Back to top

Ding Jiaxi faces health concerns

Status: 
Indicted
About the situation

On 20 October 2021, human rights defender Ding Jiaxi's lawyer went to the Linyi Municipal Intermediate People's Court to review the case files. The court would only allow him to take notes of the files but prohibits him from taking photos or making copies of them. Due to the large number of case files to be reviewed, he told the court that simply taking physical notes would not allow him to adequately prepare his defense, and asked the court to allow him to take photos of the files. Court official refused and even demanded that he sign confidentiality documents promising to not disclose information from the case files.

On 5 August 2021, Ding Jiaxi's lawyer was informed that the prosecutors in Linyi city, Shandong province, have decided to indict the human rights defender. The case has been transferred to the Linyi Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

On 21 May 2021, the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate informed Ding Jiaxi's legal counsel that it has sent his case back to the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau for a second round of supplementary investigation. Under the Criminal Procedure Law, only two rounds of supplementary investigation are permitted. Once the supplementary investigation has concluded and the case is sent back to the Procuratorate, the Procuratorate must then decide whether or not to prosecute within a month. The Procuratorate may extend this deadline by another 15 days if a case is deemed "major or complicated" or if the sentence might exceed one year of imprisonment.

Earlier on 19 May 2021, Ding Jiaxi was allowed another video call with his legal counsel. Ding Jiaxi told his lawyer that detainees are permitted to partake in outdoor activities for less than 30 minutes a day and that their masks are changed only once every three weeks. Due to the low quality of dental hygiene provided by the detention centre, the condition of the human rights defender's teeth is deteriorating. Ding Jiaxi also said his eyesight has deteriorated, and he has still not been given any paper or pen to write with by authorities.

 

Throughout the month of April, Ding Jiaxi was permitted to have three video calls with his legal counsel.

During the calls, the human rights defender informed his lawyers that the quality of food served in the prison had improved slightly and the sale of food products to detainees had resumed. However, Ding Jiaxi expressed his concern regarding the sanitation conditions in the detention centre, and detainees were only provided new face masks once every three to four weeks

On 8 March 2021, the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate in Shandong province informed Ding Jiaxi's lawyer that it has sent the human rights defender's case back to the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau for supplementary investigation. Under the Criminal Procedure Law, the public security bureau must complete supplementary investigation within a month, and only two rounds of supplementary investigation are permitted.

On 9 March 2021, the Linshu County Detention Centre in Shandong province arranged a video meeting between detained human rights defender Ding Jiaxi and his lawyer. The call lasted about two hours, during which Ding Jiaxi told his lawyer that the food served to detainees is of low quality.

On 20 February 2021, the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate informed Ding Jiaxi's lawyers that they have extended the deadline for making a decision on whether to prosecute the human right defender by 15 days.

Prosecutors informed the lawyers that the charge against Ding Jiaxi has been changed from "inciting subversion" to "subversion", which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

On 26 November 2020, the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau in Shandong province once again rejected the request of the lawyer of human rights defender Ding Jiaxi to meet his client.

On 6 November 2020, Ding Jiaxi's defence lawyer telephoned the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau to inquire about the status of the case against the defender. The police informed the lawyer that the investigation is still on-going and they cannot say when the case would be transferred to the procuratorate.

On 18 June 2020, human rights groups in China reported that human rights defenders Dai Zhenya, Zhang Zhongshun and Li Yingjun were released on bail pending investigation. The three defenders and their families have not made any public comments since their provisional release.

As of 26 January 2020, four human rights defenders have been held in incommunicado detention for a month. In a cross-provincial operation on 26 December 2019, police from Shandong province arrested human rights defenders Dai Zhenya (戴振亚) in Xiamen, Fujian, Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) in Beijing, Li Yingjun (李英俊) in Zhangzhou, Fujian, and Zhang Zhongshun (张忠顺) in Yantai, Shandong. Their arrests were part of a year-end crackdown in December 2019 affecting more than 20 human rights defenders across China.

About the HRDs

Ding Jiaxi is a lawyer and a prominent figure within the New Citizens Movement which campaigned for greater transparency among Chinese Communist Party officials, greater equality within the education system as well as for Constitutional Government. In 2012 and 2013, he participated in a number of small protests in Beijing calling on Chinese officials to reveal their personal assets. 

