|Jiang Yefei, Freelance
|November 13, 2015
Jiang Yefei, a political cartoonist, was repatriated from Thailand alongside a Chinese activist, Dong Guangping, and detained by Chinese authorities on November 13, 2015 on suspicion of "assisting others to illegally cross the national border," according to the state news agency Xinhua.
In May 2016, police in Chongqing city in southwestern China added the accusation of "inciting subversion of state power," according to the Ireland-based rights group Front Line Defenders.
Jiang, who is also an activist, fled to Thailand in 2008 after being harassed by Chinese authorities, according to Human Rights Watch. The cartoonist was detained twice that year after giving interviews to the international press in which he criticized the government's handling of the Sichuan earthquake, according to Radio Free Asia. Jiang was granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and had been accepted for resettlement by Canada, according to Human Rights Watch and news reports.
While in Thailand, Jiang used his social media accounts and articles published on the overseas Chinese-language news website Boxun to continue to speak publicly against China's human rights record and other policies. The journalist's wife, Chu Ling, told CPJ that since 2014, Jiang has been publishing political cartoons on his Facebook and Google+ page. In 2015, Jiang published a series of cartoons on Boxun, Chu said. She told CPJ that in 2015, as her husband's cartoons became more popular, she and Jiang received several anonymous phone calls from China demanding Jiang stop drawing. Chinese authorities also threatened Jiang's brother in China, asking him to tell his brother to stop drawing, Chu said.
In October 2015, Jiang was arrested by Thai authorities for allegedly breaking immigration rules by helping Dong come to Thailand, according to reports. Dong had spent 10 months in a Chinese jail for participating in a commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre before being released in February 2015, according to the BBC. On November 13, 2015 the Thai government deported Jiang and Dong to China, despite objections raised by human rights organizations and the Canadian government, which had accepted their applications for asylum, according to news reports.
On November 26, 2015 Jiang appeared on the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, dressed in prison clothes, and confessed to human smuggling. He said he regretted his actions and pleaded for leniency. According to Chu, from the footage, Jiang looked as if he was in pain. "It was obvious to me that he had been beaten. A friend who was imprisoned for 13 years told me that from his experience in jail, it was clear to him that my husband was tortured," Chu told CPJ. CPJ was unable to verify her claims.
Jiang is being held at the No.2 Detention Center in Chongqing, according to Radio Free Asia.
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