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Xu Zhiyong, June 18, 2022 This autobiographical essay was written shortly before his arrest in 2013. It was translated into English and first published in Xu Zhiyong’s collection of essays “To Build a Free China – A Citizen’s Journey” in 2017. We make this important essay available to online readers before Xu Zhiyong’s trial on June 22, 2022. — The Editors ­­­— “What’s your hometown?” — “Minquan—as in the ‘People’s Rights’ of the Three People’s Principles.” Whenever I answer this question, I often have to add, “China really has a place by this name. It came into being during the idealistic republican era.” I. This is the first memory from my childhood: It is the 1970s, in a village located on the eastern Henan plains […]

Luo Shengchun, August 31, 2020 I I was in Hawaii with my daughters on Christmas break when I heard that Jiaxi (丁家喜) had been detained. I was climbing a hiking trail by the sea, my girls splashing in the water at the beach below. The sky and the sea were a brilliant blue; the white sand beach stretched endless in the afternoon sun. A friend, in whose Beijing apartment Jiaxi had been staying, called telling me that on the evening of the 26th, police with Shandong accents took Jiaxi away, searching the house inside-out in the process. They destroyed the combination lock and didn’t give any kind of legal documentation for the police action. Our family had been planning this trip to Hawaii for years. […]

Sui Muqing, Yaxue Cao, June 2, 2020 This is the second interview in our How I Become a Human Rights Lawyer series. Today we present our conversation with Guangzhou lawyer Sui Muqing (隋牧青), conducted on May 19, 2020.  — The Editors 1. Tiananmen, 1989 Yaxue Cao: Let’s start from Tiananmen. There are quite a few Chinese human rights lawyers, probably more that I don’t know of. At the very least, there are the ones we call the Generation of 1989 — Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Tang Jitian (唐吉田)… and you, of course. There’s a photo I remember very clearly, that was shared widely online, of you and several classmates singing together. Sui Muqing: I don’t know when this photo was taken. When did I […]

Liang Xiaojun, Yaxue Cao, May 15, 2020 The sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus has culminated in a pandemic spreading across China and the rest of the world. A semi-living organism, invisible to the naked eye, has halted the activities of billions of people, forced them to take shelter in their homes and avoid contact with others. And more, the trajectory for the future has been altered. Yet outside our windows, spring has come — its flurries of rain and breaks of sunshine announcing that the world still breathes as before. It’s a bit much to take in. Perhaps we should tell stories. China Change has decided to run a series, “How I became a human rights lawyer,” which we may hope will become something […]

March 19, 2020 Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) was reluctant when I asked for an interview. It was in the fall of 2017, a year after he was released from prison as a leader of the New Citizens Movement. He was visiting his wife and two daughters in Alfred, a village of 5,000 souls in Upstate New York, and would go back to China in a few days. He didn’t want to bring attention to himself; notoriety, he said, will only impede his work. I said, “Please leave your story behind. At some point, people will want to and need to know who you are.” Now is that point. On December 26, 2019, Ding Jiaxi was detained in Beijing, along with three others in other cities for […]

Xu Zhiyong, September 16, 2018 Xu Zhiyong was released from prison on July 16, 2017, after serving four years for his role in the New Citizens Movement. Xu is a seminal figure in China’s rights defense movement with the founding of “Gongmeng” (公盟) in 2003, a NGO providing legal assistance to victims of social injustice. It was a training ground for some of the earliest human rights lawyers and took on some of the most high-profile cases of the time. Gongmeng was shut down by the government in 2009. After that Xu Zhiyong and colleagues sought new ways to continue their work for change, resulting in the New Citizens Movement. Between 2013 and 2014, dozens of participants were thrown in jail, including Xu himself. China […]

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 […]

By Mo Zhixu, April 13, 2016 “When the Southern activists stood amidst heavy traffic and photographed themselves holding placards of protest, the feeling it gives is a little surreal….”   On April 8, 2016, after a year and half in detention, two activists arrested in 2014 for holding banners on the streets of Guangzhou in support of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement—Wang Mo (王默) and Xie Wenfei (謝文飛, real name Xie Fengxia 謝豐夏)—were sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court. In addition, they will be deprived of political rights for three years. On the same day Zhang Shengyu (張聖雨, real name Zhang Rongping 張榮平), who held a placard in support of the Hong Kong students, was sentenced to four […]