27 October 2021
Ding Jiaxi faces health concerns

On 20 October 2021, human rights defender Ding Jiaxi's lawyer went to the Linyi Municipal Intermediate People's Court to review the case files. The court would only allow him to take notes of the files but prohibits him from taking photos or making copies of them. Due to the large number of case files to be reviewed, he told the court that simply taking physical notes would not allow him to adequately prepare his defense, and asked the court to allow him to take photos of the files. Court official refused and even demanded that he sign confidentiality documents promising to not disclose information from the case files.

In the afternoon on the same day, the lawyer met Ding Jiaxi at the detention centre. The human rights defender reported that yard time is still limited and the food lacks sufficient nutrition. He appears to be suffering from hair loss and there are pale white patches developing on his skill, possible symptoms of vitiligo. Ding Jiaxi said he is also suffering from arthritis, diarrhoea and swollen lower legs. The blankets provided by the detention centre have a pungent smell. He is not allowed to read books or newspaper and is not given paper and pens to write with.

6 August 2021
Ding Jiaxi indicted

On 5 August 2021, Ding Jiaxi's lawyer was informed that the prosecutors in Linyi city, Shandong province, have decided to indict the human rights defender. The case has been transferred to the Linyi Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

Earlier on 14 July 2021, the lawyer traveled to Linyi city and was allowed to review the case files, but was not allowed to copy or take photos of them as the case "involved state secrets". On 15 July 2021, the lawyer was allowed talk to Ding Jiaxi via a video link for more than two hours. The human rights defender said that since his last meeting with the lawyer and upon his complaints, the detention center has slightly improved its hygiene supplies and extended the yard time. The lawyer also met with the Linyi prosecutors in charge of the case and submitted a written request for dropping the prosecution on the basis that the human rights defender's actions not only were not criminal, but were actually in line with the Chinese Constitution and contributed to efforts to ensure social equality, government transparency and accountability, and the protection of vulnerable groups

21 May 2021
Ding Jiaxi's Case sent back to police again for supplementary investigation

On 21 May 2021, the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate informed Ding Jiaxi's legal counsel that it has sent his case back to the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau for a second round of supplementary investigation. Under the Criminal Procedure Law, only two rounds of supplementary investigation are permitted. Once the supplementary investigation has concluded and the case is sent back to the Procuratorate, the Procuratorate must then decide whether or not to prosecute within a month. The Procuratorate may extend this deadline by another 15 days if a case is deemed "major or complicated" or if the sentence might exceed one year of imprisonment.

Earlier on 19 May 2021, Ding Jiaxi was allowed another video call with his legal counsel. Ding Jiaxi told his lawyer that detainees are permitted to partake in outdoor activities for less than 30 minutes a day and that their masks are changed only once every three weeks. Due to the low quality of dental hygiene provided by the detention centre, the condition of the human rights defender's teeth is deteriorating. Ding Jiaxi also said his eyesight has deteriorated, and he has still not been given any paper or pen to write with by authorities.

10 May 2021
Ding Jiaxi allowed additional meetings with legal counsel

Throughout the month of April, Ding Jiaxi was permitted to have three video calls with his legal counsel.

During the calls, the human rights defender informed his lawyers that the quality of food served in the prison had improved slightly and the sale of food products to detainees had resumed. However, Ding Jiaxi expressed his concern regarding the sanitation conditions in the detention centre, and detainees were only provided new face masks once every three to four weeks.

8 March 2021
Prosecutors return Ding Jiaxi's case to police for further investigation

On 8 March 2021, the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate in Shandong province informed Ding Jiaxi's lawyer that it has sent the human rights defender's case back to the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau for supplementary investigation. Under the Criminal Procedure Law, the public security bureau must complete supplementary investigation within a month, and only two rounds of supplementary investigation are permitted.

12 March 2021
Lawyer granted fourth meeting with Ding Jiaxi

On 9 March 2021, the Linshu County Detention Centre in Shandong province arranged a video meeting between detained human rights defender Ding Jiaxi and his lawyer. The call lasted about two hours, during which Ding Jiaxi told his lawyer that the food served to detainees is of low quality. The three meals a day consist of only steamed buns and either porridge or vegetable soup, whilst the additional food items on sale in the Detention Centre are limited in variety, of poor quality and generally more expensive than market prices. Pens and paper are not provided to detainees.

