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Free Cheng Jianping - sentenced to labour camp in China for a tweet!

Cheng Jianping is a 46-year-old human rights activist in China.

On the 28th October, she was set to marry her fiance, Hua Chunhui, also a human rights defender.

On the same day, Cheng was arrested and sentenced to a year of Laojiao - education through labour - for 'disturbing social order'. Her crime was to send out one tweet which mocked a protest orchestrated by the Chinese government.

Cheng is totally devoted to social activism and was working without income, reportedly lived on instant noodles as her main food.

Cheng's arrest is widely seen as a reaction by the Chinese authorities to her longterm activist work, and quite possibly her relationship with her activist fiance. On their wedding day, both Cheng and Hua Chunhui were arrested. But Hua was released 5 days later. He hasn't seen Cheng since their wedding day.

So Cheng Jiaping, alias @wangyi09 on twitter, now faces a year or more of Laoliao (re-education in a labour camp). After she was convicted on the 15th November, Cheng began a hunger strike. Her fiance, friends and family do not know if she is still on hunger strike, as they are not allowed to visit her.

According to Hua, his wife suffered tubercular pleurosy not so long ago and he is gravely concerned about her health. A health check, while in custody, revealed heart disease, a gall stone, and high blood pressure. The ordeal of a labour camp could well be life-threatening for Cheng.

Amnesty International has called for Cheng Jiapang's release, saying that Cheng could be the first Chinese citizen to become "a prisoner of conscience on the basis of a single tweet"

Please help Cheng Jianping and support her family and friends by signing this petition to officals in China and UN Special Rapporteurs, demanding intervention to secure Cheng's immediate and unconditional release and medical attention, as well as a general improvement in the judicial system of China, to comply with international law.


The following is a translation of 4 tweets sent on February 3rd by Hua Chunhui, @wxhch64, the husband of Cheng Jianping @wangyi09, the women who was sentenced to labour camp because of a retweet.

1) Five o'clock in the afternoon today I at long last received a phone call from Cheng Jianping @wangyi09.

Even though it's New Years, her tone of voice was very unhappy. After exchanging New Year greetings, she wanted me to thank all our friends for attention and support and she wished all friends a happy New Year. She especially wanted to thank Mr. Qin Yongmin and sincerely thank him for the tremendous attention and help he gave her right after he got out of prison.

2) Cheng Jianping, @wangyi09, told me that she had not received any letter or postcard after January 1st.

I told her that I had written two letters a week to her and since I got her 10th letter in mid January, I had not received any mail from her. Chen Jianping wanted to look after me and said this year is your year (Translator's note: birth year marked by animal cycle), you need to take good care of yourself. Then we talked for just a few more minutes and I heard [someone say] time is up.

3) I told Cheng Jianping, @wangyi09, that I love her, and that I only want her to return to me safe and sound as soon as possible.

After talking with Wangyi on the phone I was very upset. Everyone else are doing everything in their power to have New Year's reunions, while we are not able to see each other or talk on the phone; all communication between us is retricted. 1st of February, Twitter-friend @wuyoulan went [to the prison] to deliver a few books and a bouquet of fresh flowers, but the reeducation center did not allow allow any of it.

4) It's late at night, and at this moment I only feel extreme sorrow.

Good night Cheng Jianping, my love. I will wait for you to return. Here I just want to explain to all Twitter-friends that I have not been that much on Twitter the last two days because I have been with my parents and our son at my parents house, so I have been tweeting quite rarely. Some friends have sent their regards on Twitter without getting a reply, please pardon me. All Twitter-friends, happy New Year, thank you for your attention, help and support. Good night.

Translation courtesy of André Holthe: @houan

On Sunday, 20th February, Hua Chunhui was arrested along with over a hundred other activists in China.

It is reported that Chinese authorities claim Hua Chunhui was arrested because of his involvement in recent 'Jasmine Protests'. However, it is likely that he was in fact arrested because of his dedicated and public efforts to campaign for his wife's release.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Chair-Rapporteur, United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
    Mr. Malick El Hadji Sow
  • UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
    Mr. Juan Méndez
  • Secretary of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
    Mr. Miguel de la Lama

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