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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 251 - 300 of 622
“If I don't do this, and if nobody does it, then what would happen to the people who need help?”—Wang Quangzhang . . . As the wife of a human rights lawyer, I worry about your safety constantly. Every time I see you drag your tired body home after rushing around day and night—everything my eyes...
Actually, out of the Li brothers, Li Heping is not the most inspiring one; it is Li Chunfu. Heping’s ancestral home can be described as poverty-stricken. When Li Heping and I were married there, the marital bed had no mattress; it was straw covered in a coarse cotton sheet. The year when Heping...
I could not have imagined that while looking for Li Heping, his younger brother Li Chunfu, who is also a lawyer, was taken away by the Tianjin Municipal Security Bureau Hexi Branch in the evening of August 1. At the same time, his home was also searched, and his computer, files, books, and other...
This article is lawyer Yan Xin’s (燕薪) statement of defense for Tang Jingling who is accused of "inciting subversion of state power." In his defense for Tang Jingling, lawyer Yan Xin argues that Tang is not guilty of “inciting subversion of state power.” He argues that: the concept and actions of...
Since last year, in the name of the policy to "renovate three sections and tear down one," the Zhejiang provincial government has been forcibly tearing down crosses on top of churches. By July 10 of this year, more than 1,200 crosses have been removed. In a July 28 statement, the Christian Three-...
On July 15, Yang Weidong, an independent filmmaker in Beijing, and his wife and mother were preparing to board a train bound for Hong Kong for their vacation, but his mother, Xue Yinxian, was stopped at customs. The next day, Yang stood naked holding up a sign in front of the State General...
Before, I always used to complain that the days passed by too quickly. But from July 10 onwards, every minute has been a torment. After the search of my home had finished, I thought that however excruciating it might be, it wouldn’t exceed 48 hours. After waiting through this period, I asked a...
After Heping was taken away by police officers without any proper procedure, we kept waiting for a detention notice to be served. And then after 48 hours, we started to actively search for him. But the only response we got was, “I don’t know.” Afterwards, when I heard that a child of lawyers was...
Kao La (pen name of Zhao Wei) is a 24 years-old young woman, born in 1991. She graduated from Jiangxi Normal University Journalism School, and has been involved in public interest activities since her university years. Since October 2014, she has been working as the famous human rights lawyer Li...
This is an excerpt from rights defense lawyer Tang Jingling’s defense and final statement at his trial for "inciting subversion of state power." In the statement, he recounts the rights defense activities he has carried out over some 20 years and his commitment to China’s democratization. He...
Heping is not a big man, just 164cm tall. Because he worked so hard, his hair turned half white a decade ago. He continued dyeing his hair until six months ago, when he jokingly said, “truth starts at the beginning” [“beginning” is “head” in Chinese]. Heping, in my opinion, is a thinking type of...
Corrupt officials and privileged people will not believe in the law, and won’t care whether lawyers exist. Because they live as the organization’s people, they will die as the organization’s ghosts. But the average citizen wants this society to have order and rules. Perhaps previously, facing...
We hereby state: Lawyer Wang Yu represented Fan Mugen—my [Fan Yonghai’s] father and my [Gu Panzhen’s] husband—in his defense. Wang Yu held onto principles, was not afraid of pressure, and conducted the defense in accordance with the law. The lawyers never instructed me (or my family) to do anything...
Dear Father and Mother: I, your unfilial son, kowtow to you both. Not only am I unable to let you live your later years in peace, or provide Mother the means to obtain comprehensive traditional medicine treatment, I have brought you to Beijing, and brought upon you a huge disaster. Perhaps you know...
We hereby state: When acting as the defense counsel for my husband, Wang Qingying, who (along with Tang Jingling and Yuan Chaoyang) was accused of “inciting subversion of state power,” lawyer Sui Muqing was faithful to judicial justice, not afraid of power, and courageous in his fight for Wang’s...
The Beijing Chaoyang Lawyers Association sent a letter to the National People's Congress expressing strong concern about Articles 35 and 36 of the proposed Draft 9th Amendment to the Criminal Law , which will criminalize disruptions to courtroom order and disclosure of information from court...
“At approximately 4:00 a.m. on July 9, 2015, between 20 and 30 police officers surrounded the home of lawyer Wang Yu and took her away on account of ‘drug addiction.’ It is unclear which police station they were from. An officer at the Laiguangying police substation didn’t respond to an inquirer’s...
