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Li Wenzu, September 6, 2019 In 2016, the police issued an order to all the kindergartens, including all the early education centers in Beijing’s Shijingshan District (石景山区) to not accept my son at their schools. My son, Quanquan (泉泉), had stayed home, unable to attend school since May 2018. Then, by luck and coincidence, I found a private school that accepted him. Quanquan finally was able to go to school, joining the top kindergarten class there. It was a hard-won opportunity for Quanquan, and he was very excited. On the first day of school [in 2018], he woke up at 6 am. He tugged at me, acting cute one moment and threatening me the next. I had to get out of bed. We washed together, […]


July 9, 2019 The world was shocked by the mass detention of Chinese human right lawyers on July 9, 2015 –– in what became known as the “709 Incident.” Following the secret sentencing of “709” lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), who was tried for the crime of “subversion of state power,” people thought that the “709 Incident,” at least for the time being, should have come to an end. But in fact, the opposite is true. The relevant authorities not only have not ended their persecution of human rights lawyers; on the contrary, they have intensified their efforts. After the roundup of human rights lawyers in the “709 Incident” in July 2015, four additional human rights lawyers, Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) Li Yuhan (李昱函), Yu Wensheng (余文生), […]


In 2008, encouraged by a sense that China was opening up to more democratic norms, a group of lawyers in Beijing sought to directly elect the Beijing Lawyers Association. In this film, nine participating lawyers tell this story of struggle and persecution.


China Change, July 4, 2019 Given the serial nature of Ms. Huang Wang’s Twitter revelations, which began on June 25, we will start our report on her latest revelations with a recap of what she has posted earlier. Huang Wan (黄婉) is the daughter-in-law of Zhou Yongkang (周永康), one of the nine CCP Standing Committee members during Hu Jintao’s tenure as the General Secretary of the Communist Party from 2002 to 2012. He was investigated sometime in 2013 after Xi Jinping took the helm, and was subsequently tried and sentenced to life in prison. On December 1, 2013, security forces (either police or armed police or a combination of both) stormed Ms. Huang’s home, taking away her husband Zhou Bin (周滨), Zhou Yongkang’s elder son, […]


China Change, July 2, 2019 Since we posted our last piece, Billionaires and Zhongnanhai Families — China’s Newest Breed of ‘Rights Defenders’, Ms. Huang Wan (黄婉), daughter-in-law of Chinese Communist Party’s former standing committee member and chairman of the powerful and much feared Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Zhou Yongkang (周永康), has made more revelations. In her latest statement, she began to describe torture during her secret detention in 2014 and provided a glimpse of her trial in 2016. Zhou Yongkang is by far the highest ranking CCP official and the only Standing Committee member to have been sentenced to life in prison for corruption. Like virtually every family that has been bulldozed by Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, Ms. Huang has kept mum about […]


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 […]


Liu Xiaoyuan, June 26, 2019 After months of appealing, complaining, and calling to resume practice, on June 23, lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan received “Beijing Bureau of Justice’s Decision to Cancel Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan’s License.” For the past four years he had not been able to practice because Fengrui Law Firm (锋锐律师事务所), of which he was a partner, was at the center of the 709 crackdown on human rights lawyers, even though he himself wasn’t implicated. The “Decision” was dated June 14. “This year marks the 40th anniversary of China restoring lawyers in its judicial system,” Liu Xiaoyuan tweeted.  “The Beijing Justice Bureau finally kicked me out of the ranks of lawyers. Eight years ago in 2011, the Beijing Justice Bureau had wanted to eradicate me. I […]


China Change, June 24, 2019 When Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) was released from prison on February 28 from Henan Province Second Prison in the city Xinxiang (新乡), many people breathed a sigh of relief. China first put him in secret detention, known as Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location, then in prison, since Nov 2016, for rallying domestic and international support for his lawyer colleagues swept up in the 709 Crackdown in 2015. He was tortured during secret detention, made to confess on TV that he had fabricated the torture details of lawyer Xie Yang, one of the 709 detainees. Through a proxy media outlet, the government also issued videos smearing Jiang Tianyong’s work as well as his character. But he was not set free. Through […]


China Change, March 31, 2019 Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) stands prominent among China’s human rights lawyers. In 2004, he came to Beijing to practice at the age of 40. In the roughly one decade up to mid-2015, he represented countless rights cases. Some of the more notable of these include the appeal of a death sentence by farmer Li Zhiping (李志平) in Dingzhou, Hebei Province; the Yang Jia (杨佳) police murder case in Shanghai; the case of the three netizens in Fujian (福建三网民); the case of journalist Qi Chonghuai (齐崇淮) in Shandong; and the case of Ji Zhongxing (冀中星), the migrant worker who threw a homemade bomb at the Beijing Capital Airport in 2013. Cases Liu Xiaoyuan has taken on in recent years include the “separatist” […]


China Change, January 16, 2019 On January 14, a court in Dalian, northeastern China, sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death for drug smuggling at a one-day retrial. It appears that China, after detaining two Canadians recently, is escalating the diplomatic clash with Canada over the arrest  of Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), Huawei CFO, which the US requested pursuant to its extradition treaty with Canada, to the United States for suspected violation of Iran sanctions. The bizarre re-sentencing of Schellenberg seems to indicate how far China is willing to go to pressure Canada for the release of Meng, and how it is betting on Canada to give in by using the Schellenberg case as further leverage. To help clarify the legal controversy surrounding the retrial of […]


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 […]


The China Human Rights Lawyers Group, January 1, 2019             2018, the year of Wuxu (戊戌), is slipping into history. Over the past 120 years, Wuxu has always been an eventful year. In 1898, four years after China had lost the First Sino-Japanese War, the Hundred Days’ Reform failed, and six of its chief advocates, among them Tan Sitong (谭嗣同), paid the price in blood at their public beheading. In 1958, another year of Wuxu, the Great Leap Forward and the people’s communes was to bring on the world’s greatest famine that would result in tens of millions of deaths.  Indeed, China in the year 2018 bears little resemblance to the China of 1958 and 1898. Four decades of economic reform have seen China’s GDP […]


September 13, 2018     On September 13, 2013, lawyers Wang Cheng (王成), Tang Jitian (唐吉田), and Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) announced the establishment of the China Human Rights Lawyers Group (中国人权律师团). All three had been disbarred by the Chinese authorities because of their commitment to defending the rights of the Chinese people. In just one year, more than 300 Chinese lawyers joined the Group. Many seasons later, the Human Rights Lawyers Group now marks the fifth anniversary of its founding. On this otherwise ordinary day, we will take inventory of what we have done over the last five years, reiterate the basic principles of the group, and plan our steps for the future. In the past five years, we have gone through hardships and sadness; […]


China Change, September 6, 2018     On August 17, 2018 at about 3:30 p.m., He Guangwei (何光伟) strode out of the A Exit at the Zhujiang Xincheng subway stop in Guangzhou, carrying a bag of drumstick leaves, a rare vegetable, on his way to meet a friend. In the years prior, when he worked as a journalist at the prominent newspaper Southern Weekend (《南方周末》), he got on and off everyday at the very same stop. A short walk from the subway, a member of China’s auxiliary police (that is, a non-official police officer) intercepted him and demanded in a voluble tone that he produce his identification card for inspection. He glanced around and noticed that not far off another police officer was rebuking a […]


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. […]


China Change, August 8, 2018     Until recently, David Missal (@DavidJRMissal) was a graduate student at the School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University, on a two-year DAAD scholarship (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst; or German Academic Exchange Service). Two months ago, Missal told RFA, he applied to the Exit and Entry Administration of the Beijing Public Security Bureau for the renewal of his student visa. Under normal circumstances, it takes about 10 days to complete the process. But last Friday, the bureau notified him that his renewal was denied, and he was ordered to leave China within 10 days. The reason they gave is that Missal has engaged in activities not in accordance with his student visa. Missal believes that the denial of visa and […]


