In March, Chinese government sources updated Dui Hua on the status of six people incarcerated in Guangdong. Their crimes were “extortion” in connection with the 2008 tainted-milk scandal, “espionage” amid choppy Cross-Strait relations, and “illegal business activity” involving Falun Gong books. Government responses are listed under each name followed by background information from various sources.
Guo Li (郭利)
Expected release date: 7/22/2014
Sentence reduction: Possible (2nd half 2012, 1st half 2013)
Guo Li is in prison for trying to obtain compensation from the company whose melamine-laced products poisoned his daughter. Photo credit: RFA, Guo’s family
Overshadowed in the foreign press by Zhao Lianhai (赵连海), lesser-known tainted milk activist Guo Li has not received clemency. Guo was convicted of “extortion” after launching a campaign to obtain compensation from infant formula maker Scient. The Guangdong-based company allegedly poisoned 300,000 children, including Guo’s daughter, with melamine-tainted milk powder. Guo was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by the Chao’an County People’s Court on January 12, 2010.
Zhao Lianhai, who organized a similar campaign against Hubei-based dairy producer Sanlu, was sentenced to 2.5 years’ imprisonment for “causing a serious disturbance” in November 2010. Following international pressure, he was released on medical parole the next month.
An American citizen incarcerated for “espionage,” David Dong Wei was transferred to a Chongqing prison from Dongguan Prison in August 2011. This unusual transfer may be related to Dong’s status as a Chongqing resident prior to becoming a US citizen in 1995. Dong’s nine-month sentence reduction is his third, following a 10-month reduction in April 2008 and an 18-month reduction in April 2010. While visiting Guangzhou on a Louisiana trade delegation, Dong was detained in September 2003 on suspicion of spying for Taiwan and lobbying the US government on Taiwan’s behalf. He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment in a closed trial in April 2005. He is known to suffer from a number of ailments including heart disease and hypertension.
Release date: 7/7/2011
Expected release date: 6/22/2013
Place of incarceration: Panyu Prison
The first official responses Dui Hua has received regarding Taiwanese businessmen Fu Hongzhang and Tong Taiping indicate that each has received sentence reductions totaling at least three years. Though tried separately, both were convicted during a nationwide crackdown on “Taiwanese espionage” in 2003. The crackdown emerged out of statements made by then Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian during his bid for re-election. Citing confirmation from “sources inside China,” Chen said that China had nearly 500 missiles aimed at Taiwan. China had arrested two dozen Taiwanese people and 19 mainland Chinese for “espionage” by late December, Xinhua reported. Fu was initially taken into custody by state security in Shantou on December 15, 2003, while reportedly trying to probe military deployments in Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces. Tong was detained in Guangzhou on December 4, 2003, for collecting naval intelligence at Huangpu Shipyard.
Release date: 9/17/2010
Original sentence: 16 years
Release date: 8/21/2010
Eight years after our initial inquiry, government sources indicated that Liu Jingsong and Liu Yong were released from lengthy sentences about five years early. Both were convicted of “illegal business activity” involving Falun Gong books within two years of the Chinese government declaring the group an “illegal organization.” As co-owner of a Guangzhou publishing house, Liu Jingsong was accused of printing books without a license and publishing “obscene” materials that included Falun Gong books. Chinese media reports state that Liu Jingsong was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in November 2000, but the latest government response states that he was given a 16-year sentence. In a related case, cultural communication company owner Liu Yong was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment in November 2000 after allegedly ordering Falun Gong books from Liu Jingsong.
Government sources confirmed that there have been no recent sentence reductions for Liu Jingsong’s business partner Liang Jiantian (梁鉴添). Originally sentenced to life, Liang has received sentence reductions totaling 29 months. Previous government responses said he was due for release from Panyu Prison on August 17, 2024.