The 2011 crackdown on dissidents in China refers to the arrest of dozens of mainland Chinese rights lawyers, activists and grassroots agitators in a response to the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests. Since the protests, at least 54 Chinese activists have been arrested or detained by authorities in the biggest crackdown on dissent since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Since the start of the protests in mid-February 2011, human rights groups have claimed that more than 54 people have been arrested by authorities, some of whom have been charged with crimes. Among those arrested are bloggers who criticise the government such as Ai Weiwei, lawyers who pursue cases against the government, and human rights activists.
At least 54 leading activists have been arrested or detained by authorities including:
Ai Weiwei (Chinese: 艾未未), prominent dissident, had expressed his sympathy with the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests: Amid Boxun's online campaign, Ai had posted on his Twitter account on 24 February: "I didn’t care about jasmine at first, but people who are scared by jasmine sent out information about how harmful jasmine is often, which makes me realize that jasmine is what scares them the most. What a jasmine!" Ai's studio was raided by police, who took away computer equipment; a number of his entourage were also arrested by police. He was arrested on 3 April. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 7 April that Ai was under investigation for 'economic crimes'. On 20 April Ai was appointed Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts in Berlin.
Chen Wei (陈卫), 42, a leading human rights activist in central Sichuan province, on the morning of 20 February was charged with "subversion of state power" and "inciting subversion of state power". Chen Wei was sentenced in late December to nine years in prison.
Chen Xi, 57, (no relation to Chen Wei) was sentenced in late December to ten years in prison in Guiyang, Guizhou, on charges linked essays he published online and after he campaigned for independent candidates to win seats in elections to the local People's Congress.
Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), a human rights activist and lawyer, was detained by police on 19 February 2011, when he was grabbed and thrown into a waiting van. On 20 February, police in Beijing went to the home of Jiang Tianyong’s brother, where Jiang was temporarily staying, and confiscated his laptop computer. On 21 February they returned and searched Jiang’s room, confiscating a desktop computer and other items. Jiang was released on 19 April 2011. Jiang earlier was tortured in prison.
Jin Mingri, senior pastor of the free church called Zion Church in Beijing was shortly detained to be prevented from attending Lausanne Conference in South Africa. He is a graduate of Beijing University, Nanjing Seminary, and Fuller Theological Seminary.
Jin Tianming, senior pastor of the free church called Shouwang Church in Beijing was shortly detained and later released into house arrest.
Lan Jingyuan (兰靖远), arrested and released on bail to await trial;
Li Shuangde (李双德), is a citizen lawyer and an activist based in Chengdu. He operates a legal aid center in Chengdu, and provides legal aid to citizens who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. He has been harassed on numerous occasions in the past by local officials. He was detained in March 2011, and sentenced in June 2011 to four months in jail on charges of credit card fraud. He was released on 22 July 2011.
Liu Xianbin on 25 March was sentenced to 10 years in prison for "slandering the Communist Party" and subversion.
Liu Xiaoyuan, an activist lawyer, on 15 April was taken away by officers who identified themselves as being from Beijing's public security bureau. They questioned him about cases he had worked on before and which had to do with his friend Ai Weiwei. Ai had asked Liu to represent him in case he would be taken away. He was released in the evening of 19 April.
Liu Zhengang, works for design and architecture company of Ai Weiwei's wife;
Ma Liangfu, from Inner Mongolia, was sentenced to re-education through labor.
Mao Hengfeng from Shanghai, who campaigned against a strict one-child policy was taken from her home to a labour camp.
Ni Yulan, in prison tortured and forced into a wheelchair, left homeless and arrested again in April 2011
Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), a critical lawyer working for victims of land eviction cases, was arrested together with her husband. Only a year prior, she had been released from an earlier detention of two years. Due to torture in prison, she needed a wheelchair. After her release a year ago, she had to live in a tent, since she was a victim of land eviction herself.
Ran Yunfei (冉云飞), a former leader of the student movement 1989, who has served years in prison, today a well-known blogger and writer from Sichuan, was arrested on charges of "inciting subversion of state power".
Wei Qiang (魏强) a former art student who has worked at Ai Weiwei's studio, has been sentenced to two years of re-education through labour for attending a pro-democracy protest.
Wen Tao, journalist of Global Times, friend of Ai Weiwei;
Wu Lebao (吴乐宝), Chinese dissident, friend of Ai Weiwei. Wu was close to Ai before the Chinese Jasmine Revolution happened, and was suspected of leading Chinese Jasmine Revolution with Ai Weiwei. Wu was interrogated and detained over three months;
Yang Qiuyu (杨秋雨), campaigner for the rights of petitioners, took pictures of a site mentioned in connection with the 'Jasmine Revolution', was seized by police at Xidan in Beijing and without trial was sent to a Labour Camp.
Renee Xia, the international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, commented on 26 February 2011: "The numbers point to a bad situation that is only getting worse. In the matter of a few days, we have seen more cases of prominent lawyers subjected to prolonged disappearances, more criminal charges that may carry lengthy prison sentences for activists, more home raids, and a heavier reliance on extralegal measures."; In addition, according to Phelim Kine of the Human Right Watch, three people, Lan Ruoyu, Tan Yanhua, and Zhang Haibo, are believed to be still missing by September, 2011. A total of about 17 people from the above list remain in detention, prison, or re-education through labor. An unknown number of people remain held in house detention.
Up to 200 people are subject to reinforced supervision or house arrest.
Since mid February, more than a hundred people have been summoned or questioned by police.
On the morning of 19 February, National Security officers in Yichang City, Hubei Province arrived at the home of activist Shi Yulin 石玉林, summoning him for questioning. While Shi was being interrogated, officers searched his home, confiscating a computer. Shi recently had taken efforts to support Shandong human rights defender Chen Guangcheng 陈关诚.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances expressed "serious concern at the recent wave of enforced disappearances".
According to Amnesty International more than 100 activists, lawyers and writers have been detained or have simply disappeared—some of them just for using the words "Jasmine Revolution" in a Twitter feed.
According to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, "this is the harshest crackdown [...] in the past 15 years. Every day, someone is disappeared, taken away, detained or charged."