By Yaxue Cao and Yaqiu Wang, published: August 19, 2015   The Chinese government has lately carried out a massive campaign to arrest, summon, and threaten Chinese lawyers. The propaganda machine has followed in lock-step, operating at full strength to tarnish these lawyers’ reputations by describing them as a “criminal gang,” “hooligans,” and “scum of the lawyer community” (here, here, and here). Rights lawyers first emerged in the 2000s at the onset of a Chinese rights-defense movement. For more than a decade, they have fought courageously for legal justice and been on the front lines of promoting rule of law in China by taking part in innumerable cases of all sizes dealing with some of the most important problems in Chinese political and social life, such as […]

The Court Statement by Guo Feixiong Translated by Louisa Chiang and Perry Link, published: November 28, 2014 According to the defense lawyers, the trial of Guo Feixiong and Sun Desheng was forced by the court to conclude at Beijing time 2:50 am, November 29, in Tianhe Court, Guangzhou. Despite repeated interruptions by the head judge and denial of his right to make a closing statement, Guo Feixiong defended himself forcefully and eloquently. China Change is pleased to present his court statement in full in English. – The Editor    1984, Orwell’s masterpiece about totalitarianism that could have been a blow-by-blow script for the People’s Republic of China, also happens to be the year that launched my personal journey as part of China’s movement for freedom and democracy. […]

By Xiao Guozhen, published: July 28, 2014   Before Li Huaping (李化平) became known by his real name, he was known among Chinese netizens as “Norwegian Wood” (挪威森林) after the Beatles’ song. His blogs by the same name, before they were deleted by government censors, bore the tagline: “Uphold common sense and restore truth in the face of terror and lies. I reject totalitarianism; I do not accept tyranny; I am a child of freedom.” This child of freedom lost his freedom when he was arrested on August 10, 2013, in Changsha, Hunan province. At that time, Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Zhao Changqing (赵常青), Li Wei (李蔚), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) and several others were arrested for unfurling banners on Beijing streets calling for Chinese officials to […]

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 […]

Published: July 10, 2014 Li Huaping (李化平), 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 “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” Trial of Li Huaping is expected soon. — The editor Hefei Municipality Shushan District People’s Procuratorate Indictment Shu Procuratorate criminal indict. (2014) No. 152   Defendant Li Huaping, male, born September 6, 1966, ID number: 51010219660906****, ethnic Han, originally from Lianyuan municipality, Hunan Province, undergraduate university education level, freelancer, home address [redacted by translators] Wuchuan Road, Yangpu District, Shanghai, place of household registration: [redacted by translators], Hetang District, Zhuzhou Municipality, Hunan Province. Defendant Li Huaping was criminally detained on August […]

By Xiao Shu, published: July 7, 2014   Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄, pen name of Yang Maodong)  was arrested on August 8, 2013, and indicted on June 19, 2014, on charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place.” Specifically, he is accused of organizing a demonstration outside the Southern Weekly headquarters during the paper’s New Year Greetings incident in January 2013, and of planning to hold signs in eight cities in the spring of 2013 calling for officials to disclose assets and for China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. But cowardly, the indictment made no mention of his call for press freedom, asset disclosure and the ratification of ICCPR. His lawyer Sui Muqing stated that the case […]

By Teng Biao, published: June 22, 2014   June 4th has passed, but the arrests continue, and every day brings bad news from China. While scholar Xu Youyu, artist Chen Guang and others have been released “on probation,” many are still being held and others have been formally arrested, including Jia Lingmin (贾灵敏) and two others in Zhengzhou, Henan, and lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) in Beijing. On June 20 in Guangzhou, lawyer Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) and activists Wang Qingying (王清营) and Yuan Xinting (袁新亭) were formally arrested on subversion charges. Earlier this week, three New Citizens Movement participants Liu Ping (刘萍), Wei Zhongping (魏忠平) and Li Sihua (李思华) were harshly sentenced for fictitious “crimes.” Some people explain these arrests as an increase in stability maintenance […]

