Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜)

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Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜)

Ding Jiaxi 丁家喜

Current Detention

Criminal Charge: “Subversion of state power”

Length of Punishment: 12 years

Court: Linshu County Court

Trial Date: June 24, 2022

Sentencing Date: April 10, 2023

Dates of Detention/Arrest: December 26, 2019 (detained); Date unknown (residential surveillance in a designated location); June 19, 2020 (formal arrest); June 24, 2022 (trial); April 10, 2023 (sentenced)

Place of Incarceration: Unknown (December 26, 2019-June 19, 2020); Linshu County Detention Center, Shandong Province (June 19, 2020 – present)

Previous Detention

Crime: Gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place

Length of Punishment: three years and six months

Court: Haidian District People’s Court

Trial Date: April 8, 2014

Sentencing Date: April 18, 2014

Dates of Detention/Arrest: April 17, 2013 (detained); May 24, 2013 (arrested); October 16, 2016 (released)

Place of Incarceration: Beijing No. 2 Prison

Indictment: Beijing Municipal Haidian District People’s Procuratorate Indictment (English and Chinese)

Verdict: Beijing Municipal Haidian District People’s Court Criminal Verdict (Chinese)

Background on Current Detention

Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), a disbarred lawyer-turned-activist based in Beijing, was detained in the capital by police from Yantai City, Shandong Province on the evening of December 26, 2019, and placed under incommunicado detention. In taking him into custody, police also searched the residence where he was staying and confiscated his computer, phone, and other personal belongings, all without presenting a detention notice or search warrant. Ding was among a group of activists and lawyers across China who were swept up after attending a private gathering in Fujian Province held on December 7-8, 2019, including Dai Zhenya, Li Yingjun, and Zhang Zhongshun. Police later detained prominent legal activist Xu Zhiyong in February as a part of the crackdown.

Ding has not been permitted a lawyer visit during his detention. On January 8, 2020, police informed his lawyer, Peng Jian (彭剑), who wished to meet Ding, that his client had been placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location,” but they did not produce any legal documentation on his case. Two days later, Peng Jian received a phone call from the Yantai City Public Security Bureau notifying him that he would not be allowed to meet with Ding because Ding was being held on accusation of “inciting subversion of state power.” Lawyer Peng challenged Yantai police’s handling of Ding’s case and made several requests: the Yantai City People’s Procuratorate inspect what he believed was unlawful behavior of the Yantai City PSB, notify Ding Jiaxi’s family in writing of the decision to apply compulsory measures against Ding, and provide case details to him as Ding’s lawyer. Lawyer Peng did not receive any responses to these requests.

On June 19, 2020, Linyi Public Security Bureau arrested Ding Jiaxi of “inciting subversion,” as the period of RSDL was approaching the end date. His older sister received the written notification on June 23. Ding’s case was originally handled by Yantai Public Security Bureau. Ding’s family didn’t receive any explanation about the change. His lawyer was not allowed to meet him after travelling to the detention center on July 8.

On November 19, 2020, as the period of investigation was ending, Xu Zhiyong’s sister called the task force and was told that the prosecutors applied Article 159 of the Criminal Procedure Law to extend the investigation period of Ding Jiaxi and Xu Zhiyong’s case to January 19, 2021. Under Article 159, if a person may be sentenced to over 10-year prison sentence, prosecutors can extend the investigation period by two months.

In January 2021, it was learned that the criminal charges had been changed from “inciting subversion” to the more serious crime of “subversion”.

In August 2021, both Ding and Xu were indicted. The indictments against Ding and Xu accuse them of forming the “Citizens Movement,” creating a Telegram group chat, and organizing the December 2019 Xiamen meeting. The indictments also point to both men’s writing—such as essays and articles—as “evidence” of their crimes. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued opinions deeming the detentions of Xu and Ding to be arbitrary under international law, and has called for their immediate release.

