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List of Chinese dissidents

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This list consists of activists who are known as Chinese dissidents. The label is primarily applied to intellectuals and other high-profile individuals from China who are known for their criticism of the Chinese government or its policies.

Detained and jailed people[edit]

Many Chinese political activists have been detained or jailed or exiled for their pro-democracy or rights defending activities. They include the following notable activists.

Name Occupation Detained Allegations Sentence Notes
Ai Weiwei artist and activist 2011 alleged economic crimes Fine of 2.4 million for tax evasion Detained for 80 days from 3 April[1] to 22 June 2011
Bao Tong government official 1989 revealing state secrets and counter-revolutionary propagandizing 7 years Sentenced in 1992. Prison from 1989–1996. As of 2009, under surveillance.
Bao Zunxin historian 1989 counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement 5 years Sentenced in 1991. Released in 1992. Later died in 2007.
Cai Lujun businessman, writer 2003 incitement to subversion 3 years Released in 2006, sought political asylum in Taiwan in 2007.
Cao Shunli lawyer, human rights activist 2013 illegal assembly, picking quarrels and provoking trouble Died in detention in 2014.
Chen Pokong author, commentator, democracy activist 1989
"carrying out counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement", illegally crossing state borders 3 years, 2 years Sentenced in 1989 and 1993.[2]
Cheng Jianping online activist 2010 disturbing social order 1 year Reeducation through labor for a sarcastic post on Twitter.[3]
Gao Zhisheng lawyer 2006 disturbing public order 5 yrs suspended Illegally detained and tortured in 2007; forcibly removed from family home in Shaanxi in 2009.[4]

'Disappeared' by government in 2009, reappeared in 2010. The Chinese foreign minister claimed a prison sentence was for 'subversion'.[5][6]

