On 7 August 2020, Hunan activist Zhu Chengzhi was sentenced to 3.5 years imprisonment for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by Wuzhong District Court in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. He was sentenced almost one year after his trial on 20 August 2019. The verdict accused that Zhu disseminated over 140 posts and over 50 posts on these online platforms attacking state leaders and China’s political system. But his friends believe he was detained because he went to commemorate at Cultural Revolution victim Lin Zhao’s grave.
Name: Zhu Chengzhi (朱承志)
Date of birth: 18 October 1950
Date of detention: Seized by police in Suzhou city on 29 April 2018 and placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location” on 30 April 2018; criminally detained on 29 October 2018
Location: Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province
Ground of detention: Picking Quarrels and Provoking Trouble
Date of formal arrest: 12 November 2018
Date of Indictment: 20 July 2019
Legal representation: Zhang Lei and Wu Shaoping
Date of trial: 20 August 2019
Date of sentencing: 7 August 2020
Verdict: Convicted of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”
Sentence: 3.5 years imprisonment
Location of detention/imprisonment: Suzhou City No. 1 Detention Centre
Description: On 7 August 2020, Hunan activist Zhu Chengzhi was sentenced to 3.5 years imprisonment for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by Wuzhong District Court in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. He was sentenced almost one year after his trial on 20 August 2019.
Although no mention in the indictment and verdict about him paying tribute at the grave of Lin Zhao, a prominent student leader and a victim during the Cultural Revolution, his friends believe that police took away Zhu on 29 April 2018 and subsequently placed him under “residential surveillance in a designated location” on the next day was related to his commemoration of Lin Zhao who died on 29 April 1968.
According to the verdict, Zhu was accused of using Twitter and Facebook, both banned in China, since 2010 “to disseminate large amount of fake information to damage national image and seriously endanger national interest and to stir up trouble, causing misunderstanding and serious disturbance of public order”. The verdict also particularly highlighted that Zhu disseminated over 140 posts and over 50 posts on these online platforms attacking state leaders and China’s political system.
Zhu was often harassed by the police, including previously detained for about seven months in 2012 for filming a short documentary questioning the authorities’ claim about Hunan activist Li Wangyang’s death to be suicide. He was subsequently placed under secret detention in March 2013 by police officers from Shaoyang City, Hunan province.
Updated on: 13 August 2020