DISSIDENTS, POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AND POLITICAL PRISONERS IN CHINA IN THE 2000s

DISSIDENTS, POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AND POLITICAL PRISONERS IN CHINA

20111103-Wikicommons GaoZhisheng protest.jpg
Free Gao Zhisheng protest
China is thought to have the highest number of political prisoners of any country in the world. The San-Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation counted 742 political prisoners in 2007. Others estimate the figure to be between 2,000 to 3,000. Some ironically are in prison for doing and saying things that are now acceptable.

Dissidents are often better known and respected outside of China than in it but are typically forgotten when they leave Chinese soil. These days not as big a deal is made about them as in the past. They are more careful now and the know their limits and how far they can go and thus avoid jail---and reduce exposure for themselves and their causes in the media. Their goals often some quixotic or irrelevant to ordinary Chinese, who don’t give them much thought.

The Communist Party has imprisoned domestic dissidents for organizing human rights and labor groups, blacklisted overseas dissidents and forced the removal of liberal intellectuals from universities and research institution.

Websites and Resources

Good Websites and Sources on Human Rights in China: New York-based Human Rights in China hrichina.org ; Amnesty International amnesty.org ;Human Rights Watch hrw.org ; Chinese Government Position on Human Rights China.org ; United States State Department 2008 Report www.state.gov ; Falun Gong Human Rights site flghrwg.net/ ; Dissidents and Political Prisoners: List of Political Prisoners as of 2008 uoregon.edu ; Wikipedia List of Chinese Dissidents Wikipedia ; Wei Jingsheng site echonyc.com

Justice System: China Law Blog chinalawblog ; Internet Chinese Legal Research Center ls.wustl.edu ; Asian Law Center Links on China law.unimelb.edu ; Basic Info on China’s Legal System asnic.utexas.edu ; China.org, official Chinese government source on Constitution and Legal System china.org.cn ; China.org, on People’s Courts china.org.cn ; China’s Criminal Justice System lectlaw.com ; China’s Legal System lawinfochina.com ; faculty.cua.edu ; Book: Bird in a Cage, Legal Reform in Chinese and Mao by Stanley B. Lubman (Stanford, 2001)

Links in this Website: CRIME IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; TRIADS AND ORGANIZED CRIME IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; POLICE IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; JUSTICE SYSTEM IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; EXECUTIONS AND PRISONS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; DISSIDENTS, POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AND POLITICAL PRISONERS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; TERRORISM AND BOMBINGS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; GOVERNMENT IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; POLITICS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; COMMUNIST PARTY IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; RIOTS AND DEMONSTRATIONS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China

Charges, Punishments and Political Activists in China

20111103-Wikicommons  Feng Zhenghu.jpg
Feng Zhenghu
See Other Dissidents
at end or article
Up until the 1990s, dissidents were labeled as "counter-revolutionaries." Many were pro-democracy advocates or critics of the government who were charged with things like starting up a political party, which was equated with treason, or trying to overthrow the Communist government. They were striped of all their civil rights and generally had no legal recourse; their only hope was appealing to the international community to put pressure on the Chinese government.

Inciting to subvert state power, a law established in 1997, is a charge often used to jail dissidents. Those who are given long sentences often have them shortened if they confess to their “crimes” and express remorse.

These days political prisoners are more likely to be lawyers, journalists and activists in environmental, health and religious groups who expose abuses or organize people in way that is deemed threatening by Beijing. They are often accused of fraud, illicit business practices or leaking state secrets---charges that are almost always trumped and do not reflect the political nature of their activities. Falun Gong members have been arrested on charges of “using a cult to sabotage implementation of the law.”

Political prisoners are typically imprisoned and forced to take months of “deprogramming” classes. In some cases they are sent to mental hospitals. Sometimes they are cruelly interrogated and tortured. Chen Longde---a political prisoner imprisoned for writing an open letter to China's Parliament asking them to reevaluate the term "counterrevolutionary”---was beaten so badly with an electric cattle prod after arriving at a labor camp he leapt from a third story window and broke his right leg and hip.

Some dissidents operate from relative safety in Hong Kong. Among these are Han Dongfang. See Tiananmen Square

House Arrest in China

20111103-Wikicommons Voa Ran Yunfei.JPG
Ran Yunfei
Scores of dissidents are under house arrests or under surveillance of the Public Security Bureau. These days the minders who watch over dissidents are polite and smile and wave when the greet visitors. One dissident subjected to this treatments described it in Time magazine as a policy “soft to the outside, strict within.”

