CCTV need be tasked with following existing rules for broadcasting

On Friday, November 23, 2018, Safeguard Defenders organized a press conference in London for a group of 45 invited media, diplomatic and NGO representatives, outlining a complaint filed against China Central Television (CCTV) and its international arm China Global Television (CGTN) with the United Kingdom’s broadcast regulator.

The press conference was hosted by Safeguard Defenders’ Peter Dahlin, and British citizen, former Reuters journalist Peter Humphrey. Alongside presentation of the official complaint, filed with Ofcom at 11:25 that morning, it also constituted the launch event for Safeguard Defenders new book, edited by Peter Dahlin.


Peter Dahlin explains the reality of ‘RSDL’ – residential surveillance at a designated location – and Safeguard Defenders prior book on the subject, “The People’s Republic of the Disappeared”.

The complaint is based on the fact that CCTV collaborated with Chinese police in extracting, recording, producing, and later airing, two confessions by Peter Humphrey, made long before his trial, and against his stated objections. By broadcasting both TV “confessions”, CCTV not only collaborated in denying Mr. Humphrey the right to a fair trial, but by broadcasting it on its international English language channel, including in the UK, it violated the UK’s Broadcasting Code. The same behavior by a state broadcaster has earlier been penalized, in accordance with the Broadcasting code, leading to the revocation of the license for that state broadcaster, Press TV, to broadcast, in the UK.


The complaint, exhaustive in nature, highlights how some twenty aspects of the Broadcasting code has been violated in broadcasting these “confessions”, and the complaint comes as CCTV/CGTN is about to open a major production center in London. The new center is the centerpiece in the European dimension in Xi Jinping’s signature “going out” policy, and is one of several developments, working in tandem, in expanding Chinese party/state influence in Europe. Should the complaint place CCTV/CGTN under review, it will have no choice but to cease broadcasting such “confessions”, or risk losing athe bility to expand its European operations for possibly years to come. Local media in Chiswick Park, the upscale area of London where the new CGTN center is to open, have reported that CIC – China Investment Corporation – paid 780 million pound for purchasing the Chiswick office Park complex.


Mr. Humphrey describes the reality that viewers never got to see.




Mr. Dahlin presents ‘Trial By Media” which exposes the extent of CCTV collaboration, and the systematic nature of these “forced TV confessions”


Alongside presentation of the complaint, and on the role of Ofcom in the UK, in supervising and acting as guarantor that the Broadcasting code in enforced in the UK, the press conference also included Peter Dahlin presenting the new book “Trial By Media”, now available worldwide on Amazon as both paperback and in kindle edition. The book explores the role of CCTV and its journalists in not merely broadcasting, but helping extract, record and produce these “forced TV confessions” systematically since the rise of Xi Jinping, and presents eight victims’ testimonies, written as first person accounts. The book furthermore analyses the “going out” policy of Xi Jinping as it relates to Chinese state media, the massive reorganization of its media empire announced at the national congress in March 2018, and other concurrent developments working in tandem – all with the aim of expanding Chinese influencing operations. It notes, as has been noted in Australia before, how ‘partnerships’ are being used in a massively increased scale the last few years to co-opt or neutralize independent Chinese language media around Europe, and how this, alongside massive investment plans for CCTV’s global operations, is being guided by the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.


Drugged and placed inside a metal cage, cuffed to a chair, inside a detention center room, the police held the script in front of Mr. Humphrey. CCTV journalists filmed as he slurred his answers.


The book is a wakeup call both to the true nature of CCTV as a state/party broadcaster, but also its rapidly expanding reach across the world, including in Europe.



The press conference was completed with a presentation by Peter Dahlin of how Ofcom stands a chance to affect positive change in the behavior of China’s state broadcaster, and that the timing for such, before several soon to be taken steps, in expanding its reach, will maximize its possible result. By placing CCTV under greater scrutiny, a political decision will be forced upon the Chinese Communist Party as to whether CCTV shall continue to collaborate in carrying out gross human rights violations in making and airing such confessions internationally, or if it should change, for the sake of not derailing a very costly, very important, expansion plan directed by Xi Jinping himself.