Guo Quan professor 2008 subversion of state power 10 years Sentenced in 2009. Awaiting appeal.
Hao Jinsong law professional, activist 2019 picking quarrels and provoking trouble, fraud 9 years and a fine of 350,000 yuan Sentenced in 2023.[7]
He Depu writer 2002 "incited subversion" on the Internet[8] 8 years Sentenced in 2003. Released in 2011.
Hu Jia activist 2007 inciting subversion of state power 3.5 years Arrested, imprisoned, and sentenced in 2008. Released in 2011.
Huang Qi webmaster, anti-human trafficking activist 2000 inciting subversion 5 years Sentenced in 2003. Accused of violating articles 103, 105, 55 and 56. Released in 2005.
2008 illegal possession of state secrets 3 years Sentenced in 2009. Arrested after essay regarding the Sichuan earthquake. Released in 2011.
Ilham Tohti economist 2014 inciting subversion life Detained in January 2014 after criticizing Beijing's response to 2013 Tiananmen Square attack.
Jiang Lijun writer 2002 inciting subversion of the state power 4 years Sentenced in 2003. Arrested for "Internet writing and publishing dissident articles". Also sentenced to 'deprivation of political rights' for 1 year.
Jiang Rong writer 1989 Released 1991.
Jiang Yanyong doctor 2004 Detained and released in 2004. Broke story on SARS epidemic. Wrote critical letter regarding Tiananmen.
Jiang Yefei political cartoonist 2015 incitement to subversion Escaped from China to Thailand in 2004, he was granted political asylum by the Canadian Government, but was arrested by Thailand Immigration authorities on illegal entry. In November 2015 he was deported from Thailand at the request of the Chinese authorities and now awaiting trial in custody.[9]
Lei Chen civil servant, journalist 1960 incitement to subversion 10 years Member of the Control Yuan and expelled from the Kuomintang in 1954. Released in 1970 by the Kuomintang government and died on 7 March 1979. Posthumously exonerated by the Transitional Justice Commission in 2019.
Li Hai student 1994 9 years Sentenced in 1995. Released in 2004.
Li Zhi civil servant 2003 inciting subversion 8 years Sentenced in 2003. Yahoo! helped the government against him. Expected release in 2011.
Liao Yiwu writer, musician 1990 poem "Massacre" about Tiananmen Square 4 years, permanent blacklist from travel Under a 2011 'travel ban' for 'national security' reasons.
Liu Di student 2002 Released in 2003
Liu Xiaobo professor of literature 2008 inciting subversion of state power 11 years Sentenced in 2009. Died on 13 July 2017. Recipient of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Qin Yongmin human rights activist 1998
inciting subversion of state power 12 years
13 years
Sentenced 1998 and July 2018. Co-founder of the Democracy Party of China.[10]
Qiu Zhanxuan student activist 2019 unknown, likely because he was the leader of the Marxist student association at Peking University unknown Qiu was abducted on 29 April 2019 by State security agents on the outskirts of Beijing. He was the leader of the Marxist student association at the elite Peking University, a communist of conscience who defied the Chinese Communist Party. He remains missing.
Ren Zhiqiang tycoon, blogger 2020 purported corruption 18 years Sentenced in 2020.[11]
Ruan Xiaohuan blogger, InfoSec specialist 2021 inciting subversion of state power 7 years Sentenced in 2023.[12]
Shi Tao journalist, writer, poet 2004 illegally supplying state secrets to overseas organizations 10 years Sentenced in 2005. Yahoo! helped the government against him. Released 2013.[13][14]
Tan Zuoren writer 2008 3 years Sentenced in 2009.
2010 subversion of state power 5 years Sentenced in 2010.
Tang Baiqiao activist 1989 spreading counterrevolutionary propaganda; inciting counterrevolutionary activities; defection to the enemy; treason. 3 years Released under international pressure in 1991. Fled to Hong Kong, then United States in 1992.
Wang Bingzhang doctor 2002 spying, terrorism life Sentenced in 2003.
Wang Dan professor of history 1989 Tiananmen activities 4 years Sentenced in 1991. Released on parole in 1993.
1995 11 years Sentenced in 1996. Released on medical parole to United States in 1998 and currently in Taiwan.
Wang Quanzhang lawyer 2015 subversion of state power 4½ years Put on trial in December 2018, sentenced in January 2019.[15]
Wang Xiaoning engineer 2002 incitement to subvert state power 10 years Sentenced in 2003. Yahoo! helped the government against him. Expected release in 2012[16]
Wang Youcai 1989 [citation needed]
1998 subversion 11 years Released and exiled in 2004. Currently in the United States.
Wei Jingsheng electrician 1979 passing military secrets 15 years Released and jailed again in 1993 and released for "medical reasons" and deported to the United States in 1997.
Wu Gan blogger 2015 subversion of state power 8 years
Xu Zhiyong lawyer, lecturer 2014 gathering crowds to disrupt public order 4 years For his role of founding New Citizens' Movement and in protests.
Xu Zhangrun constitutional lawyer and lecturer 2020 using prostitutes one week
Yang Jianli activist, scholar 2002 alleged espionage & illegal entry 5 years The Chinese government placed Yang on a 1994 blacklist of 49 pro-democracy activists barred from returning to China. Yang used another person's passport to enter China in 2002.[17]