Describing his “free car service” during the Olympics Christian activist Yue Jie wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “Plainclothes police officers set up their presence in front of my house. They converted a small room in my apartment build into a command center. They worked in three shifts, each with two police officers. The public security bureau also hired a security guard...and a driver, both of whom were responsible for tending my needs 24 hours a day.”

“Each time I needed to go out,” Yue wrote, “the security guards and the driver would run to the command center and report my request to the police officers. Then the officers would come and inquire about about the destination of my trip or the nature of my errands. Following their permission the driver would start the car and politely invite me to get in. They would drive my wife and me to the supermarket and even help us carry the groceries.”

In the past authorities weren't so cordial. Those that were technically free are often harassed and hounded by the Chinese government. Wang Dan, a student leader at the Tiananmen Square, was followed by police almost everywhere he went. Police camped outside the apartment of Chen Ziming, a pro-democracy intellectual, and rang his doorbell every morning at eight o'clock to make sure he was there.

The families of dissidents often have a hard times making ends meet. They are typically supported by their families but not always. Some are shunned by embarrassed relatives. The wife of one dissent lives on $400 a year funneled to her from a human right group.

Dissidents Choice: Going Into Exile or Staying in China

"Yu Jie's difficult decision - like that of fellow writer Liao Yiwu - to go into self-exile highlights how the deepening hostility of the Chinese government to writers who won't self-censor their works in line with the official narrative." Perry Link, professor of comparative literature at the University of California and an editor and translator of No Enemies, No Hatred, told Inter Press Service: "It is a very complex decision of course, to decide to go into self exile. I am sure for [Yu's] family - his child, his wife - it feels more secure outside of China.

"The main cost of putting oneself outside in China is cutting off influence in China. There are a whole list of activists who have fled abroad and who can now write more freely but have less influence within China - I am sure Yu Jie realized that when he made the calculation."But, Link adds, "One reason Liu Xiaobo is admired in his circles is that he won't leave. He wants to stay. He has made a different decision."

20111030-Human rights in China Wangfujing Street 4.jpg
Jasmine "protest" Wangfujing Street in Beijing

Crackdown on Dissidents After the “Jasmine Revolution Protests

Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times in March 2011: “Many prominent rights defenders and advocates have disappeared and are being detained, some with no legal authority, in what critics say is one of the harshest crackdowns in many years. The detainees’ relatives and supporters say previous periods of confinement did not last this long and in such total silence. The crackdown is part of a broader push to enforce social stability that has grown more intense in the past three weeks.” [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, March 11, 2011]

“This is an especially uneasy time in China, with anonymous calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” similar to the uprisings in the Middle East popping up on some Chinese-language Web sites. That has coincided with the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and a consultative legislature in Beijing. Security officers have also clamped down on foreign journalists in the strictest such action in recent memory.” [Ibid]

“Chinese officials have avoided questions about the detentions and specific detainees. The overseas edition of People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said in an editorial about China and the Middle East uprisings on Thursday: “A number of people with ulterior motives both inside and outside China are conspiring to divert the troubled waters toward China. They have used the Internet to fan the flames, hoping to whip up “street politics” in China and thereby sow chaos in China.” [Ibid]

“China Human Rights Defenders, an advocacy group, said that 17 Chinese had been detained in connection with the calls for a so-called Jasmine Revolution (a term borrowed from the Tunisia uprising) and were being investigated for crimes. Among them is Ran Yunfei, a writer and blogger from Sichuan Province. Such investigations often result in criminal prosecution. The group has also documented scores of other detentions and disappearances across China. Some people are missing, and some are under “soft detention” in their homes, an increasingly common form of confinement. Zhang Jiannan, the founder of a popular Internet forum who was active on Twitter, was detained last week and put under criminal investigation, a friend of his said Friday. The forum, 1984bbs.com, was shuttered last fall. It was not clear why he was seized or of what crime he was suspected.” [Ibid]

“Among those who have “been disappeared” into an extralegal vacuum, as liberal Chinese describe it, are six lawyers who often take on rights cases. They are Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao from Beijing; Liu Shihui and Tang Jinglin from Guangzhou; and Li Tiantian from Shanghai. Mr. Tang was taken away on Feb. 16, and Mr. Jiang and Mr. Teng both vanished on Feb. 19. Gu Chuan, an activist writer in Beijing, also disappeared during that period. That round of detentions took place after a group of lawyers and rights advocates met in Beijing on Feb. 16 to discuss the case of Chen Guangcheng, a blind lawyer under strict house arrest in rural Shandong Province.” [Ibid]

