracy as well as international law in this way. The world has witnessed the conduct of the Chinese Communist Party, which has neither fulfilled its commitments and responsibilities to the international community, nor has it utilized international rules to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the country, let alone safeguarding the world peace […]


By China Change, published: June 9, 2014   On Monday, June 9th, China’s state-run media outlet China News (中新网) reported that Beijing police had arrested a 22-year-old young female by the family name Zhao for posting an article on Twitter that teaches how to use a pseudo base station “to send illegal information.” According to the report, the Chinese internet security police formed a task force to solve the case as soon as they discovered this particular tweet, and a multi-agency investigation led to Zhao’s arrest and the confiscation of her “criminal tool” – a laptop computer. The news alarmed the Chinese Twitter community. Many of them recalled a tweet they had read before June 4th, the 25th anniversary of Tian’anmen democracy movement, by “赵你@RFITB” […]


You would think life has moved on, and the Chinese government has gotten over Chen Guangcheng, the blind barefoot lawyer they had imprisoned and then placed under house arrest. But no, they haven’t. Exactly a year after Chen Guangcheng fled his heavily-guarded house in Dongshigu village on April 20, 2012, they are bearing down on him again by harassing and assaulting his family members in the village. Over the last year, the remaining family, and the village itself, have been carefully monitored, outside visitors were occasionally harassed, but it seemed nothing more than meanness on the part of local officials. Some of the pictures of the village brought to social media showed sunlight, trees, plain-looking farm houses, stone walls, and a general…. bucolic feel if […]


A few hours ago this morning, China time, veteran activist Xiao Yong (肖勇) made calls to fellow activists and told them that he was on a vehicle to Shaoyang, Hunan (湖南邵阳), and that Shaoyang Public Security Bureau issued him a notification for two-year reform-through-labor, a form of jailing widely used on dissidents and activists, and a notification of rights which states that he may request for an administrative review within three days. He told Wen Yunchao (@wenyunchao), renowned media professional and activist based in Hong Kong, that the decision was based on his purchase of three motorcycles three years ago. At the time he reported the case of his own initiative and the local prosecutors had decided not to bring charges against him. However the […]


Last December as soon as I started tweeting and getting to know Twitter’s Chinese community, I was shaken by the news of two men—Chen Wei (陈卫) and Chen Xi (陈西) –being sentenced for nine and ten years in prison, respectively, for writing pro-democracy articles. Even though I was no fan of the Chinese communist party, it seemed to me utterly preposterous that in the 21st century China was still locking people up for thought crimes while it postured itself on world stage as a great power and tried to exert influence. All of a sudden, I was guilt-stricken by everything I enjoyed and took for granted, such as the sunlight slanting across my dining table and the morning peace enveloping me. Then again, shouldn’t there be a few […]


Last week Chen Guangcheng entered a US embassy for the protection that the Chinese gov’t had failed to provide the innocent man. According to Chen’s friends, it was a step that Chen did not want to take. Today we will be looking at three lessons Chen’s case teaches us about China’s legal system. Chen Guangcheng would never call himself a dissident; he might hesitate to even describe himself as an activist. The incredible thing that we should keep in mind as representatives from the US and China decide Chen’s fate, is that he is a man who simply thought that the laws on paper should be enforced. Chen’s initial fame came from his efforts to protect the rights of the disabled and he fell afoul […]


By Yaxue Cao The Chinese microblogs are in an uproar about amendments to the country’s Criminal Procedure Law, already passed Sunday afternoon by the 170-member presidium of the National People’s Congress with only one objection and one abstention. It will be voted on by the 3,000 NPC representatives on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. The wide contention focuses on two proposed revisions which allow secret detention and disappearance. They are article 73 and 83. Article 83 provides, in part, that “Upon detaining a suspect, relatives of the detainee shall be notified within 24 hours unless the suspect is allegedly involved in crimes of harming state security, crimes of terrorism, and notifying family may impede investigation. Or when there is no means to notify relatives.” Article 73 […]


Over the past few days I’ve received emails from long-time readers of the blog telling me to “stay safe” after publishing Ge Xun’s account of his detention. In the past I would have said that for the most part, China deports troublesome foreigners and is content with keeping them outside of its borders and labeling them as “hostile foreign forces” (this is not the case with drug charges, China routinely executes foreign “smugglers”). Now though, it seems that the Party is expanding its search for activists that it deems a threat to stability, even if they have been living outside of China for 25 years, and is willing to subject them to violence and intimidation. We published Yaxue’s translation of Ge Xun’s account, not only […]


By Ge Xun, translated by Yaxue Cao This is the continuation of Ge Xun’s account of his ordeal in Beijing that happened just one week ago. – Part One They asked what prompted me to “come back (to activism)” in 2009. I told them because the human rights situation in China was deteriorating badly, and I wanted to do something to be useful. They asked me what other organization(s) I had joined apart from IFCSS. Any organization having to do with Tibetans overseas? I realized they were asking about the Bay Area Chinese and Tibetan Friendship (BACTF). I joined in 2010. It’s a young organization for mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese and Tibetans in the bay area. I was elected Secretary. “Why did you […]