Published: June 19, 2014   [On June 19, 2014] three citizen activists were given harsh sentences in Xinyu: six and a half years for Liu Ping (刘萍) and Wei Zhongping (魏忠平), and three years for Li Sihua (李思华). This is a reckless, shameless reprisal, and it has nothing to do with the law and the rule of law. It is also a reprisal and humiliation against civil rights. The Xinyu authorities have totally disregarded protest and condemnation from  all directions. They have lost their minds and gone extremes. Their hubris and barbarism have no parallels. By harshly sentencing the three citizens in Xinyu, they have rejected any possibilities to dialogue with the civilized society, and they have shut down any way out for themselves. Barbarians who leave no exit for themselves will inevitably be held […]

By Teng Biao, published: May 7, 2014 “By the time the free world becomes aware of the need to protect freedom, I fear it may well be too late.”   I am a human rights lawyer from China. My name is Teng Biao. In March, just before First Lady Michelle Obama gave a talk at the prestigious Peking University during her visit to China, I tweeted to draw her attention to the plight of two remarkable Peking University alumni: Cao Shunli and Xu Zhiyong. On March 14, human rights activist Cao Shunli died in detention after being tortured and then denied medical treatment. The last time I saw Ms Cao was in Hong Kong at an international human rights workshop in early 2013. She had been […]

— An Interview with Dr. Teng Biao, part 2 of 2 Published: April 13, 2014   Continued from Part One: YC: I remember at the beginning of your essay The Confessions of a Reactionary, you mentioned that the three PhDs were given an award on CCTV. In other words, you were recognized as young and excellent members of society. When did you and Xu Zhiyong become troublemakers in the eyes of the government? TB: There wasn’t a clear-cut  moment or event, but rather, a buildup of a series of events. For example, the government was very displeased with our protest against the shutdown of the Yi-ta-hu-tu BBS. This was 2004. Between 2005-2006, as I told you earlier, we were involved in a long series of […]

—- An Interview with Dr. Teng Biao, Part 1 of 2 published: April 10, 2014 When Dr. Teng Biao visited Washington, DC in February, 2014, I sat down with him and we talked about his long-time friend Dr. Xu Zhiyong, and we discussed the evolution of Gongmeng over the last decade, to which the New Citizens Movement is the latest link. We publish this interview on the day (April 11, Beijing time) when Beijing Higher People’s Court upheld a guilty verdict against Xu Zhiyong.  – Yaxue Cao YC: Dr. Xu Zhiyong was arrested in July, 2013, and on January 22, 2014, he was sentenced to four years in prison in the trial of first instance for “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” […]

By Ding Jiaxi, published: April 6, 2014   As Ding Jiaxi’s wife, every time after the lawyers met with Jiaxi, I couldn’t wait to ask them for audio or video recordings of Jiaxi, and listen or watch eagerly when I got them. Jiaxi’s familiar voice and hearty laughter have always moved and inspired me. From these recordings, I learned more about Jiaxi, understood more about the things he did, and supported him more firmly. Sometimes I feel those people who detained and imprisoned him and will put him on trial are pretty stupid. They are scared of people who oppose them, but what they do is make more people, like me , oppose them. I have also decided to be a citizen who speaks out […]

By Xiao Shu, published: February 16, 2014 Despite an overwhelming international outcry, the Chinese authorities have been bearing down on the New Citizens Movement. The impending appeal of Xu Zhiyong’s trial gives us no grounds for optimism, and it is expected that the first instance sentence of four years in prison will be upheld. Other important advocates of and participants in the New Citizens Movement, such as Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) and Zhao Changqing (赵常青), will likely be convicted and given jail terms. None of this comes as a surprise. We must wean ourselves from the three-thousand-year-old jungle politics of China. Proudly claim and fight for citizens’ constitutional rights. While doing so, train ourselves to become true citizens. Citizens’ collective actions and collective […]

