Miao Deshun (苗德顺)

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Miao DeshunŸ 苗德顺

(believed to be released)

Crime: Arson

Length of Punishment: Death sentence, suspended two years; commuted to life imprisonment in December 21, 1991; commuted to 20-year fixed sentence in September 16, 1998

Court: Beijing Municipality Intermediate People’s Court

Trial Date: July 8, 1989

Sentencing Date: October 26, 1989

Dates of Detention/Arrest: June 4, 1989 (detained); arrest date unknown; October 15, 2016 (expected release date)

Place of Incarceration: Yanqing Prison, Beijing Municipality

Background Information

Miao Deshun (苗德顺), born in 1963, is believed to be the last person still imprisoned since being detained when the 1989 pro-democracy movement was suppressed in Beijing and other cities. Miao, a factory worker at the time, was seized on June 4 for allegedly throwing a basket on a burning tank near Wukong Bridge in Beijing. In October 1989, he was issued a death sentence, suspended for two years, on a charge of “arson.” His sentence was subsequently commuted twice, and he is due to be released in 2018. US-based NGO Duihua reported they had received information that Miao had received an 11-month sentence reduction and would be released in October 2016.

Miao was first held in Beijing No. 1 Prison, but was transferred to Beijing No. 2 Prison after his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. There, authorities reportedly tortured Miao for his refusal to admit guilt and do manual labor. Miao was beaten, sometimes with electric prods. In likely retaliation for his defiance, authorities diagnosed Miao with a mental disorder and transferred him to Yanqing Prison, which houses elderly and mentally ill prisoners. Authorities kept Miao in the psychiatric ward, forced him to take psychiatric drugs, and confined him to his bed for extended periods. Miao remains held in Yanqing Prison, but no further details are known about his current situation.

Further Information

“Grass Blades of Unknown Persons: The Last June 4th Death Row Prisoner – Miao Deshun” (徐行健:“无人知道的小草”——最后的“六四死囚”苗德顺), June 4, 2014, Democratic China.

“Report on the State of June 4th Victims” (1989年六四镇压受害者状况民间报告), October 7, 2010, Rights Defense Network.

Tiananmen Anniversary Marked by Harassment, Detentions, and Official Silence, June 3, 2010, CHRD.

The Legacy of Tiananmen: 20 Years of Oppression, Activism and Hope, June 1, 2009, CHRD.

Nineteen Years on, Tiananmen Protesters Still Languish in Prison, June 3, 2008, CHRD.

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