China Change, July 27, 2018   Xu Lin (徐琳), who described himself as “a dissident, poet, singer-songwriter and senior construction engineer in mainland China,” was put on trial in the Nansha District Court in Guangzhou on July 27, where he faced charges of ‘picking quarrels and stirring up trouble’ (寻衅滋事) for a series of songs about sensitive political topics that he composed, sung, and posted online. Xu pleaded not guilty to the charges. The court did not deliver a sentence at the end of the trial. Xu Lin was arrested and criminally detained in September 2017 while visiting his sick father in Hunan. Among the list of his supposed crimes were the songs he composed supporting human rights lawyers targeted in the July 9, 2015 […]


Terence Halliday, July 9, 2018     Again and again, across history and across regions, lawyers stand in the vanguard of change. In Britain in the 1600s, in France in the 1700s, in Germany in the 1800s, in India and Brazil in the 1970s, in Egypt and Pakistan in the 1990s, in Zambia and Kenya, and, not least in South Korea and Taiwan over the last generation, and in many other places.     In the last days of June 2015 I spent many hours in coffee shops and hotels and restaurants and offices with many of China’s notable rights lawyers. Wang Yu (王宇) and I discussed the extraordinary nationwide attack on her reputation. Yu Wensheng (余文生) described his unbearable torture in the hands of […]


Yaxue Cao, on the second China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day, July 8, 2018, New York   As of today, lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been held incommunicado for 1,095 days. Over the 1,095 days, his toddler has grown into a boy who vows to fight the “Monster” that took his father; his wife has metamorphosed from a timid housewife to one of the most recognizable faces of the 709 resistance. With each day, we worry about Wang Quanzhang’s fate: Is he still alive? Has he been so severely debilitated by torture that they can’t even show him? These dreadful thoughts eat at our hearts when we think about Wang Quanzhang, and we don’t know how not to think about him. Wang Quanzhang is 42 years old. […]


Xie Yanyi, July 8, 2018 My name is Xie Yanyi. I’ve been a lawyer for 17 years. In 2003 I was the first person to bring a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin for violating the constitution by continuing as the chairman of the state Central Military Commission. From that point forward, I attracted the attention of the authorities. In June and July 2015 — around then — due to the Qing’an case and a number of other rights defense cases, numerous rights lawyers and citizens were called in and interrogated by the authorities, some were arrested and paraded on state media. The Qing’an incident was the fuse that lit the 709 crackdown. In the early morning of July 12, 2015, I heard a knock at the […]


Xie Yang, July 6, 2018       My name is Xie Yang. I’m a lawyer at the Gangwei Law Firm, in Changsha, Hunan. On July 9, 2015, I immediately got word of the arrest of Wang Yu, Bao Longjun, and their son. On the morning of July 10, when I was interviewed by an overseas media outlet. They asked me: What do you think of Wang Yu’s whole family getting taken away? I frankly told them my opinion: I said that this is the beginning of the Chinese authorities’ purge of human rights lawyers. I said that a tempest would soon be upon us. The following afternoon, on July 10 — it was a Friday — I went to Huaihua City in Hunan to […]


Sui Muqing, July 5, 2018       Hello everyone. I’m lawyer Sui Muqing from Guangzhou. I practiced law in Guangzhou from 1998 to 2017. On July 9, 2015, in the early hours of the morning — I happened to still be online — Wang Yu live-broadcasted her arrest. I was arrested the following night, on July 10. At 11:00 p.m. the property management people rang my doorbell and said that my car had been hit. I suspected a ruse, so I ignored them. A little while later they came back, and again said that someone had hit my car. The problem now was that the sound of the doorbell was extremely loud. My wife and kid were already asleep. It was really loud, you […]


Lü Shijie, July 4, 2018     In China, lawyers who handle cases according to the law and uncover the illegal activities of the authorities have increasingly filled the Chinese Communist Party with dread. Their courage has invited strict surveillance and repression. The methods of repression incorporate not only the past experiences of ‘class struggle,’ but have been further refined through continuous innovation to form a comprehensive and more deceptive mechanism of control. 1. Unlawful ‘Annual Review’ of Lawyers Each year, Chinese lawyers must complete a so-called ‘inspection’ with their local judicial bureau. Those who pass receive a blue seal on their practice license to confirm that they are ‘qualified’ (称职). Over the years, the authorities have used this as a means of muzzling lawyers. […]


Wen Donghai, July 4, 2018       Hello everyone. I’m lawyer Wen Donghai (文东海) from Changsha. In the early hours of July 9, 2015, we first heard Wang Yu’s call for help. She said that unidentified men had charged into their home and were going to take her away. For a long time following that, we didn’t hear any news. In the evening of July 10, the next night, I received a phone call. The caller identified themselves as coming from the police station, and said they wanted to speak to me. After I got there they began questioning me. Their main line of enquiry was about the arrest of Wang Yu and Zhou Shifeng. They said that we shouldn’t pay any attention to […]


Jiang Tianyong, July 3, 2018   Following is an excerpt from Jiang Tianyong’s interview with the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times, published on July 12, 2016, a year into the 709 Crackdown and four months before his own arrest. Also following is a short video his wife, Jin Bianling, who shares the latest news about Jiang, who is now serving a two-year sentence in Xinxiang Prison, Henan (Henan No. 2 Prison). It is believed that Jiang was severely tortured during custody. The excerpt has been edited for brevity. — The Editors         A Patriot By Himself, a Subverter by the Chinese Government The education we receive from childhood to adulthood is that people must be patriotic, must be involved in politics, […]


Wang Yu, July 1, 2018   Wang Yu (王宇), born 1971 in Inner Mongolia, was a lawyer with the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when she was abducted in the early morning of July 9, 2015. The date of her detention marks the beginning of, and gives name to, the most notorious human rights event over the last two years – the 709 Crackdown. That same evening, her husband and son, en route to Australia for the son to attend school, were also detained. Wang Yu and her husband Bao Longjun, also a lawyer, were released on bail in August 2016 and the family of three was sequestered in an apartment in Ulan Hot, Inner Mongolia, under severe surveillance. This continued until late 2017, when they […]


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


Xie Yanyi, May 21, 2018   Xie Yanyi, who turned 43 this year, is a lawyer in Beijing who has taken on numerous human rights cases over his career. In April 2015 Xie led a small group of rights lawyers seeking restitution after the police shooting of passenger Xu Chunhe (徐纯合) at the Qing’an railway station in Heilongjiang, and later published a legal investigation of the incident. This case is believed to be one of the fuses leading to the 709 (July 9, 2015) mass arrest of lawyers, and Xie Yanyi was one of the scores of lawyers arrested during that crackdown. He was accused of inciting subversion of state power and detained for 553 days, until being released on probationary bail. Last year Xie […]


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, May 14, 2018     Following the ‘709 crackdown’ — a large-scale attack against human rights lawyers that began on July 9, 2015 — China has continued to target this small group (about 0.1% of China’s 300,000 lawyers) who have taken on cases to defend basic human rights and other forms of social injustice. While torture and imprisonment have failed to cowe them, the government is now resorting to simple disbarment, or more subtle techniques, like preventing them from getting work so as to force their licenses to lapse, in order to take human rights lawyers off the field. The government regards this group of lawyers and those they defend a threat to communist rule; their determination to eliminate them is meeting with […]


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. […]


China Change, May 3, 2018     Every year, justice bureaus and lawyers’ associations across China demand that lawyers and law firms submit to a “annual review” (年检), held in spring each year, that determines whether they can continue to practice law in China. Ostensibly, these assessments are aimed at evaluating professional competence and merit — yet their primary function, as far as the authorities are concerned, appears to be aimed at keeping a tight leash on the lawyer class, designated by the authorities as the “opposition.” For more than a decade, it has been used as a tool of pressure to keep human rights lawyers at bay.   China Change recently obtained a copy of the 2018 annual assessment form provided to lawyers in […]


Li Wenzu, April 12, 2018   Li Wenzu (李文足) is the wife of 709 lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋). On April 4, the 1000th day of her husband’s disappearance on July 10, 2015, she and a group of 709 lawyers’ wives began a march from Beijing to Tianjin, about 130 kilometers, where Wang Quanzhang is supposedly being detained. Along the way, other activists joined them on and off. On the sixth day of their march, their march were broken up by scores of plainclothes police officers, and Li Wenzu was taken back home to Beijing by force. Human Rights in China translated Li Wenzu’s account of her first day back. We offer you a translation of her account of the second day. However, as we prepare […]