Five Legal Scholars Issue Opinion on the First Instance Verdict Convicting Xu Zhiyong of the Crime of “Gathering a Crowd to Disrupt Order in a Public Place” By Gan Peizhong (甘培忠, Peking University School of Law); Peng Bing (彭冰, Peking University School of Law); Yao Huanqing (姚欢庆,  China Renmin University School of Law); Wang Yong (王涌, China University of Political Science and Law), and He Haibo (何海波,  Tsinghua University School of Law) Published: February 13, 2014     China Change has learned from Dr. Xu Zhiyong’s defense lawyer Zhang Qingfang (张庆方) that, one month prior to Xu Zhiyong’s trial, five criminal law professors at Peking University wrote a letter to the Chinese authorities explaining how Xu Zhiyong’s activities did not legally constitute “gathering a crowd […]

Published: February 8, 2014   Xu Zhiyong submitted an appeal on February 3, 2014, in the Beijing Third Detention Center where he is currently detained.  His reasons for appeal are as follows: I.  The court of first instance decided that we had committed the offense of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order;” but we were simply exercising a citizen’s right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, and we were asking that a government organ redress its wrong policy. The site where we gathered is the entrance area of a government organ and its nearby sidewalks, and neither are public places defined by the Criminal Law. According to China’s Criminal Law, the impeding of a government organ’s normal work order can only […]

By Xu Zhiyong, January 22, 2014 This is Xu Zhiyong’s closing statement on January 22, 2014, at the end of his trial. According to his lawyer, he had only been able to read “about 10 minutes of it before the presiding judge stopped him, saying it was irrelevant to the case.”   You have accused me of disrupting public order for my efforts to push for rights to equal access to education, to allow children of migrant workers to sit for university entrance examinations where they reside, and for my calls that officials publicly declare their assets. While on the face of it, this appears to be an issue of the boundary between a citizen’s right to free speech and public order, what this is, […]

By 78 Chinese Scholars, Journalists and Lawyers, published: January 22, 2014   The National People’s Congress, Constitutional supremacy is the foundation of modern states. As the highest law of the land, it should not exist just as a text; it must be enforced in judicial practices. By the same token, for the Constitution to uphold its authority, it must not look away from laws, regulations and acts that violate the Constitution. When the Constitution promises basic human rights and freedoms for citizens, it shall not indulge the continuous existence of any law or regulation that transgresses these rights and freedoms.    Article 5 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates, “No laws or administrative or local rules and regulations may contravene the […]

By Yaxue Cao, published: January 20, 2014   Four days before Dr. Xu Zhiyong’s arrest on July 16, 2013, a Chinese businessman named Zeng Chengjie (曾成杰) was executed. He was a private entrepreneur in Hunan province who financed his business by raising money from ordinary citizens, and he was put to death for having “more debt than assets” and “cheating a lot of people,” according to the court. But the court did not mention that he had paid off half of his liabilities and his assets had been sold to state-owned companies significantly below market prices. Nor did it explain why the execution had to be carried out secretly without notifying his family and allowing him to meet them before his death, a breach of […], published: January 19, 2014 Between March and September, 2013, the Chinese government arrested 17 citizens for taking part in street demonstrations calling for officials to disclose assets. Since then, four have been released “on bail pending trial,” a term the Chinese judiciary likes to use inaccurately for people the court releases but still hopes to maintain on a leash, illegally, for some time (that’s what a Chinese court is: one of the many little hands the CCP manipulates). Eight will be tried this week in three separate cases. They are Xu Zhiyong on January 22, Zhao Changqing (赵常青), Ma Xinli (马新立), Hou Xin (侯欣), Yuan Dong (袁冬) and Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) on January 23; and Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) and Li Wei (李蔚) on January […]

By Gu Chuan, published: January 12, 2014   On April 17, 2013, my good friend Zhao Changqing was detained by the Beijing authorities for alleged “illegal assembly” as part of the crackdown on the New Citizens Movement. On May 24, he was officially arrested on charges of “illegal assembly.” Changqing has a baby son named “Little Elephant” (小象). The day after Changqing was arrested, 10-month-old Little Elephant mistook every man wearing glasses who came to visit their home for his dad, crying out for the attention of the visitors. I was saddened when I heard this. During the “Jasmine Revolution” in February of 2011, I was taken by the security police, and over the 63-day forced disappearance that followed, my heart was pierced every moment […]

January 7, 2013   Over the year of 2013, Liu Yuandong (刘远东) was arrested in March; Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Zhao Changqing (赵常青), Liu Ping (刘萍), Wei Zhongping (魏忠平), Li Sihua (李思华) and others were arrested in April; Song Ze (宋泽) and Xu Zhiyong (许志永) were arrested in July; Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), Li Huaping (李化平) and Liu Jiacai (刘家财) were arrested in August; Wang Gongquan (王功权) was arrested in September; and in October Dong Rubin (董如彬) was arrested…… In 2013, more than one hundred citizens were arrested for exercising their basic rights. Most of them have been indicted with trials pending. Their fate is now in your hands. So we feel compelled to appeal to all of you who will be presiding over their trials. We […]

By China Change, published: December 29, 2013   For China watchers, the year of 2013 began promptly with the Southern Weekend incident. As a New Year’s tradition, the liberal-leaning, Guangzhou-based paper issued its New Year’s greetings in an essay calling for a “dream of constitutionalism.” The essay drew the ire of the censors at the paper, was intercepted in the editing room, butchered, turned into something towing the Party’s line, all without the knowledge of the journalists working there. A few Weibo complaints morphed into national, then international, news in a matter of hours. In a few days, the paper was shushed and back to its normal operations with outsiders knowing very little about the internal repercussions and handling of the events. Now, at the […]

Guangdong Province Guangzhou Municipality Tianhe District People’s Procuratorate Indictment  Tianhe Procuratorate  public criminal indictment [2013] No. 2242   Defendant Liu Yuandong, male, born March 30, 1978, ID number 44142419780330****, Han ethnicity, undergraduate university education, place of household registration: Guangdong province, Wuhua county, Shuizhai township neighborhood committee township government dormitory. Criminally detained on March 11, 2013, by Guangzhou Municipality Public Security Bureau Tianhe District Branch on suspicion of capital withdrawal. On April 3, 2013, the Tianhe District People’s Procuratorate approved the the arrest of the defendant, who was arrested on April 4 of the same year by Guangzhou Municipality Public Security Bureau Tianhe District Branch. Defendant Yang Jinghu, male, born July 14, 1973, ID number  44082419730714****, Han ethnicity, undergraduate university education, place of household registration: Apt. […]

Translation of a report by the Chinese service of Radio France Internationale, originally published on December 20, 2013.     On December 20, Yang Jinzhu, Wang Xing, Ling Qilei and Zhou Ze, defense participants in the “New Citizens Movement” in Beijing, made a joint call for trying their cases together as one trial. In this series of cases, Xu Zhiyong (许志永), Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), Zhao Changqing (赵常青), Yuan Dong (袁冬), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成), Ma Xinli (马新立), Wang Yonghong (王永红), Li Wei (李蔚), Song Ze (宋泽, or 宋光强Song Guangqiang), Hou Xin (侯欣) and others were arrested and subsequently charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” for displaying banners in several public venues in Beijing and to call for asset disclosure by […]

Published: December 25, 2013     Recently, a number of parents who do not have Beijing household registrations, or hukou, have been  frequently questioned by the police for their involvment in the education fairness campaign. The police even asked them to testify against Xu Zhiyong who is charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order.” The volunteers who have promoted fair education for children living with parents in Beijing [without Beijing hukou] hereby issue the following joint statement: 1. Over nearly the last four years, policies allowing children, who live with their migrant parents, to take college entrance exams locally have been promulgated across China except in Beijing and only a few provinces. And it is a result of the education fairness campaign volunteers, […]

