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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 1 - 10 of 281
In this statement , also written for public dissemination, Ding Jiaxi's lawyer Sui Muqing (隋牧青) likens China to a system of slavery: “When people's words and deeds are constantly shackled and constrained by all kinds of unspoken rules and fears, when their words and deeds are faulted at every turn...
A joint appeal issued by lawyers and citizens to the Standing Committees of the National People’s Congress and of the Heilongjiang Provincial People's Congress, which challenges the legality of the existence of the General Bureau of Farm Reclamation of Heilongjiang. In the appeal, the lawyers and...
This is the draft defense statement by one of Zhang Baocheng’s former lawyers, prepared for the original trial on January 27, 2014. In that trial, in protest of procedural problems, Zhang dismissed his lawyers and forced an adjournment of the trial. (The new trial took place on April 8, and Zhang...
In his defense statement for Zhang Baocheng, lawyer Ge Yongxi argues that the procedural irregularities prove that the trial is nothing but reprisal against a human rights defender. He argues that the evidence, especially video of the peaceful assemblies for which Zhang was indicted, proves that...
This chronology was compiled by Legal Professionals for the Public Good (公益法律人), a Google Group, and lists daily events and actions carried out by lawyers, citizens, and officials involved in the Jiansanjiang case from March 21 to April 15. 维权全程 24 天日志 ( 3.21 — 4.15 ) 3月21日 【官方】 抢手机、绑架关押 。 八点十五左右,...
In this argument submitted to the Beijing Municipal People’s High Court, Xu Zhiyong’s second instance trial defense lawyer, Liu Shuqing (刘书庆), raised three issues: the facts of the first instance trial were unclear; the first and second instance trials had major procedural flaws; and the importance...
Ding Jiaxi was tried on April 8-9, 2014, for “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place,” in connection with his participation in citizen actions calling for disclosure of officials’ assets as a way to fight corruption since 2012. The trial concluded on April 9 without a verdict. Ding’s...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] The “New Citizens” trials in their entirety, whether procedurally or substantively, have left the dignity of the rule of law in utter ruin. As legal professionals, you are in fact well aware that the “disrupting order in a public place” charges against us are...
Activist Zhao Changqing's lawyer, Zhang Peihong, said in his defense arguments delivered at the Haidian District Court in Beijing that the very fact he must defend Zhao Changqing in court is a double insult to people's intelligence and the law. Zhang argued that the acts for which Zhao has been...
In this administrative complaint submitted to the Heilongjiang Provincial High People's Court, lawyer Zhang Lei ( 张磊 ) challenges the Qixing Sub-branch of the Jiansanjiang Farm Reclamation Public Security Bureau on the appropriateness of its imposition of martial law measures and cordoning roads...

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