Tan Zuoren (谭作人)

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Tan Zuoren (谭作人)

Tan Zuoren  谭作人


Recent Detention

Crime:  Inciting subversion of state power 

Court:  Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court

Length of Punishment: 5 Years

Trial date:  August 12, 2009

Sentencing date:  February 9, 2010

Dates of Detention/Arrest:  March 28, 2009 (detention);April 24, 2009 (arrest); March 27, 2014 (released)

Place of Detention: Wenjiang City Detention Center (Wenjiang City, Sichuan Province)

Verdict: Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court (Chinese only)

Appeal Sentencing Date: June 9, 2010

Appeal Sentencing Court: Sichuan Province HighPeople’s Court

Appeal Ruling: Upheld original ruling

Verdict: Sichuan Province High People’s Court Criminal Verdict (Second-Instance: Chinese)


Tan is an activist, environmentalist, and former editor of Literati (文化人) magazine from Chengdu City, Sichuan Province. After the Sichuan earthquake in May of 2008, Tan published a number of online commentaries critical of the government. In February 2009, he released a proposal calling on netizens to travel to Sichuan to compile a list of students who died in the earthquake and to investigate the quality of collapsed school buildings, as well as to assist parents of these children efforts to seek legal justice. Born May 15, 1954, Tan had hoped to finish his investigation by the first anniversary of the earthquake, but he was taken into police custody in March of 2009. Tan served a five-year prison sentence on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” and was released in March 2014.

 Further Information

U.S. Must Underscore Importance of Human Rights Issues at Strategic and Economic Dialogue, May 6, 2011, CHRD

Tan Zuoren’s Harsh Sentence Upheld by Sichuan High Court, June 9, 2010, CHRD

Activist Tan Zuoren Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for “Inciting Subversion”, February 9, 2010, CHRD

U.S. Congressmen Urge Obama to Raise the Cases of Tan Zuoren and Huang Qi with the Chinese Government, October 30, 2009, CHRD

Has China Relaxed Media Control since the Beijing Olympics?, October 19, 2009, CHRD

Chengdu Police and Court Flout Law in ‘Truly Disgraceful’ Trial of Tan Zuoren, August 12, 2009, CHRD

Police Bar Public from Attending Trial of Earthquake Investigator Tan Zuoren, August 12, 2009, CHRD

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