“The detainees have probably been kept so long because the calls for a Jasmine Revolution began percolating on the Internet that same week, and then the meetings of the National People’s Congress and consultative legislature opened on March 5. “What’s disturbing with some of these lawyers or ex-lawyers, the government seems to be increasingly treating them lawlessly,” said Jerome A. Cohen, a professor at New York University who studies China’s legal system. “I think it’s all part of the accelerating trend,” he added. “It started with the 17th Party Congress in fall of 2007. You had a new party line, one that was much tighter. They’re looking for a comprehensive method of social management. There’s a new formula.” [Ibid]

Eva Pils, an associate professor of law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that the long silences were unusual and that “there’s a very great concern about the treatment during their period of enforced disappearance.” Perhaps the most serious recent case is that of Gao Zhisheng, a rights lawyer who spoke of being pummeled with electric batons and burned with cigarettes during one round of detention in 2007. He has since been subjected to further enforced disappearances, the latest beginning in April 2010. [Ibid]

At least half of the 22 people arrested in recent weeks are facing subversion charges. “To have this many people disappeared or facing subversion charges is unprecedented and very worrying,” said Wang Songlian, a researcher at Chinese Human Rights Defenders. “People are very scared.”

Teng Biao

20111103-Wikicommons Voa teng biao.jpg
Teng Biao, who worked with Hu Jia, was rustled off the street by men in plain clothes and interrogated for 41 hours and then told to “speak as little as possible.”

Edward Wong wrote in the New York Times in March 2011: “Teng Biao is no stranger to the wrath of the Chinese authorities. One of a handful of lawyers in China pressing for human rights and the rule of law, he has been repeatedly detained, beaten and threatened with death.” Teng teaches at China University of Political Science and Law, one of the country's leading law schools, and has represented dissidents and spoken out on human rights issues.

Teng wrote an essay about being beaten during a brief detention in December 2010. At one point, he said, a plainclothes officer said to a policeman: “Why waste words on this sort of person? Let’s beat him to death and dig a hole to bury him in and be done with it.” Jerome A. Cohen wrote South China Morning Post, “In a report posted online the day after his ordeal, Teng describes how, after trying to persuade his captors that they had no legal authority to interrogate, detain and beat him, the police station atmosphere suddenly became more threatening when an officer named Xu Ping learned that Teng had just visited the mother of a house-church Christian and legal scholar under house arrest elsewhere. Xu shouted: "Oh, that's how it is! In that case, this just became a contradiction between the enemy and us! ... In that case we don't have to talk about law at all! And you ... won't get out of here again. You traitors, you dogs! Counter-revolutionaries! ... You keep insulting the party. We will treat you just like an enemy!" [Source: Jerome A. Cohen South China Morning Post, January 15, 2011]

Teng, attempting to turn repression into research, asked Xu: "How do you treat your enemies?" Xu answered: "Like Falun Gong." When Teng added, "And how do you treat Falun Gong?", Xu responded: "You'll find out by and by." This sent a shiver through Teng, since, in addition to the thousands of Falun Gong worshipers who have been formally sentenced, many others have been illegally tortured, killed or "disappeared" while in police custody.

Teng was detained again in February 2011 as part f the “Jasmine revolution” crackdown. He has been held by Beijing security officers for several weeks, with no word from him or his captors has struck a new chord of anxiety in his wife and friends. “This time is really strange,” said his wife, Wang Ling. “In the past, they held him only a few days, and we knew for what reason. But this time, I’ve been told nothing. No news, no calls, no result so far. I have no idea at all.” Teng Biao was released in April 2011 after 10 weeks in custody. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, March 11, 2011]

Liu Xianbin

In March 2011, Andrew Jacobs wrote in the New York Times: “A Chinese court handed down a ten-year sentence on Friday to one of the country’s most seasoned pro-democracy activists on charges that his essays slandered the ruling Communist Party and were part of an effort to end its monopoly on power, his lawyer said. Liu Xianbin, 43, a resident of Sichuan Province who previously served nine years for helping to organize an outlawed political party, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power,” an extremely serious charge that is often subject to broad interpretation by judicial authorities. The conviction was largely based on articles that Mr. Liu wrote for overseas publications focusing on human rights and democracy. [Source: Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, March 25, 2011]

