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The Story of Li Jianfeng, Former Judge Imprisoned for 16 Years for “Subversion”

April 21, 2013

This account provides background on the case of Li Jianfeng (李建峰), a former presiding judge in the Economic Department of Ningde Municipal Intermediate People's Court, Fujian Province, was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment on "subversion of state power" in 2002. Li denied the charges and maintained that his prosecution was in retaliation for his rights defense work. Every year since 2007, in its annual Report on Human Rights Practices in China, the U.S. State Department has listed Li as one of the political prisoners in China, citing him as an example of China’s practice of jailing citizens “for reasons related to politics and religion.” Li served 11 years in prison, during which time he was tortured and forced to perform hard labor. Li was released in April 2013 after receiving a five-year sentence reduction. He now faces grave challenges: he is unemployed, his wife and daughter have left him, and he has to care for his elderly parents.

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