Note: This case is closed. No further information or updates will be posted.
Name: Chen Daojun (陈道军)
DOB: Jan. 3, 1968
Type of Work: Freelance Journalist, Human Rights Defender, organizer
Human Rights work/background
Chen Daojun is a well-known Sichuan-born writer and freelance journalist. Beginning in 1998 Chen started working as a journalist for the Jintang and Shupao newspapers. In 2001 and 2002 Chen was the chief editor of the New Economic Timely, and has worked as a freelance journalist since then - often covering more sensitive issues in his work. Besides journalism, Chen is a prolific essayist, publishing many articles on online newspaper sites and blogs.
Prior to 2008, Chen published a number of articles on the issues of Tibetan autonomy, China's need for reform, and anti-western sentiment in China. Specifically, in early 2008, Chen wrote several articles on two contentious issues - the highly controversial construction of a Paraxylene, petro-chemical factory near Chengdu city, Sichuan, and about issues surrounding the Tibetan uprising during March of that year.
The proposed construction of a Paraxylene factory by Tenglong Aromatic PX (Xiamen) Co. Ltd. in Xiamen, Fujian province caused an outcry among the city's inhabitants. Paraxylene is a component of plastics and film production, chronic exposure of which has been linked to central nervous system failure and death. The proposal sparked widespread protests and marches, all of which were highly publicized and exceptionally organized through SMS messaging. When a similar factory was scheduled in Pengzhou county, 39 km outside of Chengdu, Chen and countless others again rallied against the proposal, and helped organize marches (they labeled it “free-walking”) to the chagrin of the local government.
Later that spring, Chen wrote an article denouncing the Chinese government’s overly harsh reaction to Tibetans after the March uprising in Tibet and the nearby Tibetan populated provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan. The article, titled Oppression of Authorities Forced People to Rebel (Guanbiminfan- Xiang Yingyongkangzheng de Zangzurenmin Zhijing 官逼民反——向英勇抗争的 藏族人民致敬) discusses and states Chen's support for the Dalai Lama's call for meaningful autonomy in Tibet, and asserts that the March uprising was a result of a failure to provide that autonomy. Chen also publicly expressed his opposition to the politics of the Olympics, a highly sensitive issue to the Chinese government.
Another article (十七大后怎么办) discussed what should be done after the upcoming party conference. Here Chen called for development of democratic reform as a method to monitor and reduce the widespread corruption within the Communist party.
On May 9, 2008, Sichuan police placed Chen Daojun under criminal detention with the charge of “inciting subversion of state power”, and he was formally arrested on June 13. His charge was soon after reformulated to “inciting splittism”. Both charges are part of article 105 of the Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China - “Endangering State Security” - which was until 1997 called “Contra-revolutionary”. ‘Splittism’ is a term heavily used in cases surrounding Tibetan or Xinjiang issues.
Chen's lawyer, Zhu Jiuhu (朱久虎) , was denied access to his client by the Jintang County Dentention Center in Sichuan Province until October 10th, after more than 5 months of detention. Zhu was also denied access to the information he needed to build a defense. The set date for the trial was postponed until November 5th. According to Zhu Jiuhu, the specific reason for his arrest appeared to be his writing on the Tibetan issue in conjunction with an article published May 5 on an overseas Chinese Web site, China E-Weekly, which denounced the dangers of the proposed chemical plant and called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. A thorough legal analysis by Zhu Jiuhu clarified that no laws had in any way been broken, and that Chen was arrested on political grounds.
We strongly believe that the conviction of Chen Daojun is politically motivated, and a blatant violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which China is a signatory. Presiding judge Wang Ming (汪明) changed the charge yet again upon verdict, from “Inciting splittism” to “Inciting to subvert state power” – violating court procedure. Prosecutor Liu Dong (刘东) was not present.
Chen was sentenced to three years imprisonment and three years of deprivation of political rights by the People's Intermediate Court in Chengdu on November 21st, 2008, under the charge “inciting to subvert state power”.
Lawyer Zhu Jiuhu cited the Dalai Lama’s Open Appeal to Global Chinese, in which the Dalai Lama made clear that he was seeking real autonomy instead of separation. The prosecutor says that by supporting the Dalai Lama, Chen is inciting splittism. However, this is based on the Dalai Lama advocating independence for Tibet. Since Chen has made a call for ‘autonomy’, not complete independence, he cannot be accused of splittism or state subversion.
Chen's three articles:
Background of Chinese people who are against the West stated that the anti-western sentiment that blossomed during 2008 in China was as a result of an ignorant youth, who used the occasion as an outlet of expression as they do not dare protest against their own repressive government. It also stated that to protest against a foreign government which allows freedom of speech, on behalf of their own government which does not allow freedom of speech, is cowardly. The article does not in any way incite, call for, or propose splittism or subversion, and its content breaks no law.
http://fireofliberty.org/article/7867.asp (in English)
The article After the 17th Congress discussed what should be done after the then upcoming party conference. Here Chen called for development of democratic reform as a method to monitor and reduce the widespread corruption within the Communist party.
The article Oppression of Authorities Forced People to Rebel discusses and states Chen's support for the Dalai Lama's call for meaningful autonomy in Tibet, and asserts that the March uprising was a result of a failure to provide that autonomy. Since Chen has made a call for autonomy, not independence, he cannot be accused of splittism or subversion.
All updates since posting
- August 2009: Chen is having trouble keeping up with the forced labour due to bad eyesight; often sick in influenza, suffers chronic malnutrition in prison.
CHINESE URGENT ACTION WORKING GROUP
人 权 卫 士 紧 急 救 援 协 会