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.

PPDB Chart

Names: 40,053

People In Custody: 6,875

Official reports: 16,541

Unofficial reports: 34,048

as of April 1, 2019


Key Metrics for Active (in-custody) Cases

Total Prisoners 40,053
Active (in custody) 6,875


Top Crimes

Organizing/using a cult to undermine implementation of the law 3,548
Picking quarrels and provoking troubles 444
Endangering State Security – Splittism; Inciting splittism 411
Endangering State Security – State Secrets; Espionage 246
Disturbing social order 104
Endangering State Security – Subversion; Inciting subversion 85

Top Provinces

Xinjiang 833
Sichuan 657
Liaoning 547
Shandong 401
Tibet 336



M 2561
F 2228


Gender by Top Crimes

Cult 1006 1820
Picking quarrels 195 151
Inciting splittism 117 19

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