(Photo: courtesy of
Radio Free Asia)
(Zhaoqing, Guangdong—April 30, 2019) A famed Chinese human rights lawyer was freed and allowed to return to his hometown yesterday, after spending five years in prison on a falsified “inciting subversion of state power” charge.
Tang Jingling, whose clients have included villagers fighting government corruption and victims of illegal land appropriation, was arrested in the days leading up to the 2014 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which originally took place on June 4, 1989. He was tried in July 2015 along with two other activists and sentenced to five years in prison in 2016.
He had previously been detained for five days in 2012, after he investigated the death of human rights defender Li Wangyang. Tang also had his legal license revoked in 2006 because of his tireless protection of Chinese citizens’ rights.
After Tang was freed, he was allowed to return to his hometown of Jingzhou, Hubei.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post this morning, Tang said, “‘My imprisonment has confirmed my beliefs that [building] a democratic society that values human rights is the only way to prevent tragedies, such as what happened to me, from happening again to other people. I believe [democracy] is still the way to go [for China] – where every citizen can stand up for their rights.’”
Prior to his release, Tang was featured as a member of the China 18, a group of Chinese prisoners of conscience spotlighted by ChinaAid. The group, whose line up changes based on who is currently in prison, initially had 18 members.
ChinaAid would like to sincerely thank all those who have prayed for and supported Tang throughout his time in prison.