First response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang

We call upon Ofcom to perform its regulatory role in a fair manner, where China’s state broadcaster must be held to the same standards as Iranian media, or for that matter, any and all media that seeks to operate in the UK. Ofcom, a non-political body, has been given the opportunity to affect positive change merely in applying its Broadcasting rules without undue political considerations.


Mr. Humphrey and Mr. Dahlin hand over the complaint to Ofcom on Friday morning.

Chinese broadcasters and media, even those that are a direct arm of the CCP, must be allowed to partake in the broader conversation, in the UK and beyond, and censorship cannot, nor should never, be fought with censorship. Chinese media should be encouraged to fight for viewers and readers, and be allowed to share its perspective on world developments, but such can only be offered with fair, and consistent, application of rules. The UK’s role in the world as a country governed by the rule of law must be protected, and for that, the rules for broadcasters must be applied equally to all. This action by Ofcom will very likely decide whether there will be future British victims of this behavior in China.

Press Conference, London, on CCTV and their international operations

On November 23, a press conference will be held in London, the United Kingdom, co-hosted by Peter Humphrey and Peter Dahlin, related to operations by China’s state media broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), and its international arm China Global Television (CGTN).

To avoid disturbances, the event is closed, and attendance is by RSVP only.  A small number of seats remain for interested parties. Contact Info -at- safeguarddefenders -dot- com for more information.


The press conference will focus on CCTV’s operations in the UK, and its multiple breaches of the UK Broadcasting code, especially in the broadcast of the two forced TV confessions by the British citizen and former journalist Peter Humphrey. Broadcast of such a “confession” in the UK by Iranian state media previously led to the broadcaster, Press TV, being stripped of its broadcasting license in the United Kingdom.

Peter Dahlin, director of Safeguard Defenders, the parent organization of, will likewise present information on the systematic nature of these forced TV confessions, and reveal further information on the active collaboration with police by CCTV and individual journalists. The press conference coincides with the release by Safeguard Defenders of a new book, Trial By Media: China’s new show trials, and the global expansion of Chinese media, focused on Forced TV Confessions, but also the role played by CCTV and state/party media in China’s mounting influencing operations globally.




Book release: Trial By Media

On November 23, 2018, Safeguard Defenders will release its next book, Trial By MediaChina’s new show trials, and the global expansion of Chinese media, edited by Peter Dahlin. The release of this book follows the release of an earlier book, the acclaimed The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, edited by Michael Caster, which exposed the realities behind China’s use of secret prisons through RSDL, and the organization’s groundbreaking research report, Scripted and Staged, into China’s use of forced televised confessions.


If Scripted and Staged provided a peek into the reality behind the use of forced TV confessions, Trial By Media goes further, and with brand new testimonies from victims, some speaking out at considerable risk, the active role of Chinese state media is exposed, and their extensive collaboration with police not merely in broadcasting, but in extracting, recording and producing these confessions. CCTV and other state media’s complicity in gross human rights violations – the denial of the right to a fair trial, is explored.


A press conference will be held in London on November 23, to reveal additional steps being taken against CCTV for its continued broadcasting internationally of “forced TV confessions”. Attendance is by invite and RSVP only. Want to know more? Email info -at- safeguarddefenders -dot- com


The book begins, and ends, by looking at the true nature of CCTV, and how it’s different from how we normally think of a state TV broadcaster. In these chapters, the book delves deep into the role that CCTV, and other state/party media, plays both in the use of forced TV confessions, but also as part of Xi Jinping’s “going out” policy.



The book looks at how China is working to expand its influencing operations internationally, and how the rapid expansion of state/party media, of which CCTV is the flagship, is but one of several trends working in tandem. State media’s expansion is put next to how independent Chinese language media, in countries from Australia to the United States and across Europe, is and has been silenced over the past five years, and how both these developments stand side-by-side under the guise of the United Front Work Department. These developments, alongside the 16+1 initiative in Central- and Eastern Europe, the Belt and Road Initiative, and investment into or purchasing of key media, especially in Africa, are all part of the same strategy, one that seeks to sow division in- and between western countries, and to overturn the current global institutional framework, and replace it with one developed and led by China.


Book released on Amazon worldwide November 23, with both paperback and Kindle editions available.


