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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 151 - 200 of 624
Well-known Shanghai activist, Feng Zhenghu, is running for election as a deputy to the People's Congress for the Yangpu District in Shanghai. On November 13, two of his volunteers, Xu Peiling and Cui Fufang, were helping to hand out promotional materials for his campaign to his constituents when...
Feng Zhenghu, a prominent Shanghai activist, appealed to his constituency to either nominate him before October 30 as a candidate for deputy to the People's Congress of the Yangpu District, or to cast a vote for him directly on November 16. Feng’s campaign slogan is "protect the constitution,...
On July 12, 2015, attorney Xie Yanyi was secretly detained by the authorities. By the time his family finally received official notice of his arrest on January 11, 2016, Xie had been in custody for over 400 days. The numerous visitation requests filed with the Tianjin Public Security Bureau by the...
Nine rights defenders from Suzhou were detained by the authorities for publishing “sensitive” comments on the Internet early last month, during the G20 summit. Wang Mingxian was one of them; to date, his family has not received any notification of his detention. On October 13, Wang’s lawyer, Sui...
With the National People's Congress elections approaching for representatives from Yangpu District in Shanghai, well-known activist Feng Zhenghu issued an open letter to his constituency calling on voters to nominate him as a candidate to the Congress. Feng’s campaign slogan is "protect the...
Since Lawyer Xie Yang’s arrest and detention as part of the “709 crackdown,” his case has been twice transferred for review and prosecution. In their separate accounts (below), Xie’s lawyers, Zhang Chongshi and Lin Qilei, report the following: the prosecutor Li Zhiming from the Changsha People's...
When Jiang Tianyong first arrived in Beijing to work as a lawyer, he was in the same firm as Li Heping and Li Chunfu. Heping and Jiang Tianyong were from the same town, and had been classmates; Heping always called Jiang, “Old Jiang.” Sometimes when they disagreed they would argue; Heping would get...
Rights lawyer from Beijing, Jiang Tianyong, has been missing since November 21, 2016. In light of the enforced disappearance and torture he suffered previously because of his involvement in numerous public interest defense cases and legal actions, his wife Jin Bianling, together with four family...
The wife of Beijing rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong says that as of early morning November 23, 2016, her husband has been missing for more than 24 hours. Jiang was due to arrive in Beijing by train at 6:30am, November 22, after a visit to Changsha to accompany the wife of lawyer Xie Yang, who was...
My friends, we have been out of touch for so long. In 2015, on the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, September 27, my husband Jiang Peikun died suddenly from a heart attack at 2:53 in the afternoon. This sudden misfortune plunged me into an abyss. Jiang's funeral services were simple, in accordance...
On September 9, Suzhou activist Gu Yimin was put under “residential surveillance at a designated place” on suspicion of “subversion of state power.” In this case update written by his wife (see below), Xu Yan, Gu’s lawyer’s request to meet with him was rejected, and her own efforts to locate her...
66 Shanghai citizens jointly petitioned the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress and the Shanghai High People’s Court for the 14th time on August 8, 2016, demanding the implementation of the proposal and three requests put forth in the April 2016 “1016 Shanghai Citizens’ Collective Letter to Xi...
On the morning of September 8, activist Gu Yimin from Changshu, Jiangsu Province, was taken away while bringing his son to school. In the below statement, Gu’s wife, Xu Yan, describes how a number of police officers also raided their home. The police told her that Gu was suspected of “picking...
Sun Xiaoli, a human rights and anti-corruption activist from Beijing, was illegally detained on August 24, 2016 by the Sanjianxiang district government and police station in Beijing (13 days as of September 6). According to the below case update written by rights defenders Chen Zhaozhi and Liu...
Following her arrest on charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” Foshan rights defender Su Changlan has been detained in the Foshan City’s Nanhai Detention Center for over 20 months; her case has yet to come to trial. Her lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, explains in this update (see below) that the...
The ongoing “709 Crackdown,” which began in July of 2015, has primarily targeted rights defense lawyers. Continuing this trend, Hunan rights lawyer Yang Jinzhu, known by some as “Yang Quixote,” is now being oppressed by the local judiciary department. Aware of the possibility of his imminent...
Dear General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the National Security Council Xi Jinping, Greetings! As the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is being convened, we are writing this letter in full respect, in hopes of...
Rights defender Liu Jiacai, currently serving his sentence in Hanjin Prison in Hubei Province, is frequently subjected to physical punishment and is taking psychotropic drugs to ease his mental pressure, according to fellow activist Li Wei. At the request of Liu’s wife, Li has constructed an...
