Zhao Haitong (赵海通)

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Zhao Haitong (赵海通)

Zhao Haitong 赵海通

Zhao Haitong 赵海通

Crime: Inciting subversion of state power

Length of Punishment: 14 years

Court: Urumqi Intermediate People’s Court (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region)

Trial Date: May 13, 2014

Sentencing Date: Unknown

Dates of Detention/Arrest: August 10, 2013 (detained); September 12, 2013 (arrested)

Place of Incarceration: Wusu City Prison

Appeal Sentencing Date: October 2014


Activist Zhao Haitong (赵海通) of Xinjiang was sentenced in a secret trial in May 2014. Neither his lawyers nor family were informed about his trial or the subsequent appeal; instead, his family received notification weeks after the court’s verdict. Reportedly, local authorities deliberately blocked all information regarding his trial and assigned him a lawyer during the hearing. Zhao was sentenced almost 10 months after he initially disappeared in Xinjiang, when he was forcibly taken away while helping local Uyghurs lodge grievances against authorities. According to his lawyer, Zhao has been in poor health in detention.

Born in 1962, Zhao Haitong was jailed in 1989 during the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. In recent years, Zhao has been active in Guangdong Province with various advocacy efforts, including participating in protests against Internet censorship and official corruption. In addition, Zhao also provided support to detained activists like Liu Benqi (本琦) and Liu Yuandong (刘远东) by visiting them, giving donations, and showing support at their trials. In 2013, Zhao demonstrated and participated in a hunger strike demanding that activist Zhang Lin (张林)’s daughter be given equal access to education in Anhui Province. Due to his rights defense activities, Zhao has suffered frequent retaliation. In 2012, he was arbitrary detained for a month prior to June Fourth anniversary, and brutally beaten in 2013 after he went to visit prominent democracy activist Qin Yongmin, a participant in the Democracy Wall movement in 1979 and co-founder of the China Democracy Party. Zhao had an asthma attack during the beating when his hands were handcuffed, but police did not provide any medical assistance.

Further Information

Submission to the UN Alleging Arbitrary Detention of Zhao Haitong, October 21, 2019, CHRD

[CHRB] Arrest and Detentions in Xinjiang, Another “Black Jail” Uncovered in Beijing (11/1-7, 2013)

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