In his March 29 speech at the Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong, Dui Hua Executive Director John Kamm named several prisoners who may benefit from a pardon for individuals incarcerated for offenses committed during protests in China from April to June 1989. Here are summaries of some of those prisoner cases:
In a case relevant to death penalty reform in China, Wang Jun participated in a “serious political disturbance” at a factory in Shaanxi Province on April 22, 1989, and was subsequently sentenced to death. His father appealed to the Shaanxi Higher People’s Court, which referred the case to the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing, which recommended a verdict of death with two-year reprieve. After four sentence reductions, Wang is due for release on December 11, 2009.
Liu Zhihua is the last imprisoned worker from a group who organized one of the largest strikes in June 1989, in Hubei Province. He was convicted of “hooliganism” and sentenced to life in prison for giving anti-government speeches and inciting a mob to “beat, smash, and loot.” In 1993, his sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison but extended by five years in 1997 for involvement in a brawl. His sentence was again reduced by two years in 2001. He is due for release on January 16, 2011.
Gu Xinghua, a member of the Miao ethnic group, established the People’s Solidarity Party in 1988 in Guizhou Province. He and other party members took advantage of the 1989 turmoil to “carry out activities and undermine the socialist system.” Before they could carry out plans for an insurrection, Gu and the other leaders were arrested. Gu was sentenced to life in prison for “counterrevolutionary armed mass rebellion.” After four reductions, he is due for release on February 28, 2011.