Amnesty International
Urgent Action
UA 255/14
9 October 2014


At least 26 people, including several poets and artists, have been detained in Beijing for showing support for the pro­-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Thirteen people are known to have been accused of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, and could face up to five years in prison if formally charged.

A group of nine poets and artists from Songzhuang, an artist community in Beijing, were detained between 1 and 8 October for organizing an event where they had planned to read poetry and display posters in support of the pro­democracy protests in Hong Kong. Poet Wang Zang, also from Songzhuang, has also been criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” after he posted a photograph online of himself holding an umbrella, which has become the symbol of the Hong Kong protests. Wang Zang’s wife and their one-­year-old daughter were detained and not given any food or water for approximately nine hours at a police station in Beijing on 8 October when they tried to obtain information about his situation.

Another group of 11 activists are being criminally detained in Beijing on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. They were detained on 30 September and 1 October after photographs were circulated on social media of them having dinner and holding placards in support of the Hong Kong protests.

Several people have also been detained in other parts of mainland China, including in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Jiangsu, for activities such as shaving their heads in solidarity with the demonstrators, or planning to travel to Hong Kong to join the protests. This is part of a wider attempt by the Chinese authorities to silence any discussion or displays of support for the events in Hong Kong. The popular photo­-sharing platform Instagram has been blocked. Government censors have attempted to remove all positive mentions of the pro­democracy protests online, while forcing newspapers and TV stations to only use the state­-sponsored narrative of the protests.

Please write immediately in Chinese, English or your own language:

  • Urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained for peacefully showing support for the pro­democracy protests in Hong Kong (please include the names of those detained in Beijing which can be found overleaf);
  • Calling on the authorities to ensure all those detained have regular access to their lawyers, family, and any medical treatment they require.


Director of Beijing Municipal 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

Vice­ Premier
Wang Yang
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China
Salutation: Your Excellency


Thousands of people have been occupying parts of downtown Hong Kong since 26 September to demand further electoral reform. The protests grew in size after the unlawful use of tear gas and pepper spray by the police against peaceful protestors on the first night of the demonstrations. Since then, the police have taken a less confrontational approach.

On 3 and 4 October, protesters faced attacks by counter-­demonstrators. Women and girls were among those targeted, including incidents of sexual assault, harassment and intimidation. Amnesty International has the first­hand witness account of a woman being physically attacked and threatened, and has received credible information from women’s organizations, media reports, publicly available videos and other sources about further assaults and abuse happening while police stood by and did nothing. Protesters remain on the streets but in dwindling numbers.

The charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” (Article 293 of Criminal Law) carries a maximum of five years imprisonment if the person commits one of the acts of creating disturbances, thus disrupting public order such as forcibly taking or demanding, damaging, destroying or occupying public or private property with serious circumstances; or creating disturbances in a public place, thus causing serious disorder in such place etc. If the person gathers others and commits the behaviours repeatedly that seriously undermine public order, he or she will receive a maximum of ten years imprisonment but no less than five years imprisonment.