The emotional center of the book consists of eight testimonials – fully developed short stories -which centers on the use of forced TV confessions, but each which expands into and shows several new trends in China since the rise of Xi Jinping.



As many of the victims are either core targets of the 709 crackdown, or in other ways related to them, the testimonials also offer insight into the Chinese state’s thinking about the rights defense movement, an insight we can gain by reading about the back and forth exchanges between victims and their captors.


The testimony of Zhai Yanmin shows the troubled state of China’s criminal judicial process, where, after several forced TV confessions – the same process starts over, but this time, he is forced to sit down with judge, police, and prosecutor. Once there, together they practice his court appearance, his demeanor, everything – except this time, for his show trial, there could be no retakes.


The star in Professor Liu Sixin’s testimony, like in several others, is CCTV’s Dong Qian, shown to play a very active role in both his and others’ forced TV confessions. Lawyer Wang Yu, whose experience with RSDL has been told before in The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, here reveals how her son was used as a pawn against her, how he was made to attack others, and the torture police used against him to make him cooperate, all of it with a clear purpose, forcing Wang Yu to cooperate and “confess” on TV.


Activist Liu Xing, like several others, remembers how he would be drugged, and how he spent a year after his systematic forced drugging to recover from it. Wen Qing, like Zhai, speaks on how his very identity came under attack because of the TV confessions, and the long road back. Peter Dahlin writes about experiencing going through a lie detector test, all the while his girlfriend was kept incommunicado, in solitary confinement, whilst State Security prodded him to record a “confession” video. With Peter Humphrey, a British former journalist, we learn how he, and his American wife Yu Yingzeng, ended up being paraded on TV as collateral damage into a major corruption scandal that had nothing to do with them, but an international pharmaceutical conglomerate.


The book also offers solutions for what regulatory bodies in target countries can do when it comes to CCTV’s existing or planned presence, and that their presence, and therefore their need to adapt to local rules, can be a silver lining, offering a chance to affect positive change in the behavior of Chinese media, and to their culpability in committing gross human rights violations.


Immediately and Unconditionally Release Huang Qi

China: Immediately and Unconditionally Release Huang Qi & Ensure Access to Prompt Medical Care for all Detained Human Rights Defenders

A group of 14 NGO’s call for Huang Qi’s release and access to medical care.

2018-11-05 — Chinese authorities must immediately and unconditionally release citizen journalist and human rights activist Huang Qi, a group of 14 NGOs said on November 5, 2018.


Huang Qi (黄琦), the founder and director of 64 Tianwang Human Rights Center, is not receiving adequate medical care in detention and his health has seriously deteriorated, according to his lawyer who visited him on October 23. Huang’s condition is so serious that there is an immediate threat to his life.


The Chinese government must immediately and unconditionally release Huang, who has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, and end its policy of denying prompt medical treatment to prisoners of conscience, which is a form of torture. Several human rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities have died in detention in recent years due to a lack of prompt medical treatment, including Liu Xiaobo, Cao Shunli, Yang Tongyan, and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, intensifying fears that Huang Qi might suffer the same fate without urgent intervention.


Huang suffers from a chronic kidney disease which requires daily medication, hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the brain), heart disease and other illnesses. Huang told his lawyer during the October meeting that Sichuan authorities had purposely understated the dire state of his health and had tried to cover up his actual condition. In particular, Huang’s blood pressure was actually much higher than previously revealed, with a reading done on October 18 and 19 in the detention facility measuring 221/147 mm Hg, a reading so high that it qualifies as a “hypertensive crisis” (a normal reading should be no higher than 140/90 mm Hg). Huang has also reported to his lawyers different forms of torture and other ill-treatment to which he has been subjected to in the past two years, including extended interrogations, prolonged periods of being forced to stand, and beatings.


Authorities have repeatedly rejected applications for release on medical bail despite Huang’s heath condition continuing to deteriorate. He faces charges of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities” and “leaking state secrets” due to his work with 64 Tianwang Human Rights Center, which documents and publishes reports on enforced disappearances, trafficking, human rights violations and complaints against government officials. Huang faces the possibility of life imprisonment. His 85-year-old mother has been campaigning for his release, fearing he may die in prison. Last month two of his associates received suspended prison sentences and were released, but authorities have continued to hold Huang. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion in April 2018 that declared Huang’s detention arbitrary, but the Chinese government continues to ignore the Working Group’s recommendation that Huang be released and compensated.


