Photo: Chen Ziliang (ChinaAid)
(Zhejiang – Janurary 2, 2023) Chen Ziliang, a member of the China Democracy Party’s Zhejiang Preparatory Committee, passed away on December 24, 2022, while in custody at the Jinyun County Detention Center in Lishui, Zhejiang province.
The notice from police
The Jinyun County Public Security Bureau informed the family that “on the morning of December 24, Chen Ziliang was found to be in critical condition at the detention center. The detention center sent Chen Ziliang to The First People’s Hospital of Jinyun County. In the afternoon of the same day, Chen Ziliang passed away after the failure to rescue.”
The notice from the police to the family did not detail the cause of Chen Ziliang’s death. The Jinyun County Public Security Bureau warned them that they are not allowed to reveal the circumstances of Chen Ziliang’s death to the outside world or communicate any matters regarding him.
On July 6, 2022, Chen Ziliang was taken away by several State Security Brigades of the Public Security Bureau in Jinyun County, Zhejiang Province, on the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” While recuperating in his hometown, Chen Ziliang was suddenly carried away by several plainclothes police officers to a police car without any belongings with him. His formal arrest was announced in early September.
Authorities took Chen Ziliang away after he suffered from a cerebral infarction (ischemic stroke), causing him to have difficulties walking. With the worsening of his condition, he planned to go to the hospital for treatment.
Why was he investigated?
Police implicated Chen Ziliang because of their ongoing investigation involving Xu Guang, a member of the Democratic Party. State Secuity searched Xu’s house and confiscated his property many times. They detained Xu on May 26 on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles;” a month later, the People’s Procuratorate approved his arrest. Chen Ziliang visited Xu just two days before his imprisonment.
Chen Ziliang’s contribution to China
Chen Ziliang followed the development of China’s society closely; he pursued liberal democracy and demanded that the authorities vindicate June 4, a large-scale democracy movement in 1989, which was later suppressed by the authorities.
Mr. David Meng Yuanxin, a pro-democracy activist residing in the United States, said:
This case is exceptionally vile. More than half a year ago, Chen Ziliang, who was already sick, was framed by the special police in the name of the often-used charge “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” Because Chen Ziliang was critically ill, they did not hesitate to carry him to the detention center. Now he passed away tragically in the detention center, with the cause of death unknown; it is indeed seriously doubtful what the cause of death is. The Zhejiang local authorities of the Chinese Communist Party blatantly persecuted the members of the China Democracy Party, and it has added another ‘blood debt!’
China Democracy Party
The China Democracy Party, of which Chen Ziliang was a member, announced its founding in 1998. It was the first political opposition party to be publicly announced in the history of the democratic movement in the People’s Republic of China. According to the official stance of the party, its nature is a constitutional democratic party that promotes the reform of China’s political system in a peaceful and rational way to make mainland China a progressive constitutional democratic country.
For many years, members of the party operated in the open. Yan Jiaqi, a Chinese dissident in exile in the United States, said that since December 21, 1998, the regimes of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao had sentenced more than 100 “pro-democracy activists” to more than 1,000 years in prison.
Extending a helping hand
On June 26, 2016, an article signed by Li Gongmin, “Looking at the current harsh situation in China from the severe sentences of the Zhejiang Democracy Party Members,” circulated in online forums. The article stated:
[…]members of the Zhejiang Democratic Party have gone deep among the people for many years, understood the sufferings of the people, and extended a helping hand to the helpless and even those who are desperate. Therefore, it has gathered a lot of local folks[…]which has opened up a larger space for activities and a foundation of broad mass for the Zhejiang Democratic Party in social reality.
Zhejiang suppressed the members of the China Democracy Party and rarely spared any one. They punished many pro-democracy activists in the past 20 years, including Wang Rongqing (deceased), Li Hong (Zhang Jianhong, deceased), Wang Donghai (deceased), Zhu Yufu, Mao Qingxiang, Lu Gengsong, Chen Shuqing, Zhu Zhengming, and Xu Guang and others.
Freedom of association
Chen Ziliang, 55 years old, died in prison on December 24 this year. The authorities did not give an explanation as to why a dissident suffering from cerebral infarction was imprisoned.
Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China shall enjoy the freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association, procession, and demonstration. Freedom of association is one of the fundamental human rights. It demonstrates the right of employers and workers to freely and voluntarily establish and join organizations of their own choice, and this right should be respected, which also indicates that these organizations have the right to operate with full freedom and without interference.
~Gao Zhensai, Special Correspondent ChinaAid