#RememberJune4th: Former 1989 Participants Currently Detained/Jailed for Continued Rights ActivismComments Off on #RememberJune4th: Former 1989 Participants Currently Detained/Jailed for Continued Rights Activism
27 years after the Chinese government’s bloody suppression of the pro-democracy movement, a number of participants in the 1989 movement are currently detained or in prison for continuing their advocacy for human rights and democratic reforms. These individuals played leadership roles or joined the protests in 1989 as young students, professors, journalists, writers, or factory workers. Some of them served previous prison terms for their role in the movement and then resumed their pro-democracy and human rights activities after being released.
Ever since the pro-democracy movement was crushed, the Chinese government has censored information about the events, harassed or detained those who try to commemorate the anniversary, and persecuted those involved in the 1989 movement and their families. Punishments for June Fourth participants have tended to be harsher as authorities treated them as “criminal elements” and “recidivists;” many leading activists from the 1989 era have served lengthy or multiple prison sentences.
CHRD calls for the release of all prisoners of conscience, and urges the Chinese government to end its persecution of those who try to commemorate the victims of Tiananmen Massacre in China.
CHRD has documented a total of 22 cases involving 1989 student leaders and participants, listed below:
12 former 1989 participants serving prison sentences (in chronological order of imprisonment):
- Writer Yang Tongyan (杨同彦) has been serving a 12-year sentence since 2006 for his political activism. He was jailed for 10 years for participating in the 1989 movement;
- China Democracy Party (CDP) member Xie Changfa (谢长发) has been serving a 13- year sentence since 2009 for his work with that independent party. He spent two years in a Re-education through Labor camp for supporting the 1989 movement;
- Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) has been serving an 11-year sentence since 2009 for his leading role in the “Charter 08” campaign. A university lecturer in 1989, he was jailed for 18 months for his role in the movement;
- China Democracy Party member Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌) has been serving a 10-year sentence since 2011 for his advocacy. He served 30 months in prison for participating in the 1989 movement;
- Activist Chen Wei (陈卫) has been serving a nine-year sentence since 2011 for his human rights activism. A student in 1989, he was imprisoned after June Fourth and released in 1991;
- Activist Chen Xi (陈西) has been serving a 10-year sentence since 2011 for his human rights advocacy. He served a three-year sentence for participating in the 1989 movement;
- Writer Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) has been serving a seven-year sentence since 2012 for his advocacy for democracy and human rights. He took part in the 1989 movement while working in Hangzhou;
- Poet Li Bifeng (李必丰) has been serving a 10-year sentence since 2012 for his activism. He served five years in prison for his role in the 1989 movement;
- Activist Zhang Lin (张林) has been serving a 42-month sentence since 2014 for his rights activism. He spent two years in prison for participating in the 1989 pro-democracy movement;
- Activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) has been serving a six-year sentence since 2015 for his activism. Guo took part in the 1989 movement as a student in Shanghai;
- Activist Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) has been serving a five-year sentence since 2016 for his activism. Tang participated in the 1989 movement as a student;
- Buddhist monk Sheng Guan (圣观, aka Xu Zhiqiang, 徐志强) has been serving a four-year sentence since 2016 for exercising his rights to free expression and assembly. Xu helped found the Xi’an Workers Autonomous Federation and was jailed for a year for participating in the 1989 movement.
3 former 1989 participants put on trial and awaiting verdicts:
- Hangzhou authorities put China Democracy Party members Chen Shuqing (陈树庆) and Lü Gengsong (吕耿松) on trial in September 2015 on charges of “subversion of state power” for their advocacy, and they are awaiting sentencing. In 1989, Chen was a student at Hangzhou University and participated in the movement, and Lü was a teacher in Hangzhou who was dismissed in 1993 for supporting the democracy movement;
- Guangzhou authorities tried activist Liu Shaoming (刘少明) in April 2016 on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” for writing online articles about the 1989 movement. Liu was jailed for a year after taking part in the demonstrations that year.
4 former 1989 participants in pre-trial detention:
- Henan authorities charged activist Yu Shiwen (于世文) in April 2015 with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” for holding a memorial for June Fourth victims in early 2014. He and his now-wife, Chen Wei (陈卫), were imprisoned for their roles as student leaders in 1989;
- Sichuan police arrested activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞) in April 2015 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” for organizing a memorial to June Fourth victims. Chen participated in the 1989 movement as a student at the China Agricultural University in Beijing;
- Tianjin authorities arrested activist Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民) in January 2016 as part of the “709” crackdown on human rights lawyers and their supporters. Zhai had participated in the 1989 movement as a student;
- Chongqing authorities arrested activist Jiang Yefei (姜野飞) in May 2016 on suspicion of “subversion of state power” and “organizing others to illegally cross borders” after he was deported from Thailand in November 2015, and despite obtaining UN refugee status. He participated in the 1989 movement as a student.
2 former 1989 participants convicted, serving time outside jail or suspended sentence:
- Veteran journalist Gao Yu (高瑜) is serving a five-year sentence outside of prison after receiving medical parole in November 2015. She had originally received a seven-year sentence in April 2015 for advocating for press freedom. Gao joined the 1989 protests and wrote critical articles about the government suppression, and was subsequently detained twice and served six years in prison;
- Beijing-based human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) received a three-year suspended sentence in December 2015 and was stripped of his law license as a result. Under the terms of his sentence, he must submit to supervision, report to police on his activities, and faces the possibility of being sent to prison. Pu was a student leader in 1989 and took part in the hunger strike in Tiananmen Square.