Lawyers representing Huang Qi have also faced retaliation. One of his lawyers, Sui Muqing, was disbarred in February 2018 for defending human rights defenders, such as Huang. Huang’s current lawyer, Liu Zhengqing, received a notice in October that he is under investigation for giving Huang cigarettes during a meeting in July. Liu faces suspension of his law license or a large fine.


Tomorrow, during China’s 3rd Universal Periodic Review, UN Member States should raise the continued pervasive use of torture and other ill-treatment in China, including tactics like denying medical care for human rights defenders, and make clear calls on the Chinese government to end such practices.




Mianyang City police in Sichuan Province initially detained Huang Qi on November 28, 2016 and arrested him the following month on charges of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” A trial scheduled for June 20, 2018 was suspended without any official reason provided. In October 2018 police added an additional charge of “leaking state secrets.” He is currently being held at Mianyang City Detention Center.


Huang Qi established China’s first-known human rights monitoring website in 1998, disseminating reports about Chinese individuals who had been trafficked and disappeared. Huang has served two prison sentences, totalling eight years, in reprisal for his human rights work, and was often tortured and otherwise to ill-treated. Born in 1963, Huang Qi graduated from Sichuan University and was formerly a businessman. His work in citizen journalism has received international awards, including two from Reporters Without Borders, which awarded 64 Tianwang the Press Freedom Prize in 2016, and honored Huang in 2004 with the Cyber-Freedom Prize.


Co-sponsored by:

Incommunicado detention must go, say UN experts

Background: On May 16, 2018, a joint submission was made by Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the Rights Practice, and Safeguard Defenders, to relevant Special Procedures of OHCHR concerning China’s use of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, especially the use of RSDL – ‘residential surveillance at a designated location‘.

On August 24, 2018, ten such Special Procedures, including the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance, issued a joint letter to China challenging its use of RSDL, urging China to repeal the system, and noted that the use of RSDL many times meets the condition of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance.


China | Incommunicado detention must go, say UN experts

Geneva, 2018-10-24 — UN experts raise the alarm about the use of ‘residential surveillance in a designated location’, affirming the use of enforced disappearance to muzzle dissent and punish human rights defenders in China.

A mother does not know whether her son’s health is failing.

A lawyer does not know how to defend his client, or else is informed – by a third party – that she has been dismissed by the defendant.

A family loses their income, their home and even the ability to enroll their son in school.

All of the above are the human impacts of a legal form of detention in China known as ‘residential surveillance in a designated location,’ or RSDL, and all are violations of basic human rights. Eighteen UN experts agree, and in August sent a letter to the Chinese government making clear that, for these and many other reasons, the law is incompatible with international law and should be repealed immediately.

The common thread running through the July 2015 or ‘709 crackdown’ in China, and continuing through today, is the use of this nominally-legal measure to detain human rights defenders for up to six months, without access to family or lawyers.

Download the full Joint Submission 2018-05-16 (pdf)


‘Placement in RSDL is tantamount to an enforced disappearance,’ say the experts, in that it consists of placing individuals under incommunicado detention for investigation for prolonged periods without disclosing their whereabouts – in short, in secret detention.

Recommendations from the UN Committee against Torture calling for the repeal of RSDL, made during its 2015 review of China, ‘do not seem to have been taken into account,’ added the experts, who reiterated the fact that if detentions are to be justified, the detainees should be formally accounted for and held in formal places of detention.

‘RSDL is a deliberate measure to detain persons outside the somewhat better monitored and regulated detention centres. It undermines any other efforts by China to prevent the use of torture,’ said Nicola Macbean at The Rights Practice.

Says Sarah M Brooks, Asia advocate at ISHR: ‘Activists and victims have for years emphasized to UN mechanisms that RSDL, no matter the legal basis, is in violation of the Chinese Constitution and China’s international obligations.’

‘The UN has said, repeatedly and unequivocally, that they agree. Nonetheless, China continues to disappear those it deems dangerous – even if, like Gui Minhai, they are not even Chinese citizens.’

