Skip to content Skip to navigation

Activist and Ten-year-old Daughter Illegally Detained before Forcible Removal from Hefei

March 1, 2013

Human Rights in China has learned that at approximately 3:30 p.m. on February 27, 2013, four unidentified men in Hefei, Anhui Province, took Zhang Anni (张安妮), the ten-year-old daughter of long-time rights activist, Zhang Lin (张林), from her school and detained her in a police precinct in the Hupo district of the city.

Zhang Anni

Zhang Lin

That morning, police took Zhang himself from his residence, claiming that they would help him get a “Temporary Residence Certificate” (暂住证).They took away his keys, mobile phone, and computer. Zhang also said he is missing 3,900 yuan ($626) in cash. The police then detained Zhang in the same precinct as his daughter, but did not allow him to see her until 7:00 p.m. that evening. That night, father and daughter were taken by police to Bengbu, Heifei, Zhang’s hometown.

Zhang is a writer and activist who served many prison and Reeducation-Through-Labor sentences since the 1980s for his pro-democracy activities and writings. He was released from his latest prison sentence in August 2009. (See additional background information below.)

Zhang and his daughter have lived in Hefei only since February this year. They moved from Bengbu in order to be with Zhang’s older daughter who is attending university in the city. The family of three has been living in an apartment provided by a friend of Zhang’s named Yao Cheng (姚诚).

In two separate narratives, Zhang and Yao described the course of events of Zhang’s forcible removal from Hefei.


Background on Zhang Lin

Born in Bengbu, Anhui Province, in 1963, Zhang Lin was first exposed to political activism as a student at Tsinghua University during the 1979 Democracy Wall period. Since then, he has forged a long career as an active and outspoken political dissident and writer, marked by a series of prison and Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) sentences resulting directly from his rights advocacy.

Zhang was particularly active during the 1989 Democracy Movement, when he led a series of mass student hunger strikes in Bengbu. Following the violent official suppression of the Democracy Movement in June 1989, Zhang was detained and sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “counterrevolutionary incitement” for his role.

Upon his release in 1993, Zhang continued to engage in human rights activism. He joined fellow rights defenders Liu Lianchun, Yuan Hongbing, and others to establish the “Federation for the Protection of Workers’ Rights,” after which Zhang was again detained in 1994 and subsequently sentenced to three years of RTL.

After his release from RTL in 1997, Zhang came to the U.S., where he received political asylum. But he decided to return to China in order to promote democratic reform from within. In November 1998, when he tried to re-enter China with fellow activist Wei Quanbao, he was detained and sentenced to another three years of RTL.

Following his release from RTL in 2001, Zhang Lin was subjected to constant monitoring and harassment by police, and was never able to live a normal life. He supported himself and his family largely through money he was paid for articles he published overseas. He also published hundreds of online articles on a variety of Internet forums, including Boxun, Epoch Times, China View, and Democracy Forum.

In 2005, after publishing online articles critical of the Chinese government, Zhang was charged with, and ultimately convicted of, publishing 192 Internet articles between August 2003 and January 2005 that were deemed to have “harmed national unity, spread falsehoods, disturbed social order and harmed social stability.” He was sentenced to five years in prison and four years of post-release deprivation of political rights.

Zhang received an early release in August 2009, and is currently subjected to deprivation of political rights, which includes severe restrictions on Zhang’s activities as a writer and activist.  Among other things, Zhang is prohibited from issuing, publishing, or distributing discussions, books, or recordings that are determined to be “detrimental to the state’s honor and interests or otherwise endanger society domestically or abroad.”


For more information on Zhang Lin, see:

Explore Topics

709 Crackdown Access to Information Access to Justice Administrative Detention All about law Arbitrary Detention
Asset Transparency Bilateral Dialogue Black Jail Book Review Business And Human Rights Censorship
Charter 08 Children Chinese Law Circumvention technology Citizen Activism Citizen Journalists
Citizen Participation Civil Society Commentary Communist Party Of China Constitution Consumer Safety
Contending views Corruption Counterterrorism Courageous Voices Cultural Revolution Culture Matters
Current affairs Cyber Security Daily Challenges Democratic And Political Reform Demolition And Relocation  Dissidents
Education Elections Enforced Disappearance Environment Ethnic Minorities EU-China
Family Planning Farmers Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression Freedom of Press Freedom of Religion
Government Accountability Government regulation Government transparency Hong Kong House Arrest HRIC Translation
Hukou Human Rights Council Human rights developments Illegal Search And Detention Inciting Subversion Of State Power Information Control 
Information technology Information, Communications, Technology (ICT) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) International Human Rights International perspective International Relations
Internet Internet Governance JIansanjiang lawyers' rights defense Judicial Reform June Fourth Kidnapping
Labor Camps Labor Rights Land, Property, Housing Lawyer's rights Lawyers Legal System
Letters from the Mainland Major Event (Environment, Food Safety, Accident, etc.) Mao Zedong Microblogs (Weibo) National People's Congress (NPC) New Citizens Movement
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Olympics One country, two systems Online Activism Open Government Information Personal stories
Police Brutality Political commentary Political Prisoner Politics Prisoner Of Conscience Probing history
Propaganda Protests And Petitions Public Appeal Public Security Racial Discrimination Reeducation-Through-Labor
Rights Defenders Rights Defense Rule Of Law Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Special Topic State compensation
State Secrets State Security Subversion Of State Power Surveillance Technology Thoughts/Theories
Tiananmen Mothers Tibet Torture Typical cases United Nations US-China 
Uyghurs, Uighurs Vulnerable Groups Women Youth Youth Perspective