Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location

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Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (Chinese: 指定居所监视居住) is a form of detention regularly used by authorities in the People's Republic of China against individuals accused of endangering state security.[1] The detention occurs at a location that is typically not disclosed to the family, and can include guesthouses, hotels or disused official buildings.

The measure has been used heavily since 2015 against human rights lawyers, Falun Gong practitioners and dozens of others accused of political offences, including foreigners.[2][3] Well known victims have included artist Ai Weiwei, Nobel Peace Prize-winning poet Liu Xiaobo and Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai.[4][5]

Those under residential surveillance may be held for up to six months and may only speak with other parties with permission of the police; in effect this means that they may be denied legal counsel and visitation.[6]

Residential surveillance at a designated location became available to police in 2012 when Article 73 of China's Criminal Procedure Law was amended to allow it.[4] Articles 72 to 77 of the Criminal Procedure Law describe residential surveillance being for investigation of crimes relating to “endangering state security,” “terrorism” or “serious crimes of bribery." This form of residential surveillance does not occur at the home of the suspect, but at a place designated by the police.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yaqiu Wang (2015-08-02). "What You Need to Know About China's 'Residential Surveillance at a Designated Place'". China Change. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  2. ^ Elizabeth M. Lynch (2017-01-20). "Codifying Illegality? The Case of Jiang Tianyong". China Law & Policy. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  3. ^ Sarah M. Brooks (2015-11-30). "China: Abuse of 'residential surveillance' to detain defenders and lawyers continues". International Service for Human Rights.
  4. ^ a b In China, the Brutality of ‘House Arrest’, Myers, Steven Lee, The New York Times, 25 November 2017
  5. ^ Sweden could pressure China to release the author and publisher Gui Minhai… if it wished, HKFP, 30 March 2018
  6. ^ Brendon Hong (2016-05-08). "China's Crackdown on Christian Churches". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  7. ^ Elizabeth M. Lynch (2015-10-18). "The Anatomy of a Crackdown: China's Assault on its Human Rights Lawyers". China Law & Policy. Retrieved 2016-07-10.

Further reading[edit]

  • Caster, Michael. The People's Republic of the Disappeared: Stories from Inside China's System for Enforced Disappearances. Safeguard Defenders, 2017.
  • Myers, Steven Lee (25 November 2017). "In China, the Brutality of ‘House Arrest’". The New York Times.