By Xiao Shu, published: December 22, 2013 The first trial of the New Citizens Movement — or so it is called, that of the Xinyu Three (Liu Ping, Wei Zhongping, and Li Sihua), made headlines here and around the world as it got underway December 3. The following day saw the cases of fellow New Citizens Movement members Xu Zhiyong, Zhao Changqing and Ding Jiaxi sent up to state prosecutors, indication their trial will begin soon. On December 5, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper reported that high-profile entrepreneur Wang Gongquan, a New Citizens Movement supporter who had already been held for over two months, has pled guilty and video of his confession might be broadcast on CCTV. In order to make way for […]

Beijing Municipal Haidian District People’s Procuratorate Indictment Beijing Haidian [District People’s] Procuratorate Criminal Indictment [2013] no. 2933  Defendant Ding Jiaxi, male, born August 17, 1967, in Yidu County, Hubei Province, ID number: 110108196708179712, Han ethnicity, post-graduate education, is a lawyer at Beijing Dehong Law Firm and has a registered residence at [REDACTED]. On April 18, 2013, he was placed under criminal detention by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Public Transportation Safety Protection Branch on suspicion of illegal assembly. Following the approval of the Beijing Municipal People’s Procuratorate, No. 1 Branch, he was arrested by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on May 24, 2013. Defendant Li Wei, male, born August 1, 1971, in Wuhan, Hubei Province, ID number: 110224197108010016, Han ethnicity, post-graduate education, unemployed, […]

Beijing Municipal People’s Procuratorate, No. 1 Branch Indictment   Beijing No. 1 Branch [People’s] Procuratorate Criminal Indictment [2013] no. 306 Defendant Xu Zhiyong, male, born in Minquan County, Henan Province, on March 2, 1973, ethnic Han, ID card number: 620102197303025316, post-graduate education, is a lecturer at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications and [resides at REDACTED]. Xu was placed under criminal detention by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Public Transportation Safety Protection Branch on July 16, 2013, on suspicion of the crime of gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place. Following the approval of this procuratorate, he was arrested by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on August 22, 2013. The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau has concluded its investigation of […]

Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Opinion Recommending Indictment  Beijing Public [Security Bureau] Indictment [Opinion] (2013) no. 99 The criminal suspect Xu Zhiyong is a male, ethnic Han, born March 2, 1973, a Beijing resident, Ph.D in law, citizen with no Party affiliation, and lecturer in humanities at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications; ID card number: 620102197303025316, place of household registration: Apt 1104, No. 4 Qinghe Qingyuan Dong Li, Haidian District, Beijing, current residential address: Apt 1104, No. 4 Qinghe Qingyuan Dong Li, Haidian District, Beijing. Xu was criminally detained on July 16, 2013, on suspicion of the crime of gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place. He was lawfully arrested on charges of gathering a crowd to disrupt order in […]

By Xiao Guozhen, published: September 22, 2013   In the citizens’ movement that is flourishing across China, there are activities called “same-city dinner gatherings” (“同城饭醉“). Well-known Beijing Rights lawyer Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍) was a participant in such gatherings. Xiao Guozhen is currently visiting America and recently made a presentation at a gathering of overseas Chinese in San Francisco introducing the development of China’s “same-city dinner gatherings” and the citizens’ movement. “Same-city dinner gatherings” are also called “citizen banquets.” In Chinese, “dinner gathering”(fan – food, zui – drunk) is homonymous with “committing a crime” (fanzui). China’s police see gatherings of people as “illegal,” as a “crime,” but the police have no legitimate reason to prohibit citizens living in the same city from going to a restaurant […]

By Fan Chenggang, published September 17, 2013   On August 30, I interviewed Wang Gongquan (王功权) in a café. He told me that two days ago a policeman had warned him not to be too direct and too radical. The policeman talked to him for about an hour at a small table in a park. His friends worried about him and warned him. Wang Gongquan said he didn’t feel frightened. He said that our society has come a long way to open up, and if he gets arrested under the current circumstances, then it is the price one pays.   Because I am an investor and my investment career has coincided with the development of the Internet, I have always tried new online applications as […]