“The unusually harsh sentence, rights groups say, is another worrying sign that the government’s crackdown on dissidents is intensifying. Mr. Liu is no stranger to China’s unforgiving judicial system. A veteran of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, he was arrested two years later and given a two-and-half-year term for “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement,” an outgrowth of posters he wrote calling for the end of government repression. In 1999, after helping to organize the China Democratic Party, he was sentenced to 13 years but released after nine.” [Ibid]

“In the months after his release, Mr. Liu did not flinch from stepping into the forbidden arena of pro-democracy agitation. He signed Charter “08, a petition that called for expanded liberties and political pluralism, and he wrote articles that stridently criticized the government and advocated nonviolent protest. His lawyer, Mo Shaoping, dismissed the accusations against Mr. Liu, saying his writings are protected under the China’s Constitution, which guarantees the right to free speech. “Not only is this sentence wrong and unfair, but it is a total abuse of judicial procedure,” he said.” [Ibid]

Zhao Lianhai

Zhao Lianhai, a Beijing activist who sought greater compensation for the victims of a tainted milk scandal, gained early release from a two-and-a-half-year prison term after he reportedly pledged to stop his public protests. “I support and thank the government, and I feel deeply sorry for the remarks I made against the government in the past,” Mr. Zhao wrote in an online message to supporters after his parole last December. [Source: Andrew Jacobs New York Times June 23, 2011]

But three months later, prompted by the detention of Mr. Ai, he broke his silence with a torrent of Twitter comments that have become increasingly impassioned and frequent. “I’m ashamed of myself for not speaking up until now,” he wrote in one of his first dispatches. “I cannot stay silent anymore. I’m ready to go back to prison. I would rather die than give in.”

Wu Lihong

Wu Lihong, a Jiangsu Province environmentalist who served three years in prison after exposing local officials whose machinations allowed a lake to become fouled with industrial pollution, was told he would be jailed again if he publicly revealed the details of his mistreatment in custody, which he says included whippings and cigarette burns. [Source: Andrew Jacobs New York Times June 23, 2011]

Speaking by telephone on Thursday, Mr. Wu described the web of other restrictions that he said were imposed by the police since his release last year: No Internet access and no interviews with the media “and under no circumstances was he to photograph the lake. Although he remains free, Mr. Wu, a machine salesman by trade, says he has paid a steep price for his intransigence. Each time he finds a job, he said, the police arrange for his prompt dismissal. In recent months, he has survived by growing vegetables on the small plot of land next to his house, he said.

Chen Wei

Chen Wei, a veteran democracy activist, was sentenced to nine years for "inciting subversion" on 23 December. He, too, had written critically of the Communist Party."We think autocratic rulers are simple and stupid," he wrote. "But their objectives are clear. To gain the maximum benefit by whatever means necessary. They rely on violence and lies, but without the co-operation and submission of the people, their rule won't last for long."

And he defended Liu Xiaobo. "Liu Xiaobo's award of the Nobel Peace Prize is an acknowledgement from the international society of all the efforts made by Chinese dissidents, as well as criticism of the Chinese government's detention of the dissidents. "Liu represented the only correct path for Chinese dissidents. The reform of the Chinese society needs more responsible, wise leaders like Liu."

Chen Xi

Chen Xi was given a 10-year jail sentence on 26 December. A former factory worker, he had already been jailed twice since 1989 when he supported the Tiananmen demonstrations. He too had criticised China's political system, writing: "Socialist countries put the nation and the collective interest above individuals. Personal dignity has been peeled clean by the nation. In reality, socialism is the extreme minorities ruling autocratically over the majority."

And he attacked the Communist Party. "The Communist Party is inferior because it has no culture to admit it makes mistakes. Without admitting making mistakes, there is no mechanism of checks and balances to prevent wrongdoings. The fascism of Communism is always believing itself to be correct."

Ni Yulan Jailed for Fraud

In April 2012 Al jazeera reportedl: Ni Yulan---a Chinese activist rendered disabled by prior police treatment---has been sentenced to a jail term of two years and eight months by a Beijing court on charges of fraud and provoking trouble. Ni's husband, Dong Jiqin, was also given a two-year jail term. The couple was arrested in 2011 in a crackdown to deter popular uprisings, that China feared could resemble the ones in many Arab states. [Source: Al Jazeera, April 10, 2012]

Ni was convicted of causing a disturbance at a hotel where they had been detained by police. The court said the couple failed to pay 69,972 yuan ($11,100) in hotel bills between June 2010 and April 2011. Ni was also convicted of posing as a lawyer and receiving 5,000 yuan through deceit ($795).