On June 17, 2016, the Wuhan Municipal Procuratorate indicted Wuhan activist Qin Yongmin of “subversion of state power.” Qin had previously been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the same crime. Prior to the indictment, Qin was formally arrested on May 12 after having been disappeared for one year...
The honorable Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court: Over the past few days, I’ve seen news about the trials of the “709” cases, and was really shocked. In the verdicts released on three consecutive days, I saw a name I had not seen for a long time, that of Li Heping, my husband. I’m filled...
In late March 2016, Zhang Leilei, administrator of the Sina Weibo feminist account, “Feminist Activist Pie is More Delicious” (女权行动派更好吃) found that the account had been shut down for “publishing harmful messages and engaging in other rule-violating behavior.” [The Chinese character for “faction”...
In this statements, eight family members of lawyers detained in the “709” crackdown express strong concern about Wang Yu being threatened and pressured into doing a video “interview ” in which she criticized her former colleague, Zhou Shifeng, as not being a “proper” lawyer. The statement also...
You Minglei is the husband of Zhao Wei. The content of this message is from Weiquan Wang. Statement from You Minglei: I received news tonight that Mr. Ren Quanniu, the lawyer I appointed to represent Zhao Wei, was criminally detained on July 8 by public security authorities in Zhengzhou for “...
Today, outside the entrance of the No. 2 branch of the Tianjin People’s Procuratorate, the wives of a number of lawyers who were arrested and disappeared in the “709 crackdown” nearly a year ago, used a “bucket show” to protest the authorities’ trampling on the law and express support for their...
At the end of May 2016, seven rights defenders held a commemoration of June Fourth victims and to show support for Guo Feixiong and Yu Shiwen at citizen activist Zhang Baocheng’s home in Beijing. As a result, six of them, Zhao Changqing, Xu Caihong, Ma Xinli, Li Wei, Liang Taiping, and Zhang...
Eighty-two lawyers from 18 provinces and municipalities jointly issued a public complaint about the detention of the wives of four individuals who have been in custody since the “709” crackdown on rights defense lawyers of July 2015, along with four lawyers who took a group photo with the wives...
On June 4, 2016, the 27th anniversary of the June Fourth crackdown, six police officers, in three shifts, monitored Beijing activist Zha Jianguo’s home. On this day, in his home, he fasted and meditated to commemorate his fellow citizens who died during June Fourth. He reflected on three things:...
Wang Quanxiu, elder sister of lawyer Wang Quanzhang, explains in the below account that Wang has been imprisoned for a full 11 months, on suspicion of “subversion of state power,” and that their mother spent her 70th birthday silently suffering and extremely worried about her son. Today, Wang...
杨茂东,你好! 见字如面! 我对你的情况有大致的了解。我非常理解在这种极端的处境下你的绝食抗争,同时我也非常担心你的身体,担心你的生命安危,因此我和孩子们出外为你做了一些呼吁,见了不同的人。 有很多老师们、朋友们让我转达他们对你的问候,大家都很关心你的身体状况,对你的绝食抗议表达理解。你的要求也很合理,因为发生在你身上的人权问题,其根源还是政治制度问题。在这种制度下,政治犯的待遇最差。改善关押的所有的政治犯的待遇,这一点当局是能够做得到的事。这已经是很低的要求。 如果当局对的处境有改善,你认为最基本的必须的关押条件有改善,请你综合各种情况,考虑停止绝食,以后再根据实际情况再作其他讨论。...
The morning before the January 8 trial of Shu Xiangxin, a Jinan rights defense lawyer charged with "libel," his lawyers Cai Ying and Li Fangping visited him at the Jinan No.2 detention center. They observed Shu’s deteriorating health conditions following savage beatings that Shu reported suffering...
More than 80 Shanghai petitioners filed a joint application for Administrative Reconsideration with the State Council Legislative Affairs Office, requesting the following: Confirmation, in accordance with the law, that Article 35 of the Petition Regulations of the State Council , other regulations...
Hu Shigen, a Beijing activist and house church leader, went missing on July 10, 2015 just prior to attending a church gathering. His family members received an arrest notice in mid-January, 2016, half a year later, notifying them that Hu had been criminally arrested on January 8, 2016 on suspicion...
On March 2, 2016, police restricted Shanghai rights defender Feng Zhenghu’s personal liberty by means of a criminal summons, thus preventing him from going to the Shanghai Office for Letters and Calls. This is the 38th time that Feng has received a criminal summons on suspicion of “refusal to carry...
