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Political Prisoner Database

Born 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


Names: 37,662

People imprisoned: 7,399

Official reports: 14,887

Unofficial reports: 32,253

as of March 31, 2018


The purpose of the PPDB is to advance clemency and better treatment for at-risk detainees by: (1) analyzing trends in the persecution of individuals who exercise their universal human rights to free speech, association, and expression; (2) documenting the treatment of political and religious prisoners in the criminal justice system; (3) providing raw material for the drafting of prisoner lists of concern; and (4) informing dialogue with government officials inside and outside China.