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On the Sixth Anniversary of "709 Crackdown"
Six years ago, on July 9, 2015, the CCP under President Xi Jinping started a nationwide crackdown against China’s human rights lawyers and activists. Lawyers were summoned, arrested, and criminally detained in each of China’s 23 provinces. Since then, the Chinese Communist Party has been continually harassing, arresting, and even torturing China’s human rights lawyers and activists. This foretells Xi’s intent to eliminate any dissent that challenges his power.
The Visual Artists Guild has monitored this aggression and suppression. Various activists have been honored at our annual Tiananmen Commemoration.
During Visual Artists Guild’s 2017 Tiananmen Commemoration, we recognized five human rights lawyers:
Jiang Tianyong(江天勇), Tang Jingling(唐荆陵), Xie Yang(谢阳), Li Heping(李和平) and Wang Quanzhang(王全璋). The wives of 3 of these honorees, Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jingling and Xie Yang, were able to attend the event and receive the award for their husbands. Xie Yang's wife, Chen Guiqiu, and her two daughters have been subjected to stalking and harassment in China. Jiang Tianyong’s wife, Jin Bianling, now living in the U.S., testified how her husband was tortured in a Chinese prison.
In 2018 Visual Artists Guild honored Li Wenz(李文足), the Wife of Wang Quanzhang. Li has been a dedicated champion for her husband's rights. She started a 100 km walk from Beijing, to bring attention to her husband's plight but was forcibly returned to Beijing by the authorities.
Today the oppression is far from over. Even after many human rights lawyers and activist were released from detention in recent years, their lives and work have been seriously affected. The cause of human rights in China is struggling and pessimism is widespread.
On May 8, 2021, Li Heping, signed a "Notice of Release from Correction" in Beijing, signifying the end of his four-year community "rehabilitation".
Xie Yang had his lawyer’s license revoked in August of 2020.
Wang Quanzhang was released from prison in 2020 but remains under house arrest and under close supervision.
Jiang Tianyong was released from prison in 2019 but remains under house arrest and under government surveillance.
Tang Jingling was released from prison in April 2019 with restrictions on his freedom.
A secret government internal memo dated April of 2013 was leaked to the press later that year. It established in detail what the CCP considered as the seven perils facing the Party:
1. Western ideas of constitutional democracy,
2. civil society,
3. universal values,
4. human rights,
6. freedom of the press,
7. criticism of the CCP's past.
Referred to as Document No. 9., these instructions, apparently authored by President-for-life, Xi Jinping, were distributed to all Communist Party members. This becomes Xi’s blueprint to stifle dissent and solidify control.
The CCP’s crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists is the first salvo by Xi Jinping in implementing Document No. 9.
On the sixth anniversary of what is now referred to "709 Crackdown", the Visual Artists Guild condemns the repression by President-for-life Xi Jinping against his own people who advocate for the rule of law in China.
Contact: Julie Li Zhu <email@example.com>;
Member of the Board, Visual Artists Guild