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Citizens' Square

Citizens’ Square is a virtual Democracy Wall for individuals from China to share their stories online in personal narratives, open letters, statements, and case descriptions, and through photos, court documents, and videos. While most of the posted items are in Chinese, HRIC provides in English the title and a descriptive summary of each item. On occasion, HRIC also provides English translation of the contents of the item itself.

Launched in spring 2010, Citizens’ Square has served as an uncensored platform for petitioners, rights defenders, lawyers, and other citizens to expose corruption and official malfeasance, publicize cases of abuse ranging from illegal detention to kidnapping and torture, and issue public statements, including calls for official accountability and transparency and appeals for just compensation for forced evictions.

The expansion of this virtual Democracy Wall reflects the powerful desire among Chinese citizens to assert their rights and the growing citizen activism in China. Postings on Citizens’ Square have also helped individuals and groups bring international press attention to their cases.

In Citizens’ Square, journalists, researchers, and the general public can learn more about individual cases.

Items 101 - 150 of 624
Reports continue to expose the serious human rights violations committed against lawyers and activists arrested in the 709 Crackdown. In addition to attorneys Xie Yang, Li Heping, Li Chunfu, as well as activist Wu Gan, many rights defenders caught up in the crackdown are reported to have been...
After Huang Qi, director of 64 Tianwang website, was arrested for “illegally providing state secrets abroad” his 84-year-old mother Pu Wenqing once again urges the Chinese government in this open letter to release her son for medical treatment on humanitarian grounds. Huang Qi—who has been...
Among the detainees of the “709” crackdown, lawyer Wang Quanzhang is the only one about whom there had not been any news for nearly two years since his detention in August 2015. The authorities not only denied him access to the lawyers retained by his wife, but also suppressed the lawyers. Recently...
This poem by Liu Xia, written in 2010 for the then detained Liu Xiaobo, was circulated online on July 14, 2017, the day after Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer. [Translation by Human Rights in China] Chinese Original I know, one day, sooner or later You’ll leave me And walk alone down the path of...
At the request of the Tiananmen Mothers, HRIC issues the group’s message to Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia (below). [Translation by Human Rights in China] Xiaobo: Although you lost your freedom and lost your life, you still possess the great love of the world, which no one on Earth can match. In our hearts...
Today we went to the entrance of the Supreme People’s Court. The bailiff was blocking the way of an elderly woman petitioner. But when he saw us, he let us through, and called on his mobile to inform the authorities inside: “They have arrived and are going in.” Wenzu and I exchanged a knowing smile...
Sun Wenguang, retired professor of Shandong University School of Management, after attending a June Fourth anniversary gathering on May 24, was picked up on June 1 by individuals believed to be public security personnel. Sun was taken to a guest house and his cell phone was confiscated. He was sent...
Jiang Tianyong’s wife is shocked to hear her husbad’s statement dismissing his two defense lawyers, and does not believe that this is Jiang’s true wish. She presumes that Jiang Tianyong’s statement—signed on the day when his six-months of residential surveillance expired—was the product of torture...
On May 8, Xie Yang, a human rights lawyer detained during the 709 Crackdown and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and “disrupting court order,” was tried in a so-called open first instance trial at Changsha Intermediate People's Court. In court, Xie admitted to his alleged crimes,...
After the international community strongly condemned the alleged torture of attorney Xie Yang who was detained in the 709 Crackdown, the Chinese official media CCTV attempted a rebuttal. On March 2, 2017, CCTV reported that a thorough investigation had been conducted, which, drawing on various...
Activist Feng Zhenghu from Shanghai was denied departure from Pudong International Airport on October 5, 2015. The border police stated that his departure could potentially “harm national security,” allegedly in connection with the 709 Crackdown. In February of this year, when Feng was granted a...
Activist Chen Qitang (also known as Tian Li), from Foshan, Guangdong Province, was convicted of “subversion of state power” on March 31, 2017 and sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. On the final date of the appeal period (April 10, 2017), his lawyer, Li Fangping, met him at the Nanhai...
On March 31, 2017, renowned Sichuan dissident and activist Chen Yunfei was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment by Chengdu Wuhou District Court on the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” As he listened to the judgment, Chen gestured the “peace” sign with both hands, and said he...
On February 21, 2017, the mother of detained rights activist Huang Qi, retained two lawyers, Sui Muqing and Li Jinglin, to go to the state security unit of the Mianyang Municipal Public Security Bureau to request that the person handling Huang’s case provide information on his case, in accordance...
