4. Prisoners’ Stories

They Can’t Just Disappear. We Can’t Just Turn Away!


Hundreds of Chinese human rights defenders are currently detained in Chinese prisons. Some have known whereabouts, others have “disappeared”, but each and every one of them has a story that is now untold behind bars. Here are the stories of a few of the Chinese detainees with known addresses. Read and share their stories with your friends, and write them a postcard to show your support and solidarity [link]. They do not stand alone, and their stories will not be forgotten!

NOTE: It is advised to include the address in both languages (printing out or tracing the Chinese address in characters). The complete list of addresses can be download and printed from this file [link]


• Who Are They? (including but not limited to…)


1. GUO Yushan 郭玉闪

– Under Detention or Arrest

“We can’t turn away from thinking or acting”

Guo Yushan

With a master’s in political science and economics from Peking University, Guo was an early and committed proponent of the New Citizens’ Movement, which sought to expand the rights and freedoms of China’s 1.4 billion citizens. Guo co-founded the think tank Transition Institute to conduct research on China’s social and economic issues and to advocate tax reform, fair local elections, business regulation, legal reform, citizen participation, and equal rights to education. He has played an active role in many human rights defense cases, including the poisoning of babies in the 2008 milk powder scandal. In 2012, Guo was instrumental in helping the blind activist Chen Guangcheng travel to Beijing after Chen escaped from illegal house arrest, who then sought protection in the US Embassy and entered the United States to study law. Beijing police took Guo into custody on October 9, 2014 for “creating a disturbance” and arrested him on suspicion of “operating an illegal business” on January 3th, 2015. His lawyer was denied the right to meet him until January 8th, more than three months after his initial detention.

Just Man Guo Yushan [link]
Silencing Guo Yushan [link]
A Letter to My Husband Guo Yushan (1) [link]
A Letter to My Husband Guo Yushan (2) [link]
A Letter to My Husband Guo Yushan (3) (PDF) [link]
A Letter to My Husband Guo Yushan (4) (PDF) [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Guo Yushan:

Guo Yushan
Beijing First Detention Center,
501 Dougezhuang,100121 Beijing, P.R.China

中国 ·北京市豆各庄 501 号 北京市第一看守所 转 郭玉闪 收 邮编 100121


2. KOU Yanding 寇延丁

Enforced disappearance RELEASED!

“Every action can be a positive step towards social emancipation”

Kou Yanding

Kou Yanding, known as Sister Kou, is a social worker, independent documentary producer, and author of the books Every Change Starts from the Self and The Operation of Democracy – Bring Robert’s Rules of Order to the Countryside. Kou has been an active advocate for deliberate democracy at the grassroots level. She founded the first organization for disabled artists in China in 2004 and was engaged in youth education after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. Kou was taken from her home in Beijing in October 2014, and the police refuse to disclose her whereabouts. Her family only knows that she was detained and that the police searched her home before sealing it.

Zhai Minglei: The Kou Yanding I Know [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Kou Yanding:

Kou Yanding
Haidian District Detention Center,
25 Wenyang Road, Sujiatuozhen, Beijing, P.R.China
中国·北京市海淀区苏家坨镇温阳路 25 号 海淀区看守所 转 寇延丁 收邮编101400


3. PU Zhiqiang 浦志强

– Under Detention or Arrest

“We can’t tolerate a bad system for too long”

Pu Zhiqiang

A prominent human rights lawyer, Pu has defended writers and journalists in a number of high-profile cases. In May 2014, Pu was arrested and charged with “causing a disturbance”. The arrest followed his attendance of a private meeting of activists and scholars campaigning for official recognition of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. In November 2014, Beijing police handed the case over to prosecutors after pressing four separate charges, including “inciting to subvert state power” and “inciting racial hatred” based on his online commentary.

The Looming Shadow of the Case against Pu Zhiqiang [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Pu Zhiqiang:

Pu Zhiqiang
Beijing First Detention Center,
501 Dougezhuang, 100121 Beijing, P.R.China
中国 ·北京市豆各庄 501 号 北京市第一看守所 转 浦志强 收 邮编 100121


4. GUO Feixiong (YANG Maodong) 郭飞雄(杨茂东)

– Under Detention or Arrest

“Only actions can help us avoid the trap in which people lose control over their fate”

Guo Feixiong (Yang Maodong)

A human rights activist and independent writer, Guo is best known for his work in aiding villagers in Taishi, a village in the Guangdong province, to remove an allegedly corrupt village leader from office in 2005. Guo was taken into custody and beaten up on multiple occasions for his human rights advocacy. In August 2013, he was arrested for taking part in a public protest against media censorship outside the offices of the Southern Weekly newspaper in January 2013. In November 2014, a court case was opened, but no verdict has been reached yet.

