Chen Zhaozhi (陈兆志)

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Chen Zhaozhi (陈兆志)

Chen Zhaozhi (陈兆志)  

Crime: Picking quarrels and provoking trouble

Length of Punishment: N/A

Court: N/A

Trial Date: N/A

Sentencing Date: N/A

Dates of Detention/Arrest/Indictment: March 11, 2020 (criminal detention), April 14, 2020 (formal arrest)

Place of Incarceration: Haidian District Detention Center, Beijing

Background

Haidian District police in Beijing criminally detained Chen Zhaozhi for “fabricating and deliberately disseminating fake information” on March 11 over his online speech about the COVID-19 pandemic. Chen’s family hired a lawyer when he was first seized, but the lawyer’s requests for visit were denied until April 23, 2020. On April 14, the Beijing police changed the charge and formally arrested Chen for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Chen is being held at Haidian District Detention Center. 

Chen Zhaozhi, a retired professor of Beijing University of Science and Technology, had posted comments online, including reportedly writing “Wuhan pneumonia is not a Chinese virus but Chinese Communist Party virus” on social media. Chen told his lawyer during their first meeting on April 24 that police had tried to force him to confess but he refused.

According to his family, Chen, born May 17, 1952, suffers from hypertension and has had a stroke. He is at high risk of further medical complications, including infection with the novel coronavirus at the detention center. His family applied for bail but the police rejected the application. Deprivation of medical treatment is a common form of torture used against incarcerated human rights defenders and dissidents. Chen had a Twitter account and posted occasional tweets criticising Xi Jinping and the government, most recently in February. In July 2019, Chen was beaten by police officers from Dongsheng Police Station in Haidian District after shouting “down with Li Peng” on the day of the former premier’s funeral. 

Further Information

Retired Professor Arrested for Calling COVID-19 “CCP Virus”, April 28, 2020, CHRD

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