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


Andrea Worden, March 14, 2018   “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” –– UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders     The Chinese government attacks human rights defenders (HRDs) – those who peacefully defend and promote human rights – on a range of fronts. First, and most critically, are the government’s attacks on HRDs at home. The relentless crackdown on human rights defenders has gone from bad to worse under Xi Jinping, and we can expect the downward trend to accelerate now that Xi is no longer constrained by term limits. While the resilience of China’s beleaguered HRDs is remarkable, their numbers are shrinking; a few […]


March 2, 2018     Minister Zhang Jun: We are among the lawyers who have been disbarred or prevented from practicing as a result of coordinated suppression by the Ministry of Justice in the year 2017. We are well aware that open letters are regularly received by ministries, commissions, and high officials in the Party, state, and military — some angry, some polite, some beseeching… letters of every kind imaginable. There are simply too many people who, unable to find redress anywhere else, will put their hopes in making direct appeal to officials. Whereas local officials may occasionally respond to letters, writing to high-ranking officials in Party Central is like tossing a rock into the ocean. There are also many, in particular human rights lawyers, […]


February 19, 2018   On July 9, 2015, in the mass arrest of Chinese human rights lawyers and defenders known as the “709 Crackdown,” the security authorities used “residential surveillance at a designated place” (指定居所监视居住), a disguised form of secret detention, to detain lawyers. They denied family the ability to hire their own counsel, conducted secret trials, and violated the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” by forcing prisoners to plead guilt in video recordings for state media before trial. This campaign-style (运动式) suppression has engendered panic and backlash domestically, and led to widespread censure from the international community. The lessons of the 709 mass arrests are deep. The rising prominence of human rights lawyers was, in the first place, a wonderful opportunity for the […]


China Change, February 12, 2018     On February 9, lawyer Chen Wuquan (陈武权) was criminally detained with five villagers on an island off the coast of Zhanjiang (湛江), on the southwest peninsular of Guangdong Province. He was not a lawyer representing clients in a land rights defense case, as one may assume. Instead, he was a disbarred lawyer living at home in his village, leading an effort against forced demolition, illegal land reclamation, and the logging of redwoods along the beach. The group of six had petitioned on behalf of the village, and the police responded by detaining them for “obstructing the start of construction.” On February 11, Chen Wuquan’s family received notice of his criminal detention. Before he led villagers to protest illegal […]


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 […]


Yaxue Cao, January 15, 2018       As of January 15, 2018, human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) had been held incommunicado for 920 days. This makes him the only 709 detainee who hasn’t been heard from since the notorious 709 Crackdown began in July 2015. Last Friday, two lawyers, a former client, and three wives of 709 victims travelled from Beijing to arrive early morning at the First Detention Center in Tianjin, a half hour ride by high-speed train. The sun had risen, and a rich orange hue cloaked everything. A large-character slogan ran the length of the walls of the Detention Center: “Be Loyal to the Party, Serve the People, Enforce the Law with Fairness.” They were the first visitors waiting for […]


Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, January 1, 2018   It is with a heavy heart and a sense of desolation that we begin our New Year’s dedication, just as China is shrouded in smog and enveloped in haze. But regardless of the challenges and suffering of the past year, we have not cowered. We continue to hope that 2018 will bring us closer to freedom. We also wish that our own hope will become infectious, and that the citizens of China will together fight for a free, beautiful future and country. 2017 was again a year of no shortage of injustice and wanton violations of the law by the country’s judicial organs. Ugly words such as suffocation, shackles, and dungeons tested our resolve; deaths, disappearances, […]


Wang Yu, November 13, 2017   Wang Yu (王宇), born 1971 in Inner Mongolia, was a lawyer with Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when she was abducted in the early morning of July 9, 2015. The date of her detention marks the beginning of, and gives name to, the most notorious human rights event over the last two years – the 709 Crackdown. She was released on bail on August 2016, but until recently Wang Yu, her husband and son have been sequestered in an apartment in Ulan Hot, Inner Mongolia, under severe surveillance. The family returned to their home in Beijing recently. Below is an excerpt of Wang Yu’s account of her first two months in Beijing from July to September, 2015. She is currently […]


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 […]


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


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 […]


Meng Han, October 10, 2017   On December 3, 2015, Guangdong police raided a series of labor NGOs in the Pearl River Delta area, detaining several NGO leaders and activists. Among them was Meng Han (孟晗), a then 50-year-old experienced labor activist and an intern at Panyu Migrant Worker Service Center in Guangzhou. Meng Han had served nine months in jail for leading a rights struggle in between 2013 and 2014, and this time, he was tried and sentenced to twenty-one months in prison. Last month he was released and shortly afterward he posted “Notes From Prison” (《狱中札记》) on social media. He was subsequently questioned by police and given warnings. “We are innocent,” he told the court in 2013 and his words still ring true, […]


Yaxue Cao, October 3, 2017   Early in September the Justice Department of Shandong province notified Zhu Shengwu (祝圣武), a 36-year-old lawyer in Jinan, the provincial capital, that his “anti-Communist Party, anti-socialism” expressions online had “threatened national security,” and he was disbarred. Mr. Zhu requested a public hearing. Zhu Shengwu heads the Shandong Xinchang Law Firm (山东信常律师事务所) which he founded about a year ago. He has been practicing for only five years, specializing in intellectual property rights, particularly online copyright disputes. Beginning this year, however, he began taking on so-called “sensitive cases” – i.e., involving human rights. Among others, he represented Wang Jiangfeng (王江峰), a man from Shandong who was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and sentenced to two years in prison […]


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 […]


The China Human Rights Lawyers Group, September 13, 2017     Today, September 13, 2017, marks the fourth anniversary of the founding of the China Human Rights Lawyers Group. Even though it is the obligation of government to respect and safeguard human rights based on international treaties and the Constitution, it is also the natural and professional duty of lawyers. Four years ago today, the China Human Rights Lawyers Group was founded to provide an open platform for professional cooperation. Over the past four years, we have set foot across the country and worked tirelessly against constant obstacles to protect freedom of expression, freedom of belief and other basic civil and political rights. Among us, some have lost their freedom and even their lives. Since […]


Safeguard Defenders, August 28, 2017     The Human Rights Tulip is an award by the Dutch government for courageous human rights defenders. Wang Quanzhang (CHINA) is a lawyer, father and husband whose work to defend and protect persecuted religious groups, especially Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, has made him a target himself. He is also a defender who understands that broader change in China must come from developing a wider movement of rights defenders. Since 2008, Wang has worked to develop institutions and mechanisms to train, teach, and offer support to the greater rights defense community, from other rights defense lawyers, “barefoot” lawyers working locally, or victims themselves. Wang is the co-founder of an NGO that established training programs, training many hundreds of lawyers […]


China Change, August 13, 2017     On Monday one of China’s most well-known rights defense activists, Wu Gan (known by the moniker “The Super Vulgar Butcher” online) will be put on trial in the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court. The court says that the case involves “state secrets” and has announced that it will be a closed hearing. For days now, activists and lawyers around the country have been warned not to travel to Tianjin to try to attend the trial or congregate outside the courthouse. Last December, Wu Gan was charged with subversion of state power. Since the Deng Yujiao case in 2009, he has been an active in the public sphere. All the way until he was arrested in May 2015, […]


China Change, August 2, 2017     According to a recently published video made by Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋), a professor of environmental science and the wife of human rights lawyer Xie Yang, Hunan authorities are setting up a large security door equipped with a fingerprint reader, effectively functioning as a prison cell door, outside the family apartment in Yuelu District, Changsha. As the large metal gate in the hallway is being put up, the Special Task Group in charge of Xie Yang’s case has also rented out the adjacent apartment for a permanent security presence to watch over him. Chen Guiqiu explained in the video that the building is a residence for Hunan University professors, and that she owns the title to their apartment. “They’re […]


By Wu Gan, July 31, 2017 Writing from a detention center in Tianjin, well-known activist Wu Gan (吴淦) is among the last of the 709 detainees. — The Editors     I recently heard the news of Liu Xiaobo’s (刘晓波) death in prison from liver cancer. I also heard of the videos of medical experts treating him, supposedly showing what a “happy life” he led in jail, where he was even allowed to play badminton. I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist — but who benefited the most from his contraction of liver cancer? It certainly is a beautiful resolution to the hot potato of an annoying Nobel Peace Prize laureate. There have been other deaths in prison — that of Li Wangyang (李旺阳) […]


