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An open letter calling for the release of Niu Tengyu
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China
The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party
In May 2019, following the release of personal information about Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law, Deng Jiagui, and his daughter Xi Mingze by overseas websites “Zhina Wiki” and “Hongan Foundation,” the Guangdong Maoming Public Security Bureau arrested 24 members of the “Vulgar Wiki” website for sharing links. Subsequently, with direct authorization from the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a joint task force was established by the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department. In an attempt to deflect accountability from the overseas websites, a political motivated and internationally scrutinized case was fabricated, leading to the sentencing of Niu Tengyu, a network maintenance worker for the “Vulgar Wiki” website, to 14 years in prison and a fine of RMB 130,000 (8 years for provocation and troublemaking, with a fine of 50,000 yuan; 5 years for infringing on personal information with a fine of 40,000 yuan; 2 years for illegal business operations with a fine of 40,000 yuan).
Niu Tengyu, a prodigious computer whiz at the age of 19, has been subjected to inhumane torture while unjustly imprisoned. His ordeal in an illicit black prison included prolonged beatings, indiscriminate high-dose injections of saline, the use of a torture device known as the “tiger chair,” whipping, and genital burning. Niu Tengyu’s life has been repeatedly endangered, leading to multiple hospitalizations due to the severe physical and psychological toll of the torture. Mrs. Keke, Niu Tengyu’s mother, who persists in advocating for her son, has faced ruthless harassment and persecution by the CCP. Her residence has been vandalized, continuous noise is played near her home, and she has been deprived of the right to hire a defense lawyer, visitation rights, and communication rights.
According to information provided by Niu Tengyu’s mother, during a video call on November 24, 2023, she observed signs of mental impairment in her son. Niu Tengyu, in the video call, failed to recognize his own mother, exhibited a vacant expression, shouted loudly, and spoke incoherently.
The charges against Niu Tengyu in the “Vulgar Wiki” case are purely politically motivated. “Vulgar Wiki” is a satirical website documenting personalities and events in the Chinese internet, with content mostly uploaded by registered members. Niu Tengyu is neither the founder of the website nor involved in providing or uploading controversial content related to Xi Jinping’s relatives. As a network technician, he had no subjective intent, conspiracy, or cooperative behavior in relation to the personal information uploaded by other users. Niu Tengyu should bear no legal or moral responsibility for these charges.
According to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, “provocation and troublemaking” primarily involves “arbitrarily beating others, chasing, intercepting, insulting, intimidating others, forcibly taking or arbitrarily damaging, occupying public or private property, causing a disturbance in public places.” Some legal professionals, both domestically and internationally, argue that the actions of “Vulgar Wiki” users uploading personal information about Xi Jinping’s family members do not meet the definition of the crime of provocation and troublemaking and, even if charged, the statutory penalty would be less than 5 years.
The offense of “infringing on personal information” involves multiple instances of providing or selling such information. However, the actions of “Vulgar Wiki” users uploading personal information about Xi Jinping’s family members do not align with this charge. The crime of illegal business operations refers to the unlicensed operation of items restricted by laws or administrative regulations. The actions of “Vulgar Wiki” users do not demonstrate any profit motive and do not correspond to this charge. The charges against Niu Tengyu are in complete contradiction to legal provisions, and the severe judgment appears to be a deliberate act of political persecution based on political motives and personal factors within the top echelons of the Chinese leadership.
The Chinese Communist Party, along with its Marxist-Leninist regime, has a history of prioritizing political considerations over legal justice, with direct interference of administrative forces in judicial proceedings. Ordinary individuals who fall victim to persecution by CCP officials, especially those at the higher echelons, often suffer extreme harm, even to the point of fatal consequences. Niu Tengyu, a mere network technician, has been wrongly imprisoned and subjected to inhumane torture. Currently, he is in a state of physical and mental breakdown, with his life and health under significant threat. His mother, Mrs. Wang, has been tirelessly advocating for her son and is currently visiting him at the Sihui Prison in Guangdong, where she has yet to gain access to her son, and Niu Tengyu’s condition remains unknown.
We urgently appeal to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. government to pay close attention to this case, engage in dialogue with the CCP authorities, and save the young and innocent life of Niu Tengyu, a talented youth who is facing a tragic fate. Simultaneously, we call on the CCP authorities to abide by international human rights treaties and their own legal system, immediately release Niu Tengyu without any guilt, provide comprehensive medical treatment for Niu Tengyu and his mother, allow Niu Tengyu to seek medical treatment abroad, and ensure that his human rights and citizenship rights are not violated, as human rights know no borders.
Written by: Liang Shaohua Kuiyang
Sponsor: Wang Anna
December 4, 2023