Submission to UN on Ding Mao – July 7, 2011

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Communiqué on behalf of Ding Mao, citizen of People’s Republic of China, Alleging Arbitrary Arrest or Detention and Violation of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression




1. Family name: Ding (丁)
2. First name: Mao (矛)
3. Sex: Male
4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): November 9, 1967
5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China (Han)
6. (a) Identity document (if any): ID Card
7. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): Mr. Ding was the general manager of an investment company in Mianyang City, Sichuan Province before his detention and arrest. He is a longtime dissident and pro-democracy activist.
8. Address of usual residence: Mianyang City, Sichuan Province


II. Arrest


1. Date of arrest: February 19, 2011
2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): Funan District, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province
3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: Chengdu City Public Security Bureau
4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority? Unknown.


III. Detention


1. Date of detention: Ding was placed under criminal detention in Mianyang City on February 20, 2011 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” On March 28, 2011, Ding’s family received a notice stating that Ding had been formally arrested.
2. Duration of detention: From February 20, 2011 through the present (i.e., ongoing) .
3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: Mianyang City Public Security Bureau
4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Mianyang City Detention Center
5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Mianyang City Public Security Bureau, Mianyang City Procuratorate
6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: “inciting subversion of state power”
7. Relevant legislation applied (if known): Article 105 (2) of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China: “Whoever incites others by spreading rumors or slanders or any other means to subvert the State power or overthrow the socialist system shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights; and the ringleaders and the others who commit major crimes shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than five years.”


IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to the arbitrary


According to the WGAD’s methods, deprivation of a person’s liberty is “arbitrary,” if the case falls into at least one or all of three categories:
A) When it is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him) (Category I);
B) When the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 10 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, insofar as States parties are concerned, by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Category II); (i.e., rights to free opinion, speech, expression, press, assembly, association, and demonstration, etc.)
C) When the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character (Category III).
On the evening of February 19, Ding was playing mah jongg with friends in Chengdu City when he was taken away by four police officers. On February 20, he was taken to Mianyang City and placed under criminal detention by the Mianyang City Public Security Bureau on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” The precise reason for Ding’s detention is not known; however, Ding is a well-known veteran dissident and activist, and it is likely that his detention is in retaliation for his political writings and activities. As a philosophy student at Lanzhou University in the late 1980s, Ding became a student leader during the 1989 pro-democracy protests. He was twice imprisoned for his activism, first in 1989 and again in 1992 when he was arrested for organizing the Social Democratic Party. He spent a total of 10 years in jail.
We believe that Ding’s detention is arbitrary based on the stipulations of Category II (set forth in paragraph B above). Ding’s arrest and detention have come in retaliation for his expression of his own opinions as well as his efforts to exercise his rights. Ding’s arrest took place during the crackdown on civil society launched by the Chinese government following the “Arab Spring” and anonymous online calls for “Jasmine Revolution” protests in China earlier this year, which was used by officials as a pretext to target many longtime activists and dissidents, even if they had no personal connection to the calls for protests. Ding’s detention also implicates Category III because he has been denied access to the lawyer his family hired for him.
The charge of “inciting subversion of state power” is frequently used by the Chinese government to prosecute activists and dissidents for the nonviolent expression of their ideas. Neither the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China nor relevant regulations or interpretations define ”subversion,” or what it means to “incite” others to ”subvert” state power.


V. Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, as appropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken.


Ding has been unable to pursue any domestic legal remedies because police in Mianyang City have blocked meetings between him and a lawyer hired by his family. Police have claimed that his case “involves state secrets” as justification for their actions. “State secrets” is a vague term that is routinely invoked by public security officers to deny detainees, particularly those considered “politically sensitive,” access to counsel. There is no procedure by which a detainee or his lawyer can challenge a “state secrets” determination. However, even if Ding were allowed to consult with his lawyer, we do not believe that he would be able to successfully challenge his arrest and detention. Based on past experiences of individuals formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power,” we believe that Ding will almost certainly face a conviction and prison sentence.



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