Peng Lifa (彭立发)Comments Off on Peng Lifa (彭立发)
Length of Punishment: NA
Trial Date: NA
Sentencing Date: NA
Dates of Being taken away/Detention/Arrest/Indictment: October 13, 2022
Place of Incarceration: NA
Defense statement: NA
On October 13, 2022 in Beijing, just days ahead of the 20th Party Congress, Peng Lifa (penname Peng Zaizhou 彭载舟)engaged in a one-man protest on the Sitong Bridge ((四通桥)) in Haidian District.
Peng spread out a large banner that read:
“We want food, not COVID testing; We want reform, not the Cultural Revolution; We want freedom, not lockdowns; We want to vote, not a leader; We want dignity not lies; we are citizens not slaves.”
Another banner read, “Depose the traitorous dictator Xi Jinping.” A loudspeaker also read out the banner’s contents.
Peng is believed to have been taken into police custody shortly thereafter. Without any known location of his detention or access to legal counsel of his choice, Peng Lifa is currently believed to be a victim of enforced disappearance and at high risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Peng Lifa, born in 1974, was a physicist who worked at Beijing Melon Network Technology Co., Ltd, a firm that sells acrylic products. Peng was a published scientist, having published papers in journals on electromagnetic force. Rights Defence Network noted that Peng had previously said on a Douyin video that he had an 8-year-old daughter who was attending elementary school, but now Peng’s Douyin account appears to be banned. There are concerns for his daughter’s well being.
Peng Lifa’s October 13 protest lasted long enough for people to take pictures and videos before being disrupted by authorities. Security personnel closely closed off and monitored the site, and discussions or even indirect mentions of the protest were censored online. WeChat also took the rare step of issuing permanent bans to some accounts held by people who had shared images or videos of Peng’s protest.
In addition to the protest, Peng also released a 23-page manifesto – “A Toolkit for a Workers’ Strike, Student Strike, and the Removal of Xi Jinping” (《罢工罢课罢免习近平攻略》. The toolkit post was quickly censored on the Chinese internet, but was archived. In the manifesto, Peng laid out a strategy and principles for overthrowing Xi Jinping’s authoritarian regime and transitioning to a democracy.
While Peng’s protest on October 13 seemed like a one-off, lone protest with little immediate impact at the time, Peng’s protest and message inspired Chinese youth across China and now all around the world. In October and November 2022 there were more than 350 follow up demonstrations by Chinese university students abroad who staged protests that echoed Peng’s demands. In the protests that took place in late November, there were also protests in which Peng’s demands in his exact wording at the Sitong Bridge were repeated.
The domestic censorship of Peng Lifa’s actions has been tight, and authorities have detained and intimidated people who have supported Peng’s actions. Xiao Laing, a painter in Jiangxi province, was taken away by police on October 15 and subsequently arrested after he drew a portrait of Peng Lifa. Wu Jingsheng, a dissident in Zhejiang, was detained after posting about the protest on Facebook.
There have thus far been no reports about where Peng Lifa is being held. Some speculate that he may be at the Haidian District Detention Center in Beijing, since the Sitong Bridge, where he held his protest, ones under the jurisdiction of the Shuangyu Police Station in Haidian District. Suspects taken in by this police station would typically be held at the Haidian District Police Station. However, he could be under “residential surveillance in a designated location”, or a form of extralegal detention.