[CHRB] Eleven Activists Remain Forcibly Disappeared in Shenzhen, at Risk of Torture in Police Custody (1/5-1/12/2017)

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[CHRB] Eleven Activists Remain Forcibly Disappeared in Shenzhen, at Risk of Torture in Police Custody (1/5-1/12/2017)

China Human Rights Briefing

January 5-12, 2017

Enforced Disappearance & Arbitrary Detention

Shenzhen Police Have Held 11 Activists Under Secret Detention For Weeks, Denied Their Access to Lawyers

Eleven individuals in the southern city of Shenzhen remain forcibly disappeared since police took them into custody between November 15 and December 8. In most of these cases, police have refused to disclose to families the whereabouts of the detainees or the nature of any criminal accusations against them. As of January 11, three of these individuals are confirmed to be under “residential surveillance at a [police] designated location” (RSDL), and suspected of  “subversion of state power.” The three detainees under RSDL could eventually face trial if they are arrested at the end of a six-month period, and potentially face life sentences if convicted of subversion. None of the 11 detainees have had any access to a lawyer or their family members, and all are at serious risk of torture and mistreatment.

Police detained some of the activists after they met at a restaurant, where the men reportedly discussed politics and current events, on the evening of November 14. Apparently, a person at the scene, who was later identified as a policeman, took photos of those in attendance. A few of the attendees disappeared the following day. By early December, police had secretly detained 12 individuals and had questioned and released another.

Deng Hongcheng (left) and Wang Jun are being held under “residential surveillance at a designated location” on suspicion of “subversion of state power,” while 9 other activists have gone missing or have also been put under RSDL.

So far, four detainees’ families have received notices from the police about the detentions, and one of those individuals has been released. These detainees, Wang Jun (王军), Ding Yan (丁岩), Deng Hongcheng (邓洪成) and his nephew, Deng Jianfeng (邓剑峰), were put under “residential surveillance at a [police] designated location” on suspicion of “subversion,” according to the notices issued by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau, some dated December 15. The Dengs’ family received the notice on December 20, Ding’s on December 25, and Wang’s family on January 7. Officials subsequently released Deng Jianfeng on December 27. Chinese authorities have often used the political crimes under Article 105 of the Criminal Law—“subversion” and “inciting subversion”—to prosecute those exercising free speech and peaceful assembly.

The fates of the other nine activists remain unknown. Police have failed to notify their families within 24 hours of their being taken into custody, as Chinese law requires. When the families of Wang Jun and another disappeared activist Li Nanhai (李南海) asked about their whereabouts at the Bantian Police Station in Shenzhen days after their disappearance, police refused to provide any information, claiming that the station had no record of such individuals, and officers would not file missing persons’ reports.

While Chinese authorities have “legalized” RSDL through the Criminal Procedure Law, it takes place outside of officially recognized places of detention, can occur without procuratorial review, and lacks judicial safeguards. Public security bureau (PSB) officials may use it arbitrarily and it shields them from scrutiny. It is a form of enforced disappearance since the detainees are kept in secret designated locations, where they can be held for six months or more. Deprived of judicial safeguards and access to lawyers or family, those disappeared under RSDL are at increased risk of torture or ill-treatment.

See below for information CHRD has gathered about the 13 individuals involved (including 12 still detained), and what is known about their current situation:

Under Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location, Confirmed:

  • Deng Hongcheng (邓洪成) disappeared in Shenzhen Bantian Yangmei Village on November 15, 2016. His relatives in Jiangxi were questioned by police on December 6, and his family received the RSDL notice for “subversion” on December 20. Originally from Hunan, Deng was born in the 1960s, and was formerly a trader in Hainan. He arrived in Shenzhen in 2014.
  • Wang Jun (王军) disappeared on November 15 after he went to Bantian Yangmei Village to look for other missing activists. Police told his wife on November 19 that Wang was being held at Longgang District Detention Center on suspicion of “subversion,” but his location has not since been confirmed. His family received the RSDL notice for “subversion,” dated December 15, on January 7. Born in 1990, and originally from Hunan, Wang was orphaned in childhood and worked as a migrant laborer in Shenzhen, and participated in several demonstrations in support of prisoners of conscience over the past two years.
  • Ding Yan (丁岩) disappeared November 15 after he went to Bantian Village to look for other missing activists. Born in 1996, Ding was originally from Heilongjiang Province. He has participated in demonstrations supporting prisoners of conscience and also written poetry to express his political views. He is a member of the “Human Rights Watch Rose Group.”

Subjected to Enforced Disappearance:

  • Xiao Bing (肖兵) disappeared on November 15. Born in 1966, Xiao was originally from Hunan and formerly owned a small grocery shop in Hainan. He arrived in Shenzhen in 2015 and is a member of the “Human Rights Watch Rose Group” (岩人权观察玫瑰团队). This group’s leader, Qin Yongmin (秦永敏), was detained in January 2015.
  • Ma Zhiquan (马志权, aka Shen Li, 沈力) disappeared on November 15. Born in 1976, Ma was originally from Hunan, and he has often written poetry to comment on social injustices.
  • Li Nanhai (李南海, aka Huo Yan, 火焱) disappeared on November 15. His family members in Jiangxi, where Li is from, were questioned by local police on December 4. Born in the 1980s, Li was visiting friends in Shenzhen when he was detained.
  • Wang Wei (王威) disappeared on November 15. Wang was born in the 1990s and was originally from Henan. He uses the screen name Freedom Dawei (自由大威).
  • Dong Lingpeng (董凌鹏) disappeared in the evening of November 17 after he went to Bantian Village to look for the other missing activists. Born in 1970, Dong is originally from Inner Mongolia and worked as a doctor at Longgang District No. 2 Detention Center.
  • Wang Jianhua (王建华) was taken away by a dozen plainclothes police from his company’s office in the Shenzhen Xixiang Wanjunhui Building on November 24. Police also searched his rental home.
  • Song Liqian (宋立前) disappeared on December 8. Song has worked in the Shenzhen Foreign Trade Company for many years.
  • Huang Anyang (煌安阳), who uses the screen name Ah Yang (啊阳), disappeared in December, but on an unknown date.


  • Deng Jianfeng (邓剑峰), the nephew of Deng Hongcheng, disappeared on November 16. His family received an RSDL notice for “subversion” on December 20, but he was released on December 27.
  • Wei Xiaobing (卫小兵) was questioned twice at Zhennan Police Station in Shenzhen on November 25, and released.


Renee Xia, International Director (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012, reneexia[at]nchrd.org, Follow on Twitter: @ReneeXiaCHRD

Victor Clemens, Researcher (English), +1 209 643 0539, victorclemens[at]nchrd.org, Follow on Twitter: @VictorClemens

Frances Eve, Researcher (English), +852 6695 4083, franceseve[at]nchrd.org, Follow on Twitter: @FrancesEveCHRD

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