Date: May 25, 2020
(Xinyu, Jiangxi—May 25, 2020) Wei Zhongping, an activist, has been closely monitored in the past six months since he was released and was warned by authorities about his online speech. On Thursday, May 14, he was summoned by police on the charge of picking quarrels and provoking trouble and was still detained at dusk.
Wei had dropped off meals at the home of Liu Ping, another activist, on Thursday morning and was subsequently taken to the Ludong police station in Xinyu by auxiliary police. A police officer showed the summons paper, claiming it is due to his involvement in picking quarrels and provoking trouble. He was detained until that night. The neighborhood committee had also called Wei on the phone the day of his arrest, reminding him that he should report where he goes. Liu estimated that these two occurrences are related.
Liu said, “If he was released, he would contact us immediately. We hope that it can draw others’ attention because we are vulnerable. We have been closely monitored since being released, and we can not send anything we want via our cell phones. The neighborhood committee checked in on us multiple times on the excuse of caring for us, asking where we will go.”
She also said that Xinyu’s state security officers with police and leaders of the neighborhood committee came to Wei’s home a couple of weeks ago, warning him, but she didn’t know details. Earlier on, state security officers and police came to Liu’s place as well, warning her not to post anything sensitive, and her WeChat account is often blocked. Liu posted something about the coronavirus on WeChat, and as a result, she received a warning.
Wei was beaten during his last detention, leading to a broken nose and ribs. He filed complaints but never received an explanation. As a result of the abuse, he has poor health and no money for doctor appointments.
On April 28, 2013, Wei, Liu, and fellow activist Li Sihua were arrested because they held banners at the entry of the complex where Liu lives, calling for the release of detained citizens. The three became known as the “Three Xinyu Gentlemen.” On May 7, they were criminally detained by the Xinyu police on the charge of inciting subversion of state power. Later, the charge was changed to “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” “assembling a crowd to disturb public order,” and “utilizing a cult to obstruct law enforcement.” On June 18, 2014, Wei and Liu were both sentenced to six-and-a-half years and Li to three years. Wei and Liu were released on Oct. 27, 2019.
Wei, a 57-year-old originally from Xiaogan, Hubei, used to work for a steel company in Jiangxi province. He, as an independent candidate, participated in the election of deputies to the National People’s Congress in 2006. In 2009, he met Liu during a labor dispute lawsuit and sued the Xinyu Municipal Labor Supervisory Department for administrative violation on her behalf. He also worked to repeal his steel company’s retirement system.
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