Silencing young idealists from the left

As Dui Hua has previously written about, Chinese government crackdowns target all aspects of the political spectrum, including leftist dissidents who are seen as a destabilizing factor, especially when they invoke Marxist and Maoist ideologies to organize migrant workers to support labor rights.

Many young leftists obtained their political knowledge on the People’s Republic of China from well-known leftist or left-leaning intellectuals and user-generated content on forum websites such as Utopia (乌有之乡). Their opinions on the economic policies of the pre-“open and reform” era are particularly influenced by such websites and reinforced by each other through forum discussions and posts.

Dui Hua recently learned that members of a young leftist group from Fujian were convicted and sentenced for picking quarrels and provoking troubles. The Pingdingshan Xinhua District Court in Henan province found five defendants guilty of spreading false information online for illegal financial gain. According to a version of the judgment reposted online, the sixth member will be processed in a separate case.

The procuratorate accused the six defendants of registering multiple companies to promote “red culture” while spreading false information through social media that attacked the Party and several former leaders. The titles of eleven posts cited in the court judgment ranged from defending the Great Leap Forward and the Gang of Four to attacking the “open and reform” era.

Four of the five defendants are in their late 20s to early 30s, while one was 19 years old at the time of sentencing. Their education ranges from primary to middle school. Zhang Zhijing (张支景) was sentenced to two years (sentence expires in April 2023), Yu Chaoquan (余朝权) and Qu Pingqing (邱平琴) were each sentenced to one year (sentences expire in April 2022), and Qu Pinghui (邱平会) and Huang Xiaochun (黄晓春)—the latter being the youngest of the five—were sentenced to ten and nine months, respectively.

On Reddit, a post claiming to be written by the sixth member of the group, Yu Yixun (余宜勋), says that he was released on bail due to illness and spared from the trial.

Guangxi rights lawyers tried, one convicted and sentenced

The first hearing in the endangering state security trial against former lawyer Qin Yongpei (覃永沛) was held behind closed doors on New Year’s Eve at the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court, more than two years after he was detained. Only his defense counsel and wife were permitted to attend.

Qin was briefly detained during the 2017 “7.09” crackdown on lawyers and legal activists. His law firm was shuttered in May 2018, and he later lost his license to practice. However, he continued to voice his concerns over the judicial process and reforms on social media, criticizing violations of human rights by the government.

The Nanning police detained Qin on October 31, 2019 for inciting subversion. The indictment was submitted in May 2020. The procuratorate accused him of “spreading false information about high profile cases on social media,” forming a “post-lawyer club”—with other lawyers who similarly lost their practice licenses—and challenging the judicial system after his license was revoked.

Citing concerns over COVID-19, the Nanning Number One Detention Center initially denied visitations by Qin’s lawyer and wife while still permitting interrogations by the police and procuratorate to continue via video conferencing inside the facility. The meeting with Qin’s defense lawyer was only granted after Qin had been transferred to the Nanning Number Two Detention Center. Qin’s wife had her first visit in August 2021.

At the time of writing, the trial has yet to be concluded.

Lawyer Chen Jiahong (陈家鸿) was one of the partners at Baijuming, Qin’s law firm. Chen was reportedly detained for inciting subversion in April 2019 and indicted in October. Although his trial had the first hearing in June 2020, no judgment was issued until December 14, 2021. Chen was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. The charge against Chen was linked to a slogan he posted in Chinese calligraphy with the words “liquidate this evil bureaucracy and promote democracy.” Family and friends suspected Chen admitted guilt in exchange for lenient sentencing.