Poet and activist sentenced to six years

Poet and activist Zhang Jiaqi (张桂祺), better known by his pen name Lu Yang (鲁杨), was reportedly tried in 2020 and recently sentenced to six years with a supplemental sentence of three years’ deprivation of political rights for inciting subversion by the Liaocheng Intermediate Court in Shandong in July.

Zhang has been an outspoken critic of Xi Jinping. A former teacher at the Shandong Liaocheng Foreign Language School, Zhang long promoted ideas of democracy and Constitutionalism. He became a signory of Liu Xiaobo’s 08 Charter and a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center.

Zhang was first detained on May 13, 2020 for inciting subversion, with police accusing him of spreading messages that “harmed state security.” He was reportedly tried in a closed trial in September 2020, but his conviction and sentencing were only recently learned of by his friends. His sentence expires in May 2026.


Xu and Ding tried in closed trials

After more than two years in custody and ten months after they were indicted for subversion, Xu Zhiyong (许志永) and Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) were tried in closed trials on June 22, 2022 in Linyi, Shandong.

Xu and Ding were among the activists pursued by state security soon after a gathering on December 7 and 8, 2019 in Xiamen, Fujian. Xu went into hiding and was detained in February 2020 in Guangzhou. First placed in Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL) in Beijing for inciting subversion, the jurisdiction for the crime was later transferred to Yantai then to Linyi in June. When Xu was formerly arrested in January 2021, the charge was changed to subversion. Ding was placed under RSDL in Yantai at end of 2019 for inciting subversion. He too was formerly arrested for subversion in January 2021. Both were indicted in August 2021.

During their detention, visitation requests from family and lawyers were repeatedly denied. Authorities cited concerns over state security and Covid policies as reasons for the denials.

At the time of writing, there are no reports of whether or not the trials have been concluded.


Lawyer Chang Weiping tried in closed trial; wife prevented from attending

Chen Zijuan, wife of dissident lawyer Chang Weiping (常玮平), posted a series of messages on social media on July 25, the night before Chang was to be tried for subversion. She was stopped at a highway exit and blocked from attending her husband’s trial.

Chang was one of the lawyers and activists who attended the Xiamen gathering, alongside Xu and Ding. He posted a video in early April 2021, detailing his torture in January 2020 while under RSDL for inciting subversion. He was arrested soon after for subversion. Chang had represented AIDS patients, house church members, and Falun Gong practitioners in numerous rights-violation cases.

In the video clips posted by Chen, her car was first blocked by police vehicles then escorted off a highway exit. Plain-clothes police then warned her against attending and tried to direct her back to Baoji. The stand-off lasted the whole night.

Even though cases of endangering state security are typically tried by the intermediate people’s courts, Chang’s trial was held at the Feng County People’s Court. Besides Chen, several supporters have also been prevented from attending the trial, including lawyer Li Dawei (李大伟), who was taken away by Gansu State Security.

According to Chen, no conviction or judgment was issued at the end of the trial.


Outspoken Christian activist received administrative detention in June

Member of Early Rain Covenant Church Long Kehai (龙克海) was put under administrative detention from June 26 to July 16. Even though a period of administrative detention lasts a maximum of fifteen days, Long was given two separate penalties, each for ten days. It appears that the two administrative decisions were carried out consecutively and lasted 20 days.

Both decisions were issued by the Hui County Police Bureau in Gangsu on June 12. One accused Long of disturbing social order with falsified facts by spreading false information and rumors on WeChat; the other accused Long of illegally possessing terrorist and extremist materials when he downloaded and viewed video clips containing violent and terrorism-related content.

Long suspected that the charges might be related to his online comments on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.