Name: Sun Wenguang (孙文广)
Hometown: Jinan, Shandong province
DOB: August 26, 1934
Profession(s): Professor of Physics (1982-1985), Professor of Management (1985-1994), School of Management, Shandong University, Jinan city
Affiliation(s): Charter 08, Independent Chinese PEN center, Jinan City Political Consultative Conference (1988-1998), China Democratic National Construction Association.
Detailed information and legal analysis can be found in the case files or Urgent Appeals, please see the files section on your right.
Human Rights work and background
Professor Sun has been a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party since the 1960's, and been a victim of several campaigns before, during and after the Cultural Revolution. He was not politically rehabilitated until 1982, when he was allowed to teach Physics at Shandong University in Jinan city, which he would do until retirement in October 1994. Besides writing essays about the need for reform, and writing letters directly to the leaders, he has also called for the release of other human rights defenders, most recently that of Zhang Jinfeng (张金凤), a female rights activist, petitioner assistance worker and organizer who is detained at Jinan City labor camp outside of Jinan city, Shandong province. After former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Zhao Ziyang died Professor Sun has traveled to a nearby mountain and cemetery, the Heroes' Mountain, every year during Qing Ming festival (tomb-sweeping holiday) to commemorate the fallen reformist leader of the 1980's. In 1989 he wrote an open letter to the CPC Central Committee supporting the students' and workers' demonstrating in Beijing and around China.
In 2006 Sun offered a support for international calls to investigate persecution of Falun Gong by writing a public letter to a Falun Gong related group that was published. In 2005 he wrote an open letter to the National People's Congress on the same topic. Several of his essays have been published in book “Calling Freedom” (published in Hong Kong SAR).
In 2006, he has collaborated with famed rights defence lawyer Gao Zhisheng in a public advocacy and signature collection drive aimed at disintegrating the system of labor camp. Furthermore, he has made public calls for opening up internet access in Xinjiang province after summer of 2009's riots and disturbances in the region, as well as public calls regarding government policy in Tibet, about freedom of information and control of Chinese news media.
Sun was one of the original 303 signatories of Charter 08 and is a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre (ICPC).
In 1988 Sun was elected to the Jinan City Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body tied to the equivalent level People's Congress. He proposed a bill that would investigate maltreatment in detention centers and improve detainees living standard. The bill was however rejected. Professor Sun's term ended in 1998.
Other relevant background information
Sun Tingyung, Sun's father, was an officer in the Goumingdang (KMT) navy and worked to defend the Guangdong province KMT base. Sun's father and Sun's older brother Sun Wenzhen both fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of the civil war. Sun's brother was a teacher that worked in the military and political office of the KMT. Sun himself joined the Communist Youth league in 1956 and worked for some time as a branch secretary for them.
Wall Street Journal have amongst others mentioned Professor Sun Wenguang as a potential nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) included Sun on a list of likely nominees for 2009.
On the morning of April 5, 2009, Professor Sun and a university student left to go to a local cemetery called Heroes’ Mountain (Yingxiong Shan (英雄山) ) on Qing Ming festival, a holiday for tomb-sweeping to honor the dead. By the gate of Shandong University police, from the National Security Unit of the Jinan Public Security Bureau (PSB) as well as Zheng Xizhi (郑习之), a police officer working at the University, stopped them and refused to let the student leave with the professor, who had to go alone, ignoring the threats of the 20 or so uniformed and plain clothed policemen. While traveling to the cemetery police followed Professor Sun closely. When arriving and walking by a secluded spot five unidentified men attacked him. Preceding his visit he had put up posters around Shandong University campus about his trip and inviting students to join, thus making his intended journey public to the authorities. The day before, on Saturday April 4, Police visited Sun and warned him not to go to the cemetery.
Five unidentified people attacked the professor at around 10 am, beating him, kicking him, and throwing the 75 years old man into a ditch. The attack lasted at least 10 minutes. Professor Sun is certain that the police that followed him, to ensure that he did not cause any trouble, watched the whole attack and remained idle. Furthermore, the use of hired thugs by the police is a common tactic against human rights defenders in China.
Professor Sun was severely hurt and was treated in the Emergency room for 12 days. He was taken to Qilu University Hospital in Jinan city. He had three broken ribs, injuries to his spine, head, back, arms and legs. Police refused to initiate an investigation into the attack while Sun was in the hospital, and it wasn't until nine days later an investigation was started (April 14), which is further in violation of the law. Professor Sun also had to file the report to the police again a second time for them to start the investigation.
Professor Sun is now suing the police for compensation and for violating the Police law through an administrative law suit. The professor is not suing for financial compensation, but to inquire why the Police did not perform their duty. The professor believes that suing the police is the only way to stop the persecution against him that is still ongoing. Police started their latest round of 24-hour monitoring of Sun on April 1, 2009, several days before the festival and attack.
Current legal situation
Professor Sun is launching at administrative lawsuit directed at the Jinan City Police department:
- (a) The police have violated Professor Sun's rights, and broke their own governing law, when they tried to prevent him from visiting the Heroes' Mountain;
- (b) The police have violated Professor Sun's rights, and broke their own governing law, when they followed him and put him under surveillance without him being suspected of a crime;
- (c) The police violated its own governing law when they failed to register the attack on Sun and initiate an investigation; and,
- (d) The police violated Professor Sun's right as a citizen, and broke its own governing law, when they failed to protect him, or try to protect him, when being assaulted.
- Date of incident: April 5, 2009
- Consequence: 12 days of hospital care
- Date of filing administrative lawsuit: March 29, 2010
- Place of filing administrative lawsuit: Shizhong Qu People's Court (济南市市中区法院）, Jinan city, Shandong province
- Lawsuit target: Jinan city Public Security Bureau, Shandong province
- Retained legal counsel: March 31, 2010
- Legal counsel: Wang Quanzhang
All updates since posting
- December 14, 2010: Sun Wenguang (孙文广) was put under soft detention before the Nobel Peace prize ceremony. He was released December 11.
- December 4, 2010: On November 30, 2010, professor Sun was notified by the Jinan city Police that his application for a passport had been denied. Sun had been invited to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
- October 17, 2010: The professor was summoned for questioning by Jinan city police on the morning of October 16, for expressing his appreciation for Liu Xiaobo receiving the 2010 Nobel Peace prize. He was also summoned on the evening of October 8.
- October, 2010: The Shizhong Qu People's Court in Jinan city, Shandong, denied Professor Sun's filing for an administrative lawsuit against the Public Security Bureau. He is currently considering an appeal.
- June 30, 2010: Currently waiting to hear back from the People's Court;
- June 30, 2010: Currently waiting to hear back from PSB on the investigation of the attack on Sun.
- March 31, 2010: Sun retains legal counsel.
- March 29, 2010: Sun files for administrative lawsuit.
- April 14, 2009: Filed, for a second time, a report to the Police about the attack on him. Police register the report for the first time.
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