Rights defender Guo Feixiong (penname of Yang Maodong) files a complaint against the Tianhe Detention Center in Guangzhou, where he is detained, for subjecting detainees to daily strip searches. He requests that the court confirm the unlawfulness of the defendant’s behavior and order the defendant...
On June 10, 2015, lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan met with activists Chen Qitang (penname: Tian Li) and Su Changlan at the Nanhai Detention Center in Foshan City, Guangdong Province. This is the first time Chen Qitang has been allowed to meet with a lawyer since his initial arrest on November 25, 2014...
In this statement, Lawyer Wang Yu of the Beijing Feng Rui Law Firm rebuts the accusations made against her in a recent article by an anonymous author. Entitled “Female lawyer refuses to serve time after being convicted of hitting a person and causing hearing loss,” the article was published and...
Guo Feixiong (aka Yang Maodong), rights defender accused of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” and detained in Tianhe District Detention Center, Guangzhou, demands state compensation for the ill-treatment he received from bailiffs of the Guangzhou Municipal Tianhe District...
On June 5, Shi Tao, former editor of “Contemporary Business News,” issued a statement protesting the deletion of contents from his WeChat “Moments,” and condemning WeChat for having become a shameful accomplice to powerful officials. Afterwards, he registered for a NetEase account. Despite being...
See Chinese original . On June 18, 2004, I was in Xian when I heard about the poetry lecture courses that were being held by the Shanxi College of Literature, and Mr. Song Lin was invited to attend. Song Lin, who had lived in France, was my poetry mentor, and I hadn’t seen him in 14 years. I was...
  • Wang Quanzhang
On June 18, 2015, three lawyers, Wang Quanzhang, Shi Fulong, and Chen Zhiyong, were discharging their duty as defense counsel at the Dongchangfu District Court, Liaocheng, Shandong Province. They were interrupted numerous times by the court. Wang Quanzhang was even expelled from the courtroom,...
Lawyer Li Fangping shares details of of his first meeting with Fujian activist Tu Fu (aka Wu Gan). He says he was moved by Tu’s optimism, humor, warmth, perseverance, calm, and sense of responsibility. The meeting lasted less than an hour. Tu Fu was detained on May 19, initially sentenced to...
At roughly 11:00 p.m. on May 17, 2015, while providing legal services in Nanning, Guangxi, Hunan lawyer Xie Yang was beaten by several unidentified, armed persons. He sustained multiple injuries and his lower leg was fractured. In response to the incident, on May 18 Beijing lawyer Zhang Lei issued...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] Chinese original . . . Thank you to all the international friends for your support. Thank you to all of the many allies and like-minded people—those we know and don’t know. It was your concern and support, along with your vigorous appeals, that made even more...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] Chinese original . . . Thank you to my four “accomplices.” Their singing voices, which penetrated through the high walls, along with their strong and committed expressions, helped me hold back the tears in those many moments when I felt like crying. Thank you...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] Chinese original . . . Since the day I was released, I have been catching up on reading your articles and posts, and various media reports, and began weeping a lot. There’s a lot I want to say but have been too overwhelmed by emotions to get it out. I wept...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] Chinese original . . . Looking back over the past 37, 38 days, even the most difficult days when I was forced to sleep on the floor and without medication, I knew I had to take care of myself, and be stronger. I hoped that upon my release, I would witness the...
After being detained for 37 days, women’s rights activist Li Tingting was released on bail on April 13. She wrote a request to the Haidian Public Security Bureau to return her personal items as soon as possible, especially her Xiaomi Mi Band. Why is it so important to her? In this essay, Li...
Six months into detention, Guangdong rights defender Su Changlan has still not been granted her right to meet with her lawyer. On April 27, 2015, Su’s husband, Chen Dequan, requested open government information about her health condition, which was rejected by the Nanhai District Court of Foshan...
Guo Yushan, founder of research group “Transition Institute” in Beijing, and administrative director of the same group, He Zhengjun, were detained respectively in October and November 2014. They were both arrested on January 3, 2015. Their cases were transferred to review and prosecution stage on...
