Xie Fengxia (谢丰夏)

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Xie Fengxia (谢丰夏)

Xie Fengxia 谢丰夏

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Crime: Inciting subversion of state power

Length of Punishment: 4.5 years

Court: Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court

Trial Date: November 19, 2015

Sentencing Date: April 8, 2016

Dates of Detention/Arrest: October 3, 2014 (detained); November 10, 2014 (arrest)

Place of Incarceration: Heyuan Prison, Guangdong Province

Verdict: Guangdong Province Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court Criminal Verdict

Background Information

Police took activist Xie Fengxia into custody in October 2014 during the suppression of mainland supporters of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Authorities detained Xie after he and activists Wang Mo (王) and Sun Liyong (孙立勇) held up a banner in a Guangzhou park calling for freedom and support for the Hong Kong protestors. Initially held on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” Xie was arrested on the more serious “inciting subversion” charge a month later. Authorities indicted Xie and Wang Mo on May 18, 2015, and then tried them together. (Sun Liyong was released after 30 days in detention.)

Authorities accused Xie and Wang of being involved in pro-democracy Internet campaigns beginning in 2012, and using different online personas to post information about freedoms, human rights, June Fourth, and detained human rights defenders. The court verdict against them claimed Xie and Wang had been “influenced” by foreign ideas about freedoms, and that their conduct had been aimed at inciting the overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party. Their lawyers argued at trial that their activities were protected under the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Xie was reportedly tortured in Guangzhou No. 1 Detention Center days after being taken into custody, but authorities never investigated the allegations. According to his lawyer, Wu Kuiming (吴魁明), at one point during Xie’s detention, his arms and legs were shackled and fastened together for a total of over 100 hours, during which Xie was given only periodic access to water or the bathroom.

Born on April 7, 1977, in Hunan Province, Xie Fengxia is also known by his pen name, Xie Wenfei (谢文飞). He was involved with the Guangdong “Southern Street Movement,” which has consisted of activists taking to the streets or other public spaces to conduct rights advocacy and express political ideas. Before he was seized in October 2014, police had criminally detained Xie twice earlier in the year after he had joined campaigns calling for the release of detained human rights defenders.

Further Information

Individuals Detained in Mainland China for Supporting Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests, CHRD

[CHRB] What You Need to Know About Last Week’s Prison Sentences & Xi Jinping’s 2014 Crackdowns (4/1-4/12, 2016)

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