On the morning of April 6, after the verdict was announced on March 31 in her trial, Su Changlan was finally permitted to meet with her lawyer for the first time. Su told her lawyer that although she had predicted the verdict, after it was announced she felt angry and upset. Moreover, she believes...
Beijing human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong has been detained since November 21, 2016, and has been denied meetings with lawyers and family. It was reported that he accepted an interview with the Global Times . Jiang’s defense lawyers Chen Jinxue and Tan Chenshou released a statement pointing out...
A few days ago, Beijing activist Ni Yulan spent RMB 40,000 to rent an apartment, only then to be harassed by the real estate broker and the landlord, who asked her to move, claiming that the apartment is public housing and not authorized for rental (but when she was renting the apartment, the...
In response to the report published by the Party mouthpiece The Global Times, on March 1, entitled “Investigation Reveals Fake ‘Torture Stories’ About Lawyer Xie Yang,” Xie Yang’s lawyer Chen Jiangang published, on the following day, “My Meetings with Xie Yang, Before and After.” Chen’s article...
Liu Zhengqing, defense lawyer for human rights lawyer Xie Yang who was arrested in the “709” Crackdown, went to Changsha No. 2 Detention Centre to apply to meet with Xie. He was told that he “would receive a reply within 48 hours.” After the 48 hours had passed, not only was there no meeting...
Prosecutor Yang Zhongping from the Hunan Provincial People’s Procuratorate stated, in a China Central Television (CCTV) report entitled “Investigation into the Truth of Xie Yang’s ‘Torture,’” that western media reports of the alleged torture of lawyer Xie were not based in facts. CCTV also...
Human rights activists Su Changlan and Chen Qitang (also known as Tian Li), both from Foshan, Guangdong Province, were tried for and convicted of “subversion of state power” on March 31, 2017 in Foshan Intermediate Court. In separate announcements, the court sentenced Su to three-years’...
March 26, 2017 (Sent on April 4, 2017) In advance of the China-U.S. Summit, the wives of Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang, and Jiang Tianyong—lawyers arrested during the “709 Crackdown”—jointly sent their fourth open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump. In their letter, they cite police misconduct in...
Activist Chen Qitang (also known as Tian Li), from Foshan, Guangdong Province, was convicted of “subversion of state power” on March 31, 2017 and sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. On the final date of the appeal period (April 10, 2017), his lawyer, Li Fangping, met him at the Nanhai...
Ding Zilin, mother of Jiang Jielian, who was shot and killed, at age 17, on the night of June 3, 1989, is a founder of the Tiananmen Mothers group. Mrs. Lois Snow is the widow of the late Edgar Snow, American journalist and author of Red Star Over China (1937), widely regarded as one of the most...
On March 20, authorities prevented lawyers Guo Lianhui and Liu Wenhua from meeting with their client, Ming Jingguo, who is being held at the Nankang District Detention Center in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province. Ming, age 60+, was taken into custody on March 18, a day after he attacked a Zhangfang Village...
On February 10, 2017, rights defender Wang Fang’s case was heard by the Wuchang District Court, in the city of Wuhan. In a defense statement, Wang’s defense lawyer, Liu Zhengqing, maintained his client’s innocence. Liu said the charge against Wang of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” has no...
On February 12, the third extension of the three-month pre-trial detention period for activist Su Changlan of Foshan, Guangdong, expired. Each extension required the approval by the Supreme People’s Court. When Su’s defense lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan asked Foshan Intermediate Court whether it had received...
In this half-hour video, lawyer Chen Jiangang details his meetings with his client lawyer Xie Yang, who alleges torture by detention personnel, and the process of the compiling his “ Transcripts of Meetings with Xie Yang .” Chen states that he stands by the veracity of his Transcripts, and will...
On January 18, lawyer Chen Jiangang published online the transcripts of a series of meetings that month he and fellow lawyer Liu Zhengqing had with detained attorney Xie Yang, who has been held since July 2015 as a result of the 709 crackdown. The transcripts, amounting to more than 17, 000 Chinese...
Dear NPC Deputies and CPPCC Committee Members: During the upcoming Two Congresses of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the relevant motions, proposals, and recommendations submitted by NPC Deputies and CPPCC Committee members will surely...
In the below statement, Lawyer Liu Zhengqing tells of the process he had to go through to become Xie Yang’s legal representative and to meet with him in person. Liu writes of how Xie informed him about a number of things that happened while Xie was held under residential surveillance. For instance...
Sichuan rights defender Chen Yunfei was accused of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles," and was tried at Wuhou Court in Chengdu, Sichuan, on December 26, 2016. During the trial, the court forcibly confiscated the computer belonging to Chen’s defense lawyer Liu Zhengqing, claiming that Liu was...
