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Dissident Lu Decheng free; others remain in asylum limbo

April 12, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the discharge of dissident Lu Decheng from the custody of Thai authorities and his arrival in Canada, where he has been offered political asylum. His release comes after months of pressure from the international community protesting the possibility of his repatriation to China, in contravention of international human rights law.

HRIC continues to advocate for safe harbor for dissidents who flee persecution in China. HRIC remains concerned about individuals who remain in this limbo, include Yan Peng in Taiwan and others who remain in Thailand.

In May 1989, Lu Decheng, together with Yu Zijian and Yu Dongyue, splattered paint on the portrait of Mao Zedong that hangs over Tiananmen Square. Lu was sentenced to 16 years in prison on the charge of counterrevolutionary sabotage and incitement and released on January 25, 1998.

In August 2004, Lu went to Thailand, in part to bring international attention to the treatment of Yu Dongyue in prison. According to HRIC sources, the Thai authorities arrested Lu Decheng in Bangkok on December 12, 2004 while he was meeting with other Chinese democracy activists. Until his release, he was held under threat of deportation in the custody of Thai authorities.