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Hu Shigen

Hu Shigen

HRD, Writer

Hu Shigen is a writer who spent 16 years in prison on account of his pro-democracy activities. He is closely involved in the 'house church' movement in Beijing. In 1992, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “leading a counterrevolutionary organisation” and “counterrevolutionary propaganda” because of his labour activism and work promoting democracy.  Following a number of sentence reductions, he was released in 2008 and almost immediately threw himself back into work defending the rights of others. In 2014 he was detained for a month after attending a private commemoration ceremony for the people who were killed by the army during the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.


Chinese HRDs face intimidation, harassment, house arrest, abductions, torture and imprisonment. They also work under very restrictive legislation, including laws which criminalize all unauthorized demonstrations and require government sponsorship for NGO registration, which is refused to any organisation touching on human rights issues. Widescale investigations into NGOs with links to overseas organisations took place in 2014 and 2015 resulting in harassment, detentions and forced closures.


Russell Banks Reads 'How Big a Character Is Xin' by Hu Shigen