In the afternoon of November 14, 2016, independent candidate Feng Zhenghu who was running for one of the deputies to the Yangpu District People's Congress in Shanghai, was lawfully handing out canvassing materials for his campaign when individuals from his neighborhood security office tried to stop...
During the elections for deputies to the Jinan district and township level People's Congresses, Sun Wenguang, an independent candidate and retired professor of Shandong University, was imprisoned in his home for several days under round-the-clock watch by public security officers. In the article...
Xu Peiling, Cui Fufang, Fan Guijuan, and Dai Zhongyao—four volunteers of independent candidate Feng Zhenghu’s campaign for People’s Deputy of Shanghai’s Yangpu District—were illegally detained on November 13, 2016, by officers from the Wujiaochang police sub-station of the Yangpu Public Security...
Jin Bianling, wife of detained human rights defense lawyer Jiang Tianyong, has released a statement in response to the December 16 report published by “The Paper,” a state run media outlet, on Jiang’s situation. The report describes the imposition of criminal coercive measures against Jiang, as...
In February 2016, 80-year-old Beijing resident Wang Xiuying applied to the National Audit Office for “Open Information on the Exit Audit Report of Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, legal representative of China Investment Corporation and Central Huijin Investment Company Ltd.” The National Audit Office...
Human rights defender Su Changlan, of Foshan, Guangdong, has been in detention since 2014 and is still waiting for a verdict on her April 2016 trial for “inciting subversion of state power.” She recently told her lawyer that she had been disciplined in detention because she had used pure water with...
In her statement, Chen Guiqiu, wife of lawyer Xie Yang who was detained in the 709 crackdown, calls attention to the procedural violations committed by the authorities with regard to her husband’s case. The two lawyers she retained to serve as her husband’s defense lawyers, Zhang Chongshi and Lin...
Fujian activist Wu Gan (aka Tufu) has suffered numerous forms of illegal mistreatment during his detention, including secret solitary confinement for half a year, having the defense attorney appointed by his wife barred from meeting with him, days and nights of sleep deprivation, threats and...
Human rights lawyer Xie Yanyi went missing in July 2015 as part of the 709 crackdown; it was not until January 2016 that his family finally received official notice of his arrest. Not only were his family members denied the right to hire a lawyer; they were also followed and surveilled 24 hours a...
Human rights lawyer Xie Yang, from Changsha city, Hunan, was originally arrested during the "709” crackdown in 2015 and was not allowed to meet with his lawyers until December 2016. In addition, his lawyer Liu Zhengqing did not receive Xie’s indictment until January 4, 2017. The indictment claims...
Wang Qiaoling went to the No. 2 branch of the Tianjin Municipal Procuratorate to inquire about the criminal charge against her husband, human rights attorney Li Heping who was arrested in the "709 crackdown.” In the below account of her experience that day, Wang explains that, after referring to...
Seventy-six well-known Chinese individuals, including legal scholars, practicing lawyers, economists, publishers, documentary filmmakers, writers, and poets, have joined in an open letter to ask for the resignation of Zhou Qiang, President and Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court. In a...
Through the current policy of “reversion of employment age,” a significant number of people who underwent Reform-through-Labor, or who were fired or dismissed, or who voluntarily resigned from their jobs are unable to claim pension and medical insurance otherwise accumulated from their time working...
Since Beijing lawyer Jiang Tianyong’s disappearance on November 21, neither his family nor the defense lawyers appointed by his family have received any written notice regarding his status. Official media have carried out wanton smear campaigns against him, misleading public opinion. In response to...
Wang Qiaoling, wife of human rights lawyer Li Heping, and Yuan Shanshan, wife of lawyer Xie Yanyi, went to the Changsha City No. 2 Detention Center in the morning of October 8, 2016, to deposit money for human rights attorney Xie Yang, who was detained in the “709” crackdown. Without cause, Wang...
There has been no news regarding Jiang Tianyong’s situation since his disappearance on November 20, 2016; however, the apartment where he once lived in the Changping District of Beijing was broken into and forcibly searched by public security personnel. In addition, the tenants of Jiang Tianyong's...
On November 14, two days before the elections for National People's Congress deputies from Yangpu District in Shanghai, well-known activist Feng Zhenghu was canvassing for votes in his neighborhood when he was taken away by police to the police station. There, Feng was subjected to 24 hours of...
Recently, Ye Jinghuan, Zhang Shan’gen, and 18 other Beijing citizens issued a joint declaration to become independent candidates in the elections for district and county People’s Congress deputies. In response, they received “special attention” from the police at their homes. Zhang Shan’gen was...

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