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Citizens' Square

Citizens’ Square is a virtual Democracy Wall for individuals from China to share their stories online in personal narratives, open letters, statements, and case descriptions, and through photos, court documents, and videos. While most of the posted items are in Chinese, HRIC provides in English the title and a descriptive summary of each item. On occasion, HRIC also provides English translation of the contents of the item itself.

Launched in spring 2010, Citizens’ Square has served as an uncensored platform for petitioners, rights defenders, lawyers, and other citizens to expose corruption and official malfeasance, publicize cases of abuse ranging from illegal detention to kidnapping and torture, and issue public statements, including calls for official accountability and transparency and appeals for just compensation for forced evictions.

The expansion of this virtual Democracy Wall reflects the powerful desire among Chinese citizens to assert their rights and the growing citizen activism in China. Postings on Citizens’ Square have also helped individuals and groups bring international press attention to their cases.

In Citizens’ Square, journalists, researchers, and the general public can learn more about individual cases.

Items 1 - 50 of 622
On January 10, well-known Chinese rights activist Guo Feixiong issued an urgent open letter (see below) to Premier Li Keqiang and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, urging them to order Guangzhou authorities to return his passport so that he may come to the United States to take care of his...
  • Chang Weiping
Just six days after making this statement, Chang was taken away by police on October 22, 2020. Chang’s disappearance followed 10 months of “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL)—presented by the authorities as “bail” condition of his previous detention that occurred in mid-...
An open letter to: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, UN Member States. We, the undersigned organizations, join together to call for an international mechanism to address the Chinese government’s human rights violations, and urge you to...
In this update, Xu Yan, wife of detained human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, provides the latest developments in her husband’s case. On the morning of September 3, Yu’s two defense lawyers plan to meet with Yu at the Xuzhou Municipal Detention Center to discuss his upcoming trial of second instance...
In this timely essay, Chen Jiangang, one of China’s well-known rights defense lawyers, tells the story of the campaign waged by the Chinese authorities over the past decade intended to crush the rights defense legal profession.
On June 10, Zhang Hai of Wuhan submitted a complaint to the Wuhan Municipal Intermediate People’s Court in the first case filed by a Wuhan citizen against government authorities for concealing information about the new coronavirus. This concealment, he argues, led to his father’s death. Zhang…
Distributing democracy leaflets in Beijing landed Feng Xiaoyan in the No. 4 People’s Hospital in Linyi, Shandong, where she has been kept as a psychiatric patient and force-fed medications.
In his article, lawyer Chen Jiangang discusses what he terms as the “Four Breakthroughs” that President Xi Jinping has “achieved” during his administration: 1. Breaking with the principle of abiding by international treaty obligation, (referring to the the 1984 Joint Declaration that the Chinese...
On January 19, 2018, lawyer Yu Wensheng published a "Citizen’s Proposal to Amend the Constitution," with recommendations for deleting the "Preamble” to the Constitution and for other political reforms. He was criminally detained the following day, on suspicion of "obstructing official business" and...
Wang Quanzhang ( 王全璋) , a lawyer in custody since the “709” crackdown in 2015, was supposedly released from prison on April 5, 2020. But instead of being allowed to go home to Beijing, Wang was sent to Jinan ostensibly for a 14-day quarantine. But by April 23, he had still not been allowed to...
April 30, 2020 is the 10th anniversary of the revocation of Tang Jitian and Liu Wei's lawyer's licenses. In 2008, Tang Jitian and Liu Wei were among 35 lawyers who called for the direct elections of officers of the state-controlled Beijing Lawyers Association. In 2010, Tang and Liu’s lawyer...
On April 2, 2020, the Zhengzhou Lawyers Association issued a disciplinary “warning” to lawyer Liu Yingying( 刘莹莹 ) for posting on her blog an article titled, “Today, family members lined up in a long queue to pick up their relatives’ ashes at the Hankou Funeral Home.“ The warning states that Liu is...
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, thirteen Chinese citizens from Beijing, Fujian, Hunan, Shandong, and other provinces, including Li Yingzhi ( 李英之 ) , Zha Jianguo ( 查建国 ) and Lin Yubin ( 林于斌 ) urge the government to take the following actions: Conduct a public memorial service on Qing...
In her statement, Shi Minglei, the wife of Cheng Yuan, the public interest advocate facing charges of “subversion of state power,” cites serious factual inaccuracies in the article, "The Cheng Yuan I know" (谈谈我认识的程渊). She states that the article maliciously links, without evidence, the arrest of...
