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Liu Shuqing, May 16, 2018   Beginning last year as the 709 crackdown gradually petered out, the government’s hands were freed up, and they decided to do something about the ‘unconventional lawyers’ (非常规律师) they kept seeing. They have since been targeting these lawyers using a combination of methods that aim at terminating their professional lives. These include straightforward revocation or annulment of legal licences; forcing lawyers to transfer law offices but then gumming up the process so they end up with no place of employment; delaying lawyer annual assessments and more. The community has felt the blow and the sting. The reason I place these targeted lawyers under the term ‘unconventional’ is because the scope of targets in this round of assault is fairly broad: […]


China Change, November 6, 2017     Wen Donghai (文东海) is a 43-year-old lawyer in Changsha, Hunan Province. He grew up in a mountainous village and became a policeman in the Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau. Bored and unfulfilled, he quit his job, went to graduate school and became a lawyer in 2009. He came into contact with human rights lawyers in 2014, and in 2015 was a defense lawyer in the case of three Guangzhou activists promoting non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. That was the first human rights case he took on. When the July 9, 2015 (709) crackdown on human rights lawyers began, he became the defense lawyer for Wang Yu, the first of scores of lawyers arrested that day and afterward.  But […]


Wu Gan, March 24, 2017 Well-known human rights activist Wu Gan (吴淦) was arrested in May 2015. After a brief period of custody in his home province Fujian, he was taken to Tianjin as part of the 709 arrests. According to a complaint filed by his lawyer, on August 1, 2015, Wu Gan was forced to participate in a video interview with CCTV host Dong Qian (董倩) in which he was supposed to confess his guilt. He refused to follow the script. Yesterday his lawyer posted online Wu Gan’s letter to Ms. Dong Qian, dated March 8. — The Editors     Dear Ms. Dong Qian, I write this letter to you because I still have a thin thread of hope in your basic humanity. […]


Wang Qiaoling, January 17, 2017 Since Li Chunfu was released from the custody of China’s security forces on January 12, his family has been providing updates on his condition to the outside world. Their notes make clear that Li was left a broken man, suffering both physically and mentally. China Change calls on the United Nations to investigate the treatment of Li Chunfu in custody, and we call for immediate access on the part of legal counsel to Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang, as well as Jiang Tianyong who has been held in secret detention since November 21, 2016. The circumstances of all these individuals are now of grave concern given Li Chunfu’s condition. — The Editors   These last few days I’ve been staying […]


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 3, 2017 This Q & A can be read as a companion piece to the Guardian report. It focuses more on Dahlin’s work, the interrogations, and the legal features of his case. Given that China’s “Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations” took effect on January 1, 2017, we hope the conversation offers insight and perspective. – The Editors     CHINA CHANGE: Peter, you are a Swedish national; on January 3, 2016, you were taken into custody by Chinese national security agents for allegedly “endangering national security.” It was not until nine days later that the international press reported that you had been disappeared on your way to the Beijing airport. Then, on January 15 and 19, the Global Times and the […]


By Yaqiu Wang, May 23, 2016   On April 26 when Yang Maoping (杨茂平), the sister of renowned Chinese rights activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), visited her brother in Yangchun Prison (阳春监狱), Guangdong Province, she found that his health had seriously deteriorated: he had blood in the stool, he mouth and throat were bleeding, and he couldn’t walk properly. She demanded that the prison authorities give him a medical examination, but was rejected. Guo’s compromised health condition is the result of the immense abuses and inhumane treatment he has suffered since his arrest in August 2013, including being denied yard time for consecutive 800+ days in a fetid detention center. Guo Feixiong is a pioneer of the rights defense movement in China. He was sentenced to […]


By Qin Chenshou, published: March 1, 2016 On social media, lawyer Qin Chenshou (覃臣寿), who now represents Zhang Kai, has provided us with an introduction to Zhang Kai’s biography and work. China Change is pleased to provide a translation. — The Editors   Zhang Kai is a practicing lawyer in Beijing and a Christian member of a house church in Beijing. His main areas of practice are criminal defense and administrative litigation. Biographical Details Zhang Kai is a practicing lawyer and Christian who was baptized in 2003 In 2003, Zhang successfully passed the examination to obtain his legal credentials and began work as an assistant lawyer. In 2004, he began to practice as an attorney. From 2004 to 2006, he dealt with corporate and commercial […]