The China Human Rights Lawyers Group, July 9, 2017   In the early hours of the morning on July 9, 2015, the Beijing-based lawyer Wang Yu and her husband and son, Bao Longjun (包龙军) and Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩), were suddenly illegally arrested by the police. Before long, Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Li Heping (李和平), Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), Zhou Shifeng (周世锋), Xie Yang (谢阳), Sui Muqing (隋牧青), Li Chunfu (李春富), Xie Yuandong (谢远东), Liu Sixin (刘四新), Gao Yue (高月), Zhao Wei (赵威), Li Shuyun (李姝云) and dozens of other lawyers and their assistants were also arrested. At around the same time, Wu Gan (吴淦 known online as “The Butcher”), an activist who was in Nanchang protesting the Jiangxi High Court’s refusal to allow a lawyer to examine […]


China Change, July 7, 2017   “Wang Yu (王宇) was at home by herself that night, having just seen off at the airport her husband Bao Longjun (包龙军), and their son Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓軒). A group of men began idling about outside her home, and when she yelled out asking who they were, they shrank away and kept quiet. About an hour later, when she was unable to raise her husband and son on the phone, and just beginning to get anxious, the lights in her apartment suddenly went out. Her internet was also cut. The harsh buzz of an electric drill shattered the silent darkness and within a few minutes the lock had been drilled out, falling to the ground. A gang of men […]


Wen Donghai, July 6, 2017        With the second anniversary of July 9, 2015 approaching, and as someone who has witnessed it first hand and served as the defense lawyer for one of the prominent 709 detainees, I’ve racked my brains about what to say. I feel that I have so much to say — but at the same time, it seems that only being as quiet and still as a mountain could truly encompass the full meaning of the 709 Crackdown. Naturally, the first people I was worried about when the crackdown began were my client Wang Yu (王宇) and her family. Prior to 709, she was extremely active as a human rights lawyer, gaining the nickname “Goddess of War” (战神) for […]


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 […]


China Human Rights Lawyers Group, June 23, 2017   This year, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is partnering with the International Bar Association (IBA) to mark the annual “International Day in Support of Victims of Torture” on June 26. Through storytelling, social media campaigns, and a panel discussion, they hope to advance their “shared ambition for the absolute prohibition of torture.” This year and the year before, we have begun to learn, with horror, about the torture of Chinese human rights lawyers during the 709 Crackdown. Below is a letter from the China Human Rights Lawyers Group addressed and delivered to OHCHR and IBA. — The Editors   To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for […]


Wang Qiaoling, May 26, 2017 This interview was conducted on May 5, 2017, three days before lawyer Li Heping returned home. – The Editors     Host: Hello everyone and welcome to “Surveying China,” (放眼大陆); I’m Huang Juan (黄娟). From July 9, 2015, for the next two months, about 300 lawyers, rights defenders, and dissidents were subject to mass disappearances; they were summoned by police, detained, and some have eventually been sentenced and jailed. This became the “709 Crackdown” that shocked the world. It’s been almost two years. Some victims have been imprisoned, others have been released on probation, still others have been given suspended sentences. It would seem that what family members want most is for the victims to be released, no matter what […]


Xu Xiaoshun, father of Wu Gan, May 22, 2017 On May 20, 2015, while supporting lawyers on the “Leping Wrongful Conviction Case” at the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People’s Court, Wu Gan (aka “The Butcher”) was detained by the Nanchang municipal police. Several days later he, a native of Fujian province, was charged by the Fujian police with the crimes of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and “defamation,” and jailed in Yongtai County Detention Center. During his detention in Fujian he was able to meet with lawyers several times. But then he was suddenly forbidden meetings, and on February 1, 2016, it was learned he’d been transferred to the custody of Tianjin municipal police as part of the 709 (July 9, 2015) case, or the now […]


Chen Guiqiu, May 8, 2017   Over the weekend, ahead of the trial of human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) on Monday, his wife Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋) published an article detailing, for the first time, how she first learned about her husband’s torture during the 6-month “residential surveillance at a designated place” and then in the Changsha 2nd Detention Center. Xie Yang, during the three-hour show trial for subversion and disrupting court order, denied being tortured as part of an apparent deal with the government. He looked gaunt in photographs. He was represented by a government appointed lawyer, and no witnesses were called. A handwritten statement by Xie Yang on January 13, sealed with red wax thumbprints, foretold this unfortunate “denial”: “If, one day in […]


May 4, 2017     We have learned that, around 1 pm on May 3, 2017, Beijing lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), his wife and two young children, as well as their friends Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) and his wife, were forcibly taken into custody by local police while the company was on a tourist trip in Jinghong, Yunnan province (云南景洪). In doing so, the police did not present any legal warrant. Lawyer Chen Jiangang and the company have now been in custody for over 19 hours, and their belongings have been confiscated. [As of the publication of the translation of this statement, they have been detained for over 30 hours.] We are acutely aware that lawyer Chen Jiangang has riled the authorities for revealing the torture […]


China Change, May 3, 2017     (Chen Jianggang’s video statement on March 3: “If I lose my freedom.”)   Lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), on a holiday driving tour with wife, two young children (six and three), and two friends, were detained in a police station in Jinghong, Yunnan (云南景洪) around 1:00 p.m. on May 3. Jinghong is part of Xishuangbanna (西双版纳), a popular tourist destination. The two friends are Zhang Baocheng (张宝成) and Zhang’s wife Liu Juefan (刘珏帆). Around 5:00 p.m., all six were taken away in vehicles by a dozen or so armed police, according to a handwritten note by Chen Jiangang, circulating on WeChat. The note said: 1. Before I signed [a list of confiscated belongings], no one showed me any proper […]


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 28, 2017     Late Friday, evening time Beijing, Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭) and Li Wenzu (李文足) issued the following video statement. China Change offers our audience a translation:   Statement by Wang Qiaoling and Li Wenzu Wang Qiaoling: This morning at 11:00 a.m. I was walking out the first floor entrance of our apartment building with my daughter when I found myself surrounded by a large group of state security agents. Among them were Beijing state security agents, Tianjin state security agents, chief of the Tianjin Jiaguasi (挂甲寺) police station, and the neighborhood property management people. As they closed in on me, the state security officers demanded that we discuss Li Heping’s case. I thought it was a standard attempt to threaten […]


Chen Jiangang, April 24, 2017 This article was written in December, 2015. Between then and now, the 45-year-old but youthful looking human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) performed a rare act of courage: revealing his torture in full detail while still behind bars, and despite the perpetrators’ repeated threats. The author Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), a friend, became Xie Yang’s defense lawyer in December 2016, recording the torture in a series meetings earlier this year. Then in an equally courageous action, Chen published them. The revelations caused an international stir, providing a rare but clear glimpse of  the “709 Crackdown” on human rights lawyers, while also showing how the Chinese authorities routinely use unspeakable torture to extract confessions. “[Xie Yang’s] thought was that he wanted to […]


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 […]


Chen Yunfei, March 31, 2017   The Sichuan-based activist was arrested in April, 2015, for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” He was tried on December 26, 2016, a six-month delay from the scheduled trial in June. On March 30, the court sentenced him to four years in prison. He attended yesterday’s hearing in pajamas, and upon hearing his sentence, called out, “I will appeal; it’s much too light!” — The Editors   Dear lawyers and crooks of public security apparatus, procuratorate, and court, I’ve been tormented for two years now, to the point that I’ve started to feel like the Monkey King (孙悟空) trapped in the searing flames of Lao Zi’s crucible — exceedingly comfortable. The persecution, the beatings, the shackling, have all turned into […]


Yaxue Cao, March 28, 2017     When on March 1 Chinese media launched a sudden and all-out smear campaign claiming that the torture of human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) was a fabrication, and that Western media coverage of it was “fake news,” many of us wondered what this outburst was all about. A UN Human Rights Council meeting? The German Chancellor’s planned visit? Now we know. On February 27, diplomatic missions in Beijing from 11 countries wrote a letter, expressing their “growing concern over recent claims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases concerning detained human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders.” The letter also urged China to abandon the practice of secret detention known as […]


