Democracy activist Chen Shuqing (陈树庆) was released on September 13, 2010, from Qiaosi Prison in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province after serving four years on charges of “inciting subversion state power.” Chen is subject to one year of deprivation of political rights following his release, including rights to vote, accept interviews or give speeches, and to publish. (See Human Rights in China’s translation of the regulations regarding deprivation of political rights below.)
In its 2007 ruling, the Hangzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court cited as evidence Chen’s role in organizing the Zhejiang branch of the Chinese Democratic Party (CDP) and articles he wrote calling for democratic reform and in support of other CDP member's democratic activities. In addition, the court said that Chen slandered the government in saying that it had used force to crack down on the 1989 Democracy Movement.
Chen’s lawyer Li Jianqiang (李建强) said that Chen was imprisoned for defending his civil liberties. “Chen maintained his innocence in the belief that criticizing the government was his right under the constitution.” Li also said that Chen’s punishment will extend beyond the one year of deprivation of political rights. “Even after this year, it is impossible to guarantee Chen’s civil rights because China is an autocractic state, and it cannot guarantee the civil liberties of any person, let alone his.”
Another Zhejiang rights activist, Wu Yilong (吴义龙), is scheduled to be released on September 14, 2010, the day following Chen’s release. Wu was arrested in June 1999 for circulating pro-democracy articles on the Internet and for his work with the magazine Zaiyedang (在野党, “opposition party”), the journal of the CDP. In November that year, Wu was sentenced to 11 years on charges of “subversion of state power” for organizing the Zhejiang branch of the CDP. He is being released into three years of deprivation of political rights.
“As Chen’s and Wu’s post-release conditions illustrate, the deprivation of political rights after prison release is being systematically used by the Chinese government as a tool – to prevent rights activists like Chen and Wu from exercising the rights guaranteed in the Chinese constitution and international law,” said Sharon Hom, HRIC Executive Director.