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Case History: Qin Yongmin

Status: 
Convicted and sentenced
About the Situation

On 24 June 2015, it emerged that Mr Liu Xinglian, human rights defender and secretary of the domestic organisation “China Human Rights Watch”, was arrested on 19 June on charges of 'inciting subversion of state power' by police in Wuhan city, Hubei province.

Qin Yongmin is being detained at Wuhan No. 2 Detention Centre. Before being eventually tracked down to this location by friends, his whereabouts had been unknown since 19 January 2015, when he was handed down a ten day administrative detention sentence by police in Wuhan province.

About Qin Yongmin

Qin YongminMr Qin Yongmin is is prominent human rights defender and one of the co-founders of the China Democracy Party. He is the Director of China Human Rights Watch and the Rose Group, two domestic organisations which pursue equal rights for all, highlight cases of human rights abuses and assist those who have had their rights violated.

11 July 2018
Qin Yongmin tried, convicted, sentenced

Following over three years of incommunicado detention, on 11 July 2018, China Human Rights Watch founder Qin Yongmin was convicted of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to thirteen years in prison with three years’ deprivation of political rights. Qin Yongmin had been in detention since his arrest in January 2015. His wife, Zhao Suli, had also been kept by authorities in an unknown location from early 2015 until February this year, when she was permitted a visit from family.

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For the majority of Qin Yongmin’s detention, Chinese authorities refused to disclose any information about the defender’s whereabouts, health, or legal status. Attempts by Qin Yongmin’s legal counsel and supporters to obtain information were all unsuccessful. In August 2015, under suspicion of “receiving excessive foreign media interviews and writing too many articles”, the defender was placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL) by Wuhan City police. Under the RSDL system, police may detain an individual in any location of their choosing outside of the formal judicial system.

On 17 June 2016, authorities officially indicted Qin Yongmin on charges of “subverting state power”, which is among China’s most serious crimes. The defender’s trial took place on 11 May 2018, almost three years and four months after he was first taken into custody. According to reports of the trial, immediately upon entering the courtroom, Qin Yongmin declared that he would “teach the Communist party a lesson” and began explaining the links between the Communist Party and China’s endemic issue of forced demolitions. In the ensuing shouting match with the judge, Qin Yongmin fainted due to high blood pressure. When court was resumed the following day, the defender was still unwell, and required the support of three court officers to enter the courtroom. In protest of the Court’s decision to continue the trial given Qin Yongmin’s condition, his defence counsels refused to answer any questions from the judge, or sign any documents at the close of the trial. Two months later, on 11 July, the Court announced the defender’s 13-year sentence. No other information about the verdict was announced.

Zhao Suli, Qin Yongmin’s wife, was allowed a brief, five-hour visit with her sister on 5 February 2018. Since that time, she has reportedly been kept under incommunicado house arrest in her home.

Front Line Defenders condemns the ongoing persecution of Qin Yongmin and his wife, the unfair trial to which the defender was subjected, and the draconian sentence that the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court has handed down to him. Front Line Defenders calls on Chinese authorities to immediately release Qin Yongmin and his wife from all restrictions and to allow Qin Yongmin to return to his peaceful work upholding human rights in China.

26 June 2015
Arrest of human rights defender Mr Liu Xinglian; continued disappearance of Mr Qin Yongmin and Ms Zhao Suli

On 24 June 2015, it emerged that Mr Liu Xinglian, human rights defender and secretary of the domestic organisation “China Human Rights Watch”, was arrested on 19 June on charges of 'inciting subversion of state power' by police in Wuhan city, Hubei province.

The human rights defender is currently being detained in Wuhan No.2 Detention Centre. The Director of “China Human Rights Watch”, Mr Qin Yongmin, and his wife, Ms Zhao Suli, remain missing months after both were detained by police in Wuhan.

Liu Xinglian works with marginalized groups in the Muslim community in Hainan province and is President of the Haikou City Muslim Association. As well as “China Human Rights Watch”, he is also secretary of the “Rose Group”. Both are domestic organisations which pursue equal rights for all, highlight cases of human rights abuses and assist those who have had their rights violated.

On 24 June 2015, lawyer Mr Xie Yanyi received information from the family of Liu Xinglian that he had been arrested on 19 June for 'inciting subversion of state power'. The human rights defender had reportedly been missing since disappearing on 12 May 2015. At that time, Liu Xinglian's daughter attempted to file a missing person's case with the police, but they refused to accept it. It is unclear what the charges of 'inciting subversion of state power' relate to.

The director of 'China Human Rights Watch' and 'Rose Group', Qin Yongmin, has been out of contact since 19 January 2015, when he was handed down a ten day administrative detention sentence by police in Wuhan province. Since then, he has reportedly remained out of contact and it is believed he continues to be detained. His wife, Zhao Suli, was subsequently detained by the police. Their whereabouts are unknown.

After the disappearance of Qin Yongmin and Zhao Suli, Liu Xinglian worked to locate their whereabouts while at the same time assuming Qin Yongmin's responsibilities as director of China Human Rights Watch in his absence. Qin Yongmin had attempted to officially register the organisation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs in January 2014, but was intercepted by police on his way to Beijing and detained. The following month he wrote an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping urging him to establish a body charged with the protection of human rights.

In 1998 Qin Yongmin was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in co-founding the China Democracy Party. He had previously served eight years in prison after being found guilty of 'counter-revolutionary propaganda' and 'incitement' in 1981. In 1993 he was sentenced to a further two years' re-education through labour for calling on the Chinese Communist Party to release all political prisoners, re-evaluate its judgement on the 1989 student protesters and subsequent crackdown, and allow exiled students to return to China.