China Change, March 25, 2017     When one of the two defense lawyers for Pastor Yang Hua (仰华) of the Living Stone house church in Guiyang traveled to the Nanming District Detention Center (贵阳市南明区看守所) to meet their client on March 20, he was surprised to see Yang almost carried into the meeting room by three sturdy cellmates. Yang Hua’s face showed he was full of pain, seemingly on the verge of paralysis. The lawyer discovered that, three days previously, Yang’s legs suddenly became inflamed and ulcerated, and the festering was spreading fast, with the burning pain keeping him up at night. The physician on duty at the detention center treated it as nothing more than a superficial skin infection and administered painkillers. Yang’s condition […]


Chen Jiangang, March 22, 2017   The public didn’t know until yesterday that ambassadors from 11 countries wrote a letter to China’s Minister of Public Security on February 27, 2017, expressing their grave concern over recent reports of torture of human rights lawyers, and China’s use of secret detention known as “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL). In light of our knowledge of this letter, China’s massive smear campaign beginning on March 1 — two days after the letter was received — becomes much more disturbing. China made lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) “confess” on camera that he had made up the reports of Xie Yang’s (谢阳) torture; Jiang was forcibly disappeared on November 21, 2016, and subsequently placed under RSDL, and thus could not […]


China Change, March 9, 2017   On March 1, Chinese state-run print and television media launched a massive campaign to discredit reports that human rights lawyer Xie Yang was severely tortured during his detention, from July 11, 2015 to the present. The propaganda apparatus paraded on camera Jiang Tianyong, another human rights lawyer kidnapped by state security in November 2016, “confessing” that he had fabricated the details of torture to capture the attention of Western media and governments, who are said to be implacably biased against China. Jiang Tianyong is believed to have been tortured to subjection. The next day, the official Weibo account of the Chinese Communist Party’s Youth League trotted out a four minute video that, in addition to repeating the same smears, […]


March 7, 2017 On February 28, 2017, and then again on March 6, police in Changsha refused to allow the defense counsel of detained human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) to meet with him. In between, starting March 1, China’s state propaganda apparatus launched a smear campaign telling the world that the widely-reported torture of Xie Yang was a fabrication. Former lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), who had been disappeared on November 21, appeared on state television confessing that he had somehow made up the torture details. The authorities’ specious narrative makes it abundantly clear who is doing the fabricating. The smear campaign clearly aims to rein in the defiant human rights lawyers and to misinform the world. Given this, there is now a credible fear […]


Chen Jinxue, Qin Chenshou, March 1, 2017   On March 1, 2017, the Global Times, led by Hu Xijin (胡锡进), published a report claiming that it has interviewed Jiang Tianyong. As Jiang Tianyong’s defense lawyers, we make the following statement:   1. Defense lawyers have applied no fewer than three times to meet Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) since his disappearance on November 21, 2016, to no avail. The reason given to us is that meeting our client would obstruct the investigation or possibly divulge state secrets — yet apparently unrelated parties, and Global Times journalists, claim to have seen Jiang Tianyong. Our position has always been: lawyers meeting their clients cannot possibly obstruct the investigation or divulge state secrets, and according to the Criminal Law, when […]


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 […]


Elliot Sperling, February 5, 2017 In memory of Elliot, who passed away last week. I recovered this from my email archive, dated September 17, 2016, the day after Ilham Tohti was nominated for the Sakharov Prize. It is published here for the first time. – Yaxue Cao     The nomination last week of the imprisoned Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is welcome recognition of the role this courageous individual has played in working for the fundamental rights of a beleaguered people, a people subject to one of the harshest regimens that China visits on any nationalities or collective groups within its borders. But the persecution of Ilham Tohti serves as an example of how China’s […]


Xie Yang, Chen Jiangang, January 22, 2017     Continued from Part One, Part Two and Part Three   [The interview began at 9:47:50 a.m. on January 6, 2017] Chen Jiangang (陈建刚, “CHEN”): Let’s continue our conversation. What happened after you refused the attempts by Yin Zhuo (尹卓) to get you to implicate others? XIE: I tend to be constipated and need to eat fruit; otherwise the condition can get rather serious. I couldn’t even drink water while I was locked up, so my constipation got very serious and I was in extreme pain. I asked them to give me some fruit to eat. They didn’t give me any at first, but later they wanted me to trade. I would have to write a statement […]


Xie Yang, Chen Jiangang, January 21, 2017     Continued from Part One and Part Two   [The interview began at 2:49:55 p.m. on January 5, 2017.] Chen Jiangang (陈建刚, “CHEN”): Let’s continue. Xie Yang (谢阳, “XIE”): Okay. CHEN: Other than not letting you sleep, were there other ways they used to coerce you? XIE: Yes. They have a kind of slow torture called the “dangling chair.” It’s like I said before—they made me sit on a bunch of plastic stools stacked on top each other, 24 hours a day except for the two hours they let me sleep. They make you sit up there, with both feet unable to touch the ground. I told them that my right leg was injured from before, and […]


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 […]


Wang Qiaoling, January 14, 2017 *** Latest on January 14: Li Chunfu has been diagnosed today as having symptoms of schizophrenia and hospitalized. We learned from relatives that he was subjected to severe torture during his six months of “residential surveillance at a designated place,” China’s term for secret detention. More details to come. Once again, we urge the international human rights community to immediately begin an investigation into the extreme abuse that Li Chunfu, Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang, Wu Gan, Jiang Tianyong, and others targeted in the 709 arrests have suffered. – The Editors   *** Hours ago China Change posted Wang Qiaoling’s first report of her brother-in-law, lawyer Li Chunfu, who was released “on bail” after being detained incommunicado for 18 months as part of the […]


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 11, 2017   Hunan Province Changsha Municipal People’s Procuratorate Bill of Indictment CS Proc Crim Indict [2016] No. 85   Defendant Xie Yang (谢阳), male, [redacted], Han ethnicity, master’s degree education, was a practicing lawyer at Hunan Gangwei Law Firm, [redacted]. On July 12, 2015, he was put under residential surveillance by the Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau on suspicion of the crimes of subversion of state power and disrupting court order. On January 8, 2016 this procuratorate approved his arrest on suspicion of the crime of subversion of state power. The arrest was executed the following day by the Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau. The Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau has concluded its investigation of this case and, on August 8, 2016, referred […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


November 14, 2016 About one and a half hours ago, Chinese state media announced that Jia Jinglong had been executed this morning – they killed him faster than we had time enough to translate this appeal, which should still be read and contemplated. – The Editors     Respected president of the Supreme People’s Court Zhou Qiang (周强): As law professors and attorneys long concerned with the development of the rule of law in China, we believe that the Supreme People’s Court’s review ruling in the Jia Jinglong (贾敬龙) case does not conform to the applicable standards and policies for the death penalty as determined by Chinese law, and that the review procedure did not fully safeguard the right to appeal of the defendant and […]


Guo Yushan, September 22, 2016     On September 22, after nearly two years in detention and a trial in August, lawyer Xia Lin (夏霖), my friend, will finally face his sentence. Whatever he’s been charged with, it’s clear to everyone that it was only because he defended me that he has been imprisoned, and suffered as he has to this day. In May 2014, Xia Lin got dragged into a number of disputes because of his involvement in Pu Zhiqiang’s (浦志强) case. One day in mid June, me, Xia Lin, and Kaiping (黄凯平) were sharing drinks at Beijing Worker’s Stadium, lamenting Pu’s case. At a break in the conversation, Xia Lin suddenly said to me: “If you get sent to prison in the future, […]


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 […]


Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, September 13, 2016     On September 13, 2016, Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group marks the third anniversary of its founding. Over the last three years, the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group has been an open platform for lawyers, offering them a channel to get to know one another, exchange their thoughts, and put out calls for mutual aid. It has also become the main force in “effective criminal defense,” Chinese-style. We deeply believe that behind these achievements lies the fact that human rights is not a dull, abstract idea, or some unfathomable theory — the universality of human rights is already deeply rooted in the hearts of the Chinese people. They spring every moment from the human experiences of […]