After learning that her husband, Yu Shiwen , Henan dissident and one of the “Ten Gentlemen of Zhengzhou,” was on a hunger strike to protest his prolonged pretrial detention ( two years since he was first detained in May 2014 ), Chen Wei circulated the below message online. Chen Wei wishes to tell...
Shenyang lawyer Li Yuhan, who practices in Beijing, published an update on March 15, 2016 in which she describes the events that unfolded when she went to the Tianjin Municipal Detention Center to request a meeting with Wang Yu on March 1. On that day, the detention center told her that Wang had...
He Xiaobo, Director of the Nanfeiyan Social Work Service Center—Guangdong, Foshan’s first non-profit organization providing assistance to workers—was criminally detained on December 4, 2015, by Foshan Municipal Public Security Bureau on suspicion of “misuse of one’s official position’” (职务侵占)...
In this letter, “Look Back and Forward,” activist Su Changlan, who is being detained in Nanhai District Detention Center in Foshan City, Guangdong, explains the reason for her detention and thanks her lawyers and people outside for their support. With her trial approaching, she expresses that she...
Defense lawyers and family members of the lawyers and civil society members taken into custody, unlawfully they maintain, during the “709 Incident,” sent the following joint letter of complaint to the highest levels of relevant departments and Chinese leaders. They accuse the public security...
Wang Lihong, Beijing activist and participant in the “Save Guo Feixiong” Hunger Strike relay says in her "Hunger Strike Statement": Today I fasted for 24 hours, in a personal action that is insignificant, powerless, and even helpless . . . . [But] if we all use these seemingly insignificant acts to...
In a message to HRIC, Ai Wu, one of the participants of the hunger strike relay that begun on May 4 to support Guo Feixiong, reports that the strike has had the support of 161 person-times as of today, May 16. Today’s participants include lawyer Tang Jingling, currently serving a five-year prison...
After the families of Zhang Kai and Liu Peng received notices stating that the two had dismissed their defense lawyers, the lawyers, Zhang Lei and Li Boguang, requested that the Wenzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau arrange meetings with their clients, in order to confirm the dismissal in person...
After Yang Maoping (杨茂平), sister of Guo Feixiong, learned of his deteriorating physical condition during a visit with him in prison, she sent an open letter to Li Jingyan, head of the Guangdong Provincial Prison Management Bureau. In the letter, she requests that Guo be transferred to a major...
Liu Xiaoyuan, lawyer for Foshan, Guangdong rights defender Su Changlan, posted online an update about his client who was first detained in November 2014 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” after publishing an article online in support of Hong Kong’s Occupy Movement, and later...
To show solidarity with Guo Feixiong, Yu Shiwen, the individuals arrested in the 709 Incident, and others persecuted simply for their righteousness, Beijing human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong fasted in a hunger strike on May 9, for the full day. In his "Hunger Strike Statement" he says that he...
Ai Wu, one of the volunteers in the hunger strike campaign, reports that more than 1,000 people have signed a petition for Guo Feixiong’s release so that he may receive proper medical treatment. (To sign, email ziyoufeixiong@gmail.com . See details .) Ai reports that lawyer Sui Muqing, a volunteer...
Lawyer Cai Ying reports that his client, rights defense lawyer Shu Xiangxin, in custody in the Jinan No.2 Detention Center for “libel,” was violently beaten and also suffered from other forms of maltreatment including being handcuffed and deprived of food, water, and access to toilet...
On May 1, 2016, Lawyer Ma Lianshun visited his client, Henan dissident Yu Shiwen , in Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center and learned that on April 27, Yu had begun a hunger strike to protest 1) his prolonged pretrial detention— two years since he was first detained in May 2014 —with no sign of being...
A group of well-known activists in China have initiated a 24-hour relay hunger strike campaign, beginning on May 4, to urge the Chinese authorities to take immediate action to provide Guo Feixiong with immediate medical treatment. The initial seven hunger strikers include Tan Zuoren, the...
Dear Lawyer Wang Yu: Hello! After July 9, 2015, when we saw that famous video of you on the Internet, our first feeling was: how were you able to point at the bailiff and reprimand him in court? We were really hoping the video would cut to where you were pointing, so that we could see exactly what...
Black-hooding, tight handcuffing and leg shackling, no exposure to fresh air (~2014–November 2015) BACKGROUND Guo Feixiong , 49, is a well-known writer, self-taught legal defender, and outspoken advocate for asset transparency. In January 2013, Guo protested in front of the Southern Weekend...

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