Ding Jiaxi’s wife and Ding Jiaxi himself have filed applications to exclude “illegally obtained evidence”, meaning confessions obtained through torture, although as of this publishing this appears to have been unsuccessful.

On June 22, 2022 Ding Jiaxi was subjected to a secret trial at the Linshu County Court.

On April 10, 2023 the Linshu County Court sentenced Ding Jiaxi to 12 years imprisonment and 3 years deprivation of political rights, and Xu Zhiyong to 14 years imprisonment.

Background on Previous Detention

Ding had previously served a 3½-year prison sentence after being convicted of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” in April 2014. Prior to that punishment, Ding was seized in April 2013, when police searched his home, office, and car, in an apparent attempt to produce evidence of his involvement in the “New Citizens Movement,” a loose network of activists spearheaded by the professor and legal advocate Xu Zhiyong (许志永) that had promoted social justice and political and legal reforms. Specifically, Ding was suspected of taking part in an anti-corruption campaign calling for the disclosure of top Chinese officials’ financial assets, over which police had been closely monitoring his activities.

Ding’s trial, which had been scheduled for January 27, 2014, was postponed after his lawyer resigned in protest over legal and procedural violations. Ding’s detention was ruled “arbitrary” by the Working Group on Arbitrary detention in April 2015, which recommended he be released and compensated for the harm caused by his incarceration. However, Ding remained in prison and was only released on October 16, 2016 at the end of his sentence.

According to a lawyers visit conducted in October 2021, Ding Jiaxi’s health is not good due to the poor detention conditions. The food provided is of poor quality. He’s lost hair, is developing vitiligo (white patches appearing on his skin), has developed arthritis, has diarrhea, and swelling in his lower leg. Swelling could be due to a kidney issue. He’s having teeth problems.

Born on August 17, 1967, Ding Jiaxi began his activism in 2010 by pushing for the right of migrant workers’ children to take college entrance exams at the location of their current residence rather than needing to return to a place of origin. He also had offered legal assistance and provided food to petitioners in Beijing.

Further Information

2021 Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Ding Jiaxi, Zhang Zhongshun and Dai Zhenya, September 6-10, CHRD

CHRD Follow-Up Communiqué Alleging Torture or Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of former Chinese lawyer Ding Jiaxi, activists Xu Zhiyong, Li Qiaochu, and lawyer Chang Weiping during periods of their Enforced Disappearance and Arbitrary Detention in reprisals against them for Exercising their Freedom of Expression, Peaceful Assembly and Association, April 2, 2021, CHRD

Chinese government response on case of Ding Jiaxi, Zhang Zhongshun and Dai Zhenya, April 2, 2020

China: UN experts gravely concerned by enforced disappearance of three human rights defenders, March 23, 2020, OHCHR

Five UN Special Procedures Inquiry to China on Violations of Rights of Ding Jiaxi, Zhang Zhongshun and Dai Zhenya, March 9, 2020, OHCHR

Communiqué Alleging Arbitrary Detention of DING Jiaxi, ZHANG Zhongshun, DAI Zhenya, February 11, 2020, CHRD

China: Release Human Rights Lawyer Chang Weiping & End the Current Round of Arrests, January 15, 2020, CHRD

Urgent Action: China Must Release Activists/Lawyers Detained for Peaceful Assembly, January 2, 2020, CHRD

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Opinion No. 3/2015 (China) on Ding Jiaxi, May 22, 2015

[CHRB] Sentences, Trials, Arrests in Ongoing Crackdown: A CHRD Guide (4/18-4/24/2014), CHRD

Chinese government response to case of Ding Jiaxi, August 20, 2014

Submission to UN on Ding Jiaxi, April 24, 2014, CHRD

Chinese Authorities Must Release Activists, End Escalating Crackdown on Free Expression, April 19, 2013, CHRD

Individuals Detained in the Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association & Expression, July 17, 2013, CHRD

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