Chen Xi (陈西)

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Chen Xi (陈西)

Chen Xi   西

Under medical watch*

Current Detention

Crime:  Inciting subversion of state power

Court:  Guizhou Intermediate People’s Court

Trial date: December 26, 2011

Sentencing date:  December 26, 2011

Dates of Detention/Arrest:  November 29, 2011

Date of Release: November 28, 2021

Length of Punishment: 10 years, with an additional 3-year deprivation of political rights

Verdict: Guizhou Province Guiyang City Intermediate People’s Court Verdict (Chinese only)

Date of birth: February 28, 1954

Medical condition: Chronic enteritis

Place of Detention: Xingyi Prison, Xingyi City, Guizhou Province


Guiyang police arrested Chen Xi (aka Chen Youcai [陈友才]) in  November 2011. A week later on December 5, 2011, local authorities declared Chen’s NGO, the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, to be an “illegal organization.” Chen’s case is related to over 36 essays he wrote that were posted on overseas websites, and after he tried to obtain information about a local People’s Congress election. Chen’s case was sent to the Guizhou Intermediate People’s Court on December 16, only five days after Chen Xi’s family received notification of his arrest. Less than a month after being taken into custody, a Guizhou court sentenced Chen to ten years in prison during a hearing that lasted less than three hours. When Chen and his lawyer Sun Guangquan (孙光权) presented their defense arguments during the trial, they were repeatedly interrupted by the judge. Chen Xi was not allowed to give his final statement. He told the court he was innocent. He said that, given the problems with the legal system and the uselessness of trying to follow legal procedures, he would not appeal.

Chen was transferred to Xingyi Prison on January 17, 2012 and has been subjected to torture and inhumane treatmeent there. He began to suffer from chronic enteritis, an inflammation or infection of the digestive tract, which causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and fever and has not been given effective medical treatment. The cause of his condition is to due to the continuing inhumane living conditions in prison. Prison officials have restricted Chen’s rights to use the telephone and recieve letterChen’s wife Zhang Qunxuan (张群选) can only visit him once a month for 20 minutes under strict surveillance, and only upon approval from prison authorities. She raised alarm following several visits in 2014, reporting that his body had become very weak and thin in prison, and his mental state had become very poor. Chen told his wife he has been under tremendous psychological stress, due to ill-treatment from cellmates and solitary confinement. She is worried that without treatment he may die in prison.

Zhang Qunxuan first learned he was suffering from the stomach disease after a visit in January 21, 2014, when he told her he had been suffering from diarrhea since early December 2013 and had not received effective treatment. After a visit in May 2014, Zhang reported that her husband’s health had not improved; she found that he is very weak and thin, and that his mental state is very poor. After a visit on December 26, 2014, Zhang reported that Chen’s condition had worsened; he is extremely weak and has lost a lot of weight. She believes he now weighs approximately 120 pounds (55 kilos). The prison has given him some medication but they have had no effect. Authorities rejected Chen Xi’s lawyer’s application for medical parole made after the May 2014 visit. His wife filed a new application for release following the December 2014 visit but it was turned down.Prison officials told Chen’s wife that they will not approve such request no matter how many times she and their lawyers submit it.

In January 2015, Zhang again visited her husband, and reported to journalists afterwards that his condition was still poor and Chen was extremely thin and weak. Chen could only take the medication provided by the prison but it was reportedly still not effective. Zhang also reported that Chen’s communication rights with his friends and family had been restricted; he could not receive letters and could only speak to his family for three minutes every month. She was also under strict surveillance from police.

Chen has also been reportedly subjected to poor diet, inadequate medical care, and insufficient clothing during winter over the past five years. Prison authorities have rejected warm clothing sent by Chen’s family and at the same time refused to provide a thicker blanket or heating device for him. Chen has suffered from tissue damage on his hands, ears, and abdominal area every winter, when temperature have dropped to as low as 3 degrees Celsius. He has also been subjected to numerous forms of mistreatment, including being put under solitary confinement on multiple instances, abuses from cellmates.

Chen Xi was released from prison on November 28, 2021.

Originally from Guangxi Province, Chen Xi was a participant in the 1989 pro-democracy movement and co-founded the Guizhou chapter of the banned China Democracy Party and the Guizhou Human Rights Forum. Chen has written dozens of essays promoting democracy and human rights awareness. He was imprisoned in 1989 for three years for participating in the pro-democracy movement, and again in 1996 for 10 years for “organizing and leading counter-revolutionary group.” Guiyang authorities have also taken him into custody several times to prevent him from organizing human rights symposiums or other activities commemorating UN Human Rights Day, which has been a focus of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum. Prior to Chen’s current imprisonment, he was attempting to run as an independent candidate for a local People’s Congress election.

*CHRD’s Watch List of Detainees and Prisoners of Conscience in Need of Medical Attention

Further Information

Communication from 5 UN Special Rapporteurs to Chinese Government on Chen Xi’s Case, June 3, 2016, OHCHR

Submission to UN on Six Human Rights Defenders, May 16, 2016, CHRD

Communiqué on behalf of Chen Xi, citizen of the People’s Republic of China, Alleging Arbitrary Arrest Or Detention, and Violations Of Right To Freedom Of Expression and the Rights To Freedom Of Peaceful Assembly and Of Association, March 27, 2012, CHRD

Guizhou Activist Chen Xi Jailed for Ten Years for ‘Inciting Subversion, December 26, 2011, CHRD

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