In this article, Lu Dachun, a long-time petitioner who previously served a two year-sentence for petitioning-related activities, points out that although the central government has emphasized the need to solve the outstanding problems of "two no worries [about food and clothing] and three...
Christian Jiang Zhanchun ( 蒋湛春) has been criminally detained in Zhenjiang City Detention Center on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble and disrupting the working order of state organs." Xu Yonghai ( 徐永海) , an elder of the Beijing Christian house church, Divine Love Group, appeals...
The Peking University professor and advocate of judicial reform in China says in this handwritten short essay, “Without press freedom, not only would the people’s livelihood be difficult, there would be no trust in government, let alone the possibility of a capable modern governance system.” 贺卫方:...
The group’s appeals include the following: the protection of fundamental human rights in the course of epidemic prevention and control; the establishment by the National People’s Congress of a special investigative commission that includes independent professional and organizations to conduct a...
The lead advocate of the New Citizens Movement lambasts Xi Jinping for his incompetence and mismanagement of the coronavirus epidemic, asking the Chinese president to resign for the sake of the country. Xu was detained in southern China on February 17, 2020. He is reported to be facing “inciting...
Xu Yan ( 许艳 ) , the wife of Beijing lawyer Yu Wensheng ( 余文生 ) , sends a letter to the Mayor of Beijing, seven Deputy Mayors, and the Chief Secretary of the municipal government, appealing to them, on whom the people depend for their livelihood, to immediately launch a mechanism for protecting and...
This notice from the Zhangwan District of Shiyan City in Hubei Province, approximately 300 miles from Wuhan, with a population of 410,000 in the district, was posted on the website of Shiyan City at a little after 9:00 p.m. on February 12, 2020, announcing “Wartime Management and Control” beginning...
On the afternoon of December 30, 2019, Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at the Wuhan Central Hospital, posted two messages in a Wechat group of his medical school classmates: “Seven cases of SARS were diagnosed connection with Huanan Fruit and Seafood Market” and “The latest news is that the...
The " Beijing News " reported on January 16, 2020 that a court in Henan upheld a lower court’s “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” conviction of three Henan farmers in connection with their petitioning activities. Lu Dachun, a veteran petitioner and rights activist, questions why the farmers...
Li Qiaochu ( 李翘楚 ), the girlfriend of New Citizens Movement advocate Xu Zhiyong ( 许志永) , posted an article on Twitter describing the police search of Xu’s home and her home in Beijing on New Year's Eve. When officers came to search Xu’s home, Li was there but Xu was not. Afterwards, they took Li to...
Shi Minglei (施明磊), the wife of Cheng Yuan (程渊), who has been in custody for his public interest advocacy, tweeted today that as a result of her continuous fight, the Changsha Municipal Bureau of State Security finally lifted her residential surveillance that had lasted nearly six months, and...
Shi Minglei, wife of the arrested public interest activist Cheng Yuan, has been put under residential surveillance for 50 days already, on suspicion of “subversion of state power.” Without presenting any evidence, to date, to support their criminal allegations against Shi, the authorities have...
In a September 2, 2019 Twitter post titled, " Being Summoned for the Second Time ,"* Cheng Hao, the brother of detained Changsha activist Cheng Yuan, provides an account of his being summoned again by the Zhonghuamen police station in Nanjing. According to his account, three police officers came to...
The case of Li Huaiqing, a private entrepreneur in Chongqing who is suspected of “inciting subversion of state power,” will be tried on August 22. After a year and eight months of silence, Li’s wife, Bao Yan, made her first public appeal, directed at relevant government departments: Don't sit back...
On August 12, Cheng Hao, brother of Cheng Yuan, the detained Changsha legal advocate, posted a statement (see below) on Twitter about his interrogation by the police of Zhonghuamen police station in Nanjing on August 8, on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” (寻衅滋事). Cheng Hao was...
On July 22, 2019, Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze and Xiao Wu, three public interest law advocates of Changsha Funeng Organization, were seized by Changsha Municipal Bureau of State Security on suspicion of “subversion of state power” and have been detained in its detention center. Shi Minglei, Cheng Yuan’s...
On July 17, Lawyer Zhang Peihong ( 张培鸿 ) went to the Chengdu Detention Center to apply to visit his client Wang Yi ( 王怡 ), pastor at the Early Rain Covenant Church. Zhang was told to go see the officers at the Chengdu Procuratorate. There, he learned that investigation of Wang Yi’s case was...
Jin Bianling (金变玲), wife of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) ,says in a Twitter post that in recent days, Jiang Tianyong’s family has suffered sharply increased monitoring and harassment by domestic security personnel from the Luoshan County Public Security Bureau, in Xinyang City, Henan...
