Urgent Interventions

Sentencing of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong to two years’ imprisonment

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CHN001 / 0117 / OBS 002.1


Arbitrarydetention / Torture


November 22,2017

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of theWorld Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received newinformation and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation inChina.

New information:

TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of humanrights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, aleader of the China Human Rights Lawyers Group[1]and an outspoken supporter of detained rights lawyers from the ‘709crackdown’[2].

According tothe information received, on November 21, 2017, ChangshaIntermediate People’s Court, HunanProvince, found Mr. Jiang Tianyong guilty of incitingsubversion of State power” (Article 105 (2) of the CriminalLaw), andsentenced him to twoyears’ imprisonment and three years of deprivation of political rights, on the basisof a confession that was likely coerced. In convicting Mr. Jiang,the court said he had “attacked” and “vilified” the Government, judicialauthorities, and China’s political system in online postings and interviewswith foreign media. The court also cited as “evidence” of criminal behaviour hisattendance at trainings overseas, applications for funding from so-called“anti-China forces”, and establishing with other lawyers the China Human RightsLawyers Group. The court specifically mentioned his advocacy in support of ‘709crackdown’ victims, including ZhouShifeng, claiming it “severely harmed” national security and socialstability. Mr. Jiang said in court that he would not appeal his conviction.

Mr. Jiang’s conviction took place exactly one yearafter he was kidnapped from a train station by Chinese police. He was forciblydisappeared, denied access to a lawyer, and likely tortured (See backgroundinformation).

TheObservatory strongly condemns the sentencing and arbitrary detention of Mr. Jiang Tianyong, and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionallyrelease him as his detention appears to be only aimed atsanctioning his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory further recalls that another human rights lawyer, Mr. Wang Quanzhang, has been held in incommunicado pre-trial detention for more than twoyears aspart of the ‘709 crackdown’[3].


On November 21, 2016, Mr. Jiang Tianyong went missingas he was meant to board a train to Beijing from Changsha in Hunan Province,where he had met the wife and lawyers of Mr. Xie Yang, a ‘709 crackdown’ human rights lawyer detained atChangsha City Detention Centre[4].Mr. Jiang’s family members and lawyers immediately reported his disappearanceto the authorities. However, the police refused to file a missing person case.

OnDecember 16, 2016, Chinese authorities finally confirmed through media reportsthat Mr. Jiang Tianyong had been taken into custody by public securityofficers, and given a nine-day administrative detention for “fraudulent use of anotherperson’s ID”. They also specified that on December 1, 2016, he was placed under“compulsory criminal measures” for “illegally possessing documents classifiedas State secrets” (Article 282 of the Criminal Law) and “illegallydisseminating State secrets to overseas [sources]” (Article 111) and otherunnamed “crimes”. If convicted under Article 111, Mr. Jiang was facing lifeimprisonment.

On December23, 2016, Mr. Jiang’s family members received a notification from the Changsha City PublicSecurity Bureau, informing that he had been put underresidential surveillance at an unknown “place designated by the police”, a formof extrajudicial secret detention, on suspicion of “inciting subversion ofState power”.

On December 29, 2016,Changsha Public Security Bureau rejected the request of his defence lawyer tomeet him.

In early March 2017, State-run mediareports claimed that Mr. Jiang had “fabricated” stories of Mr. XieYang’s alleged torture, and broadcasted clips of an interview with Mr. Jiang. Mr.Jiang’s family-hired lawyers were repeatedly denied visits to meet with him, onthe grounds that such contact would “endanger national security”, “hinder theinvestigation”, or “leak State secrets”, even after State-run media had beenallowed to meet Mr. Jiang.

Mr. Jiang remained heldincommunicado until May 31, 2017, when he was formally arrested. Since then, hehas been detained at the Changsha No. 1 Detention Center.

During his trial on August 22, 2017before Changsha Court, during which serious violations of several basic fairtrial rights were reported, Mr. Jiang publicly confessed that he had attendedtrainings abroad that encouraged him to reject China’s political system.Despite being partially broadcasted online, the trial hearing was held behindclosed doors and Mr. Jiang’s supporters and international observers were deniedentry into the courthouse. Moreover, Mr. Jiang was represented by aGovernment-appointed lawyer after authorities refused to let him meet with thelawyers hired by his family and then claimed he had “dismissed” them.


Please writeto the authorities of China asking them to:

i. Guaranteein all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. JiangTianyong, Mr. Wang Quanzhang as well as thatof all human rights defenders in China;

ii. Release Messrs. Jiang Tianyong and Wang Quanzhang immediately and unconditionally as their detention is arbitrary since itonly seems to aim at punishing them for their human rights activities;

iii. Immediatelydisclose Mr. Wang Quanzhang’s whereabouts;

iv.Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparentinvestigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture inorder to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal,and sanction them as provided by law;

v.Put an end to all forms of harassment -including at the judicial level - against Mr. JiangTianyong, Mr. Wang Quanzhang and all human rights defenders in thecountry so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

vi. Complywith all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, inparticular with its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

vii.Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordancewith the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international humanrights instruments signed or ratified by the People’sRepublic of China.


· Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of thePeople’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 659 611 09 (c/o Ministry of ForeignAffairs), Email:

· Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of PublicSecurity of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216, Email:

· H.E. Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador,Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations inGeneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 793 70 14, E-mail:

· H.E. Mr. QU XING, Ambassador,Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Fax:+32-2-7792895; Email:

Please alsowrite to the diplomatic missions or embassies of the People’s Republic of Chinain your respective country.


Geneva-Paris,November 22, 2017

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) wascreated in 1997 by OMCT and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to preventor remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT andFIDH are both members of,the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

To contactthe Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail:

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 /+ 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18/ +33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] The China Human Rights Lawyers Groupis a network of rights lawyers in China founded on September 13, 2013. In 2016,it had a membership of 315 lawyers. Mr. Jiang Tianyong’s licence was revoked in2009 for defending or supporting many high-profile human rights defenders.Since then, Mr. Jiang has taken an active role in organizing Chinese humanrights lawyers to provide legal counsel to victims of rights abuses andcriticized authorities’ abuses of legal rights.

[2] The term “709” refers to the startof the crackdown on July 9, 2015. About 300 rights lawyers and ­activists weredetained, interrogated or threatened in one of the harshest crackdowns on humanrights and civil society in decades. For more information, see the JointStatement issued on January 15, 2016.

[3] For more information, seeObservatory Urgent Appeal CHN003/0917/OBS 101, issued on September 19, 2017.

[4] For more information, see

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