Lü Gengsong

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Chinese writer and reporter Lü Gengsong is serving a sentence of 11 years in prison on charges of “subverting state power.” Hangzhou police arrested Lü, who frequently reported on the sentencing of rights activists, in July 2014.

Lü, a freelance writer and member of the Democracy Party of China, was detained on July 7, 2014, and his home was raided by security officers in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. He was charged with subversion of state power on August 13, according to Human Rights in China. 

On June 17, 2016, a Hangzhou court sentenced Lü to 11 years in prison after convicting him of that charge. The court said the conviction was related to articles Lü published on corruption, organized crime, and other topics, according to Radio Free Asia.

During an earlier hearing at a Hangzhou court on September 29, 2015, Lü tried to give a statement, but the presiding judge interrupted and prohibited him from speaking, claiming the content of the statement endangered state security, according to Radio Free Asia.

Lü reported on the sentencing of rights activists and frequently voiced support for the protection of basic rights. In October 2013, Lü and others wrote an open letter and petition against China’s presence on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Previously, on February 5, 2008, the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Lü to four years in prison and one year’s deprivation of political rights on a charge of inciting subversion of state power. A lower court found him guilty of publishing "subversive essays" on foreign websites, according to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and the rule of law in the country. Lü was released on August 23, 2011.

Lü lost his teaching position at Zhejiang Higher Professional School of Public Security in 1993 over his support of the prodemocracy movement. In 2000 his book, Corruption in the Communist Party of China, was published by Hong Kong Culture and Arts Studio. In March 2007, his article "China’s Biggest Spy Organization: The Political and Legal Affairs Commission" appeared in Beijing Spring, an overseas democracy magazine.

Lü lodged an appeal with the Zhejiang High People’s Court in November 2016. The court upheld his 11-year prison sentence. Lü was being held at Changhu prison in Huzhou, Zhejiang, as of September 2021, his wife Wang Xue’e told CPJ in a phone interview.

In 2017, Lü suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, and a failing gallbladder while in prison, and his lawyer applied for medical parole, but it was denied, according to Radio Free Asia.

On May 22, 2021, Wang visited Lü at Changhu Prison and told CPJ afterwards that Lü looked fragile and had lost a lot of weight. 

“Many of his teeth have fallen out and he couldn’t handle the cold,” Wang said. “Without proper medical examinations, we couldn’t tell what was wrong with him.”

She told CPJ that Lü, who is 65 years old, has received medication for his diabetes and high blood pressure, but said that doctors have refused to examine him further or treat him for any other health issues.

Changhu Prison did not respond to CPJ’s email requesting comment and information about Lü’s health in September 2021.