→ WRITE to send your support to Yang Maodong:

Yang Maodong,
Tianhe District Detention Center,
No. 5 Shangxiashangshe, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510665, P.R.China
中 国 · 广东 省广 州市 天河 区棠 下上 社五 号大 院 天河 区看 守所 转 杨 茂东 收
邮编 510665


5. JIA Lingmin 贾灵敏

– Under Detention or Arrest

“How can education of law and citizen rights be a crime? If so, why do we pretend to have law at all in China?”

Jia Lingmin

Jia used to be no more than a teacher in Zhengzhou, central China, but after an attempted forced eviction, she resisted and continued living in her house amidst ruins for 700 days. Afterwards, she devoted herself in learning law and spreading the knowledge of human rights defense. She was detained in May 2014 for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” which subsequently became “disturbing public order”.

→ WRITE to send your support to Jia Lingmin:

Jia Lingmin
D15, Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center,
Guxu Road,Guxing, Xingyang, Henan
Province, 450100, P.R.China
中国·河南省荥阳市古荥镇古须路 郑州市第三看守所 D15 贾灵敏 收
邮编 450100


6. TANG Jingling 唐荆陵

– Under Detention or Arrest

“The road towards a country’s emancipation starts at the footsteps of every citizen ready to shoulder responsibilities”

Tang Jingling

Lawyer and activist, Tang’s qualification to practice law was revoked due to his assistance in the human rights defending movement in Taishi Village in 2005. His clients have included villagers fighting corruption and victims of land appropriation. He promoted nonviolent civil disobedience through small acts in which every citizen could participate, such as publicly boycotting the largely meaningless township-level elections and helping migrant workers to learn about self-organization. Despite his nonviolent approaches, Tang was taken under custody and placed under house arrest numerous times before he was officially arrested in June 2014 under the charge of “inciting subversion of the state’s political power.” Part of the evidence that will be used against him will likely include his possession of books on non-violent, civil disobedience, including from Democracy to Dictatorship by Gene Sharpe. Prior to his detention, Tang Jingling had allegedly received a number of warnings from the police for his involvement in commemoration activities surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and the subsequent crackdown in 1989.

◊ Statement on Tang Jingling’s 44th birthday by Wang Yanfang, Tang’s wife (YOUTUBE) [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Tang Jinling:

Tang Jinling, 1504-14A1020
Guangzhou No. 1 Detention Center,
9 Shigang North Street, Guanghai Road, Baiyun District, Guangzhou, 510435 P.R.China
中国 ·广州市白云区槎头广海路狮岗北街 9 号 广州市第一看守所 1504-
14A1020 唐荊陵 收 邮编 510435


7. SU Changlan 苏昌兰

– Under Detention or Arrest

Su Changlan

A prominent feminist activist, Su focuses on the area of women’s rights, land rights, forced eviction, and voting democracy. She had been detained several times before due to her peaceful activities defending women’s rights on issues such as family planning and domestic violence. She also took part in land rights movement in Nanhai in 2005. After making continuous comments about the Hong Kong protests on social media, she was detained by police on 27 October 2014 for “inciting subversion of the state’s political power.”

Urgent Action: Female Activist Could Face Life Imprisonment, by Amnesty International [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Su Changlan:

Su Changlan,
Nanhai District Detention Center,
Foshan, Guangdong Province, P.R. China
中 国 ·广 东省 佛山 市南 海区 狮山 招大 管理 区 佛山 市南 海区 看守 所 转 苏昌 兰 收 邮编 528200


8. Song Ze (Song Guangqiang) 宋泽(宋光强)

– Under Detention or Arrest

“Simply speaking, to be a citizen is to be driven by the intuitive sense of compassion, righteousness and responsibility”

Song Ze (Song Guangqiang)

As a major participant of the Open Constitution Initiative and New Citizens’ Movement, Song took an active role in aiding petitioners and was thus repeatedly detained and tortured by the police. In October 2014, Song was arrested after voicing his support for the Hong Kong protests. According to his lawyer, who finally managed to visit him on January 9th 2015, he was severely abused in jail.

Torture & Ill-treatment of Detainees & Political Charges Returning Under Xi (by China Human Rights Briefing) [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Song Guangqiang:

Song Guangqiang, Daxing Detention Center,
Huangcun West Road, Daxing District,
102600, Beijing, P.R.China
中国 ·北京市大兴区黄村西大街 大兴区看守所 转 宋光强 收 邮编 102600


9. HAN Ying 韩颖

– Under Detention or Arrest

Han Ying

A leading figure in Beijing’s movement against forced eviction, Han also focuses on the rights of children and ethnic minorities. She is the founder of Smile Charity and ran for the National People’s Congress as a representative on an individual platform. She was detained on October 1st, after voicing her support for the Hong Kong protest. She refused to admit any fault and was officially arrested on charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”

→ WRITE to send your support to Han Ying:

Han Ying
Fengtai Detention Center,
6 Shagang Village, Fengtai District 100071 Beijing, P.R.China
中国 ·北京市丰台区沙岗村 6 号 北京市丰台区看守所 转 韩颖 收 邮编 100071


10. XIA Lin 夏霖

– Under Detention or Arrest

Xia Lin

Lawyer of Beijing Huayi Law Firm, Xia is a public defender and has defended many controversial cases such as Cui Yingjie case and Deng Yujiao case. He was the defense of Guo Yushan [link] and was detained after demanding to see Guo.

