Ren Wanding

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Ren Wanding
Ren Wanding.jpg
Native name 任畹町
Born c. 1944
Nationality Chinese
Occupation democracy activist
Organization China Human Rights League
Known for activism, imprisonment
Spouse(s) Zhang Fengying

Ren Wanding (born c. 1944[1]) is a Chinese dissident who was jailed several times for his pro-democracy activism. He is the founder of the China Human Rights League.[2]

In the late 1970s, he was jailed for four years for his leadership of the Democracy Wall movement.[3] After his release, he worked as an accountant. In 1988, he published an essay through foreign press commemorating the movement's tenth anniversary. When asked if he feared a second imprisonment, Ren replied, "I went through some very frightening experiences ... But China has no democracy and no human rights, and its living standard is too low. These are even more frightening."[4]

In 1989, he was arrested again for speaking at the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[3] Ren was the only one of the 71 arrested dissidents who did not recant his position when on trial.[5] He was sentenced to seven years in prison, leading Amnesty International to name him a prisoner of conscience.[1] In 1992, authorities evicted Ren's wife and daughter from their home.[6] Ren was reported to be suffering from untreated cataracts and severe haemorrhoids in 1993, leading AI to issue a medical alert on his behalf.[1] While still imprisoned, he won the 1994 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.[2] He was released in June 1996 after serving his full sentence.[7]

After Ren's release, he attempted to register the China Democracy Party (CDP) as a legal political party, but police officers were stationed outside his home to stop him from filing the application.[8] The incident caused a split in the leadership of the dissident movement when fellow dissident Xu Wenli founded his own branch of the CDP as a rival to Ren's. Ren stated that Xu was "raping the party" and "stepping on others" in his ambition, while Xu called Ren a "weak person" who had renounced his claim to lead the party.[9]

In 2001, Ren supported China's successful bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics, stating that he hoped the event would empower the reform movement: "China needs to improve its human rights ... Opposing the Olympics won't help reach that goal."[10] In 2007, Chinese authorities gave him permission to visit Hong Kong.[11]

Ren has a wife, Zhang Fengying, and one daughter.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Medical concern: Ren Wanding, People's Republic of China" (PDF). Amnesty International. 17 August 1992. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "1994: Ren Wanding, China". Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b David Holley (27 January 1991). "Tian An Men Square Figures Sentenced : China: Student leader Wang Dan gets 4-year term. Officials claim he 'repented' and exposed others. Wave of trials is jailing many dissidents.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Nicholas D. Kristof (27 November 1998). "A Chinese Survivor Keeps Up the Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Chinese Dissident Refuses to Recant, Gets Seven Years". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 30 January 1991. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Sheryl WuDunn (20 April 1992). "Wife of Jailed China Dissident Is Left Homeless by Eviction". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "China Releases Dissident After 7 Years in Prison". The New York Times. Reuters. 10 June 1996. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Chinese dissidents detained". BBC News. 18 September 1998. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Veteran dissidents clash over leadership". Sun Journal. Associated Press. 27 November 1998. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Matthew Forney (16 July 2001). "Beijing's Final Sprint". Time. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Lindsay Beck (10 April 2007). "China allows veteran activist to visit Hong Kong". Reuters. Retrieved 6 July 2012.