Legal activist sentenced after long delay

Twenty-one months after his trial commenced, Dingxiang People’s Court in Shanxi Province finally issued sentences for legal activist Hao Jinsong (郝劲松) on July 20, 2023. Hao was given eight years for fraud and one year and nine months for picking quarrels and provoking trouble (PQPT), a combined sentence of nine years. As reported in the previous Prisoner Update, Hao is an activist who has repeatedly lodged administrative litigation against government bureaus. He has been detained for PQPT since January 2, 2020. Hao is due for release in January 2029.

Fate of young Uyghur student revealed

Kamile Wayit (卡米莱·瓦依提), a 19-year-old Uyghur woman from Atushi City in Kizilsu Prefecture of Xinjiang UAR, is a student attending university in Henan. At the end of 2022, she was caught up in the “white paper” protests that spread across the country. She was reportedly detained after returning to her hometown in December 2022. In a June 8 article, The Guardian claimed that a China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson confirmed to the Economist that she had been convicted and sentenced for propagating/advocating extremism in March. However, the length of her sentence and the location of the prison were not provided. A July 11 RFA report claims that Kamile was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and is incarcerated at Kashgar Women’s Prison.

Kamile might be the only person known to receive a prison sentence for participating in the “white paper” protest. Several detainees from well-known cases—notably the young women of the Beijing Liangmaqiao protest, including Cao Zhixin, Li Yuanjing, Zhai Dengrui, Li Siqi, Yang Liu, and Guo Yi—were all released on bail between January and April 2023. Participants in other cities, such as Huang Hao and his wife in Chengdu, Sichuan, were also released on bail in late March.

Sentences of five activists in Guangzhou revealed

Following an earlier report that Fan Yiping (范一平) and Hu Tianfeng (胡天峰) were sentenced in Guangzhou, the other three activists’ sentences were also discovered. The five were all detained during the so-called “11.12 Guangzhou Arrest” in 2020.

On June 7, the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court also sentenced Lai Tianlong (赖天龙, aka Lai Jianjun 赖见君) to five years and Wei Ya’ni (韦亚妮) to two and a half years. Fang Wencheng (范文成) was sentenced to 12 years.

Hong Kong student arrested for social media posts made overseas

Yuen Ching-ting (袁静婷), a student at a Japanese university, was detained in March 2023 after returning to Hong Kong a month earlier. Yuen was accused of “sedition” for a string of pro-independence posts she made on social media in the month of May 2022 while in Japan. Yuen was granted bail on June 16 and was scheduled to appear for a hearing on August 2.

ESS crime added to Yu Weisheng’s charges

Visits to Yu Wensheng (余文生) by his lawyers were denied. It is reported that the Beijing police denied the visit requests on the grounds that a new charge of endangering state security for Yu has been applied.

Xu Yan (许艳), Yu’s wife, also had her visitations from her lawyer denied in June for similar reason. The couple was originally arrested for PQPT on May 21.

Christian leaders, worshippers sentenced, imprisoned

A clergy member and three other members of Shengjia Congregation (盛佳教会 ) were reportedly arrested for illegal business operations in Shunde, Guangdong, on June 28, 2023. The police searched the church in late May. They confiscated computers and other items and took away the four church members. The details of their legal predicament were not clear. Wife of clergy member Deng Yanxiang claims he and others were preparing printing materials for Bible study. In addition to Deng, Zhu Longjiang, Wang Weicai, and Zhu Qiaolin are all reportedly in Nanhai District Detention Center in Shunde.

In June, it was reported that two leaders of the Hefei Youth Fellowship Mu En (慕恩) and Wang Yinuo (王以诺) were sentenced to three years and six months and three years in prison, respectively, for fraud sometime in 2023. Founded in 2018 with a focus on university students, the fellowship collected 240,000 yuan in donations via WeChat from student worshippers. The donations, however, were seen as evidence of fraud by the police.

Jehovah’s Witness elder Lin Zaiwu (林在务) is reportedly serving his six-and-a-half-year prison sentence at Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp Second Division Prison in Bayingolin Prefecture. Lin and 17 others were convicted of using a cult to undermine implementation of the law in June 2020. The judgments were upheld by the Bayingolin Prefecture Intermediate People’s Court. Lin is expected to complete his sentence in April 2025.

Another critic of China’s COVID response sentenced

In late June, Xie Fengxia (谢丰夏), also known as Xie Wenfei (谢文飞), received a prison sentence of four years and six months for PQPT. The sentence was handed down three years after he was placed under criminal detention in Hunan, the province where the coronavirus pandemic first broke out. Before he was detained, Xie spoke out against the enforced disappearances of other activists vocal about China’s handling of COVID such as Fang Bin and Chen Qiushi.

Yang was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment and three years of DPR for inciting subversion by Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on May 11, 2023. He was accused of publishing critical essays online. 

This will be Yang’s third prison sentence since 2006. He previously was sentenced to five years for illegal business activity in 2007. From 2013 to August 2019, he served six years for PQPT and gathering a crowd to disrupt a public place.

Yang is expected to be released in December 2029.