→ WRITE to send your support to Xia Lin:

Xia Lin,
Beijing First Detention Center,
501 Dougezhuang, 100121 Beijing, P.R.China
中国 ·北京市朝阳区豆各庄 501 号 北京市第一看守所 转 夏霖 收 邮编 100121


11. HE Zhengjun 何正军

– Under Detention or Arrest

He Zhengjun

Administrative director of Transition Institute, an NGO and think tank that researches China’s most pressing social issues. He is also an independent documentary producer and spent 4 years on No Country for Private Houses, a documentary reflecting forced evictions in China [link]. He Zhengjun was taken away in October 2014 and his house was searched by the police the same night. His lawyer had been denied the right to meet him until January, when he was officially charged with operating illegal businesses.

→ WRITE to send your support to He Zhengjun:

He Zhengjun
Beijing First Detention Center,
501 Dougezhuang, 100121 Beijing, P.R.China
中国 ·北京市豆各庄 501 号 北京市第一看守所 转 何正军 收 邮编 100121


12. ZHANG Miao 张淼

– Under Detention or Arrest

Zhang Miao

Zhang Miao is a news assistant of the German newspaper Die Zeit and a part of the Songzhuang artists’ community in Beijing. Zhang Miao was arrested upon her return to Beijing after covering Occupy Central in Hong Kong. The police first stated that she was “involved in a village squabble,” and then changed Zhang Miao’s case to one “about the security of the state, about its territorial integrity” and “about inciting unrest” shortly afterwards. She was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” since 2 October 2014.

They Have Miao: How my assistant got into trouble with Beijing’s security apparatus and I got to know the Chinese authorities [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Zhang Miao:

Tongzhou Detention Center
Jiazha Village A-1, Taihu county, Tongzhou District, Beijing
通州区台湖镇尖垡村甲 1 号
(邮编 101100) P.R.China


13. XU Zhiyong 许志永

– Sentenced

“I wish our country could be a free and happy one, one in which every citizen need not go against their conscience and can find their own place by their virtue and talents”

Xu Zhiyong

Xu is prominent legal scholar and civil rights lawyer who had been under house arrest since April 2013. Xu is the main founder of the New Citizens’ Movement, an movement that advocates for issues such as the public disclosure of the income of government officials and equal rights to education for migrant workers. He also co-founded Gongmeng, an organization of lawyers and academics that advocates the rule of law and greater constitutional protections by offering legal assistance to underprivileged and discriminated groups. He was sentenced to four years in prison for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order.”

For Freedom, Justice and Love — My Closing Statement to the Court By Xu Zhiyong [link]
Xu Zhiyong’s First-Instance Verdict (English translation) [link]
China Sentences Xu Zhiyong, Legal Activist, to 4 Years in Prison [link]
Civil Disobedience in Sodom – A Letter to Xu Zhiyong (by Guo Yushan) [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Xu Zhiyong:

XU Zhiyong
Liulin Prison, Qinghe department, Beijing Bureau of Prison Management
Chadian Country, Dianhai District, Tianjian
200480 P.R. China
(邮编 300480) P.R.China


14. Ilham Tohti

– Sentenced

“The main problem in Xinjiang is not terrorism or anti-terrorism; but rather a problem of power being unmonitored, and unequally distributed; a problem of vested interest and monopoly.”

Ilham Tohti

Uighur economics professor Ilham Tohti has been a voice of reason for his people by criticizing the Chinese government’s ethnic policies, advocating true autonomy, and setting up the Chinese-language website Uyghur Online to facilitate healthy communication between the Hans – the Chinese ethnic majority – and the Uighurs. On January 15, he was arrested without warning. After five months of incommunicado detention, his lawyer finally met him in a detention center in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, shackled and nearly lifeless. In September 2014, Tohti was found guilty of “separatism” and was sentenced to life imprisonment with all of his assets confiscated.

China: Deplorable life sentence for Uighur academic [link]

→ WRITE to send your support to Ilham Tohti:

Ilham Tohti
First Prison of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Mailbox 95, Urumqi
烏魯木齐市 95 號信箱
(邮编 830013) P.R.China