rule of law

Prominent Activist and Lawyer Wang Cheng Arrested on Suspicion of Inciting Subversion of the State

Last Friday, police detained prominent attorney and activist Wang Cheng after he launched an online campaign to gather one million signatures supporting his call for the Chinese government to ratify the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Police detained him on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power,” a charge often leveled against activists deemed disruptive to “societal stability,” a euphemism for eliminating perceived threats Communist Party political supremacy.

American University Law School Publishes LRF's Commentary on the Abolition of Reeducation-Through-Labor

American University Washington College of Law published the online version of the Laogai Research Foundation's commentary on the abolition of China's reeducation-through-labor system, which the journal published in print in December 2013. Titled "A Jail by Any Other Name," the article puts forth the argument that although the abolition of this relic of Maoist repression is a welcome development, such reform does not address the more fundamental injustice of officially sanctioned arbitrary detention that underpins the laojiao system.

Xu Zhiyong Sentenced to Four Years

The Beijing Intermediate People’s Court sentenced lawyer and civil society activist Xu Zhiyong to four years in prison for “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order.” The charges leveled against Xu stem from the pivotal role he played in organizing the New Citizens Movement, a loose collection of activists that has sought to develop Chinese civil society and urged Communist Party officials to publicly disclose their wealth.

"Speedy Trials” to Replace Re-education-Through-Labor in Guangzhou

The city of Guangzhou, the sprawling capital of Guangdong province, announced the creation of “speedy trials” to try defendants who previously would have been incarcerated in re-education-through-labor camps.  Until the system was formally abolished last year, police had the authority to incarcerate individuals in re-education-through-labor camps for up to four years without presenting any evidence of wrongdoing.

Activists, Petitioners, and Journalists Harassed and Detained at Trial of Xu Zhiyong

The Chinese government dispatched ten busloads of police to harass and detain activists, petitioners, and journalists who gathered outside of Beijing’s Number One Intermediate People’s Court during the trial of Xu Zhiyong, a prominent lawyer and activist. Chen Yunfei, a Sichuan-based activist who was detained by police for gathering outside the court, claimed that several hundred police and plainclothes state security officials lined the streets of the intersection outside of the court.

Trial of Xu Zhiyong to Begin Next Week

The trial of Xu Zhiyong, lawyer and co-founder of the New Citizens Movement-a loosely organized group of activists seeking to develop Chinese civil society-will begin on Wednesday, January 25. Xu is accused of “organizing, planning and inciting” a series of public “incidents” and making “banners and leaflets.” Under Chinese law, the charges carry a maximum sentence of five years, and observers fear Xu will receive the harshest sentence possible.

Prominent Uighur Scholar Detained for "Breaking the Law"

Chinese authorities detained Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti for “breaking the law.” Many regard Tohti, an economics professor at Beijing’s Minzu University, as the country’s most high-profile Uighur academic. Tohti’s arrest is part of Chairman Xi Jinping’s recent broader crackdown in China’s restive Xinjiang province. State media has characterized this repressive campaign as a “strategy shift” from development to maintaining stability.

Lawyers Representing Anti-Graft Activists Harassed, Beaten

Six attorneys representing three participants in the New Citizens Movement were harassed and beaten by a mob of 200 to 300 men after leaving court on Wednesday. Prominent human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said he believed that the attackers were government-hired thugs.

The three defendants were charged with illegal assembly and “using an evil cult to undermine the law” on account of their efforts to encourage Chinese government officials to publicly disclose their assets. If convicted, the defendants face up to ten years in jail. 

Trial of Anti-Corruption Activists Prematurely Adjourned

Six lawyers defending the first participants in the New Citizens Movement put on trial this year for 'inciting subversion of the state' were prevented from finishing their arguments at trial on Tuesday. The New Citizens Movement is a loose collection of activists who have urged government officials to publicly disclose their assets.