By Ge Xun, published: February 8, 2012 A Chinese-American activist’s kidnap.    I came to the United States to study physics in 1986 and stayed and became an American citizen. I believe in universal values such as freedom and basic human rights. I admire the best of humans wherever I see it, and I do what I do openly with nothing to hide. My mother died at 83 on January 24, 2012, in Beijing. I flew back on the 28th for her funeral. By the 31st my siblings and I had taken care of everything and made arrangements to put my parents’ remains together. For the rest of my stay I planned to meet a few people, among them, Ding Zilin (丁子霖), or the “Tian’anmen Mother” […]


continued from “The Misty Poets: an introduction“ Like many China-watchers, I cannot tell you when the better part of my day became dedicated to blog-reading. Background to my everyday routine is the murmur of botched lawsuits, human rights violations, incompetent local governments, nationalist rhetoric, internet memes, and ridiculous acts of indulgence committed by 富二代 (fu’erdai – second-generation rich). Sometime in the past year I’ve started to slouch a little, as if the weight of China’s unpublished atrocities is resting on me, the reader and the blogger. Somewhere in the malaise I found Bei Dao. The article – whichever one it was – had said that he was exiled after his poem “Proclamation” appeared on banners at Tiananmen. As an impulsive gesture of technological footnoting, I […]


As a China blogger, it’s a pretty big week, open rebellion in Wukan has attracted a flock of journalist, and then Hollywood star Christian Bale/Batman attempted to visit blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng. The big question floating around at the moment is does foreign pressure mean anything to China? Before I address that question I would first like to point out that Christian Bale has created one heck of a dilemma for China’s censors. The media gears have been spinning wildly to promote his new film, The Flowers of War, which opens today in China. I passed Mr. Bale’s image at least 4-5 times just on my way to work this morning. How are they going to block discussion of his trip to Linyi without limiting the […]


On December 6, 2011, two days before the 3rd anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s arrest in 2008, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing on “One Year after the Nobel Peace Prize Award to Liu Xiaobo: conditions for political prisoners and prospects for political reform.” Eight people spoke at the hearing. Mr. Perry Link, professor emeritus at University of California, Riverside, gave a quick but comprehensive introduction to Liu Xiaobo, his life, his education, his writings, and his imprisonment for “inciting subversion of state power.” About Liu Xiaobo’s current situation, he said we knew very little and, as of late 2010, a rights group reported that Liu Xiaobo shared a cell with five other inmates, was allowed monthly visits only while other cell mates were […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: November 12, 2011   To say life didn’t start promisingly for him is a vast understatement. He was born on November 12, 1971, in the impoverished village Dong Shi Gu (东师古) in Yinan County, Shandong province, the youngest of five boys. He lost his vision to high fever when he was around one year old. He didn’t go to school until 18 years old. In the Chinese countryside, where living is at its barest, expectations are a rare commodity to begin with, and for the disabled, there are none. For most of the part, they are seen and treated as a family scourge that must be borne. A Naughty Boy Despite blindness, he told friends he had a happy childhood. His […]


This week we continue to follow the Free Guangcheng movement (自由光诚), even though some of the more vocal Weibo accounts have been shut down, and nearly all CGC avatars wiped out.  We also offer items about increasing number of false cases against private entrepreneurs; sign of judiciary collapse; dire need for political reform; latest inflation number, and the latest on Ai Weiwei. Click on date below item for link to the original. Zheng Wei/郑维/(Editor of Zaobao Online in Singapore)【Zao Bao special report on Chen Guangcheng 】Chen Guangcheng’s case has been elevated by the local government as a “conflict between enemy and us,” the measures taken against him can be traced back to the revolutionary era, and he has been judged by ideology. It has been […]


Yesterday we looked briefly at the life of a typical migrant worker, today we will be exploring the limits of the hukou system. It is impossible to discuss the issue of migrant workers without understand what exactly a hukou (户口) is. At the most basic level, a hukou is a legal document that specifies which village/town/city you are a resident of. So when I use the term “migrant worker” I am meaning a person who works in a place outside of what their hukou specifies, and is coming from a less developed region to a more prosperous one to look for work. What is a Hukou? A hukou for one of China’s eastern cities can be an incredibly valuable thing, since your residency determines which schools you […]


It’s very tempting at this moment to celebrate the release of Ai Weiwei, but the current situation is a painful reminder of just how far China has left to go before it actually respects Human Rights. The lead story today is that Ai Weiwei was released from prison on bail after confessing to his economic crimes (tax evasion). He has agreed to pay his fines, and is out because of good behavior in confessing and because of a chronic illness. Other sources add that this is partially in response to international calls for his release. Today, we’ll be picking this apart. It is wrong to say that Ai Weiwei is free. In the next few months there is a good chance that he will be […]


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