The EU issued a statement in front of the court Tuesday saying it was "deeply concerned" about Ni's sentence and that because of her poor health she should be released immediately. The sentencing took place under heavy security. The access road to the courthouse was cordoned off with a temporary checkpoint. Dozens of police officers and neighbourhood watch members patrolled outside the courthouse and kept an eye on foreign journalists and diplomats from the United States and Europe. Ni's daughter, Dong Xuan, said she was allowed in the court but was later taken away and briefly detained by police.

Ni and her supporters deny the charges and say she is being punished for her years of activism, especially her advocacy for people forced from their homes to make way for the fast-paced real-estate development that remade Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Ni has been jailed twice before. In a June 2010 interview with the Associated Press news agency, she described abuse she suffered at the hands of police, saying that guards had beaten her, insulted her and urinated on her face. While in detention in 2002, police pinned her down and kicked her knees until she was unable to walk, she said. While serving her second prison term, Ni said she was deprived of her crutches and had to crawl up and down five stories and across the prison yard every day for months.

Dissidents Involved with the Sichuan Earthquake

20111103-Voa Tao Zanzen 9jun1o.jpg
Free Tan Zuoren protest
Tan Zuoren, an author and environmentalist, was detained in March 2009 after he spoke with foreign journalists about the Sichuan Earthquake and the shoddy construction of schools in the province. All his defense witnesses were barred from entering the court during his trial on August 12, and one, Ai Weiwei, was punched by police. His a court case in the southwestern city of Chengdu was reportedly conducted so badly that his lawyer burst into tears.

Huang Qi, an activist in Sichuan, was also detained for speaking to foreign journalists about the protests by the families of schoolchildren killed in the Sichuan Earthquake. He was tried behind closed doors beginning in August 2009. In November 2009, he was sentenced to three years on charges of illegally possessing state secrets. Huang’s wife said the decision was an act of “revenge.”

Activist Beaten in Cemetery

In April 2009, Sun Wenguang, a 75-year-old retired professor, was badly neaten after visiting the grave of Zhao Ziyang, a former prime minister and Communist Party reformer ousted for sympathizing with student-led, pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989,at a cemetery in Jinan, a city about 230 miles south of Beijing. He was attacked by four or five men who beat him so severely ne was hospitalized with three broken ribs and injuries to his spine, head, back, arms and legs, according to China Human Rights Defenders, a Hong Kong-based group. The group said the attack on Sun was part of a concerted effort by the Chinese government to head off any efforts to memorialize the deaths of hundreds of Tiananmen Square protesters on the 20th anniversary of the government’s crackdown. [Source: Sharon Lafranier, New York Times, April 7, 2009]

As Sun left the teacher’s dormitory at Shandong University, he said, a public security officer and about 20 plainclothes officers tried to stop him. They said, “Don’t go there today. So many people are going there. It is dangerous,” he said. When he got into a taxi, a car followed him. He said he had started down a cemetery path, carrying a banner that read Condolences for the heroes who died for freedom, when four or five men jumped him from behind.

Sun said the attackers lifted him off the ground, threw him into a deep ditch, and kicked and beat him for more than 10 minutes. Other people came to the edge of the ditch, he said, but nobody tried to help. Finally, a uniformed officer showed up and called an ambulance, he said. In the four days he has been in the hospital, the police have not shown up to investigate, he said.

Sun has a long history of activism. He was imprisoned for seven years in the 1970s for criticizing Mao and his successor, Hua Guofeng, and was among the first to sign Charter 08, a manifesto issued in December that calls for democratic reforms.

Other Dissidents in China

20111103-Wikicommons GaoYaojie2.jpg
Gao Yaojie
In May 2001, eight intellectuals were arrested for starting a book club without official permission. Dissident intellectuals rounded up in late 2004 and early 2005, included the poet journalist Shi Tao in Hunan province, scholar Zheng Yichun in Liaoning, essayist Zhang Lin in Anhui and painter Yan Zhengxue in Zhejiang. Well-known essayist Huang Jinqiu was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

In October 2003, Li Jianfeng, a former court official was sentenced to 16 years in prison supervision for attempting to start an independent trade union. Human rights groups said Li was framed and tortured. In 2005, Sharon Hom, a prominent human rights activist with the New York-based Human Rights in China, was invited to a seminar in Beijing and then hustled away from her hotel for interrogation.

