Release Immediately Pu Zhiqiang and All Innocent Imprisoned Dissidents!

Zhang Kai


In May 2015, the well-known human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was arrested after he participated in a seminar on the 25th anniversary of June-Fourth Movement at his friend’s home. He spent 19 months in prison. Later, he was charged of “inflicting racial hatred and causing social disturbance”, due to his postings of criticisms on Chinese officials and policies on Weibo. The court stated that the verdict would be accordingly released after 3 hours of hearing. Pu did not plead guilty. This shows that the authorities deprive people’s rights of freedom of speech.

Pu Zhiqiang should be released unconditionally and immediately. It has been too long to get him imprisoned for 19 months. Under the pressure from international and domestic human rights lawyers, the authorities at last stated that Pu was given a suspended three-year prison sentence. Pu said he would not appeal. However, he has not been released yet. That means that he may be sentenced to prison due to any accused misbehaviors.

        Another case is the famous journalist, Gao Yu. The court convicted Gao of leaking state secrets, and gave her seven-year prison sentence. She has suffered a lot, as she is 70 years old and has serious illness. With the medical document issued by the hospital, she was given a 3 to 5-year suspended prison sentence, which will be conducted outside prison. Nonetheless, she has not yet regained unconditionally her freedom.

In the Christmas of 2009, Liu Xiaobo, a human rights defender who drafted “Charter 08” and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, was charged of “inciting subversion of state power ” and was given 11-year prison sentence. He has suffered for years in prison, and his wife, Liu Xia, is forcibly detained at home, so she has no contact with the outside world. Liu should be released immediately as well. The old cases have not been settled, meanwhile, there are new cases. Guo Feixiong, a human rights defender from Guangdong province, was firstly charged of "disturbing order in public space", and then of “causing social disturbance”, so he was sentenced to 6 years in prison. He is actually innocent. It only proves that the court is an absolutely obedient servant to the authorities.

After taking supreme powers of the CPC, government, and military, Xi Jinping immediately restricted democratic rights outside and inside the CPC. Through 14-month revision of “The Regulation of the CPC on Disciplinary Actions”, the Central Committee of the CPC announced to ban freedom of speech and press freedom. For example, Zhao Xinwei, the secretary of CPC of Xinjiang Daily, the editor-in-chief, and the deputy director of the press, was not only expelled from the CPC and the press, but also being prosecuted by the court, for ‘improperly’ discussing government policy in Xinjiang region. Similarly, Zhao Guoming, head of the region's poverty-relief office, was also prosecuted for seriously violating political disciplines (3 November, Ming Po).

According to another news report of Ming Po, the mouthpiece of the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Central Committee of the CPC disclosed that a deputy director of the public security bureau of a city who commented on the policy of “one country, two systems” among the circles of Weixin, was punished politically due to his violation of the provision of “any cadre is forbidden to comment freely on the core policies of the CPC” of the newly revised regulation. There are many examples to prove that the CPC practices centralism but not democracy. It violates the principle of democratic centralism which Lenin upholds.

Outside the CPC, freedom of speech is further restricted. If any netizen spreads “false news” among the internet social platforms such as Weixin or Weibo, he will be convicted of criminal law. The longest prison sentence is 7 years. This may lead to wrong cases of “literary inquisition”, such as Xin Lijian, an out-spoken internet commentator, was interrogated by the police. Hong Kong is also affected. For example, Wang Jianmin, a former senior commentator of Asiaweek, and Guo Zhongjiao, its editor, published political magazines, i.e., Xinweiyuekan and Multiple Face in Hong Kong, and then were arrested due to “illegal operation”. They were prosecuted after one and half year of detention. Wang has two more charges of “bribery” and “cover bidding”. This shows that the authorities are  determined to send Wang into prison.

Yao Wentian, the owner of Hong Kong Morning Bell Press, published many books about the dark side of the CPC. Last year, in Shenzhen, he was sentenced to prison for 10 years, charged with “smuggling chemical raw materials”. All these show that the CPC suppress press freedom in Hong Kong through literary inquisition (5 November, Apple Daily). This openly violates the Basic Law which guarantees Hong Kong people to enjoy freedom of speech and press freedom.

According to 2014 Annual Report by Reporters Without Borders, China was the top one country which sent the largest number of reporters and internet media workers into prison. Recently, another international organization claimed that China is still the country which sent the largest number of reporters into prison in 2015.

Again, the above cases show the CPC’s barbaric bureaucracy and autocracy!           22 December 2015