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  • East Asia and Pacific

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Last updated: 2 Jul

Human rights defender's story: Jiang Tianyong

Story behind

Jiang Tianyong is a prominent human rights lawyer and legal rights activist from China. He has been working at the grassroots level to defend land and housing rights, promote the rights of vulnerable social groups and expose the root causes of systemic rights abuses.

He defended high-profile cases in China, including clients with HIV, Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetan protesters and victims of the 2008 milk scandal.

Despite being arbitrarily disbarred by the government in 2009, Jiang has tirelessly continued his valuable human rights work to improve the situation in China. He has persisted in denouncing human rights violations in his country and supported numerous well-known human rights defenders unlawfully detained.

What happened

On 21 November 2016 Jiang was forcibly disappeared into police custody on his way home. His disappearance occurred after he met with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights during his country visit to China a month earlier.

In December 2016 four Special Procedures mandate holders released an urgent appeal regarding actions taken against Jiang, including that his disappearance may have occurred, at least in part, in reprisal for his cooperation with the Special Rapporteur.

Jiang was subsequently sentenced in November 2017 to two years in prison for ‘inciting subversion of State power.’ In addition to his prison sentence, he was stripped of his political rights for three years.

Jiang formally completed his three-year sentence of ‘deprivation of political rights’ in February 2022. However, he continues to live under effective house arrest in Luoshan.

His movements in the village are carefully monitored by local public security and State security officers from across Luoshan County, and he is not allowed to leave the country, including to reunite with his wife in the United States.

Additionally, serious concerns have been raised regarding his lack of access to healthcare, linked to his house arrest.

What do we want

We want the case of Jiang Tianyong to be widely recognised as a case of reprisal related to UN engagement  and for him to regain his complete freedom. We want States to publicly raise his case during the Interactive Dialogue with the Assistant Secretary-General at the 51st Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

What do we want

We want the case of Jiang Tianyong to be widely recognised as a case of reprisal related to UN engagement  and for him to regain his complete freedom. We want States to publicly raise his case during the Interactive Dialogue with the Assistant Secretary-General at the 51st Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

How you can take action

Join us in calling on States to #EndReprisals against human rights defenders!

Write to State representatives at the UN and urge them to take up Jiang Tianyong’s case and those of human rights defenders and organisations from Belarus, Burundi, Egypt and Venezuela during the Human Rights Council 51st session.