Sichuan Activist Sentenced to Five Years for “Inciting Subversion of State Power” 

by Martin Barillas Tuesday, February 09, 2010
"Sichuan Activist Sentenced to Five Years for “Inciting Subversion of State Power”

DATE: February 9, 2010

In a brief hearing on February 9, 2010, in the Chengdu Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, Sichuan-based writer and environmental activist Tan Zuoren (谭作人) was found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to a five-year prison term and three years’ deprivation of political rights. According to an informed source, when police led him away after the court hearing, Tan shouted: “It is my honor to go to prison for the people of my hometown” (为家乡人民坐牢是我的光荣). Tan’s family said he will appeal the conviction.

Tan was first detained on March 28, 2009, just three days after online publication of the findings of an investigation that he conducted with a colleague, Xie Yihue (谢贻卉), into the causes of the widespread collapse of school buildings during the May 2008 earthquake. The indictment, however, did not mention Tan’s earthquake investigation or its findings as constituting “incitement to subvert state power.” Instead, it listed as evidence a 2007 article that Tan wrote about the 1989 Democracy Movement, a proposal for a blood drive to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the government’s crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement, and interviews that Tan gave to foreign media about the 2008 earthquake.

Tan was tried on August 12, 2009, by the Chengdu court. Before the trial, the well-known artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未), who had traveled to Chengdu and prepared to be a witness for Tan, was beaten by Chengdu police and detained in his hotel room for 11 hours. The court did not allow any defense witnesses to attend the trial. During the trial, the judge repeatedly interrupted the defense lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), and Tan was not allowed to make his final statement.

“Yet again, a Chinese citizen is punished for exercising his right to freedom of expression,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China. “Tan Zuoren’s conviction and sentence remind us once again that the Chinese government continues to refuse to take responsibility for its actions during the June Fourth crackdown and for the corruption that led to the deaths of innocent children.”

For more information on Tan Zuoren, see:
“Police Beat and Detain Supporters of Sichuan Earthquake Critic Morning before Trial,” August 12, 2009,
Tan Zuoren and Xie Yihui, “Independent Investigative Report by Citizens,” March 25, 2009 (Chinese),
For more information on Sichuan earthquake-related trials, see:

“Authorities Kidnapped and Prevented Court Appearance by Witness for Huang Qi’s Case,” August 5, 2009,
“Authorities Denied Bail and Medicines for Detained Activist Huang Qi,” July 28, 2008,
“Detained Rights Activist Huang Qi Formally Arrested,” July 18, 2008,
“Huang Qi Denied Access to Counsel,” June 24, 2008,
“Rights Activist Huang Qi Detained on Suspicion of Holding State Secrets,” June 16, 2008,
“Human Rights in China Condemns the Detention of Huang Qi by Police in Chengdu,” June 14, 2008,


New York Press Contact:Kerstin Ahlgren

Tel: +1 212-239-4495


Hong Kong Press Contact:

Tel: +852 2710 8021



About Human Rights in China (HRIC) Human Rights in China (HRIC) is an international monitoring and advocacy non-governmental organization based in New York and Hong Kong. Founded in March 1989 by Chinese students and scholars, it conducts research, education and outreach programs to promote international human rights and advance the institutional protection of these rights in the People's Republic of China.

Human Rights in China
350 Fifth Ave Ste 3311

New York, NY 10118


Fax: 212-239-2561 /

General | Categories: china, human rights
0    submitted by Martin Barillas
Read More Press Releases

Thanks to robots, company registration in Singapore has become cheaper

Koincable Introduces Four Customizable HDMI Cables

SKS Ispat& Power Ltd commissions first 300-MW power unit of their 1,200-MW RaigarhPower Plant

How a Bodybuilding Diet Can Help Build Muscle Naturally

Low Carb Diet Report Casts Light On New Research Findings

Increase in the number of student visa is trending nowadays

Wiwigo Technologies: First of its kind selfie campaign takes place in moving Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi

An important day in real estate sector

Leonard Kim to Appear on Critical Mass Radio Show

Nishan Kohli's recent exhibition on photography

Get press releases by email