On arbitrary detention, the experts add that ‘the extensive powers attributed to the police with regard to RSDL cases pose serious concerns with regard to… the independence of the judiciary.’ This is exacerbated by a series of SPP rulings and revised regulations that limit the ability of lawyers to take on such cases without themselves risking retaliation by relevant authorities, such as the suspension or revocation of their license or even criminal indictment.

Download the Joint Letter by the Special Procedures 2018-08-24 (pdf)


The Measures for the Administration of Law Firms and Measures on the Administration of Lawyers’ Practice have further hampered lawyers’ freedom of assembly, speech and expression, says Albert Ho, the Chairperson of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.

Ho adds, ‘A total of 17 human rights lawyers have had their licenses revoked or invalidated since 2017, with more than half of them involved in cases related to the 709 Crackdown.’

Risks of torture are almost inevitable in such incommunicado detention, a fact not exclusive to China. But the experts specify that many forms of acts which may amount to torture are not defined as such in Chinese law. This includes excessively long solitary confinement and interrogation, as well as threats against and harassment of family members.

Take the case of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang. Wang has been missing for over three years, says Michael Caster of Safeguard Defenders, including six months in RSDL, ‘apparently locked up because he dared to use Chinese law to defend the rights of persecuted minorities.’

‘Wang’s family has not only been refused any information about his location or condition, but has also been subject to relentless persecution by the state,’ says Caster.

Wang’s wife, Li Wenzu, has been surveilled and detained due to her activism on his case, and their son was prevented from enrolling in kindergarten.

Additionally, forced medical treatment – along with the more traditional denial of adequate medical treatment – raised concerns as related to the protection and realization of the right to an adequate standard of health.

‘Denying detainees urgent medical treatment is a malicious form of torture and cruel punishment,’ said Renee Xia, international director of the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD).

‘The Chinese government should not enjoy impunity for the recent deaths in custody of Chinese human rights defenders like Liu Xiaobo, Cao Shunli, and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.’

Download Safeguard Defenders submission to the Universal Periodic Review of China (Coming: November 6) (pdf)


The experts conclude that ‘RSDL… is being used to muzzle the peaceful and legitimate rights to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly and association of individuals expressing dissenting or critical views… and extends the police and the public security organs’ discretionary powers to arbitrary arrest and unlawfully detain individuals and in conditions that may amount to secret detention and enforced disappearance.’

This letter to the government was sent at a time when the National People’s Congress was meant to be considering a series of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law. Such processes, while accommodating a box-checking exercise of soliciting public input, should reflect the UN experts’ concerns. The Chinese government has not yet responded to the letter. Human rights groups, however, hold out limited hope that the letter alone will result in changes in China’s law and practices.

‘A letter alone is of limited utility, especially in China. Defenders who might seek to use this to press for reforms would, in doing so, risk detention themselves,’ says Brooks.

‘However, we hope that governments around the world who support the work of human rights defenders and those who know firsthand the serious impacts of enforced disappearance will take this forward.’

Xia concurs: ‘UN human rights bodies, and governments at the Universal Periodic Review, must continue to raise this pattern of abuse at all times.

The UN’s Universal Periodic Review of China, to be held on 6 November, is a chance for governments to press for the abolition of ‘residential surveillance in a designated location’ and all similar practices, and the release of and provision of remedy to victims of RSDL – brave defenders like Wang Quanzhang.

This statement has been endorsed by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, the International Service for Human Rights, the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, Safeguard Defenders, and The Rights Practice.

For more information, please contact: Sarah M. Brooks at s.brooks[at] or on Twitter @sarahmcneer.



Download Press Release 2018-10-24 (pdf)



Bảo vệ kỹ thuật số thực hành


Hướng dẫn bảo mật kỹ thuật số thực hành phiên bản tiếng Việt trên

Bảo vệ kỹ thuật số thực hành là một tài liệu hướng dẫn tự học về an ninh mạng cho những người hoạt động trong môi trường thù địch. Tài liệu này xác định các rủi ro và cá pháp dựa trên hành vi của người sử dụng. Giải pháp công nghệ chỉ là thứ cấp.c giải pháp, và không giống như các tài liệu khác, tập trung vào các biện

Tải xuống WIN10 / Android

Tải xuống OSX / iPhone

Phiên bản tiếng Anh có sẵn để tham khảo. Mỗi phiên bản địa phương hoá được dịch theo ngôn ngữ khác có thể thay đổi và khác với bản chính, tùy thuộc vào yêu cầu và mục tiêu ở những quốc gia cụ thể. Mỗi phiên bản bản địa hoá được phát triển cùng với nhiều luật sư, nhà báo, những người bảo vệ nhân quyền và nhân viên của tổ chức phi chính phủ tại các quốc gia có liên quan.

