Xu Kun, a member of civil rights NGO “Rose Group", was sentenced to 2 years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by Kunming City Intermediate People’s Court on 8 April. His lawyer only received the verdict on 19 April and later communicated with the court regarding his appeal. Xu Kun had established an online chat group (Tencent QQ, a social media platform widely used in China), acted as a host of online seminars on the topics of human rights and democratic transformation. He openly showed support to human rights defenders who had been arrested, went to Wuhan to support Qin Yongmin during his trials. In 2019, he retweeted more than a thousand tweets to support Hong Kong protesters in their “anti-extradition" movement and criticized the late Chinese Communist Party leader Li Peng for his direct involvement in the June 4 Massacre.
姓名：徐昆 （Xu Kun）
Name: Xu Kun (徐昆）
Date of birth: 25 May 1961
Occupation: Human rights activist, member of a civil rights NGO “Rose Group”
Date of detention: 17 August 2019
Location: Xu Kun was going to Suzhou to hear another dissident Zhu Chengzhi’s trial on that day. He was forced to cancel his train ticket by the State Security Officer of the Panlong Branch of Kunming City. He was then taken to the Chuanjin Police Station and questioned there. That night he was administratively detained, and on 30 August, he was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble."
Ground of detention: Picking quarrels and provoking trouble
Date of formal arrest: 30 September 2019
Date of Indictment: 13 January 2020
Legal representation: Lawyer Li Guisheng
Date of trial: 23 December 2020, at the People’s Court of Panlong District, Kunming City
Date of sentencing: 8 April 2021, announced by Kunming City Intermediate People’s Court
Sentence: Two years’ imprisonment, to be released on 16 August 2021. Xu considers to appeal.
Location of detention/imprisonment: Third Compartment, No. 2 Detention Center, Panlong District, Kunming City
Xu Kun, a native of Kunming City, Yunnan Province, is a member of a civil rights NGO “Rose Group". The organization calls for human rights and the peaceful transformation of the Chinese society. Its founder is Qin Yongmin. Xu Kun had established an online chat group (Tencent QQ, a social media platform widely used in China), acted as a host of online seminars on the topics of human rights and democratic transformation. He openly showed support to human rights defenders who had been arrested, went to Wuhan to support Qin Yongmin during his trials. In 2019, he retweeted more than a thousand tweets to support Hong Kong protesters in their “anti-extradition" movement and criticized the late Chinese Communist Party leader Li Peng for his direct involvement in the June Fourth Massacre.
Xu Kun booked a train ticket to go to Suzhou on 17 August 2019 to participate in another dissident Zhu Chengzhi’s trial. However, state security officers of the Panlong Branch of Kunming City forced him to cancel the ticket, took him to the Chuanjin Police Station for questioning. He was administratively detained that night, and on 30 August, he was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble". He was formally arrested on 30 September 2019 and prosecuted on 13 January 2020. The authorities violated the legal limit of detention period and Xu Kun’s freedom of communication. For more than half a year before and after the trial, his family could not receive any letter written by Xu Kun. During the period from the trial to his conviction, the authorities refused to let his lawyer meet Xu, using the pandemic as an excuse.
When Xu’s case was finally heard on 23 December 2020, his family members were only informed by a phone call, instead of a formal notification of the court hearing. Before the trial, the lawyer met with Xu Kun and learned that the authorities had been persuading Xu Kun to plead guilty and accept the sentence decided in advance. Xu Kun insisted that he had not violated any law and would neither plead guilty, nor accept the sentence. Authorities accused Xu of retweeting posts to criticize the Chinese political system and the Communist Party of China, insulted state leaders and distorted major national events, etc., thus constituting the offense of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble." In his self-defense, Xu Kun stated that he did not violate any laws, he was simply exercising the civil rights of freedom of speech, as stated in the PRC Constitution. To him, the constitution is a promise to all citizens, sacred and inviolable.
Kunming City Intermediate People’s Court announced on 8 April 2021 that Xu Kun was convicted and sentenced him to two years in prison. The lawyer only received the verdict on 19 April and is now communicating with the court regarding the appeal.
For more information:
The verdict (in Chinese): https://msguancha.com/a/lanmu13/2021/0421/20947.html
Xu Kun twitter account: https://twitter.com/vp7npqbiaakrdcf
Updated: 30 April 2021