Since its establishment in 1999, The Dui Hua Foundation has worked to uncover accounts of political cases in China in official publications available from public libraries, in bookstores, and, increasingly, on the Internet in such places as court websites. It has done so both as an exercise in promoting transparency and as an expression of humanitarian concern for individuals detained in political cases. To date, Dui Hua has found information about nearly 2,000 political cases involving more than 4,200 detainees. All of these cases took place after 1980, the year China’s current criminal law came into effect. In official sources alone, Dui Hua has found the names of 250 individuals presently serving sentences for counterrevolution or endangering state security.
When Dui Hua finds an interesting case, it seeks information from the Chinese government about the detainee’s status. It makes this request for information either directly or indirectly, utilizing the various official channels made possible by the human rights dialogues and exchanges that China maintains with the United Nations and a number of countries.
Until recently, almost all information obtained by Dui Hua about individuals detained in political cases has come from central ministries, chiefly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice. In recent weeks, judicial authorities at the provincial level and below have been more willing to provide information about cases of longstanding concern to Dui Hua. The information has been gathered on the Chinese side by a research association with close links to the Chinese government and is in response to specific inquiries based on accounts of the cases found in open sources.
A selection of cases from recent communications follows. It combines the original open source account with newly released information. More information about these and other cases will be released in forthcoming issues of Dui Hua’s newsletter, Dialogue.
Jiang Cunde 蒋存德 (Shanghai)
Jiang was a worker at Dong Xin Tool Repair Works when, in 1985 and 1986, he began to advocate “imitating the model of Poland’s Solidarity Trade Union to overthrow the present political powers.” He planned to establish a “China Human Rights Committee.” In May 1987, Jiang and two others were convicted of planning to hijack an airplane, and he was sentenced to life in prison for counterrevolution.
In January 1993, Jiang was released from Tilanqiao Prison on medical parole. He subsequently “joined a reactionary organization, wrote reactionary articles and sent them to news agencies, and used the occasion of the US bombing of China’s embassy in Belgrade in 1999 to stir up trouble.” Jiang was returned to Tilanqiao in June 1999 to continue serving his life sentence. In August 2004, Jiang’s sentence was commuted to 20 years’ imprisonment. Jiang is now due for release in August 2024.
Yu Rong 余蓉 (Shanghai)
Yu, a worker at the Shanghai Auto Service Company Number Two plant, was detained on October 2, 1989 on suspicion of distributing 1,450 reactionary leaflets over a period of several months in Shanghai. In what police called one of the biggest cases of counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda in the city’s history, Yu, described as being unhappy with the events of May and June 1989 in Beijing, scattered the leaflets from tall buildings in downtown Shanghai. After he was detained, he reportedly confessed to committing 22 acts of arson and more than 50 acts of dropping bricks on pedestrians from a height, during which three were killed. Yu was diagnosed with schizophrenia and incarcerated in a psychiatric detention center run by the public security bureau (known as an ankang hospital), where he remains to this day.
Li Junmin 李俊敏 (Shanghai)
Born in 1960 in Taipei, Li was sentenced to life in prison for espionage in 1982. In 1983, he was sentenced to death for carrying out reactionary activities while in prison. On appeal, the sentence was reduced in 1984 to death with two-year suspension. In 1986, the death sentence was commuted and replaced with life imprisonment. This was reduced to 18 years in 1994, after which there have been four sentence reductions totaling 46 months. He is due for release from Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison in February 2009. Li is at present the longest-serving counterrevolutionary prisoner known to Dui Hua. He is representative of a group of Taiwan spies who are serving long sentences in Chinese prisons. (Dui Hua’s database includes information on 69 such prisoners.)
Fan Zhengming 范正明 (Sichuan)
Fan, born in 1953, founded the counterrevolutionary group “China Plum Nation Party” in Sichuan in 1988. By late 1990, the party had recruited more than 500 members in 17 provinces and municipalities. Fan was detained on April 16, 1992 and subsequently convicted by the Dazhou Intermediate People’s Court of “organizing and leading a counterrevolutionary group.” He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment, with the sentence due to expire on April 15, 2007. On September 23, 1997, the Dazhou court granted Fan a two-year sentence reduction. On May 4, 2000, the same court granted Fan a reduction of 18 months. Fan was released on October 15, 2003 at the end of his sentence; his political rights are suspended until October 14, 2008.
She Wanbao 佘万宝 (Sichuan)
She is a 48-year-old labor organizer and member of the China Democracy Party. He was previously convicted of counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement by the Guangyuan Intermediate People’s Court and sentenced on November 3, 1989 to four years in prison. He was released in July 1993 at the conclusion of his sentence. On October 25, 1999, the Sichuan Higher People’s Court upheld a subsequent subversion conviction by the Guangyuan Intermediate People’s Court and sentenced She to 12 years in prison. He entered Chuanzhong Prison on April 5, 2000. On September 9, 2005, She’s sentence was reduced by six months. He is due for release on January 6, 2011, after which his political rights will be suspended for three years.
Yang Jiahua 杨家华 and Xiang Xingheng 向兴恒 (Chongqing)
Yang and Xiang were leaders of a group with alleged ties to the China Democracy Party known as the Yangtze Anti-Corruption Army. Together with seven other members of this group, they were sentenced to long prison terms for subversion in 1999 and 2000. The authorities have advised Dui Hua that all nine leaders of this group remain in prison and that none have received sentence reductions. Yang and Xiang have both performed meritorious service and might be considered for sentence reductions in the future.
The Dui Hua Foundation
San Francisco, California
April 11, 2006