Yuan Fengchu (袁奉初)Comments Off on Yuan Fengchu (袁奉初)
Yuan Fengchu 袁奉初
Crime: Picking quarrels and provoking trouble & gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place
Length of Punishment: Four years
Court: Chibi City People’s Court, Hubei
Trial Date: April 19, 2016
Sentencing Date: May 9, 2016
Dates of Detention/Arrest: May 25, 2013 (detained); July 12, 2013 (arrested); May 17, 2017 (released)
Place of Incarceration: Chibi City Detention Center (Hubei Province)
Criminal Complaint: Chibi City Public Security Bureau Recommendation for Prosecution (Chinese)
Indictment: Chibi City People’s Procuratorate Indictment (Chinese)
Yuan Fengchu (aka Yuan Bing 袁兵) was detained in Chibi City in Hubei Province with fellow activists Yuan Xiaohua (袁小华) and Huang Wenxun (黄文勋) in late May 2013 while on an “advocacy tour” that was intended to encourage civic activism and promote democracy and rule of law. Yuan was first held for 15 days under administrative detention on “unlawful assembly” charges, before police criminally detained Yuan for “inciting subversion of state power” on June 8, 2013 and then formally arrested him on that charge on July 13. He was denied access to his lawyer until that October 8, 2013. Yuan reported mistreatment in the detention facility by a fellow inmate. His lawyer also observed during their first meeting a wound on Yuan’s head with 5-6 stiches that he sustained as a result of an attack by a fellow inmate. Detention center guards ignored Yuan’s complaints about abuse and failed to investigate the incident. Yuan also reported to his lawyer that police repeatedly threatened him during interrogations and that he had been forced to do manual labour in the detention center.
Several months later in January 2014, the procuratorate proceeded to indict him on a different charge, “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” On March 13, 2014, Chibi City People’s Court held a pre-trial meeting for Yuan Fengchu, Yuan Xiaohua, and Huang Wenxun’s case, but did not hold a trial afterwards, to the suprise of the defence lawyers. Over a year later in October 2015, the procuratorate again changed the criminal charge, this time to “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Another pre-trial meeting was held on November 6, 2015. Yuan and Yuan Xiaohua were tried by Chibi City People’s Court on April 19, 2016 on two charges, “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Yuan was released in May 2017 at the end of his sentence.
Born in 1982 in Hubei, Yuan moved to Guangdong Province and began to engage in activities promoting democracy since 2010. Yuan said he learned about Sun Yatsen’s Three Principles of the People and concepts of democracy from his grandfather and father when he was young. He travelled across China meeting activists and discussing strategies to move the democracy movement forward. Formerly a school security guard, Yuan lost his job after local authorities forcibly returned him to Hubei in 2012. Despite constant arbitrary detentions and violent retaliation, Yuan continued to protest peacefully on the streets on topics ranging from anti-corruption to ratification of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights from late 2012 until he was detained. He had previously been detained with activist Liu Yuandong (刘远东) in January 2013 while taking part in a demonstration in support of the Southern Weekly newspaper outside its headquarters in Guangzhou.