Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received information that the couple, Chen Wei (陈卫) and Yu Shiwen (于世文), organizers of one of the first public June Fourth Commemorative events in mainland China last year, have been officially arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” Lawyer Ji Laisong (姬来松), Dong Guangping (董广平), Hou Shuai (侯帅), and Fang Yan (方言), who attended a June Fourth event also organized by Chen and Yu this year on February 2 in Henan, were also arrested. Family members also confirmed that two other participants, Shao Chengdong (邵晟东) and journalist Shi Yu (石玉) were released on bail. Lawyer Chang Boyang (常伯阳), who did not even attend the event but who had agreed to represent some of the individuals mentioned above, was also arrested.
Yu Haiyue (于海悦), Chen and Yu’s daughter in New York, told HRIC: “The criminal charge the authorities gave my parents is completely ridiculous. They are passionate people with lofty goals, who hope for the positive development of the country. This sends a chill to the heart.” Haiyue added, her father has long suffered from high blood pressure, and he had a stroke over a year ago. Since her parents were taken away, the police have not allowed her to deliver medicine to them, or to meet with them.
Chen and Yu were student leaders in Guangzhou during the 1989 Democracy Movement; each served prison time after the government’s crackdown. After their release, the couple got married and lived in Zhengzhou. In April of 2013, they gathered more than a dozen civilians to attend a June Fourth Commemorative event in Zhengding County, Hebei Province, where Xi Jinping was previously a local official. This was one of the first June Fourth Commemorative events held publicly in China since the Tiananmen crackdown.
On February 2, 2014, Chen and Yu organized another public commemoration in memory of former state and party leaders Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang, as well as June Fourth victims. More than 30 civilians attended the event, held in Hua County, Henan, the hometown of Zhao Ziyang. Led by Chen Wei, more than 40 civilians jointly signed a commemorative letter to appeal to the Chinese government to implement political reform and reassess June Fourth.
Chen and Yu disappeared this year on May 23. On May 26, family members confirmed that Yu and Chen were both detained by Zhengzhou police at Zhengzhou No.3 Detention Center on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (聚众扰乱公共场所秩序). However, the basis for their official arrest on July 3 was “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事).
In addition, journalist Yin Yusheng (殷玉生), who also attended this year’s June Fourth commemorative event, has been criminally detained by Zhengzhou police. In 2010, he was dismissed from his position at a newspaper after reporting on the notorious Li Gang case. He became an independent investigative journalist in 2013.
Updated July 9, 2014.