After his indictment on April 23, Henan dissident Yu Shiwen , who has been detained for organizing a June Fourth “public memorial service,” published a reflection from inside the detention center. In it, he expresses how honored he feels to be indicted for the concrete efforts he made in...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] Chinese original To all of you, my dearest: Knowing how fearless and headstrong I usually am, perhaps you thought I spent my 38 days in detention as the “prisoner-in-charge” or the champion of women’s rights, right? Ha ha, this time, you can laugh at me for 50...
An appeal by Ding Zilin (丁子霖) , a founding member of the Tiananmen Mothers, to the Chinese authorities to conclude the trial of Gao Yu (高瑜), the widely admired veteran journalist. Gao, 70, was tried in November 2014 for leaking an internal Communist Party document, and faces a life sentence. The...
Lu Xuancheng (路选成) is a resident of Tuole Village, Shiqiao Township, Pan County of Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province. In 2008, the local government demanded that he relocate the tombstone factory he operated in his unoccupied backyard. On August 20, 2009, Gu Yong (顾勇), Party Secretary of Shiqiao...
On Lunar New Year day (February 19, 2015), Zhang Guanghua of Weining County, Guizhou Province left for Beijing to petition. He has been missing since he was forcefully taken back to Weining by Weining “petition interceptors” on March 4. His daughter appeals for the attention of human rights...
Cheng Hai (程海), a lawyer currently disputing his one year suspension from legal practice, leads 38 lawyers in demanding an end to the annual assessment and certification process for lawyers. The statement argues that this certification practice, mandated by the Ministry of Justice, not only...
In 1986, Tuo Le villager Lu Xuancheng set up a small stele carving plant in his backyard, located in Shiqiao Town, Pan County, Liupanshui city, Guizhou Province. Due to plans to develop the village as a “scenic area,” in 2008 and 2009, the county government and construction bureau requested that Lu...
[Translation by Human Rights in China] On the afternoon of February 2, 2015, the Tiananmen Mothers in Beijing gathered for their annual Spring Festival reunion activities. They once again reserved four tables, but the number of attendees this year was clearly smaller than in prior years, to the...
Petitioner Wu Lijuan from Qianjiang City, Hubei Province, filed complaints against Xiao Tianshu, the Chief of Qianjiang City Public Security Bureau. The trial took place on 7 January 2015 at Hanjiang Intermediate People’s Court in Hubei Province. Wu Lijuan filed four points of opposition: the...
Zhang Guanghua, 64, never imagined that when he stopped by a neighbor’s home in an attempt to resolve a conflict that the visit—barely two minutes long—would result in “child molestation” charges and a three-year prison term. Following his release, his efforts in appealing his case and petitioning...
Shenzhen lawyers Fan Biaowen, Wang Shengsheng, and others have been dismissed from their respective law firms for “breach of contract,” because they showed concern for and participated in public interest cases. The district Bureaus of Justice, under the jurisdiction of the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau...
In April 2011, the Yinhai District People's Court in Behai, Guangxi Province, sentenced activist Gao Shifu to two years in prison for “illegal business activity.” Later, the Beihai Municipal Intermediate People’s Court upheld the first-instance verdict. Upon his release from prison, Gao appealed...
On May 26, 2014, lawyer Liu Shihui was released from the Shanghai Pudong Zhangjiang detention center after a 10-day administrative detention, which started as a criminal detention on May 13. Following these events, Liu filed a lawsuit against the Pudong Branch of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau...
On August 21, Feng Zhenghu made his first visit to the reception office of the 2nd Central Inspection Team in Shanghai. While there, he asked the Central Inspection Team to investigate and handle seven key problems, including the difficulty of filing cases with the Shanghai court, citizens not...
The indictment charges Guo and Sun with “gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places,” in connection with Guo’s alleged role in organizing street actions in January 2013 outside the gate of the Guangzhou-based publication Southern Weekly to support its staff’s protest against editorial...
On August 22, 2014, lawyer Cheng Hai received a notice from the Changping District Bureau of Justice in Beijing informing him that the Bureau planned to administratively suspend his license to practice for one year. The reason given for the suspension was that Cheng had “disrupted court order...
In a statement issued the day before Guo Feixiong ’s trial, Guo’s lawyers, Chen Guangwu and Zhang Xuezhong, citing serious procedural violations by the court, request postponement of the trial and that the court allow them to make photo copies of all the case materials so that they can review them...

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