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


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 […]


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


August 14, 2016 Following the news of Xie Yang’s case being sent to the prosecutors for possible indictment, details of Xie Yang’s torture were brought to light by lawyers who met with police at the end of July. In recent days, family and lawyers’ requests for meeting Xie Yang (谢阳) have been repeatedly denied. Xie was taken away by police on July 11, 2015, while he was on business trip in Huaihua, western Hunan Province. Later he was placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place,” China’s term for secret detention, for “disturbing courtroom order” and “inciting subversion of state power.” Xie Yang was among the lawyers arrested in July, 2015, as part of a nation-wide crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. Show trials […]


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


August 3, 2016 This video was posted this week by the official Weibo accounts of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the PRC, as well as the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Youth League. The claims are false and distorted, ludicrously so, but the world view behind it is real and has consequences. We provide an English translation of the script. — The Editors     Beware of Color Revolutions   Not long ago, a little Iraqi girl was filmed speaking on camera, and her story saddened countless people around the world. “What’s your name?” “I don’t know.” “Where is your father?” “He died.” “Where? Where did he die?” “In Hadabah.” “Have you had breakfast, lunch, or supper? Tell me.” Of course, there is him […]


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


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 […]


Liang Xiaojun, July 25, 2016 Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) is a human rights lawyer, and one of the 709 detainees. – The Editors   It was probably somewhere around the end of 2008 that I started receiving occasional group emails from someone writing under the name Liang Buzheng (梁不正)—“Crooked Beam.” Sometimes the emails would contain this person’s views on politics, while other times they would describe the actions he was taking in the legal sphere. In those days much of my time was spent handling commercial cases in order to make a living, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to public interest law or human rights issues. As a result, I would often simply skip over those emails from “Crooked Beam” without really reading […]


Jiang Tianyong, July 17, 2016     Recently I’ve been thinking: Leading up to 1949, the Chinese Communist Party had been able to steadily grow its strength partly because of the United States. And a major reason the Party has become the disruptive and powerful giant it is today is because of the greed and appeasement of the United States, Europe, and other Western countries. This became particularly clear with regard to the “709 Crackdown” last year, when the new communist boss, “Xitler,” directed a massive campaign of arrests in just a few days, targeting the most influential and active human rights lawyers and activists. As the only country with the actual leverage to exert pressure on the Communist Party (leverage being only one of […]


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


By Eva Pils, July 8, 2016   In April and early May 2016, I got the chance to speak to some twenty-odd old and new acquaintances amongst the targets of the so-called 709 Crackdown – the latest and largest crackdown yet on China’s already beleaguered human rights lawyers.  Named after the 9th of July, the date it began with the night-time detention of Lawyers Wang Yu and Bao Longjun and their sixteen year old son, Bao Zhuoxuan, the 709 Crackdown mainly targeted three groups connected to rights advocacy: rights lawyers and assistants connected to Fengrui Law Firm;’ Lawyer Li Heping and his colleagues (with some overlap between these groups); and another group around activist Hu Shigen that included rights lawyers as well as more ‘grassroots’ […]


Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, July 8, 2016     Like the rest of us, they traveled around the country through rain and shine and choking smog, assisting the most vulnerable. Like the rest of us, they were exhausted looking after their parents’ health and finding a school for their children. Like the rest of us, they embraced the lofty China Dream, believing in “governing the country according to the law,” and stepping into the role of defending justice and human rights, committed and tireless. But that dream was shattered on July 9, 2015.   It began with the arrest of lawyer Wang Yu’s entire family in the early hours of July 9, 2015. Thereafter, the state’s machine of coercion shifted into full gear, raiding […]


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 […]


Zhang Qing, May 19, 2016   President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang: My name is Zhang Qing. My husband Guo Feixiong (also known by his original name, Yang Maodong) has been framed by the authorities for protesting in support of the employees at Southern Weekly, for calling for freedom of speech and ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and for demanding that officials disclose their assets. Having been wrongfully convicted of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” and “provoking a serious disturbance,” Guo Feixiong was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in Guangdong’s Yangchun Prison (广东阳春监狱). There, his health has seriously deteriorated. However, not only has he been denied treatment; in fact the domestic security police and […]


China Change, May 18, 2016   On October 6, 2015, the two Chinese human rights activists Tang Zhishun (唐志顺) and Xing Qingxian (幸清贤) were arrested for attempting to help the son of human rights lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) escape China through Burma, so he could come to the United States to study. Now, seven months after their arrest, the first word of their fates has been heard: Xing Qingxian’s wife was provided with a notice of arrest dated May 5 saying that he is suspected of “organizing human trafficking across borders.” He is currently held in the Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. The news is a result of months of fruitless efforts on the part of the lawyers and families, though we have yet to […]


China Change, May 3, 2016   Shortly before June 4, 2014, ten citizens in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, were arrested for holding a public memorial for Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳), the late Communist Party leader who died under house arrest in 2005. Zhao’s crime was to show sympathy for students in the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement. The memorial was held in the open fields of China’s Central Plains, not far from Zhao’s hometown; now, all participants but Yu Shiwen (于世文) have since been released. Mr. Yu was indicted on February 11, 2015, for “provoking disturbances.” But he hasn’t been sentenced, and is instead being kept in deplorable conditions as his health rapidly worsens. Both Yu Shiwen and his wife Chen Wei were college students in […]


By Chang Ping, March 28, 2016   Around noon on March 28, Beijing Time, police in my hometown Duofu Township, Xichong County, Sichuan province (四川省西充县多扶镇派出所, telephone: 0086 817 4561065), released one of my brothers Zhang Wei (张伟), telling him that, if he succeeds in contacting me, he should pass on three demands by the police and, in return, the police would release Zhang Xiong (张雄), my other brother. After lunch in my parents’ home, Zhang Wei managed to get in touch with me. Before that point, police had repeatedly asked my two detained brothers to contact me but, they didn’t have a means of doing so. [During my exchange with Zhang Wei], I told him that I did not believe the police’s promise, but he […]


By Chang Ping, March 27, 2016   On March 27, 2016, my two younger brothers and a younger sister were abducted by the Chinese police, becoming the latest victims in the incident surrounding the open letter demanding Xi Jinping’s resignation.   Since the reposting of the open letter on a state-controlled website, about 20 Chinese citizens have been disappeared. On March 19, 2016, I published an article in Deutsche Welle titled “Jia Jia Was Disappeared for the Crime of Seeing,” criticizing these illegal abductions carried out by Chinese authorities. I was also interviewed by Radio France Internationale in which I shared my views on the Communist Party’s ongoing power struggle. Following my article and interview, my direct family members and numerous relatives in China have […]


By relatives, defense counsels, and concerned lawyers, published: March 4, 2016     To the deputies, presidium, and delegations attending the 4th plenary meeting of the 12th Session of the National People’s Congress: We are a group made up of defense lawyers and family members of individuals taken into custody during the “July 9 Crackdown,” together with other lawyers and citizens who care about this incident. We are concerned about protecting the rights and interests of the detained and troubled even more by the current state of China’s rule of law and human rights. The “July 9 Crackdown” refers to the sweeping arrests that took place on July 9, 2015, and the several days that followed. Under the direction of the Ministry of Public Security, […]


By Li Xiaoming and Wang Yi, translation by China Change, published: March 3, 2016 “As I watched Zhang Kai’s so-called TV confession, my heart ached to no end,” a Chinese Twitter user wrote. He speaks for many of us. Zhang appeared thin and haggard, his dishevelled hair and lusterless eyes all the image of a concentration camp prisoner. He sounded as though he’d been forced to read a script prepared for him by his tormentors. Watching him is like watching our brother being cornered and strong-armed, or our sister raped, as we stand by, helpless. We are pained, but fall silent. What’s more, we begin to think it’s alright to say and do nothing. Then there are those who can no longer “stay out of […]


