Take action for Wang Jing
On 24 April 2016 human rights defender Ms Wang Jing was sentenced to four years and ten months in prison by a court in Jilin City on charges of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”.
Wang Jing is an independent journalist who, amongst other reporting, has contributed articles to 64Tianwang, an independent human rights website operating in mainland China. The human rights defender has reported on a number of human rights-related issues in China, and has paid special attention to the plight of petitioners in the country. Petitioners are those who petition higher authorities for redress of local grievances after local authorities have ignored their requests for justice. They are often met with violence, illegal detentions and forced to return to their homes. Wang Jing suffers from poor health and reportedly has a brain tumour.
On 20 April Wang Jing was tried at the Chuanying District People's Court in Jilin City and four days later the court handed down a sentence of four years and ten months to her for providing information about a self-immolation attempt which she witnessed in Tiananmen Square in March 2014. She was accused of sending pictures of the self-immolation to websites abroad, circulating them on social media and giving interviews to overseas media. It was also alleged that she reported on incidents where police had harassed, beaten and detained protesters and that such reports were defamatory.
Wang Jing was initially detained in March 2014 after witnessing the self-immolation and posting pictures of it online. She was held for a month on charges of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” before being released on bail. She was detained once again on 10 December 2014, International Human Rights Day, when she was taking photographs of people protesting near the headquarters of the main state-run broadcasting agency in Beijing. She was tried in July 2015, when judges ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict her, but in February 2016 these charges against her were reissued by the prosecutor in Chuanying District, Jilin City. During her July 2015 trial, Wang Jing alleged that she had been beaten in custody, shackled and subjected to sleep deprivation. Her mother told reporters that this treatment has exacerbated a previous health condition, a brain tumour which she suffered in 1999 but from which she had been making a good recovery until her detention.
I express concern for the sentencing of Wang Jing as I believe this to be a direct response to her peaceful and legitimate human rights work, and in particular her efforts to report on human rights abuses.
I urge the authorities in China to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally quash the conviction of Wang Jing, and release the human rights defender as I believe that she has been convicted solely as a result of her legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;
2. Ensure that the treatment of Wang Jing, while in prison, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in China are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.