Jia Lingmin (贾灵敏)Comments Off on Jia Lingmin (贾灵敏)
Jia Lingmin 贾灵敏
Crime: Creating a disturbance
Length of Punishment: 4 years
Court: Gongyi City People’s Court, Zhengzhou, Henan Province
Trial Date: June 2, 2015
Sentencing Date: November 5, 2015
Dates of Detention/Arrest: May 7, 2014 (detained); May 30, 2014 (arrested)
Place of Incarceration: Xinxiang Women’s Prison, Henan Province
Appeal Hearing Date: April 28, 2016
Appeal Court: Zhengzhou Intermediate People’s Court, Henan Province
Appeal Ruling: Upheld original conviction
Henan activist Jia Lingmin (贾灵敏) was criminally detained on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order” on May 8, 2014, one day after she was taken into custody while trying to aid forced demolition victims. Her detention was reportedly in reprisal for her efforts to use police channels to request help for people facing forced demolitions, and came during a time of increased suppression around the 25th anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre. During the incident in May, Jia approached a police vehicle in the hope that officers may intervene on behalf of those losing their homes. However, when she saw the men inside lacked clear police identification, Jia began to photograph them—as evidence that they were plainclothes police—but her cell phone was snatched away, and she was pushed into the vehicle and taken to a police station. She was then taken to Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center. Local authorities initially blocked lawyers’ requests to see her by registering Jia in their system under a different name. Her lawyers were eventually able to meet her two weeks later. According to her lawyer, Jia staged a hunger strike in protest of the unlawful behavior by local authorities. On May 30, police formally arrested her on a charge of “creating a disturbance.” The local procuratorate has returned her case twice to the police for further investigation due to lack of evidence of any criminal offense.
Gongyi City People’s Court in Zhengzhou scheduled the trial of Jia and her associate Liu Diwei (刘地伟) for April 27, 2015 before it was adjourned. A hearing was then held on May 14, but was again adjourned two days later when Jia dismissed her lawyers in protest over procedural violations, and then restarted on June 2. On November 5, 2015, Jia received a four-year prison sentence. She said through her lawyer after sentencing: “I have not broken the law, even if you lock me up; inside or outside of prison, I will persist in spreading knowledge of the law, and am willing to make the personal sacrifice to raise awareness of the law in more citizens.” Her appeal was rejected in April 2016 and Jia was sent to Xinxiang Women’s Prison.
Born in 1965, Jia Lingmin was a middle school teacher for over two decades. In 2012, Jia ran in a local election in Henan as an independent candidate. Frequently harassed, beaten, and illegally detained by authorities, Jia Lingmin has fought for the rights of individuals who, like herself, have had their homes forcibly demolished. Jia’s home in Henan was demolished without consent in 2010 after authorities kidnapped her and her family. Since then, she has petitioned and used legal recourses to seek redress, but to no avail. Jia attempted self-immolation after authorities removed a temporary shelter she put together next to the remains of her home. Through her struggle, Jia began to actively promote rights awareness and share tactics with others. Over time, she has given hundreds of lectures across China, including in Beijing and the provinces of Jiangsu and Fujian, on best practices for rights defense, such as how to monitor police behavior and engage legal procedures. Through her activism, Jia also has shown support for others and participated in rallies demanding release of detained lawyers, such as Wang Quanzhang (王全章) in Jiangsu, and activists like Zhang Lin (张林) in Anhui Province. In addition to helping petitioners and activists on the ground, Jia has used social media to discuss information about rights advocacy and share videotaped lectures.