Created in 2000, Dui Hua’s Political Prisoner Database (PPDB) contains information about political and religious prisoners incarcerated in China since 1980. Using mostly open-source materials, Dui Hua collects information on non-violent:

  • Political dissidents: people imprisoned for expressing their opposition to one-party rule by exercising universally recognized rights to free speech and association and often charged with “endangering state security” crimes such as “subversion” and “incitement”
  • Religious practitioners: people persecuted for holding religious beliefs that are not officially sanctioned, including members of house churches and Falun Gong
  • Ethnic minorities: people labeled “splittists” and jailed for participating in cultural and pro-independence movements
  • Petitioners: people jailed for seeking redress to grievances related to land seizure, demolition, corruption, miscarriages of justice, and other issues

The purpose of the PPDB is to advance clemency and better treatment for at-risk detainees by analyzing trends in the persecution of individuals who exercise their universal human rights to free speech, association, and expression; documenting the treatment of political and religious prisoners in the criminal justice system; providing raw material for the drafting of prisoner lists of concern; and informing dialogue with government officials inside and outside China.

Names: 42,093

People In Custody: 7,231

Official reports: 18,122

Unofficial reports: 35,435

as of December 31, 2019


Key Metrics for Active (in-custody) Cases

Total Prisoners 42,093
Active (in custody) 7,231

Top Crimes

Organizing/using a cult to undermine implementation of the law 3,433
Picking quarrels and provoking troubles 463
Endangering State Security – Splittism; Inciting splittism 413
Endangering State Security – State Secrets; Espionage 252
Disturbing social order 123
Endangering State Security – Subversion; Inciting subversion 90

Top Provinces

Xinjiang 1,101
Sichuan 678
Liaoning 472
Shandong 443
Guangdong 348



M 2,827
F 2,212


Gender by Top Crimes

Cult 971 1,696
Picking quarrels 219 149
Splittism; Inciting splittism 211 24

The information above is based on information Dui Hua has obtained, the information does not represent all cases involving political prisoners in China.