Name: Yiu Man-tin (Yao Wentian) (姚文田)
Date of birth: 11 July 1941
Occupation: Chief Executive of Morning Bell Press
Date of detention: 27 October 2013
Location: Shenzhen Municipality
Ground of detention: “Smuggling ordinary goods” and “carrying banned substance”
Date of formal arrest: 12 November 2013
Date of Indictment:
Legal representation: Lawyers Zhang Hui, Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui
Date of trial: 31 March 2014 and continued on 11 April 2014
Date of sentencing: 7 May 2014 (first instance); 18 July 2014 (second instance)
Sentence: 10 years imprisonment and fined RMB 250,000
Location of detention/imprisonment: Dongguan Prison, Guangdong province
Yiu Man-tin, an honorary member of Independent Chinese PEN Centre and chief executive of Morning Bell Press, focussed on publishing “banned books” on China. His son Yao Yongzhan was detained in Shanghai after the June 4 Massacre, and was later released and returned to Hong Kong. Yao Yongzhan is currently living in the US.
On 27 October 2013, Yiu Man-tin was taken away by plainclothes police and placed under “residential surveillance” after he crossed the border to Shenzhen. His friends and family believed that his detention was related to his preparation to publish a new book entitled “Xi Jinping, China’s godfather” written by writer Yu Jie, who is living in exile in the US. He was criminally detained on 2 November and formally arrested on 12 November. He was detained at Shenzhen Municipal No. 2 Detention Centre.
His trial was heard on 31 March 2014 and continued on 11 April. Lawyers Zhang Hui, Mo Shaoping and Ding Xikui were his defense lawyers. On 7 May, Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment and fined him RMB 250,000 for “smuggling ordinary goods” and “carrying banned substance”. Guangdong Provincial Higher People’s Court on 18 July ruled against his appeal and upheld the original verdict.
Yiu Man-tin was arranged to serve his prison sentence in a hospital under surveillance.
Yiu Man-tin was 77 years old at that time and suffered from serious heart disease. He fell into coma for many times and received emergent medical treatment during detention. In May 2014, he suffered from mild broke and was imprisoned in the hospital under the supervision of the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau. Since July 2014, he has been imprisoned at Dongguan Prison in Guangdong province. Due to heavy labour through reform, he suffered from lower back pain and haemorrhoids. His family helped him apply for release on medical parole but the authorities rejected. But Yiu was given a sentence reduction for 8 months. He is expected to be released from prison on 26 February 2023.
On the surface, Yiu Man-tin’s case seems be a “smuggling” case, but it is in fact related to the books he published that irritated the Communist Party leaders. The Chinese authorities used his case to warn the publishing industry in Hong Kong. The content of the book “Xi Jinping, China’s godfather”, which he originally planned to publish, described how Xi Jinping cracked down on dissidents internally and expanded China’s influence externally. “China Dream”, as promoted by Xi Jinping, was like a replica of the Nazi’s “Dream of the Third Empire”. The book also compared Xi Jinping with other dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin, late Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu and Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty.
For more information: http://www.chinesepen.org/blog/archives/1717
Updated on: 22 September 2020