Meng Han (孟晗)Comments Off on Meng Han (孟晗)
Meng Han 孟晗
Crime: Gathering a crowd to disrupt social order
Length of Punishment: One year nine months
Court: Panyu District People’s Court, Guangzhou
Trial Date: November 3, 2016
Sentencing Date: Nvember 3, 2016
Dates of Detention/Arrest: December 3, 2015 (detained); January 8, 2016 (arrested)
Place of Incarceration: Guangzhou City No. 1 Detention Center
Police detained labor activist Meng Han in December 2015 during a series of coordinated raids on the labor rights movement in Guangdong Province. Meng was working with Panyu Migrant Workers Service Document Handling Center (番禺打工族文书处理服务部) in Guangzhou, and three of his colleagues were also seized in the raids, including the director, Zeng Feiyang (曾飞洋), Ms. Zhu Xiaomei (朱小梅), and Tang Huanxing (汤欢兴, who uses the screen name North Country, 北国). Police criminally detained all of them on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order” except for Tang, who instead was forcibly disappeared for 37 days. Zhu and Tang were later released, but the cases against them were not dropped. On June 8, police transferred all four cases to the Panyu District People’s Procuratorate in Guangzhou, recommending indictment.
Authorities granted Meng his first visit with his lawyer Yan Xin (燕薪) on February 19. Meng told his lawyer that, starting six days into his detention, police interrogated him for 13 days straight and only allowed him to sleep in two-hour intervals, while trying to coerce Meng into confessing. After the appearance of accusations in state media against the labor activists on December 22, Meng told his lawyer that the officers tried to force him to testify against Zeng Feiyang, but he refused. Then, beginning in February 2016, national security officers began to aggressively harass Meng’s family over a three-month period; individuals with axes tried to break into their home in Zhongshan City, the family’s water supply was cut off, and officers tried to pressure their landlord into evicting them. Meng appealed to his elderly parents to leave Guangdong in June, saying it wasn’t safe.
Meng Han’s trial opened on November 3, and his lawyer Yan Xin (燕薪) reported Meng unexpectedly pled guilty before being sentenced to 21 months in prison. Meng said he would not appeal. Meng’s father had reportedly been visited by national security officers three days before the trial, who had pressured him to convince his son to plead guilty. Meng Han was released from prison on September 3, 2017, having served out his sentence.
Meng Han, born on October 7, 1964, is originally from Hubei Province and previously worked for the Yichang City Yangtze River Boat Services Supervision Department. In 2010, Meng became a security guard at a hospital associated with the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, where he became involved in labor activism. In August 2013, Meng was detained by police with 11 other hospital workers for striking over a contract dispute. In April 2014, a Guangzhou court sentenced him to nine months in prison for “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order.” Following his release in May 2014, Meng Han continued to promote worker’s rights and started working for the Panyu Migrant Worker’s center.