Case of the month, May 2007: HU Shigen


Hu Shigen, a lecturer at the Beijing Language Institute, is currently serving a twenty-year prison term in Beijing No. 2 Prison. Known for his political activism and dissident writing, Hu Shigen, who also goes by Hu Shlegen, was imprisoned on ‘counter-revolutionary’ charges in 1992 after participating in the planning of 4 June (Tiananmen Square) memorial activities in a number of China’s major cities.


Detained in Beijing on 27 May 1992, he was illegally held for four months before he was formally arrested and charged. He was then charged with ‘organising and leading a counter-revolutionary group’ and ‘engaging in counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement’.


Hu Shigen was part of a large group of prisoners of conscience, jointly indicted. After numerous delays and questionable judicial proceedings, the group’s trial in the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court started in July 1994 and the verdict was announced on 16 December 1994. Nine of the defendants were sentenced to between three and 20 years in prison, five were found guilty but ‘exempted from criminal punishment’ as they had already spent two and a half years in detention and one was sentenced to two years of ‘supervision,’ which involved restrictions on freedom of movement. As a senior member of the China Freedom and Democracy Party, Hu Shigen received the longest sentence, which was upheld on appeal by the Supreme Court in June 1995. In addition to twenty years’ imprisonment, he was also sentenced to five years’ subsequent deprivation of political rights.


Hu Shigen received an M.A. in Chinese Literature at Beijing University in 1986. He founded the Liberal Democratic Party of China (LDPC) and Free Labour Union of China. As a member of both parties, he has written a number of documents and called for the government to take responsibility for the violent suppression of the Democracy Movement in June 1989. His published writing includes articles for the commemoration of June 4th victims in 1989.


Failing to renounce his political opinions, Hu Shigen was recently placed under ‘Class Two Close Supervision’, meaning that he is constantly monitored by fellow prisoners, who record his activities and prevent him from talking to anyone. He has very limited contact with his wife and his 19-year-old daughter whom he has only seen once since his imprisonment.


There are reports that Hu Shigen has been tortured resulting in a broken and deformed right hand. He has also been suffering from severe neurasthenia, including migraines, as well as liver, heart, stomach and intestinal problems. His back problems, caused by dislocated vertebrae, could lead to paralysis, but the authorities continue to deny him medical leave or adequate treatment. He is reported to require a hearing aid. His prison diet is also poor, contributing to his ill health.


HU Shigen is an Honorary Member of English PEN.


You can send appeals protesting the imprisonment and treatment of Hu Shigen to the following addresses:


His Excellency Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
State Council
Beijing 100032, PRC


Her Excellency Ms Wu Aiying
Minister of Justice
10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Beijing-shi 100020, PRC


Please note that fax numbers are no longer available for the Chinese authorities, so you may wish to ask the diplomatic representative for China in your country to forward your appeals:


HE Mrs Fu Ying
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place
London W1B 4JL



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