Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫)

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Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫)

Zhu Yufu 


*Previously under medical watch

 Current Detention

Crime: Inciting subversion of state power 

Court: Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court 

Length of Punishment: 7 years

Trial date: January 31, 2012 

Sentencing date: February 10, 2012

Dates of Detention/Arrest: March 5, 2011 (detention); April 11, 2011 (arrest); March 4, 2018 (released)

Verdict: Zhejiang Province Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court (Chinese only)

Appeal Sentencing Date: April 5, 2012

Appeal Sentencing Court: Zhejiang Province High People’s Court

Appeal Ruling: Upheld original ruling

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

Date of Birth: February 13, 1953

Medical Condition(s): Coronary heart disease, cerebral vascular sclerosis, lumbar disk herniation, hypertension, high cholesterol

Place of Incarceration: Zhejiang Provincial No. 4 Prison (Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province)


Hangzhou police seized Zhu Yufu in March of 2011 and criminally detained him on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” He was formally arrested the next month. His wife Zhang Hangli (姜杭丽) appealed to authorities in July 2011 to release Zhu on bail due to his longstanding poor health, but her request was rejected and the case against Zhu proceeded. On October 25, 2011, the Shangcheng County People’s Court notified Zhu’s lawyer that it had approved an application to dismiss charges against Zhu, though he remained detained. According to the lawyer, the procuratorate cited “changes in factual evidence” in seeking dismissal of the charges. However, the case was re-submitted for prosecution in December of 2011. In the procuratorate’s indictment, authorities cited as “evidence” a poem, “It’s Time!,” that Zhu wrote and shared during online calls for “Jasmine Rallies” in early 2011, as well as other writings he had published online, his calls for monetary donations for prisoners of conscience, and interviews that he had given. When given the opportunity to speak in court, Zhu argued that his activities were exercises of protected freedoms, and that none constituted “inciting subversion,” but the court convicted him and handed down a seven-year prison sentence.

Zhu suffers from a number of conditions, some of which were brought about by torture or exacerbated by prison conditions. Authorities have rejected or ignored his family’s numerous requests for medical parole. Zhu discovered in the 1990s that he had vascular hypertrophy (thickening of vascular walls in the heart), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and coronary heart disease. Despite these conditions, Zhu was still sent to prison to serve his sentence. In March 2012, Zhu Yufu suffered a sudden onset of cerebral vascular sclerosis after prison guards tortured him. In November 2012, Zhu was only able to walk by leaning up against a wall for support. A coronary artery tumor, lumbar disc herniation, and hypertension—all exacerbated during previous incarcerations—continued to go untreated. He had also become emaciated due to malnutrition; prison authorities prevented him from purchasing “nutrition meals,” ostensibly because he had not fulfilled his production quota at the prison plant.

After visiting Zhu in April 2013, his wife was interrogated for over an hour and threatened not to discuss her husband’s health condition with anyone, lest the family lose visiting privileges and risk being held criminally liable for “rumors” that “slandered” authorities. She had observed during that April 2013 visit that his head was swollen, and Zhu stressed to her that he feared that he would not survive much longer in prison because of his declining health. She also reported his health declined in part due to deprivations and abuses that had occurred in retaliation for his family’s trip to the United States, during which they sought support for his release. In May 2013, he reportedly had several fainting spells due to physical weakness, and in December his wife made her fourth application for release on medical parole, which she sent to several different provincial government offices in addition to the prison.

His wife has faced reprisals for demanding his release, and has been threatened by police not to discuss her husband’s health conditions. During a visit in January 2014, family members found that Zhu suffers from regular headaches and high blood pressure. Authorities reportedly told the family not to apply for medical parole again, as it would be “useless,” but they applied anyway. After they received the application, prison authorities gave Zhu an electrocardiogram and blood pressure test, then told the family that he didn’t meet the “conditions for medical parole.” Zhu was released in March 2018 after serving his full sentence.

Born on February 13, 1953, Zhu was a veteran Democracy Wall activist in the 1970s. In 1999, he was convicted of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to seven years in prison for founding the Opposition Party (在野党) magazine, which carried articles about the China Democratic Party. After his release in 2006, he spoke out against the torture he suffered in prison and continued to promote democratization. He was detained again in 2007 after a confrontation with a police officer who was questioning his son, and sentenced to two years in prison for “beating police” and “hindering public duty.” 

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

Further Information

Update to UN on Urgent Appeal of Mr Zhu Yufu, May 17, 2013, CHRD

Update to UN on Urgent Appeal of Mr. Zhu Yufu, November 30, 2012, CHRD

Zhu Yufu & Other Cases: PR China Reply & CHRD Response, June 25, 2012, CHRD

Chinese Dissident Zhu Yufu Tried for ‘Inciting Subversion,’ No Verdict Announced, January 31, 2012, CHRD

Submission to UN on Zhu Yufu: Communiqué on behalf of Zhu Yufu, citizen of People’s Republic of China, Alleging Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, Persecution of Human Rights Defenders and Violation of Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, July 11, 2011, CHRD

Individuals Affected by the Crackdown Following Call for “Jasmine Revolution”, August 17, 2011, CHRD

Democracy Activist Zhu Yufu Given Harsher Sentence after Re-trial, April 10, 2008, CHRD

Zhu Yufu Sentenced to Two Years: Zhejiang Veteran Democracy Activist Sent back to Jail – A rare public trial failed to adhere to fair trial principle, July 12, 2007, CHRD

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