By Liu Suli, Guo Yushan and Xiao Shu, published: September 13, 2013 Around 11:30 am on September 13, 2013, Beijing time, two dozen or so police officers arrived at the home of Mr. Wang Gongquan (王功权), and took him away with them after searching for two hours. At 8:17 pm, the police announced that Mr. Wang was criminally detained, and a notice of such was served to his family. He was suspected of “disrupting order in a public place.” This is an absurd accusation and Mr. Wang Gongquan could not possibly have disrupted order in any public places. Mr. Wang Gongquan is a staunch supporter of the New Citizens’ Movement. His hope is that the Movement will help citizens to press for their civil rights […]

By 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 […]

Guo Yushan, August 10, 2013 That government, powerful as it was, didn’t scare me into doing anything unjust.                                                                — Ascribed to Socrates by Plato in The Apology Zhiyong, Congratulations for having been put in jail. I have been worrying that, if they leave you free after arresting so many of your friends in the New Citizens’ Movement, how viciously they would have put you in an unjust position. Now it looks like the government is helping you out. Along with dozens of other participants in the Movement, you are also wearing the prison vest and paying the price that’s […]

By China Change, published: July 31, 2013 Liu Ping (刘萍) is a laid-off worker and rights activist from Xinyu, Jiangxi Province (江西新余). On April 21, 2013, Li Ping, her local friends and several visitors — about a dozen or so in all — went on the street outside her apartment building and held up posters in support of activists who had been detained for demanding asset declaration by officials and for other actions. They took photos of themselves and then went to dine at a nearby restaurant. Later, they posted the photos on the Internet. On the night of April 27, local police detained Liu Ping and her friends in Xinyu, searched their homes and confiscated their possessions. On April 28, the Xinyu authorities announced […]

On Friday, July 19, a text circulated on QQ that is a record of Xu Zhiyong’s “talks” with a top official of the Beijing Public Security Bureau that occurred on June 25, 26 and 28. Its authenticity has since been confirmed by Xu’s close associates. is providing a complete translation of the text in three installments. This is part 3; read part 1 here, part 2 here. (Omissions are the author’s.)   By Xu Zhiyong Published: July 28, 2013   June 28 I wrote down my thoughts about the ideas and actions of being a citizen. After sharing the result with a few friends, I revised it as My Civic Ideals (see below). I was saddened thinking that I might not be returning home for years. In […]

On Friday, July 19, a text circulated on QQ that is a record of Xu Zhiyong’s “talks” with a top official of the Beijing Public Security Bureau that occurred on June 25, 26 and 28. Its authenticity has since been confirmed by Xu’s close associates. is providing a complete translation of the text in three installments. This is part 2; read part 1 here and part 3 here. (Omissions are the author’s.)   By Xu Zhiyong Published: July 24, 2013   June 26 I had to take seriously the other party’s warning about pending coercive measures. I wrote a letter to friends before I left home: I am still harboring optimistic expectations. I have been trying to tell them that this group of people who call themselves […]

On Friday, July 19, a text circulated on QQ that is a record of Xu Zhiyong’s “talks” with a top official of the Beijing Public Security Bureau that occurred on June 25, 26 and 28. Its authenticity has since been confirmed by Xu’s close associates. is providing a complete translation of the text in three installments.   By Xu Zhiyong Published: July 22, 2013 On the three afternoons of June 25th, 26th, and 28th, I had “talks,” per appointment made by the police, with one of the heads of the Beijing Public Security Bureau in a conference room of a vacation hotel in Changping, Beijing. We argued about many issues, including democracy, rule of law, constitutionalism, CCP’s leadership, socialism, the concept of citizenship, public […]

  Huang Yonghua (黄勇华) is a young man living in Hengyang, Hunan (湖南衡阳). His Twitter (@huangyonghua) bio starts with a crisp declaration “Save China through democracy and constitutionalism!” He describes himself as a signee of Charter 08, and a lover of tea ceremony, though I cannot ascertain whether it alludes to police summons known as “he cha,” or “to have tea,” a common practice used by Chinese security police to warn and threat activists or anyone who expresses dissent online. He is one of the 30,000 Chinese netizens who lent money to Ai Weiwei in 2011 to express solidarity with Ai against persecution by the Chinese government, and in one photo I saw, he wore the Citizen T-shirt with “Freedom, Justice, and Love” printed on […]

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