Skip to content Skip to navigation

Dissident Zhao Changqing Jailed for 5 Years

August 4, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that on August 4 the Xi’an Intermediate People’s Court sentenced dissident Zhao Changqing to five years in prison following a secret trial on July 10. Zhao had been charged with inciting subversion of state power on June 25 following his formal arrest on December 27.

Zhao Changqing was detained in early November as one of 192 opposition activists who signed an open letter to China’s 16th Party Congress calling for political reform. The open letter, which Zhao drafted, made six political demands, including reassessment of the 1989 democracy movement; allowing political exiles to return to China; restoring Zhao Ziyang’s political rights and releasing him from house arrest; releasing all prisoners of conscience; pushing the National People’s Congress to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and bringing domestic law into conformity with international treaties; and expanding democratic elections from the villages and municipalities to national elections.

Other dissidents arrested in relation to the open letter include Ouyang Yi in Sichuan, Dai Xuezhong, Han Lifa and Sang Jiancheng in Shanghai, He Depu in Beijing, and Jiang Lijun in Liaoning Province. The majority of those detained remain in custody.

Zhao Changqing, aged 36, studied history at Shaanxi Normal University, participated in the 1989 democracy movement, and was arrested and imprisoned for half a year after June 4. In 1997, Zhao ran for election as a local people’s representative, but after he protested the local government’s open violation of election laws he was arrested for endangering state security and sentenced for three years in prison. Following his release in March 2001 Zhang lost his job as a middle school teacher but continued to promote human rights and democratic reform. Zhao was already suffering from tuberculosis prior to his latest arrest, and his condition has deteriorated in custody.

“This harsh sentence for such reasonable and respectfully phrased demands is obviously meant as a threat to China’s pro-democracy activists,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “It is especially objectionable that a trial over an open letter was held in secret on the pretext of protecting state secrets. This trial was just another form of intimidation through an unfair legal process, from Zhao’s illegal and extended detention to the lack of notice given to his family. Any country with a genuine rule of law would reject this judgment as null and void.”

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher
(212) 239-4495

Explore Topics

709 Crackdown Access to Information Access to Justice Administrative Detention All about law Arbitrary Detention
Asset Transparency Bilateral Dialogue Black Jail Book Review Business And Human Rights Censorship
Charter 08 Children Chinese Law Circumvention technology Citizen Activism Citizen Journalists
Citizen Participation Civil Society Commentary Communist Party Of China Constitution Consumer Safety
Contending views Corruption Counterterrorism Courageous Voices Cultural Revolution Culture Matters
Current affairs Cyber Security Daily Challenges Democratic And Political Reform Demolition And Relocation  Dissidents
Education Elections Enforced Disappearance Environment Ethnic Minorities EU-China
Family Planning Farmers Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression Freedom of Press Freedom of Religion
Government Accountability Government regulation Government transparency Hong Kong House Arrest HRIC Translation
Hukou Human Rights Council Human rights developments Illegal Search And Detention Inciting Subversion Of State Power Information Control 
Information technology Information, Communications, Technology (ICT) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) International Human Rights International perspective International Relations
Internet Internet Governance JIansanjiang lawyers' rights defense Judicial Reform June Fourth Kidnapping
Labor Camps Labor Rights Land, Property, Housing Lawyer's rights Lawyers Legal System
Letters from the Mainland Major Event (Environment, Food Safety, Accident, etc.) Mao Zedong Microblogs (Weibo) National People's Congress (NPC) New Citizens Movement
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Olympics One country, two systems Online Activism Open Government Information Personal stories
Police Brutality Political commentary Political Prisoner Politics Prisoner Of Conscience Probing history
Propaganda Protests And Petitions Public Appeal Public Security Racial Discrimination Reeducation-Through-Labor
Rights Defenders Rights Defense Rule Of Law Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Special Topic State compensation
State Secrets State Security Subversion Of State Power Surveillance Technology Thoughts/Theories
Tiananmen Mothers Tibet Torture Typical cases United Nations US-China 
Uyghurs, Uighurs Vulnerable Groups Women Youth Youth Perspective