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Flouting Global Norms, China Continues to Incarcerate Prisoners for Abolished Crimes

As Dui Hua has previously reported, the People’s Republic of China continues to incarcerate prisoners for the crimes of counterrevolution and hooliganism, despite the abolition of these crimes in 1997. A recent comparative survey of criminal laws, summarized below, notes that most countries (67%) allow some “retroactive ameliorative relief” (e.g., sentence reductions or early release) in the wake of legislative changes that abolish or lighten the sentences of certain crimes.

PHOTO: The NPC abolished the crimes of counterrevolution and hooliganism, but prisoners continue to be incarcerate for these crimes. Image credit: CNN.

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The Resurgence of Big-Character Posters and Switching Tactics of Criminalization

The iconic big-character posters (dazibao) of the 1970s and 1980s are often thought to have lost their purpose in a China now dominated by smartphones and WeChat. Today, these wall-mounted posters, often handwritten and on a few sheets of paper are used by activists and petitioners seeking to air grievances and direct attention on a range of issues from forced evictions, to government corruption, to wage theft.

PHOTO: Big character posters were found on Peking University’s campus. Image credit: Radio Free Asia.

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Dui Hua Digest

HK staff attended discussion on juvenile justice at CUHK; Dui Hua has received information on acts of clemency for Chen Yulin; Library research yields new discoveries of unknown political prisoners. This month’s John Kamm Remembers tells the story of how HK Legco’s attempt to pass “Article 23” in 2003 was defeated.

PHOTO The HKU “Article 23” expert panel. Image: Hong Kong University

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Dui Hua Digest

As tensions between Washington and Beijing increase, Dui Hua participated in several San Francisco Bay Area events relating to US-China relations and human rights developments in China. In prisoner news, Dui Hua has uncovered a judgment involving two individuals sentenced in Shenzhen for selling Bibles. In this month’s John Kamm Remembers, Kamm finishes the story of his first intervention on behalf of a Chinese political prisoner in Hong Kong in 1990.

PHOTO In April, U.S. companies were banned from selling components to ZTE Corporation. Image credit: Getty Images.

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“Illegal Business Activity” and Christian Bookstores

Dui Hua’s Political Prisoner Database has recorded information on over 1,500 Christians who have been detained or sentenced for either illegal business activity or using a cult to undermine implementation of the law since 1997.

PHOTO:A member of a house church holds a Bible during the Christmas Eve service in an apartment in Beijing on December 24, 2014. Image Credit:

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Featured Video: China’s Human Rights Diplomacy

Developments in China’s human rights diplomacy since June 4, 1989.

What We Do

Dui Hua is a nonprofit humanitarian organization that brings clemency and better treatment to at-risk detainees through promotion of universally recognized human rights in well-informed, mutually respectful dialogue with China.

We focus on four areas, with an aim to help at-risk detainees—political and religious prisoners, juvenile justice, women in prison, and selected issues in criminal justice. And we take a five-pronged approach, premised upon our belief that positive change is realized through constructive dialogue—advocacy, expert exchange, research, publications, and community engagement.

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