By Eva Pils, published: January 10, 2016   Meeting people who could be disappeared anytime is a bit unnerving. You keep wondering if this is the last time you’ll see them. You want to ask what you should do in case something bad happens, but you don’t want to distress them by asking too directly. As part of my research on human rights in China, I’ve spent the past several years interviewing Chinese lawyers. I meet with them in coffee-shops, parks, or in their homes, to discuss their work and their experience of repression. I’ve seen them disbarred, watched them being followed and harassed by the police, spoken to them when they were under house-arrest, and met some of them after spells of imprisonment or […]


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


by overseas Chinese organizations in the greater Washington, D.C. region 5 pm, Thursday, August 13, 2015 3505 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008   Since it began in July, the Chinese Communist Party’s large-scale suppression of human rights lawyers has already gone on for more than a month. With the information we have at hand, we know that over 300 lawyers, law firm staff, and rights defenders have been summoned by police, criminally detained, secretly imprisoned, disappeared, or put under house arrest. And in many cases, their family members, coworkers, or even their own legal counsel were subject to all manner of threats by the police. Meanwhile, the authorities have used the media they control to judge the victims before trial, misleading the public with […]


By Chang Ping, published: August 10, 2014   He was not so much sentenced as kidnapped. Gao Zhisheng’s years of disappearance and other experiences revealed the “heart of darkness” of the Chinese Communist regime that tries to cloak itself in law. Because of the absence of rule of law in China, people initially refused to believe Gao Zhisheng was “released,” although he completed his prison term, until it was confirmed that he was in the company of his relatives. Political prisoners may hold a press conference upon their release in some countries, but in China, a “released” political prisoner will still be invisible. The same fate awaits Gao Zhisheng, who was an action-taker and regarded by many as a radical. Having read a lot of […]


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


By China Change, published: May 18, 2014   In Guangzhou, renowned rights lawyer Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) was criminally detained on May 16, for “provoking disturbance,” according to weiquanwang, a primary website reporting on China’s rights defense events. His wife told weiquanwang that, around 10 o’clock Friday evening, seven or eight police officers entered her home, displaying a search warrant and notice of criminal detention. The police searched the home for about two hours during which, lawyer Tang Jingling and his wife were told not to move and not to make or answer phone calls. The police took away Tang Jingling, his desktop computer, laptop, three cell  phones, some books, and holiday cards from friends. During the days leading up to Friday’s detention, Tang Jingling had […]


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 […]


By China Change, published: October 18, 2013   Since his criminal detention on August 8, Chinese dissident and activist Yang Maodong (杨茂东), better known by his pen name Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), has been in custody for over 70 days without being granted meetings with his lawyers and without being formally indicted, raising fears of torture or something worse. His lawyer Sui Muqing (隋牧青, @suimuqing88), who recently started using Twitter to post information about Guo Feixiong to avoid being censored on Weibo, tweeted his concerns last week. “Based on information I gathered from various sources, I am concerned that the authorities might alter charges against Guo Feixiong, such as inciting subversion, in order to hand him a heavy sentence.” Mr. Sui worried that, because Guo Feixiong’s […]


By Teng Biao, published: August 27, 2013 (The article first appeared in Life and Death in China (a multi-volume anthology of 50+ witness accounts of Chinese government persecution and 30+ essays by experts in human rights in China). When I wrote it, Xu Zhiyong was under house arrest; when it was published, he had already moved to the Beijing Third Detention Center. I dedicate this little essay to Xu Zhiyong and all those reactionaries whose homes have become prisons or who have made prisons their homes. – Teng Biao)   When Xu Zhiyong and I received the “Ten People in Rule of Law in 2003” award at CCTV, the host Sa Beining (撒贝宁) asked us, “What is the power of the rule of law?” I […]


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