Bao Junsheng (鲍俊生), organizer of a 2009 protest in front of a courthouse in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was released on February 22, after completing a three-year sentence on conviction of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.” He was met by some three dozen friends outside the Leshan Municipal Detention Center in Leshan, Sichuan Province. Among them were Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏), Yan Wenhan (严文汉), Yang Jiurong (杨久荣), and Liu Jiwei (刘继伟), who were convicted in the same case but given lighter sentences. According to those present, Bao said that the first person he wished to see was his 97-year-old mother.
Bao mounted the 2009 action after a stalled multi-year suit against the Chengdu Municipal Intermediate People's Court over property rights and after exhausting all avenues for petitioning to seek redress.
On February 23, 2009, Bao gathered a group of people outside the main gate of the court, who displayed banners, shouted slogans, wore hats emblazoned with the words “defend rights” (维权) and “injustice” (冤), and used iron chains to link themselves together. Four citizen reporters, including Huang Xiaomin, circulated videos of the protest online. The action gained wide public attention and came to be known as the Chain Gate (链子门) Incident. In September 2010, the Shizhong District People’s Court in Leshan convicted ten protesters, including Bao, who received penalties ranging from one year of probation to three years in prison.
Before Bao’s release, those who were convicted in the same case, including Yan Wenhan and Lu Dachun (陆大春), petitioned for a retrial on the grounds of lack of evidence and procedural irregularities in the original trial. On February 15, 2012, the Leshan Municipal People’s Court held a new hearing on Lu Dachun’s case. Many involved in the case expect forthcoming revelation of evidence showing miscarriage of justice in both Bao Junsheng’s trial and appeal.
For more on Bao Junsheng and the Chain Gate Incident, see: