Ruan Xiaohuan

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Chinese blogger Ruan Xiaohuan is serving a seven-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power. Shanghai police arrested Ruan, who ran a pseudonymous blog under the name Program-Think, on May 10, 2021, and held him incommunicado for 21 months. 

Ruan is a blogger who has written about China’s internet restrictions and politics on his personal blog, Program-Think, since 2009. Ruan also shared translations of foreign news articles. 

Police in Shanghai arrested Ruan at his home on May 10, 2021, confiscated three of his laptops and a cellphone, and held him at the Yangpu District Detention Center without access to his family or a lawyer, according to Ruan’s wife, Bei Zhenying, who spoke to CPJ, and court documents reviewed by CPJ. 

On February 10, 2023, a court in Shanghai sentenced Ruan to seven years in prison for allegedly inciting the subversion of state power, according to multiple news reports and Ruan’s lawyer Shang Baojun, who spoke with CPJ. The verdict was made public on March 21, after Bei disclosed it to Shang and asked him and another lawyer, Mo Shaoping, to represent Ruan during his appeal. 

According to the verdict reviewed by CPJ, the Shanghai No. 2 people’s procuratorate did not cite Ruan’s blog but accused Ruan of publishing hundreds of inflammatory articles that spread rumors and defamation since June 2009.  

Bei told CPJ in March that she was not allowed to attend any hearings in Ruan’s trial, and the state-assigned lawyers in the case told her that they could not give her any information about the proceedings due to nondisclosure agreements they had signed. The first time she saw Ruan since his arrest was at the February 10 verdict announcement. 

“He lost a lot of weight and his hair has grown white,” said Bei. “But otherwise he looked fine.” 

Bei told CPJ that Ruan pleaded not guilty and filed for an appeal, but the appeal lawyers have no information on the progress. 

Ruan was not included in CPJ’s 2022 prison census because CPJ was unaware of his case at the time.

Shanghai police did not respond to CPJ’s messages in October 2023.