Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong are preparing to transfer website administrator Niu Tengyu to a different jail at the start of his 14-year jail term for allegedly posting a photo of the daughter of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping online.
Niu, 22, was jailed in the southern province of Guangdong after someone posted a photo of Xi Mingze to meme site Zhina Wiki, an act that was later blamed by police on Niu’s Vulgar Wiki.
Niu will soon be transferred from the Maoming No. 1 Detention Center to Yangjiang Prison to serve his sentence, his mother, who gave only a nickname Coco, told RFA.
“I heard recently that they will be transferring Tengyu to prison, and I am very heavy-hearted,” she said. “I worry about his health and his recovery following his torture.”
“If that finger isn’t treated in time, he will be left with a lifelong disability,” she said. “Given the current state of my own health, I don’t know if I will ever see my son again.”
An employee who answered the phone at the Maoming No. 1 Detention Center where Niu Tengyu is currently being detained said it was normal for detainees to be sent to regular prisons after they had had a second instance appeal rejected.
“The decision of the second instance court has been finalized, so transfer at this point is normal,” the employee said.
Complaint over torture
Niu’s rights attorneys, Bao Longjun and Wang Yu, have filed an official complaint over torture Niu suffered while in police detention in October 2019, resulting in injury to his right hand.
Bao told RFA’s Cantonese Service on March 5 that Niu had also been stripped, suspended from the ceiling, and his genitals burned with a lighter.
After months in detention, Niu Tengyu was handed a 14-year jail term on Dec. 30, 2020 by the Maonan District People’s Court in Guangdong’s Maoming city, which found him guilty of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” “violating others’ privacy” and “running an illegal business.”
Reports at the time indicated that 23 young people detained around the same time in connection with the Vulgar Wiki case had also been tortured and mistreated in detention.
Sources told RFA that the parents of the other young detainees were told there was no record of them at the detention center when they went to put money into their prison spending accounts.
The records were restored following a protest by parents outside the Guangdong Detention Center.
Bao said the entire case against Niu rests on trumped-up charges.
“It should have been impossible to find Niu guilty based on the available evidence,” Bao told RFA. “This is a fundamentally political case.”
Coco told RFA that the behavior of the Maoming authorities was “a discredit to the country.”
“This case will become a huge blot on the history of the Chinese legal system,” Coco said. “This miscarriage of justice must be overturned.”
The Maoming People’s Court rejected Niu’s appeal behind closed doors on April 23, 2021.