Chen Jieren 陈杰人

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Chen Jieren 陈杰人

Chen Jieren 陈杰人  

Crime(s): Picking quarrels and provoking trouble, extortion and blackmail, illegal business activity, and bribes

Length of Punishment: 15 years 

Court: Guiyang County Court, Chenzhou City, Hunan Province

Trial Date: November 26, 2019

Sentencing Date: April 30, 2020

Dates of Detention/Arrest/Indictment: Unknown date in late June-early July 2018 (seized); unknown date in July 2018 (residential surveillance in a designated location); November 12, 2018 (criminal detention); November 20, 2018 (formal arrest)

Place of Incarceration: Changsha Prison, Hunan Province


Guiyang County Court in Hunan Province on April 30, 2020 convicted journalist Chen Jieren (陈杰人) of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” “extortion and blackmail,” “illegal business activity,” and “bribes” and handed down a 15-year prison sentence and 7.01 million RMB ($990,000 USD) fine. The case relates to Chen’s blogging on official corruption. 

Chen and several of his family members and associates disappeared a few days after he disclosed on his social media channels alleged corruption by local CCP officials in late June-early July 2018.  His detention was only confirmed on July 7. On July 16, 2018, Chenzhou City Supervisory Commission told Chen’s lawyers that Chen and his brother were under investigation by the Supervisory Commission and being held in “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL). The brothers’ lawyers were denied visits during the RSDL period. On November 12, 2018, Chen Jieren was criminally detained and formally arrested on November 20. 

Chen’s trial took place at Guiyang County Court in Chenzhou, Hunan, on November 26, 2019 and the sentencing announced in April 2020. The court also convicted his brother Chen Weiren (陈伟人) of “picking quarrels” and “extortion and blackmail” charges and sentenced him to four years in prison and a fine of 10,000 RMB (1,400 USD). An associate, Liu Min (刘敏), was exempted from criminal penalties after being convicted of “picking quarrels.” The Court statement said that Chen “used the information network to publish false or negative information, maliciously exaggerate certain mass incidents, attack and vilify the [Chinese Communist] Party and the government, judicial organs and their staff, instigate troubles, and extort public and private property.”

In August 2018, Chinese state media launched a smear campaign, accusing Chen of various crimes and quoted police as saying that his online speech “sabotaged the reputation of the Party and the government and damaged the government’s credibility.” State media published Chen’s “confession” while he was incommunicado in a secret detention facility under RSDL. 

Chen, 48, graduated from Tsinghua University Law School and previously worked as a reporter for Chinese state newspapers. Chen was fired from China Youth Daily in 2003 for uncovering a prostitution ring involving students at Wuhan University which caused a scandal; he was demoted as editor-in-chief of China Philanthropy Times for criticizing a government portal in 2006; and in 2011, sacked from his position in at People’s Daily Online’s Jiangsu Window for “too much criticism of the government.” After being sacked from various state newspapers including Southern WeekendChina Youth DailyBeijing Daily, and People’s Daily, Chen published online commentaries and investigative reports on social media, including WeChat and Weibo channels called “Jieren Observation Viewpoint” and “Jieren Observation Heights.”

Further Information

CHRD, April 30, 2020, China: Release Journalist Chen Jieren Imprisoned for 15 years for Criticizing CCP

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