Yu Wensheng lawyer 2020 inciting subversion of state power 4 years According to Yu's wife Xu Yan, he was also deprived of his citizens' rights for three years.[18]
Yuan Hongbing jurist, writer 1994 Detained and forced to leave China in 1994. Travelled to and sought political asylum in Australia in 2004.
Yue Xin student activist 2018 unknown, likely in response to protests organized by Yue unknown Yue went missing in October 2018, after she and fifty other students were detained by Chinese authorities after participating in Jasic Incident. She remains missing.
Zeng Jinyan blogger 2006 suspected of harming state security Under house arrest with husband Hu Jia from August 2006 – March 2007 and under house arrest again from May 2007;[19] released later
Zhao Changqing teacher of history 1989 Tiananmen activities Released after about 1/2 year.
1998 workers rights activity 3 years
2002 attempted subversion of state power 5 years Sentenced in 2003.[20]
Zhao Lianhai food safety worker, activist 2009 inciting social disorder 2.5 years Sentenced in 2010.[21][22]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ai Weiwei's whereabouts still unknown". RTHK English News. 10 April 2011. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
  2. ^ Amnesty International, Chen Pokong (30) and other prisoners at Guangzhou No. 1 Reeducation-Through-Labour Center Amnesty International information note on Chen Pokong Archived 2018-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, 7 December 1994, accessed 2 January 2020
  3. ^ Chinese woman, Cheng Jianping, sentenced to a year in labor camp over Twitter post Archived 2010-11-21 at the Wayback Machine Aliyah Shahid, 2010 11 18, NY Daily News, via www.nydailynews.com on 2010 11 18
  4. ^ Human Rights in China, "Torture Account by Missing Rights Defense Lawyer Gao Zhisheng," February 8, 2009
  5. ^ Jacobs, Andrew (March 28, 2010). "Chinese Activist Surfaces After a Year in Custody". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 3, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Bradsher, Keith (March 16, 2010). "China Fails to Dispel Mystery About Missing Dissident". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  7. ^ Liang, Xinlu and Mai, Jun (20 July 2023). "Chinese citizens' rights activist Hao Jinsong jailed for 9 years for fraud and 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble'". South China Morning Post. Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 20 July 2023. Retrieved 21 July 2023.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2010-03-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "China accused of 'tricking' dissidents into deportation". Aljazeera. 2015-12-29. Archived from the original on December 3, 2015. Retrieved Feb 17, 2015.
  10. ^ "Qin Yongmin: Prominent Chinese dissident jailed for 13 years". BBC News. 11 July 2018. Archived from the original on 11 July 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  11. ^ "China tycoon critical of Xi gets 18 years in jail". BBC News. 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  12. ^ Gao, Feng (22 March 2023). "Shanghai court jails blogger for seven years over 'subversive' posts". Radio Free Asia. Washington, D.C. Archived from the original on 25 March 2023. Retrieved 25 March 2023.
  13. ^ "About Shi Tao Archived 2009-01-06 at the Wayback Machine," Incorporating Responsibility 2008
  14. ^ "PEN International is delighted to announce the release of Chinese poet, journalist and PEN member Shi Tao, 15 months before the end of his 10-year sentence PEN International". www.pen-international.org. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  15. ^ Chin, Josh (28 January 2019). "China Civil-Rights Lawyer Sentenced to 4½ Years in Prison for Subversion". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  16. ^ Coonan, Clifford (April 20, 2007). "Chinese couple sue Yahoo! in US over torture case". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  17. ^ "CECC Record Number: 2004-04961 Yang Jianli". ppdcecc.gov. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  18. ^ Yang, William (17 June 2020). "Yu Wensheng was sentenced to four years in prison and his wife Xu Yan criticized the secret sentence". DW. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  19. ^ "China: Activist Couple Accused of Endangering State Security | Human Rights Watch". Archived from the original on 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  20. ^ "Hric | 中国人权". Archived from the original on 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  21. ^ Father of poisoned baby rallies parents in tainted-milk fight - thestar.com Archived 2012-10-22 at the Wayback Machine, Bill Schiller, Asia Bureau, Toronto Star, via www.thestar.com on 2010 11 10
  22. ^ China food safety activist given 212 years Archived November 14, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press – Wed Nov 10, 2:41 am ET, via news.yahoo.com on 2010 11 10
  23. ^ "Tibet activist jailed in China over language campaign". BBC News. 22 May 2018. Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  24. ^ Kuo, Lily (27 September 2019). "Death of Chinese activist in police custody prompts calls for investigation into torture". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 September 2019. Retrieved 27 September 2019.

External links[edit]