Liu Tianyan (刘天艳) , wife of dissident Fu Hailu (符海陆) —who is accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for creating a wine bottle label in 2016 to mark the anniversary of June Fourth—posted this essay one day before his trial. She points out that Fu had in fact already been imprisoned for...
According to a source inside China, since the Two Congresses started, Pu Wenqing (蒲文清) , the 86-year-old mother of Huang Qi (黄琦) , the detained veteran rights defender and the founder of 64 Tianwang website (64tianwang.com), has been under round-the-clock monitoring by security personnel. She has...
During Chinese New Year, Sichuan rights activist Tan Zuoren ( 谭作人) and his wife, Wang Qinghua ( 王庆华 ) visited the families of several fellow Sichuan rights defenders and activists: the mother of the imprisoned rights activist Huang Qi( 黄琦) ; the parents of Wu Guofeng( 吴国锋) , a student who died in...
Huang Qi ’s ( 黄琦 )mother, Pu Wenqing ( 蒲文清 ), speaks out once again to condemn the authorities’ persecution of Huang Qi. She calls on the international community to pay attention to his case and urges the authorities to transfer Huang Qi, who is suffering from various serious diseases, to a...
In her open appeal, Pu Wenqing ( 蒲文清 ) , 85, mother of the detained Sichuan rights activist Huang Qi ( 黄琦 ) , says that she learned from Huang Qi’s lawyer that despite Huang’s serious medical conditions, the authorities have refused to transfer Huang to a hospital for treatment. In a meeting on...
On December 10, 2018, lawyer Liu Zhengqing ( 刘正清 ) visited his client, Sichuan activist Huang Qi ( 黄琦 ), who is detained at the Mianyang Detention Center. He learned from Huang that two prosecutors based at the detention center had met with Huang Qi three times on November 30 and December 3, asking...
Record of Meeting [By Lawyer Liu Zhengqing of his meeting with Huang Qi] [English translation by HRIC] Time: Afternoon, October 23, 2018 Location: Meeting Room #18 at the Mianyang Municipal Detention Center Interviewer: Lawyer Liu Zhengqing Interviewee: Huang Qi Question (Liu Zhengqing): Please...
In the afternoon of November 12, 2018, lawyer Liu Zhengqing(刘正清) visited his client, Sichuan activist Huang Qi(黄琦) , who is detained at the Mianyang Detention Center. Huang told his lawyer that in the morning that day, three doctors at the Mianyang Central Hospital came to the detention center to...
In 1993, Liu writes, his wife, Huang Ping (黄萍), was carried away by a sudden surge at the waterfall at the Huangguoshu Scenic Area in ​Guizhou Province. Liu says that his investigation showed that the deluge was created by officials of the Huangguoshu Scenic Area Management Office who, without...
More than 100 scholars inside and outside China have joined a growing domestic campaign to call for the release of workers at the Jasic factory in Shenzhen, who have been detained for demanding to form their own labor union to protect their rights. On July 27, seven of the workers, and 23...
On October 8, 2018, lawyer Li Jinglin( 李静林 ) visited his client, Sichuan activist Huang Qi( 黄琦 ) , who is detained at the Mianyang Detention Center. Huang issues a statement through his lawyer maintaining that he was framed and accused of the so-called crime of illegally providing state secrets...
In her open letter, Pu Wenqing ( 蒲文清) , mother of the detained Sichuan rights activist Huang Qi ( 黄琦) , strongly urges the director of the Mianyang Public Security Bureau to hand over to Huang Qi the complete set of documents related to his blood test, and arrange for monthly thorough checkup of...
On September 26, 2018, the Hubei Provincial High People’s Court upheld a lower court’s ruling on veteran rights activist Qin Yongmin’s case: conviction of subversion of state power, a 13-year prison term, and three years of post-release deprivation of political rights. Qin was detained on March 30...
In a September 20 post online, lawyer Sui Muqing says that his wife, lawyer Sun Shihua, was beaten and illegally detained by the police at Hualin police substation, Liwan District in Guangzhou. She had gone to the substation at about 3 PM to speak with the police officer in charge of her client’s...
Detained since November 2016, Sichuan rights activist Huang Qi was indicted in January 2018 on charges of “illegally providing state secrets abroad.” But the authorities have not yet brought him to trial. The charge was based on Huang’s publication on the Internet of a document by the Political and...
Wang Quanzhang, a rights lawyer, finally met with a lawyer after having been disappeared for more than three years. The lawyer, Liu Weiguo, reported that that Wang told him that he has suffered “no hard violence.” In the article below, Wang’s wife Li Wenzu reminds us what “no hard violence” means...
Students from 12 colleges across the country have joined the campaign initiated by the students of Peking University to call for the release of Jasic workers detained for demanding to form a labor union. On July 27, seven of the workers, and 23 supporters were taken into custody and have been...
Lawyer Wang Quanzhang was disappeared in July 2015, in the beginning stage of the 709 crackdown in which more than 300 lawyers and activists were affected—disappeared, detained, or questioned. Subsequently, all of the detainees were either prosecuted and sentenced or released—except lawyer Wang...

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