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 China Change, published: February 29, 2016   Lawyer Zhang Kai was taken into police custody in Wenzhou on August 25, 2015. He was placed in residential surveillance in a designated location for six months, after which he appeared on Chinese television to make a “confession” on February 25. Zhang, 37, appeared thin and haggard, and his hair made him look like a concentration camp prisoner. We still don’t know what kind of ordeal he suffered during those six months. Looking at the language used in his “confession,” which was delivered in the tone and style of the official media, viewers were left feeling that he had been forced to read from a script prepared for him by the authorities. On February 28, Zhang Kai’s […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: February 24, 2016   Ilham Tohti, the renowned Uighur scholar who was sentenced to life in prison on charges of “splitting the country” has been denied visitation by his family over the Chinese New Year. Reports had earlier indicated that Ilham’s brother would be visiting him in prison on February 18, but according to his friend, Beijing-based dissident Hu Jia, speaking to Voice of America, Ilham’s brother was effectively denied permission. Hu Jia learnt of the news through Ilham’s wife. Given the lack of further information about the reasons for the denial, supporters are worried about Ilham’s physical and mental health. Hu Jia visited Ilham’s wife and children twice recently, taking the the two boys to a science and technology museum […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: February 21, 2016 Zhang Haitao was sentenced to 19 years in prison for 69 WeChat posts and 205 Twitter posts, including retweets.  The judgement named Voice of America and Radio Free Asia “foreign hostile websites,” an absurdity that affronts the very idea of law. — The Editors   Appeal proceedings began on February 18 for the sentence of rights defender Zhang Haitao (张海涛) to 19 years imprisonment in Xinjiang, on charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an authoritative source for news on rights activists in China. The report cited the efforts of Guangdong lawyer Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), who, accompanied by Zhang’s relatives, met with a Judge Wang who agreed to submit the dossier to […]


By Ji Dunhuang, published: January 28, 2016   A summary of the situation After six months of “residential surveillance at a designated place” (in reality forced disappearance), the vast majority of the human rights lawyers and other activists who lost their freedom in the “July 9 incident” [16 in all] have been formally arrested by the Communist Party on charges of “subverting state power,” or “inciting subversion of state power.” Even after family members and defense lawyers finally found where they were being held, the authorities continued to refuse visits—on the one hand, they claimed that visitation would endanger national security, and on the other claimed that the detained individuals had engaged new lawyers, dismissing those hired by family. Further, only a very few family […]


Translation published: January 15, 2016 Ilham Tohti was an economics professor at Minzu University in Beijing and the foremost Uighur public intellectual in the People’s Republic of China. He was sentenced to life in prison in September 2014 for criticizing the government’s policies in Xinjiang and advocating basic economic, cultural, religious and political rights for the Uighur people. The translation is based on the Chinese transcript of a VOA interview with Ilham Tohti in November 2013, shortly after the car crash of a Uighur family in Tiananmen Square on October 28, 2013, and less than three months before his detention on January 15, 2014. You may also want to watch our 32-minute documentary about Ilham Tohti. – The Editors   BEIJING – The Chinese government has included Xinjiang and Tibet […]


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 Guo Feixiong, published: January 8, 2016 On November 27, a year after the trial of Guo Feixiong and Sun Desheng, the Tianhe court in Guangzhou sentenced Guo Feixiong to six years in prison by adding a last-minute charge in order to procure a lengthier sentence. On January 7, 2016, Guo Feixiong filed the following criminal complaint (in Chinese) with the  Guangzhou Municipal People’s Prosecutorate against judges involved in the sentencing.  – The Editors Guo Feixiong: A Criminal Complaint   Plaintiff: Yang Maodong (杨茂东), also known as Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), male, born on August 2, 1966 in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Han ethnicity. University educated. Currently being wrongly held in the Tianhe District detention center in Guangzhou. Defendant: Zheng Xin (郑昕), presiding judge in the Tianhe […]


A 2016 New Year’s Message from China’s Labor Community   Dear fellow workers, compatriots, and friends from around the world: Happy New Year! Toward the end of 2015, the labor community in China experienced an unprecedented attack. A group of activists who have dedicated years to defending the rights and interests of workers were detained, monitored and interrogated by the police. It could have been a moment for fear and paranoia to set in. But those in the labor community and other walks of life responded quickly by drafting a petition to the Communist Party Central Committee, National People’s Congress, and State Council. The petition described in no uncertain terms the severe and widespread violations of workers’ rights and interests over the last few decades, […]


— 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 Mo Zhixu, published: December 21, 2015 “Pu Zhiqiang has many facets to his character. He is a rights lawyer, an Internet opinion leader, and a dissident, in the broader sense of the word. His commitments and pursuits over the past 26 years help to explain how Pu has come to be so influential.”     On December 14, 2015, renowned human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) was tried by the Beijing Number Two People’s Court on charges of “provoking a serious disturbance” and “inciting ethnic hatred.” This case has been watched closely ever since Pu was first detained in May 2014. On the day of the trial hearing, diplomats from the United States, the European Union, and other foreign governments went to read statements […]


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


Guo Feixiong, November 27, 2015 Translated by Louisa Chiang and Perry Link; posted on December 3, 2015 On November 27, a year after the trial of Guo Feixiong and Sun Desheng, the Tianhe court in Guangzhou sentenced Guo Feixiong to six years in prison by adding a last-minute charge in order to procure a lengthier sentence. In doing so, the Chinese court announced to the world that the law means nothing when it comes to persecuting political dissenters. – The Editors   This verdict violates both justice and the law. It is nothing but vile persecution of Sun Desheng and me by powers that are opposing democracy in China. We are completely innocent. The lifeblood of the law flows beneath its surface, where, properly, it should nourish human autonomy […]


China Change, published: November 27, 2015   On August 8, 2013, Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄, real name Yang Maodong [杨茂东]) was arrested and then indicted on charges of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The case stems from Guo’s activism around the “Southern Weekend” incident, in which he made speeches outside the newspaper’s offices, and later that year he initiated a campaign demanding that the National People’s Congress ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. On November 28 last year he and co-defendant Sun Desheng (孙德胜) were tried without a verdict. On Friday November 27, after three postponements over the course of 12 months, the Tianhe court in Guangzhou has pronounced its verdict, with Guo Feixiong sentenced to six years […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: November 16, 2015 While the number of spotted seals keeps dwindling, its ardent protector gets jail time – an all too familiar Chinese tale.     The 52-year-old Tian Jiguang (田继光) is an environmentalist living in the northeastern province of Liaoning, China, known for his commitment to protecting spotted seals that breed in the wetlands of his hometown, where the Liao River meets the Yellow Sea. He was arrested in October 2013 for “alleged extortion.” When he was indicted, he was given an additional charge of “embezzlement.” In September 2014 he was sentenced by the Dawa County Court (大洼县法院) to 12 years in prison—5 years for extortion, and 8 for embezzlement. Last Friday (November 13), Panjin Municipality Intermediate Court (盘锦市中级法院) upheld […]


By He Fei, published: October 17, 2015   Bao Zhuoxuan, the son of prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu and activist Bao Longjun, earlier this month attempted to escape China with the help of his parents’ friends, and was apprehended in Myanmar on October 6. His parents have been under secret detention, and denied access to lawyers, since July. The following post is a response to a report by China Central Television (CCTV) which suggested that Bao had been either deceived or forced into leaving China. The author of this post, published under the pseudonym He Fei on Weiquanwang, chooses to remain anonymous for reasons readily understood. The individual is understood to have strong information about the arrest of rights lawyers and the capture of Bao […]


By Zhao Sile, published: October 12, 2015 “It’s hard to find a word better than ‘terrorism’ to describe the evil way that systematic violence is being used to turn a juvenile into a hostage.”   Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩), who goes by the nickname Mengmeng (包蒙蒙), is a 16-year-old who wants to study law when he gets older. They say he’s tall for his age, but he still has a boyish face and is a bit of a “mama’s boy.” In the eyes of the Chinese state, however, he’s known simply as “hostage.” Late on the night of July 8, 2015, Bao Mengmeng and his father, human rights activist Bao Longjun (包龙军), went to Beijing Capital Airport on their way to Australia, where Mengmeng was preparing […]


