Dong Guangping must be released from unjust and unlawful imprisonment in China

Family and supporters of Chinese human rights defender Dong Guangping have received credible information that confirms he has been held in incommunicado detention by Chinese authorities in the Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center in Henan Province since October of last year.

Chinese authorities must release Dong Guangping immediately and unconditionally and allow him to travel to Canada to be reunited with his family. At this point in time he appears to be held without charge or trial.  There has been no public acknowledgement of his detention by the Chinese government.

Dong Guangping left China without official authorization in January 2020, several months after he was released from serving his third period of detention in China because of his human rights activism.  He had been residing in Vietnam since that time while the Canadian government was seeking to secure permission from Vietnamese officials for him to leave the country and travel to Canada.  However, on August 24, 2022 he was arrested without warning or explanation by Vietnamese police.  There had been no word of his fate or whereabouts since that time, until this news that he is imprisoned in Zhengzhou.

Vietnamese and Chinese officials have repeatedly refused to provide any information about Dong Guangping, following his enforced disappearance in August 2022.  His case has been raised repeatedly by Canadian government officials, including by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, whose inquiries have been ignored by Vietnamese and Chinese counterparts.  Dong Guangping’s case has also been taken up by the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.  On March 15, 2023, the Vietnamese government perfunctorily informed the Working Group that they “have had no information regarding Dong Guangping in Viet Nam.”

According to the information received by family and supporters of Dong Guangping, he was likely returned to China sometime in October, 2022. The circumstances of how that transpired remain unknown. He has subsequently been held in China for over seven months without any acknowledgement by Chinese officials.  He has had no access to family visits or communication and has had no contact with a lawyer.

“It is beyond heartbreaking to learn that after my father’s courageous attempt to escape persecution in China — a perilous journey over the past three years that we had hoped would end with our happy reunion in Canada – he is in instead once again behind bars in China. I have been kept apart from him since 2015. I implore Chinese officials to relent in their cruel pursuit of my father simply because he stands strong for human rights.  I beg them to free him and allow him to join us here in Canada.”
— Katherine Dong, daughter of Dong Guangping

“This must end. It is intolerable that Dong Guangping is in a Chinese prison for the fourth time in the past 20 years, simply because he has the courage to defend human rights. While the relationship between Canada and China is strained, Canadian officials must pursue all avenues, including turning to other countries for assistance, to secure Dong Guangping’s freedom.”
— Independent Canadian Senator, Hassan Yussuff

“We are all deeply worried about Dong Guangping’s health and well-being.  For the past seven months he has had no contact with family, friends or a lawyer.  It is vital that Chinese officials allow him to have immediate communication and visits with family and access to a lawyer and any medical treatment he may require.  Given his close connections to Canada and desire to be reunited with his family in this country, Canadian consular officials must also be allowed to see him.”
— Winnie Ng, Chair, Toronto Association for Democracy in China

“Even though we now know that Dong Guangping is in detention in China – which is what we have feared for many months – the government of Vietnam must still account for their actions.  They must immediately provide full information to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances about what happened to Dong Guangping after his arrest by Vietnamese police on August 24, 2022. Failure to be transparent and honest completely undermines Vietnam’s standing as a member of the UN Human Rights Council.”
— Sheng Xue, Chair, Federation for a Democratic China (Canada) 


Dong Guangping had previously been slated to be resettled to Canada as a refugee in 2015, along with his wife and daughter. Shortly before his flight to Canada he was arrested by Thai authorities in Bangkok and forcibly returned to China where he was imprisoned for the third time. His wife and daughter were resettled to Canada and have resided here since that time. 

Following his release from prison in China in 2019 Dong Guangping made his way to Vietnam where he had been residing since January 2020, while the Canadian government sought to obtain Vietnam’s cooperation in allowing him to leave the country and come to Canada to be reunited with his family. Dong Guangping’s sudden arrest by Vietnamese police on August 24, 2022 came as a crushing disappointment for his family and for human rights groups who have been supporting him.  This confirmation that he has been imprisoned in China since October 2022 is yet another blow.

Toronto Association for Democracy in China
Federation for a Democratic China (Canada)

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