This is the fourth meeting between Ding Jiaxi and his lawyer since he was detained on 26 December 2019. The last meeting took place on 24 February 2021.

25 February 2021
Prosecution decision delayed

On 20 February 2021, the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate informed Ding Jiaxi's lawyers that they have extended the deadline for making a decision on whether to prosecute the human right defender by 15 days.

5 February 2021
Human rights defender Ding Jiaxi recounts torture during secret detention

On the afternoon of 2 February 2021, human rights defender Ding Jiaxi spoke to his lawyer via a video link for the second time. Following the online meeting, Ding Jiaxi's wife Luo Shengchun published on Twitter an account of the torture and ill-treatment he said he was subjected to during six months of secret, incommunicado detention under "residential surveillance at a designated location" (RSDL) between December 2019 and June 2020. The Yantai Municipal Public Security Bureau in Shandong province is believed to be the entity responsible for his RSDL during this period. The exact location of the RSDL is not known.

Ding Jiaxi said he was subjected to sleep deprivation and prolonged interrogations for 73 days. After the beginning of the Lunar New Year holidays in late January 2020, the authorities played a political propaganda film at the highest volume 24 hours every day for ten straight days. The human rights defender said he did not see sunlight for six months and a fluorescent lamp in his cell was turned on 24 hours a day. He was not allowed to shower or brush his teeth. When he went to the toilet and out to the hallways, a black hood was placed over his head.

Ding Jiaxi said he refused to provide any information or answer any questions for the first 103 days of the RSDL. Between 1 and 8 April 2020, the human rights defender said he was interrogated while he was strapped tightly around the chest and stomach to a torture device known as a "tiger chair", making breathing very difficult. Eight interrogators divided into four groups took turns interrogating him from 9:00am to 6:00am the next day. Between 6:00am-9:00am, he was allowed to eat, walk around and use the toilet, but not allowed to sleep. On the morning of 7 April 2020, his feet were swollen and severely ached as a result of his sitting in the tiger chair for a long time. He told his interrogators he would answer their questions on four conditions: he would only talk about the Xiamen meeting in December 2019, which triggered a cross-provincial crackdown on its attendees; he would discuss the facts but would not admit guilt; he would not accept representation by government-appointed lawyers; and that he should be allowed to sleep.

The interrogators at first agreed to his demands, but resumed round-the-clock interrogations from 28 April 2020 until 6 May 2020. During this period, he said he was allowed to sleep for only four hours from 2:00am to 6:00am. He became very weak and fainted twice.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the torture and ill-treatment of human rights defender Ding Jiaxi and calls on all relevant authorities in China to release him immediately. Pending his release, the authorities should cease and refrain from further torture or ill-treatment against him and to put in place effective measures to prevent their reoccurrence. It also calls on the authorities to launch an independent, impartial, thorough, prompt and effective investigation into his torture and ill-treatment and bring perpetrators to justice in accordance with Chinese law and international human rights law. Front Line Defenders reminds the Chinese government it is a State Party to the Convention Against Torture, and that torture is prohibited absolutely at all time and in all circumstances.

22 January 2021
Ding Jiaxi faces prosecution on a more severe charge

On the afternoon of 21 January 2021, lawyers were allowed to conduct a video conference call with human rights defender Ding Jiaxi for the first time since he was detained in late December 2019. The defender is now detained in Linshu county in Linyi city, Shandong province. The case has now been transferred to the Linyi Municipal Procuratorate, awaiting its decision on whether to prosecute.

The prosecutors informed the lawyers that the charge against Ding Jiaxi has been changed from "inciting subversion" to "subversion", which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Ding told his lawyers that he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including sleep deprivation and intense, continuous interrogation over a seven-day period during his detention under "residential surveillance in a designated location" (RSDL) in Yantai city, Shandong province. He said he has reported these abuses to the prosecutors who have recorded his complaints in writing.

2 December 2020
Ding Jiaxi denied access to legal counsel

On 26 November 2020, the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau in Shandong province once again rejected the request of the lawyer of human rights defender Ding Jiaxi to meet his client. The Public Security Bureau said that, as Ding Jiaxi is facing national security charges, allowing him access to legal counsel would "impede the investigation" or result in the "leaking of State secrets".