October 11, 2015; updated on October 12   Beginning on July 9, 2015, human rights lawyers in China came under cruel assault. Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩), the 16-year-old son of disappeared rights lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) and activist Bao Longjun (包龙军) has been subjected to extralegal and inhumane treatement. On July 9, Bao Zhuoxuan was intercepted and prevented from leaving China at the Beijing Airport, while witnessing his father being arrested. After that, he was put under surveillance at his grandmother’s home in Tianjin. Then he was sent to Inner Mongolia by the police, where he was made to study at a school the police designated, and monitored by local police while he did so. With his freedom limited and passport and other identification seized, he […]


China Change, published: October 11, 2015   More details surrounding the disappearance of Bao Zhuoxuan, Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian have surfaced as friends continue to look for information in Mong La, Myanmar, as reported by a reporter at the Epoch Times who has close ties with the events. A resident in Mong La, a middle-aged man who wishes to remain anonymous, witnessed the scene of the three being apprehended. He said he saw a dozen or so policemen surrounding the three at a breakfast eatery. From the police conversation, he gathered that the three were Chinese. The lawyer who was looking for the three had gone to Huadu Guest House (华都宾馆), where the three had last stayed, to make inquiries. The women owner told […]


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. […]


China Change, September 18, 2015   Wife of human rights lawyer Chen Taihe issued the following statement yesterday: My name is Jiang Jie (江洁); I’m the wife of Chen Taihe (陈泰和), and I currently reside in San Francisco​. On the morning of July 12, my husband Chen Taihe was taken away by domestic security police (​国保) in Guilin City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The following day authorities issued the notice of criminal detention. On July 15, a friend put the notice online, and that very day I was summoned by the police and threatened with detention. Our home was raided twice on July 15 and 25. ​On August 5, I made the arduous journey to America, where I know no one, with my 7-year-old son. […]


By Zhai Minglei, published: July 26, 2015 “This vulgar, uncultured lot is the spawn of the Maoist period and Maoist thinking. They are carrying out the legalist ideas of Han Feizi (韩非子), getting rid of anyone they cannot convert to their own views. As a result, the prisons are filled with the moaning of prisoners of conscience, while state media clamors with slavish voices.”   When I was a reporter at Southern Weekly (《南方周末》) [2000-2003], I crossed paths with lots of different types of lawyers. Sometimes they were allies, other times opponents. In the Wang Weizun case (王惟尊案), the bank’s lawyer initially prevented me from checking into Wang’s allegations about cooked books, saying that the accounting documents are commercial secrets. I replied: “If the accounts […]


China Change, published: July 9, 2015   The morning of 10 July, following the news of lawyer Wang Yu (王宇, see Statement below) being disappeared, it has just been reported that lawyer Zhou Shifeng (周世锋律师), director of the Fengrui Law Office in Beijing (北京锋锐律师事务所), was kidnapped this morning and his whereabouts are unknown. Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan tweeted earlier this morning: “Yesterday evening, Zhou Shifeng went to the Tongzhou District Detention Center to pick up Zhang Miao (张淼). (Zhang, a research assistant for the German publication Die Zeit, was arrested in October in Hong Kong last year during the Umbrella Revolution, and she was released from the detention center last night.) Later, Wang Lin, Zhang Miao, and Zhou Shifeng stayed at the Seven Days Hotel in […]


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


By Wang Quanzhang, published: June 30, 2015   On June 18 I went to Liaocheng City in Shandong Province (山东聊城) to participate in the defense of a number of Falun Gong practitioners. Gaining the right to actually mount a defense, as a defense lawyer, before and during the trial, was a process filled with difficulties. Finally, at the end of the court session, presiding judge Wang Yingjun (审判长王英军) directed the bailiffs to drag me from the courtroom and beat me savagely. [Note: Following is an abridged translation of pretrial negotiations, the opening of the court session, the demands made during the court session, and numerous other procedural irregularities documented by Wang Quanzhang, as well as the violence dealt him. A full translation of the remaining […]


By Chang Ping, published: January 20, 2015   On January 11, the Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) spent his fiftieth birthday behind bars. No one knows what was going through the mind of this famous and very vocal lawyer and writer. However, many lawyers, legal scholars and journalists wished him a happy birthday on the Chinese Internet; one message was re-broadcast 2,300 times and drew 500 comments. It amounted to a mass protest, Chinese style. Some well-known lawyers and legal scholars did not sidestep their anger about the government’s crackdown on human rights lawyers. He Weifang (贺卫方), a law professor at Peking University, wrote: “The government is righting legal abuses with one hand and creating more with the other. There can be no […]


By Xiao Shu, published: January 11, 2015   I no longer have the desire to argue about the treatment of Guo Yushan and his colleagues from a legal perspective. We know that “illegal business practices” was the charge for which Guo was formally arrested on December 6th, after remaining in extralegal detention for more than two months. Back in 2007, the authorities used the same charge to sentence activist Guo Feixiong, while in 2013 it was the charge of “disturbing public order” that landed Xu Zhiyong, Ding Jiaxi, Zhao Changqing and other members of the New Citizens Movement in jail. Today, the charge of “illegal business” has been used on Guo Yushan and, as with before, it is never about the law . The punishment of […]


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


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 China Change, published: November 28, 2014   Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) and Sun Desheng (孙德胜) were tried November 28, 2014, at Tianhe Court in Guangzhou, for “allegedly gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place.” The trial began at 9am and, after 18 hours, concluded shortly before 3 am on November 29. The court will announce the verdict another time. Radio Free Asia talked to Li Jinxing (李金星) and Zhang Lei (张磊), two of Guo Feixiong’s defense lawyers, shortly after the trial, and Chen Jinxue (陈进学), Sun Desheng’s lawyer. Li Jinxing told Min Zhang of RFA that, during the course of the entire proceeding, the court violated the rights of the defendants and the defense lawyers. The court repeatedly and rudely interrupted the […]


By Ilham Tohti, published: September 25, 2014 On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, lawyer Li Fangping met with Ilham in Urumqi Detention Center, Xinjiang. Ilham signed a 15-page appeal to be submitted by his lawyers. Meanwhile Li Fangping recorded Ilham’s statement:   My outcries are for our people and, even more, for the future of China. Before entering prison, I kept worrying I wouldn’t be able to deal with the harshness inside. I worried I would betray my conscience, career, friends and family. I made it! The upcoming life in prison is not something I’ve experienced, but it will nonetheless become our life and my own experience. I don’t know how long my life can go on. I have courage; I will not be fragile. If […]


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


(The website of China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group is having some technical issue, and we are given permission to post this CHRLCG statement.  – the editor)   On August 7, 2014, the prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was released from prison, but denied contacts with outsiders and closely monitored by Chinese authorities. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group strongly condemns this practice and urges Chinese authorities to safeguard Gao Zhisheng’s rights to communication and liberty in accordance with the law. In August 2006, Gao Zhisheng was charged with the crime of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three years of fixed-term imprisonment, five years of probation and one year of deprivation of political rights on 22 December 2006. In 2011 […]


By China Change, published: June 26, 2014   Apart from Beijing and Guangzhou, the other Chinese city where large-scale arrests of citizen activists and rights lawyers have taken place is Zhengzhou (郑州), midway on the Beijing-Guangzhou transportation artery and the capital of Henan province (河南省).  Between May 8 and June 21, twelve have been arrested for allegations either of “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order” or of “provoking disturbance” and they include two rights lawyers, two journalists, young internet activists, petitioner-turned-activists, and hosts of civil gatherings and activities, a typical array of China’s social activism in general. One can say that the June 4th anniversary prompted the arrests that occurred across China over the last two months or so because the CCP was afraid […]


On the morning of May 13, while visiting a black jail in Ziyang, Sichuan province (四川资阳), seven rights lawyers from Beijing and Chengdu were intercepted, beaten and kidnapped by unidentified men. After that their cellphones ceased to answer. Upon learning the news of their colleagues’ encounter, four more lawyers went to Ziyang to help. They were first followed by men in plain clothes, and then they too were snatched. The eleven lawyers are: Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), Tang Tianhao (唐天昊), Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), Li Heping (李和平), Zhang Keke (张科科), Guo Haiyue (郭海跃), Wang Cheng (王成), Yang Huiwen (杨慧文) and Wen Haibo (温海波). Rights lawyer, legal scholar Teng Biao tweeted Monday evening, Beijing time, that several lawyers were hurt. Jiang Tianyong’s […]


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