In late March and early April of 2002, police in Ningde, Fujian Province, arrested Li Jianfeng (李建峰) and seven others who were suspected of subversion. Li, a 40-year-old former judge with the commercial tribunal of the city’s intermediate people’s court, was charged with organizing an illegal labor union and illegal possession of firearms, but he and the others rejected the allegations as complete fabrications used by police out to frame them.

Reportedly, Li Jianfeng and the other individuals established the “Labor and Employment Research Association” in late 2000, but their efforts to register with the government failed. This “labor union,” prosecutors alleged, compiled training manuals from information gathered from the Internet and then used them to train students from the martial arts academy of one of the group’s members, Huang Xiangwei (黄象伟). The union allegedly plotted a mission in which members would use stockpiled weapons to shoot out the windows of the chief judge of Ningde Intermediate People’s Court.

At trial, the defendants denied the existence of any such organization, and contended that police had fabricated evidence in an effort to retaliate against witnesses to an incident of police misconduct at an Internet bar where several of the defendants worked. Defendants claimed that they had been tortured by police and that their “confessions” failed to include any exculpatory statements. The Sanming Intermediate People’s Court ignored these objections and on October 30, 2003, sentenced Li Jianfeng and the other defendants to prison terms of between two and 16 years.

In early 2006, two years after first submitting his name on a prisoner list, Dui Hua received its first confirmation of Li Jianfeng’s 16-year sentence and incarceration in Fujian’s Jianyang Prison. In the meantime, Dui Hua was informed that Zhan Gongzhen (詹功振) had been released two months ahead of schedule in January 2005. In response to a request for information about all the defendants in the case, Dui Hua was told in June 2008 that Li Jianfeng had been granted a 17-month sentence reduction in December 2007 (making his expected release date November 2, 2016), and that Huang Xiangwei received a 10-month reduction just before being released from prison in May 2007. Other than Li Jianfeng and Lin Shun’an (林顺安), whose 8-year sentence remains unchanged, all other defendants in the case have been released from prison. (See the table below for sentencing details for those imprisoned for involvement in the “Labor and Employment Research Association.”)