12 November 2020
Ding Jiaxi remains under police investigation

On 6 November 2020, Ding Jiaxi's defence lawyer telephoned the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau to inquire about the status of the case against the defender. The police informed the lawyer that the investigation is still on-going and they cannot say when the case would be transferred to the procuratorate. The investigative period has already been extended twice, but the police refused to say whether they would apply for another extension when the current period ends on 19 November 2020.

The public security authorities have repeatedly rejected applications for bail submitted by Ding Jiaxi's lawyers as well as their requests to meet the defender. Ding Jiaxi has now been held without access to legal counsel for over 315 days.

23 June 2020
Ding Jiaxi formally arrested, three other defenders released on bail

On 18 June 2020, human rights groups in China reported that human rights defenders Dai Zhenya, Zhang Zhongshun and Li Yingjun were released on bail pending investigation. The three defenders and their families have not made any public comments since their provisional release.

Ding Jiaxi, who was detained along with the three defenders on the same day last December, is confirmed to have been formally arrested by the Linyi Municipal Public Security Bureau on the charge of "inciting subversion of State power." In a formal arrest notice dated 19 June 2020, the Bureau informed Ding Jiaxi's family that he is currently detained in the Linshu County Detention Centre, 40 kilometres southeast of Linyi city, Shandong province.

27 January 2020
One-month incommunicado detention of four human rights defenders

As of 26 January 2020, four human rights defenders have been held in incommunicado detention for a month. In a cross-provincial operation on 26 December 2019, police from Shandong province arrested human rights defenders Dai Zhenya (戴振亚) in Xiamen, Fujian, Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) in Beijing, Li Yingjun (李英俊) in Zhangzhou, Fujian, and Zhang Zhongshun (张忠顺) in Yantai, Shandong. Their arrests were part of a year-end crackdown in December 2019 affecting more than 20 human rights defenders across China.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Dai Zhenya is a member of the New Citizens Movement and has campaigned for greater access to government-held information. He has also participated in activities including delivering meals for political dissidents in detention and organising signature campaigns and public fundraising. Ding Jiaxi is a human rights lawyer and a prominent figure within the New Citizens Movement which campaigned for greater transparency among state officials, greater equality within the education system as well as for constitutional government. Li Yingjun has been involved in activism since 2013 and has campaigned to support other human rights defenders in detention or prison. He is also a member of the “same city movement” where activists residing in the same city gathered and dined on a regular basis to discuss activism and government reforms. Zhang Zhongshun is a former lecturer at the Yantai University in Shandong who has been actively involved in civic activism, including the “same city movement”.

Ding Jiaxi, Dai Zhenya and Zhang Zhongshun are now held incommunicado under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL) per article 75 of the Criminal Procedure Law (as amended in 2018). Ding Jiaxi, Dai Zhenya and Zhang Zhongshun are held on suspicion of “inciting subversion of State power”, a national security offence under the Criminal Law. The legal basis and conditions of Li Yingjun’s detention are not yet confirmed. Under RSDL, detainees can be held in secret for up to six months. While the law requires the police to notify a RSDL detainee’s family about their detention within 24 hours, it does not explicitly require the police to reveal the exact whereabouts of the detainee. The Public Security Bureau of Yantai City has so far notified the lawyers of Ding Jiaxi, Dai Zhenya and Zhang Zhongshun that pursuant to article 39 of the Criminal Procedure Law they are prohibited from meeting their clients on the ground that doing so would “impede the investigation or expose state secrets” as the three are held on suspicion of “endangering national security”.

In August 2018, UN human rights experts wrote to the Chinese government raising concern that the conditions of detention under RSDL “are analogous to incommunicado and secret detention and tantamount to enforced disappearance”, exposing “those subjected to RSDL to the risk of torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment and other human rights violations.”

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned about the arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Dai Zhenya, Ding Jiaxi, Li Yingjun and Zhang Zhongshun, especially the three of them who are detained on “national security” charges, and the denial of their access to legal counsel of their choice, which significantly raises the risks of torture and ill-treatment in detention. Front Line Defenders believes that their detention is solely motivated by their peaceful and legitimate work in the defence of human rights.