Chen Shuqing

Beats Covered:
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Chinese writer Chen Shuqing is serving a sentence of 10 years and 6 months on charges of “subverting state power.” Hangzhou police arrested Chen in September 2014. 

Chen, a freelance writer and member of the China Democratic Party and the Independent Chinese PEN Center, was detained on September 11, 2014, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on suspicion of subversion of state power, and his home was raided by agents from the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau. He had written several articles for the overseas Chinese-language website Boxun about pro-democracy advocates, many of whom were in the hospital or detention.

On June 17, 2016, a Hangzhou court sentenced Chen to 10 years and six months in prison for "subversion of state power." Chen’s former lawyer, Fu Yonggang, told reporters the verdict read, "Chen Shuqing published 14 articles on overseas websites Boxun and Canyu," and "through aforementioned proclamations, statements and articles, Chen Shuqing attacked and smeared the state power and the socialist system." Chen lodged an appeal with the Zhejiang People’s High Court, which upheld the original verdict. 

Chen has been jailed before. He was placed under criminal detention on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power on September 14, 2006. On August 16, 2007, he was sentenced by the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court to four years in prison and one year’s deprivation of political rights for subversion of state power. After the original verdict was upheld at the appellate court, Chen was jailed at Qiaosi prison in Hangzhou. He was released on September 13, 2010, after serving his term.

In April 2017, attorney Wu Kuiming took over Chen’s case after the death of his previous lawyer, Liu Rongsheng. In September 2018, Wu told CPJ that Chen’s family is allowed to visit Chen regularly. Chen has been able to exercise and make recommendations to the prison management for better treatment, according to Wu. 

In late 2020, CPJ called the Qiaosi Prison for comment, but the officer who answered the phone said they were unable to speak about Chen’s case. 

Chen’s wife Zhang Donghong told CPJ in a phone interview that due to the prison’s COVID-19 countermeasures, she was unable to visit Chen in prison for much of 2020. She said she visited him on September 27 and he was in OK health but had lost some teeth.