Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰)Comments Off on Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰)
Crime: Inciting subversion of state power
Length of Punishment: 3 years and 6 months
Trial Date: December 30, 2022
Sentencing Date: Unknown
Dates of Detention/Arrest/Indictment: December 3, 2020 Summoned); December 4, 2020 (Given administrative detention for 15 days on charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”): December 18, 2020 (Placed in RSDL on charge of “inciting subversion of state power”); July 22, 2021 (Arrested); December 30, 2022 (sentenced at a closed trial at the Zhuzhou Detention Center)
Place of Incarceration: Zhuzhou City Public Security Bureau Detention Center (株洲市公安局监管中心看守所)
On December 30, 2022, Ou Biaofeng was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power” in a closed trial heard at the Zhuzhou City Detention Center.
On December 2, 2020, four police officers from Zhuzhou Prefecture in Hunan province went to the residence of prominent human rights defender Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰) in Ningxiang County, also in Hunan, to take him back to Zhuzhou. The incident that led to Ou Biaofeng’s detention was his tweeting on behalf of Dong Yaoqiong, a woman who was detained in July 2018 and forced into a psychiatric facility after she threw ink at a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Dong was ostensibly released in January 2020, but at the end of the year, Dong released an emotional video describing how constant state surveillance since her release had driven her to the verge of a breakdown. Ou Biaofeng tweeted about her case, and helped her to tweet out a message to the world, since she presumably could not tweet due to state pressure.
In Ou Biaofeng’s last public tweet, he said that after eating lunch on December 3, he had been taken to the Lusong District police station in Zhuzhou where he was waiting to meet the chief guobao (domestic security) officer. As an experienced human rights defender, he would have been forced to “drink tea” or forced to “go on vacation” with guobao officers on many occasions. He may have thought that this encounter would be fairly routine but informal encounter with China’s agents of “social stability” maintenance, who would give him a warning and then let him go.
However, later that day Ou Biaofeng’s wife, Wei Huanhuan, wrote on Twitter that Ou Biaofeng had been summoned by police concerning his tweets about Dong Yaoqiong.
On December 4, she tweeted again to say he had been placed in administrative detention for 15 days on the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” However, as his 15 days in administrative detention came to an end on December 18, 2020, Ou Biaofeng was placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL) on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” He was arrested on the same charge on July 22, 2021 and transferred to the No. 1 Zhuzhou Municipal Detention Center.
Ou Biaofeng’s right to have a lawyer of his choice was denied by the Chinese government. On September 10, 2021, Wei Huanhuan tweeted that the government-appointed lawyer, Yu Lianghui, was refusing to meet with her to discuss Ou Biaofeng’s case. The lawyer also refused to pass on letters to Ou Biaofeng.
Ou Biaofeng was subjected to a secret trial without a lawyer of his choice on January 27, 2022, and he was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months on December 30, 2022. Also, as authorities are prevented Ou from seeing a lawyer of his choice and are preventing family visits, there has been no news about Ou Biaofeng’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Also, there are concerns for Ou Biaofeng’s well-being while in detention. When Wei Huanhuan went to the detention center to deposit money in Ou Biaofeng’s prison spending account for him to purchase food and toiletries, the detention center staff would not allow a deposit under Ou Biaofeng’s real name. This raises suspicions that he was detained under an alias, and also about the conditions he was detained in and whether he was actually able to purchase everyday necessities with the money deposited in his account.
In June 2023, Ou Biaofeng’s wife revealed that Ou had been transferred to the Chishan prison. There he was forced to do manual labor from 6am to roughly 6-7pm every day. Ou appeared to be very tired. The prison has come under scrutiny after it was Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-cheh and activist Cheng Yuan had also been subjected to forced labor at the prison.
Ou Biaofeng’s Activism
Over the last decade, Ou Biaofeng supported many causes and spoke out for many human rights defenders. He often provided details and updates for particular cases on social media. For example, he spoke out for the human rights lawyers and their associates who were victims of the notorious “709” crackdown: he tweeted out support for then-detained lawyer Xie Yang, and detained lawyer Yu Wensheng, and supported Li Wenzu in her efforts to free her husband Wang Quanzhang. Ou Biaofeng also supported grassroots human rights defenders, such as Xie Wenfei, one of the leaders of the “Southern Street Movement,” and often visited the grave of deceased Tiananmen democracy movement activist Li Wanyang. In 2014, Ou Biaofeng showed his support for the Hong Kong democracy movement by shaving his head with other activists. Later, in 2019 and 2020, he supported Apple Daily boss Jimmy Lai as Chinese and Hong Kong authorities sought to close the newspaper.