AIDS activist Gao Yaoje played a key role in bringing attention to AIDS in China, particularly with victims whop acquired the disease through blood transfusions in Henan Province. In 2007 she was freed from house arrest thanks to efforts by U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and allowed to fly to he United States to receive a human rights award.

Yu Huanfend, an editor of the Southern Metropolitan Daily, a newspaper known for its aggressive reporting on corruption and other issues, was imprisoned on corruption charges after his paper reported on the beating death of an imprisoned man. He was freed in February 2008 after serving four years. Around the same time two other prominent journalists who had been imprisoned---Ching Cheong, a Hong -Kong-based reporter for the Singapore Strait Times, and and Lin Changqing of the Fuzhou Daily---were released.

Other imprisoned dissidents include writer and cyber dissident Lu Gengsong who frequently wrote about corruption and was sentenced to four years in prison in January 2008; Yang Chunlin, who focused on land rights issues and was sentenced to five years in prison.

The Chinese activist Feng Zhenghu spent 92 days living at Narita airport in Tokyo because the Chinese government wouldn’t let him in the country. The stand off ended when the Chinese finally relented and let him in. Feng headed an economic research institute but was fired after he criticized Beijing’s handling of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. He spent much of his time at Narita sleeping and reading next to the immigration counters at the airport. Feng was sentenced to three years in prison in the early 2000s after criticizing Chinese regulations against foreign company investment. Eight time he tried to enter China but was rebuffed by officials.

In January 2010, former Tiananmen student leader Zhou Yongjun was sentenced to nine years in jail in a Sichuan court after he was caught in Hong Kong traveling with a false identity and transferred to the mainland.

In June 2009, Wu Gaoxing was taken from his home in the eastern city of Taizho. He had recently cosigned a letter complaining about the economic discrimination of dissidents.

Veteran dissident Wang Rongqing was sentenced to six years in jail in January 2009 for “subversion of state power” for helping to organize an opposition group, the China Democratic Party. As of 2009 nine members of the China Democratic Party were in jail.

Ran Yunfei, a writer and blogger, was detained in February 2011 and formally arrested in March for "inciting subversion of state power".

In October 2009, Mo Zhixu, a leading intellectual was put under house arrest. Mo is an author and the recently elected head of China’s PEN center,a charity that defends the right to free speech. He is also one of the founders of Bullog.cn, one of China’s most influential websites.

See Spies, Newspapers, Internet, Tibet, Xinjiang

Tibetan Dissidents

See Tibet

Xinjiang Dissidents

Ilham Tohti, a Uighur Muslim university professor, was arrested after the race riots in Urumqi, on suspicion of disseminating information through his blog.

See Xinjiang

Chinese-American Activists Detained in China

Nationals and Chinese residents from other countries arrested in China are usually detained for a few days or a few weeks and expelled from the country. Among those subjected to this treatment have been Li Shomin, a Chinese-born scholar who earned a PhD at Princeton; Hua Di, a Chinese-born permanent U.S. resident and scholar at Stanford; Daja Meston, an American found nosing around in Tibet; and Kang Zhenghuo, a Chinese language teacher at Yale University and permanent resident of the United States

Gao Zhan, a sociologist at the American University in Washington D.C., spent five months in a Beijing jail on charges of spying for Taiwan. Her husband and 5-year-old son were held for 26 days before being released. Her release was secured by a phone call from U.S. President George Bush to Chinese President Jiang Zemin. In November 2003, Gao was arrested in the United States for selling $1 million worth high-tech items with potential military applications to China, a crime that she confessed to and was given a seven month prison term. In 2006, United States Homeland Security was working hard to have here deported to China

In April 2001,Wu Jianmin, a journalist and former academic and U.S. citizen, was arrested on charges of spying on Taiwan. He had been involved with publishing the book the Tiananmen Papers.

Yang Jianli, Boston-based democracy advocate, was arrested in 2002 after entering China to help a labor rights movement in Xinjiang and was sentenced to five years in prison for illegal entry and spying for Taiwan. He has two doctorates, from Harvard and Berkeley, and chosen to keep his Chinese citizenship even though he has been in the United States for more than a decade. Yang was released after five years in prison in 2007. He said that while he was in prison he was beaten, given electric shocks, hand cuffed for weeks at a time and forced to sit on a bench for hours without moving.

Image Sources: Wiki Commons Taipei TC; Learn to Question; More Less com; China News Digest; AP, Harvard Business School

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated April 2012


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from factsanddetails.com, please contact me.