Wei Jingsheng

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Wei, one of the most prominent dissidents in China and former co-editor of the pro-democracy journal Tansuo (Explorations), was convicted on Dec. 13, 1995, by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court of “conspiring to subvert the government.” Foreign reporters were barred from attending the trial. The dissident’s 14-year prison sentence was upheld on Dec. 28, following a closed appeal hearing. Wei has been held incommunicado since police detained him on April 1, 1994, shortly after he met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Shattuck. However, he was not formally arrested and charged until Nov. 21, 1995. Wei had been released on parole on Sept. 14, 1993, after serving 14 1/2 years of a 15-year sentence for “counter revolutionary” activities that included writing essays strongly criticizing the government and calling for democratic rule. Following his release, Wei wrote several op-ed pieces for publications abroad and concluded a deal with a Hong Kong magazine for the publication of his prison memoirs—actions that prompted an official warning that he was violating the terms of his parole.