Document - China: Demand release of Chinese photographer


UA: 164/13 Index: ASA 17/020/2013 China Date: 27 June 2013



Chinese photographer and human rights activist Du Bin is being held in criminal detention on suspicion of “picking quarrels and making trouble”. The criminal charges he is facing are related to his peaceful human rights work, and he is at risk of torture.

Du Bin, 41, is a photographer, writer and director of the recent documentary film Above the Ghosts' Head: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp that exposes torture and other ill-treatment at China’s Masanjia Womens’ Re-education through Labour Camp. He is being held at the Fengtai district police station in Beijing after being taken away from his home by about 10 plain-clothes police officers on 31 May. Credible sources have said that police had searched his home and removed books, documents, his laptops and other belongings.

Two police documents were found at Du Bin’s home – a search warrant and an interrogation warrant. Both were dated 1 June and had apparently been issued to authorise Du Bin’s administrative detention for “disturbing order at a public place”, a minor offence which allows the authorities to hold an individual for a maximum of 15 days. However, on 9 June, Fengtai police denied detaining Du Bin. On 13 June, when family members went to Fengtai district police station, police officers admitted Du Bin was being kept there, but did not provide further information.

Du Bin was held incommunicado until 17 June, when his family and two lawyers were able to visit him at Fengtai police station. During the visit, police officers told them that Du Bin had been held under criminal detention since 2 June on suspicion of “picking quarrels and making trouble”, which carries the risk of up to five years imprisonment (Article 293 of China’s Criminal Law), but they did not clarify the factual basis for this. The police also claimed that they had followed the Criminal Procedure Law and sent Du Bin’s family a criminal detention notice within 24 hours of arrest. However, the family have said they never received any notice.

According to those who visited him, Du Bin did not show signs of ill-treatment and appeared in good spirits. However, the use of torture and other ill-treatment against those held in detention is common, and often used as punishment for human rights activities and political activism. The family’s visit was furthermore closely monitored by police officers, so Du Bin did not have a chance to speak freely about his treatment in detention.

Please write immediately in Chinese or your own language:

Calling on the authorities to release Du Bin immediately and unconditionally;

Calling on them to ensure that until he is released, Du Bin is free from any torture or other ill-treatment while in custody, and has regular access to his family and a lawyer of his choice.


Director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau

Fu Zhenghua Juzhang

Beijingshi Gong'anju

9 Dongdajie, Qianmen


Beijingshi 100740

People's Republic of China

Fax: + 86 10 65242927

Salutation: Dear Director

Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China

Guo Shengkun Buzhang


14 Dongchang’anjie


Beijingshi 100741

People's Republic of China

Tel: +86 10 65283344 (Chinese only)

Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:


Li Keqiang Guojia Zongli

The State Council General Office

2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu,

Beijingshi 100017,

People's Republic of China

Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.



ADditional Information

Du Bin is a journalist, photographer, and documentary film-maker. He worked as a photographer for ‘Beijing Youth Daily’ (Beijing Qingnian Bao), an investigative journalist for ‘Workers’ Daily’ (Gongren Ribao) and a freelance photographer for the ‘The New York Times’. During his 15 years as a journalist, Du Bin remained active in human rights work, including interviewing the blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng in 2002 and reporting on the Wukan protests in 2011.

In 2005, Du Bin wrote his first book Petitioners: Living Fossil Who Survived China’s Rule of Law, which documents the stories of millions of people who travelled to Beijing every day in an attempt to seek redress for the injustices they faced in their home towns as well as the violence, unfair treatment, and even death they faced when trying to report local corruption. Since then, Du Bin has written several books covering a range of topics, including on the investigation into violent forced evictions in Shanghai, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of peasants from starvation during Mao Zedong’s rule, and a recently released book that details the violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989. His books are all published overseas.

After following a petitioner, Liu Jie, in early 2006, Du Bin documented the abuses she suffered in a re-education through labour camp in Heilongjiang province in north-east China and published a book in 2008. Prior to his detention in 2013, Du Bin screened his documentary, Above the Ghosts' Head: The Women of Masanjia Labour Camp, in Hong Kong and posted the film online, which also examined the torture and ill-treatment at China’s re-education through labour camps.

Name: Du Bin

Gender: Male

UA: 164/13 Index: ASA 17/020/2013 Issue Date: 27 June 2013


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