Ding Hongfen (丁红芬)Comments Off on Ding Hongfen (丁红芬)
Ding Hongfen 丁红芬
Crime: Intentional damage to property
Length of Punishment: 21 months
Court: Binhu District People’s Court (Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province)
Trial Date: October 25-26, 2014
Sentencing Date: November 27, 2014
Dates of Detention/Arrest: June 23, 2013 (detained), May 29, 2014 (arrested); June 11, 2015 (released)
Place of Incarceration: Wuxi No. 2 Detention Center (Jiangsu Province)
Verdict: Binhu District People’s Court Criminal Verdict (Chinese)
In June 2013, Jiangsu-based activist Ding Hongfen (丁红芬) led a group of over 20 people to rescue five petitioners from a “black jail” set up inside a guesthouse. After the rescue, Ding disclosed the black jail to police, but scores of special task force officers arrived and took Ding and a dozen other activists away. They criminally detained Ding for “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order.” After over eight months of detention, during which the local procuratorate repeatedly returned her case to the police due to lack of evidence, Ding was released on “bail pending further investigation” in March 2014.
In the ensuing months, Ding and other activists went regularly to the local prosecutor’s office to file a suit regarding the black jail and mistreatment they suffered. As a result, they faced police reprisals and were repeatedly summoned for interrogation. On May 29, 2014, Ding and four other activists were formally arrested after they reported to police that one of the security guards at the local procuratorate was the same guard at the black jail that they uncovered in 2013. Their arrest warrants accused the activists of “intentional damage to property,” for allegedly damaging property in the guesthouse that was used as the black jail, including the door to the room where the freed individuals were locked up. During Ding’s trial, more than 200 supporters showed up in front of the courthouse. A month after the trial, Ding was sentenced to 21 months in prison and another activist, Shen Aibin, was sentenced to 19 months.
Born in 1968, Ding Hongfen was a victim of a forced home eviction and demolition in 2009. She and her family members began to petition in Jiangsu and Beijing, and were frequently disappeared and detained in black jails in retaliation. In 2012, Ding was held for more than 100 days in a “legal re-education center,” a type of black jail where she was starved and subjected to other forms of mistreatment. After her release, local authorities set up a surveillance camera across from where she lived to better monitor her activities. Ding’s freedom of movement was further restricted when authorities denied her a passport and visa for Hong Kong.