Submission to UN on Ran Yunfei – July 7, 2011

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Communiqué on behalf of Ran Yunfei, citizen of People’s Republic of China, Alleging Arbitrary Arrest or Detention and Violation of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and Persecution of Human Rights Defenders




1. Family name:  Ran (冉)

2. First name:  Yunfei (云飞)

3. Sex: Male

4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): 46

5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China (Tu ethnic minority) 6. Identity document (if any): ID Card

7. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): Ran is a writer, blogger, and activist.  Before his arrest and detention, he was an employee of the magazine Sichuan Literature. He blogs at <> and his Twitter account( @ranyunfei) has more than 44,000 followers.

8. Address of usual residence: Chengdu City, Sichuan Province


II. Arrest

1. Date of arrest: February 20, 2011

2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): 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. Ran was called for “tea” (i.e., summoned for questioning) by police officers on the morning of February 20, and did not return home after that. A detention notice was issued four days later.


III. Detention

1. Date of detention: February 24, 2011

2. Duration of detention: From February 24, 2011 through the present (i.e.,ongoing)

3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: Chengdu City Public Security Bureau

4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Dujiangyan Detention Center

5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Chengdu City Public Security Bureau

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 morning of February 20, 2011, police in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province contacted Ran and asked him to meet them “for tea.” Ran left his home and did not return. Officers later searched his home and confiscated his computer. Ran’s wife received a notice on February 24 stating that Ran had been criminally detained for “subversion of state power;” however, on March 25 Ran was formally arrested on a different charge, “inciting subversion of state power,” according to a formal arrest notice received by his wife. It is not known why the charge was changed.

We believe that Ran’s detention is arbitrary based on the stipulations of Category II (set forth in paragraph B above). It is believed that Ran was arrested and detained in retaliation for his writings, which expressed his opinions on political, social, and human rights-related issues. Some of the last tweets from his Twitter account, which has more than 44,000 followers, included posts about Bahrain, Libya, and the “Jasmine Revolution.” His 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.

The charge of “inciting subversion of state power” is frequently used by the Chinese government to persecute human rights activists and dissidents for the nonviolent expression of their opinions and 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.

It is unknown what, if any, steps Ran has been able to take to challenge his detention. He has yet to be brought before a judge, and it is unlikely that he has had access to a lawyer.


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