SAN FRANCISCO (August 31, 2010) – The Dui Hua Foundation has been informed by reliable sources in the Chinese government that three individuals serving sentences for counterrevolution or endangering state security have been released or been granted a sentence reduction. In addition, a June Fourth prisoner serving a sentence for arson has received a sentence reduction.

Li Zhi (李智), a 40-year-old former civil servant from Sichuan, was released from Chuandong Prison on November 11, 2009, following a nine-month reduction granted in June 2009. In December 2003, Li was sentenced by the Dazhou Intermediate People’s Court to eight years’ imprisonment for the crime of subversion and deprived of political rights for four years. He had allegedly communicated with overseas dissidents and posted articles online that criticized government policies. According to the verdict in Li’s case, Yahoo! Hong Kong provided the Chinese police with Li’s user information for his email account. Li had previously received a one-year sentence reduction in January 2007.

Two other prisoners whose email account information was handed over to Chinese police by Yahoo! Hong Kong—Wang Xiaoning (王小宁) and Shi Tao (师涛)—remain in prison. Wang, who allegedly posted critical articles online and tried to set up the “China Third Way Party,” was sentenced in September 2003 by the Beijing Number One Intermediate People’s Court to 10 years in prison with two-year deprivation of political rights for inciting subversion. Wang is serving his sentence in Beijing Number Two Prison and is due for release on August 31, 2012. In April 2005, the Changsha Intermediate Court sentenced journalist Shi Tao to 10 years in prison with two years’ deprivation of political rights for trafficking in state secrets. To facilitate visits by his family, Shi Tao was recently moved from Chishan Prison in Hunan to Yinchuan Prison in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region to serve out the remainder of his sentence. He is due for release on November 23, 2014. (Read about Dui Hua’s work in uncovering and releasing information about the Yahoo! cases.)

Dui Hua was also informed that three long-serving prisoners, including two counterrevolutionaries, have been granted clemency for activities related to the spring 1989 disturbances.

Gu Xinghua (顾兴华), a 47-year-old member of the Miao ethnic group, was released from Guiyang Prison on November 27, 2008, after more than 18 years in prison. He was detained in October 1989 for allegedly attempting to organize an armed rebellion by trying to set up the People’s Solidarity Party in Guizhou Province. In September 1990, the Bijie Prefecture Intermediate Court sentenced Gu to life in prison. His sentence was reduced to 20 years in August 1994, and he was subsequently granted four sentence reductions totaling 69 months.

Zhu Gengsheng (朱更生), perhaps the best known of the remaining June Fourth prisoners, was granted a sentence reduction in early 2010 and is now due for release from Beijing Number Two Prison on April 29, 2011. Zhu was shown on Chinese television atop a burning tank, waving a flag and shouting, “We’ve won.” Detained for counterrevolutionary sabotage and counterrevolutionary incitement and propaganda, Zhu was sentenced to death with two-year reprieve for counterrevolutionary sabotage. His appeal was rejected in January 1992. In 1994, the sentence was commuted to life in prison. His sentence was then reduced to 19 years in 1997, and Zhu has subsequently received six more sentence reductions.

Another June Fourth prisoner, Li Yujun (李玉君), was given a one-year sentence reduction in 2009. In January 1991, Li was convicted of arson by the Beijing Higher People’s Court and sentenced to death with two-year reprieve. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1993 and further reduced to 20 years in November 1996. After six sentence reductions for good behavior, Li’s sentence is set to expire on November 10, 2013.

“Compared to prisoners serving sentences for other crimes, political prisoners are rarely given sentence reductions or parole,” noted John Kamm, Dui Hua’s executive director. “It is welcome news that, in these cases, local courts have decided to exercise clemency. Dui Hua hopes that other courts will take the initiative and order the release of long-serving prisoners convicted of counterrevolution—a crime removed from the Criminal Law in 1997—and endangering state security.”

The Dui Hua Foundation
San Francisco, California
August 31, 2010