Lời giới thiệu: An ninh mạng dựa trên hành vi là một tài liệu tập ngắn trung vào việc cải thiện an ninh và an toàn kỹ thuật số dựa vào hành vi an toàn, bằng cách giúp bạn thay đổi thói quen sử dụng máy tính và điện thoại theo cách mà có thể tăng sự an toàn cho bạn, người cùng hoạt động và nguồn tin.

Tải xuống Lời giới thiệu


Cuốn cẩm nang hướng dẫn này được dịch từ phiên bản tiếng Anh (cũng có sẵn trên trang web) và phiên bản tiếng Trung đã được địa phương hoá. Phiên bản tiếng Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ sắp được ra mắt. Tài liệu này được dịch ra tiếng Việt vì bốn lý do sau:

  • Lý do thứ nhất: hầu hết tài liệu hướng dẫn về bảo mật kỹ thuật số không được địa phương hoá với tình hình thực tế ở Việt Nam.
  • Lýdo thứ hai: hầu hết các tài liệu tập trung vào các giải pháp kỹ thuật, mặc dù nhữnggiải pháp này quan trọng trong một số khía cạnh, việc quan trọng hơn là những thay đổi hành vi cơ bản trong cách người hoạt động sử dụng điện thoại và máy tính.
  • Lý do thứ ba: những giải pháp dựa trên hành vi này được phát triển không chỉ bởi những người thành thạo kỹ thuật mà từng có trải nghiệm bị cảnh sát thẩm vấn và máy tính và điện thoại của họ từng bị cảnh sát có nghiệp vụ giải phẫu để tìm tài liệu.
  • Lý do thứ tư: hầu hết các tài liệu được dựa trên đào tạo do giáo viên hướng dẫn, hạn chế khả năng truyền bá kiến ​​thức. Cẩm nang hướng dẫn này nhằm mục đích tự học, và được thiết kế với ý tưởng này, với những lời giải thích sâu rộng, những câu chuyện ngắn về cuộc sống thực như thế nào, và với các công cụ sư phạm để cho những người không có nhiều kỹ năng về công nghệ thông tin có thể dễ dàng áp dụng kiến thức.

Để biết thêm thông tin hoặc yêu cầu trợ giúp và đào tạo, liên hệ với Safeguard Defenders.


Practical Digital Protection

Note: The self-study manuals developed under the name Practical Digital Protection will be hosted on RSDLmonitor while undergoes major re-design.

Practical Digital Protection is a full, self-study styled, manual on increasing the security and protection for those at risk in hostile environments. The manual identifies risks and solutions, and unlike other materials, is focused on behavioral measures and issues. Technological solutions is at best secondary.

For Win10 and Android systems, download this.

For OSX and iPhone, download this.


The English language version has been made available as reference. It is entirely based on the Chinese language version for mainland China. Other localized version differs, and may differ wildly, depending on the identified needs of the target group in those countries. Each localized version is developed together with lawyers, journalists, rights defenders and NGO workers in the relevant countries.


The solutions herein have been tested in the field, by both the producers of this manual, as well as by numerous members of the feedback group of lawyers, journalists and NGO workers who helped create this manual. It has been tested by technical forensics work, both short-term and long-term interrogations, utilization of torture, and beyond. There are no guarantees, but in hostile environment, well thought out behavior will serve you better than most technical solutions on offer.


The Introduction: Behavior-based Cybersecurity is a briefer document outlining basic behavior-related issues and methods to increase security and safety, i.e., how changes in behavior in how you use your computer and phone can increase the safety of yourself, your partners and sources.

For the Introduction, download this.


For more information, inquiries, or requests for assistance or training, contact Safeguard Defenders.

