Pan Bin 潘斌Comments Off on Pan Bin 潘斌
Pan Bin 潘斌
Criminal Charge: Picking quarrels and provoking trouble
Length of Punishment: 4 years
Court: Fuling District People’s Court (Chongqing Municipality)
Trial Date: November 22, 2018
Sentencing Date: December 29, 2018
Dates of Detention/Arrest: June 2, 2017 (criminal detention); July 6, 2017 (arrest); September 25, 2018 (indictment)
Place of Incarceration: Haozi Dam Detention Center (Fuling District, Chongqing Municipality)
Verdict: Chongqing City Fuling District Court Criminal Verdict (Chinese)
Chongqing police detained activist Pan Bin in June 2017. He eventually received a 4-year prison sentence after being tried in November 2018. Pan had been accused of helping organize petitioners to present their grievances to government officials, but his incarceration is also likely tied to his pro-democracy advocacy, including as a member of the advocacy group Green Leaf Action (绿叶行动). The group has focused on abolishing China’s current medical insurance and social security systems, ending collusion between government and business, ensuring food safety, and strengthening environmental protection.
Authorities deprived Pan Bin’s rights in various ways after taking him into custody. After seizing him in 2017, police reportedly took Pan to a psychiatric hospital to forcibly undergo a mental examination and kept him in the institution for at least six months, even though he had no personal or family history of psychiatric illness. Pan was blocked from seeing his attorney during long stretches of his incarceration, and on the day of his 2018 trial, a large group of national security officers blocked access to the courthouse as a crowd gathered outside. Authorities set up several identification checkpoints for those wanting to enter the building. Only two of Pan’s family members observed his trial, as authorities tightly controlled attendance and unidentified individuals closely monitored his mother. Pan’s prison sentence was handed down in December 2018, but his family only found out about the court’s decision the following month and did not immediately receive a copy of the verdict. According to his defense lawyer, Zhang Keke (张科科), Pan had a year added to his sentence for refusing to admit to criminal guilt at trial, which could have mitigated his punishment.
Pan Bin had faced state suppression for years before being detained in June 2017 and subsequently imprisoned. Chongqing police took Pan Bin into custody in 2011 after he posted online about creating his own political party, for which he was punished with a one-year term in a re-education through labor camp. Following his release, Pan actively offered assistance to dissidents and petitioners, leading state agents to threaten and interrogate him and also send him on “forced travel.” On April 20, 2016, police went to Pan’s home, threatened him, and confiscated his ID and other items; Pan protested online when his ID was not returned to him after an extended period. Police forced Pan to “travel” for eight days in March 2017 after he had admonished demonstrators at a rally in Chongqing, including for waving the Chinese national flag. The protesters were speaking out against the Lotte Group, a South Korean business conglomerate that had agreed to provide land for the United States to build a missile defense shield, an installation the Chinese government viewed as a national security threat.
Pan Bin, who was born on February 6, 1981, in Fuling District in Chongqing, was a demobilized soldier before he started to engage in rights advocacy work, including by joining Green Leaf Action and speaking out in support of incarcerated activists and dissidents. A founding member of Green Leaf Action, Xue Renyi (薛仁义), was briefly detained after visiting Pan in detention in June 2017 before himself disappearing into police custody in May 2018.