China: Release women’s rights activist Su Changlan
Chinese women’s rights activist Su Changlan has been in prison since October 27, 2014. She was held incommunicado for months. In February 2017, the court extended the deadline for issuing its verdict for the fourth time. Meanwhile, Su Changlan continues to be held in deplorable, cramped conditions while her health deteriorates. At times she has been denied access to her family and lawyer. Her brother and husband were arrested and detained for a month simply for advocating on her behalf. She has conducted weekly hunger strikes since November 2016 and plans to do so until a verdict is issued in her case.
So what is Su Changlan’s ‘crime’? “Inciting subversion” for making online posts in support of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. It is believed that the charges against her are partly due to her activism on women’s rights issues. She is now paying a terrible price for her peaceful work and faces life imprisonment.
Su Changlan is a well-known activist in southern China. She was a primary school teacher from 1990-2001, and began her social activism working with rural women in Sanshan District, Hainan Province to defend their rights to inheritance, and to ensure profits derived from community properties were shared. In recent years, she has been focusing on women’s and children’s rights issues such as trafficking of children, child brides, family planning and violence against women related to the one-child policy. She has also focused on migrant children’s rights, land rights, forced eviction, and democracy. She was forced to resign from her job as a teacher in Hainan and has been detained several times previously due to her peaceful activism and outspokenness.
Su Changlan should never have been arrested and she should be free to promote women’s human rights without fear or persecution. Please take action now to tell the Chinese Government that Su Changlan’s peaceful freedom of expression is not a crime. She is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
Please send a letter or email to the Director of the Foshan City Public Security Bureau.
- Start with Dear Director and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
- Ask him to immediately and unconditionally release Su Changlan.
- Seek guarantees that until she is released, that Su Changlan is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and that she has regular access to family members, lawyers, and any medical treatment that she may require.
- Insist that Public Security authorities refrain from harassing or detaining Su Changlan’s family and friends as they advocate on her behalf.
Send your message to:
Director Jiang Kaixin
Foshan City Public Security Bureau
8 Lingnan Dadaobei
People's Republic of China
Please send a copy to
His Excellency Luo Zhaohui
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada
515 St. Patrick Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 5H3
Women human rights defenders are often at particular risk of persecution in China and many other countries where taking a stand in the public sphere is not considered appropriate behavior for a woman.
In China, many women human rights defenders have paid a high price for their activism. They have placed under house arrest, tortured and jailed simply for peacefully defending human rights.