Early use of Forced TV Confessions against the New Citizens Movement

Through Safeguard Defenders (RSDLmonitor’s parent organization) release of Scripted and Staged (EN and CN versions here), on China’s use of Forced TV Confessions as a tool to undermine the right to a fair trial, and through the continued publication of more material on these televised confessions by RSDLmonitor, the collaboration of Chinese state-media with police has become clear. The release of a small database (CN edition here) on these Forced TV Confessions have further amplified the systematic nature of how state-media is used to broadcast, and often extract and produce, such televised confessions.


However, tentative research indicates that the use of broadcasting these forced confessions is far more rampant on local levels, through the use of regional or provincial TV stations. Because of this, RSDLmonitor is now releasing the testimony of one of the first victims of a Forced TV Confession on a provincial TV station since the rise of Xi Jinping and his policy of stronger CCP-control and use of media– that of Li Gang, a member of the New Citizens’ Movement.


Li Gang

Li Gang was one of several people detained in mid-2013, at the height of the New Citizens’ Movement (NCM), spearheaded by Xu Zhiyong. Li, like many other adherents of this movement was not a long-time activist or human rights defender, but, in his own words, ‘living a normal life’. Li is a university graduate, and was working in a big company in Beijing, living with his wife and son. He learned about the New Citizens’ Movement and the ideas behind it from reading about it online, and started becoming involved in the year prior to his detention and arrest. Li’s involvement meant sharing information online, organizing and participating in small dinner gatherings, making badges and posters, and taking to the streets to call for disclosure of assets for government officials.


When Li was detained on July 12, 2013, he could not have known that he was to become a propaganda pawn against the movement.


The text below is based on Li’s own writing, complemented with a Q&A session, translated into English and edited for readability.



Interrogations at Beijing Third Detention Center

I was detained in my house [in suburban Beijing] just before midnight, by more than a dozen police officers. It was July 12, 2013. After detaining me they took me to Beijing Third Detention Center. I knew later that Li Huanjun and Song Ze [two other NCM activists] had also been taken, I think from their homes but I’m not sure. [They, along with Xu Zhiyong, Ding Jiaxi, and many others, had been detained starting in late spring that year as part of an expanding attack against the movement].


They started trying to convince me to confess almost right away. First they wanted me to confess, to write a letter repenting. I refused since I had not broken any law, I was not a criminal. This, trying to make me confess and, soon after, to record a TV confession, would go on for months. With me, as it seems to have been with others, their main threat, the main way convince me, was to threaten my family. If I don’t go on TV, my son will suffer and be restricted in his education they would tell me. If I don’t [record a confession], they will give me the harshest penalty [length of imprisonment], and my son would be in middle school before I ever got out. Then they convinced my family to write me letters telling me to confess and make the TV recording. I received two or three such letters while in detention, handed to me by my interrogator during our interrogation sessions.


I could meet with my lawyers. I had two. One was forced to quit, and the other was busy, so in the end, during the six months, I think I meet them three or four times in total. In the meantime, police was working on getting me to confess.


There seems to have been mostly thieves in my cell, and most of Beijing Third Detention Center. The cell was small, some 3×7 meters, but 2×7 of that was taken up by the beds, was just a narrow path for any movement or activity. They had an activity space of course, but could only visit a few times a week. Daily life, when not including interrogations, was merely eating, sleeping, sitting. In the evenings we could watch two hours of CCTV newscast and BTV (Beijing TV).


Unbeknownst to Li, Xu Zhiyong himself had been taken and placed into the same detention facility, just four days after Li himself. Years later, and after several years of imprisonment, Xu would write:


“The cell in Beijing’s No. 3 Detention Center was already prepared. It was specially set up the day before. There were twelve people in the cell; except for me, everyone else were theft suspects. The vast majority of the more than 400 people detained in the No. 3 Detention Center were there for allegedly stealing mobile phones on public buses.” Unlike with Li however, no one was allowed to call Xu by his name. He was given the codename 706 instead.



About five month in I was ready to give up, they started to convince me I needed to make the confession video. At this point I think I had been interrogated about 50 times. The interrogations took place in another room inside the same detention center. Always two interrogators present. The main interrogator, from Haidian district in Beijing, was Zhu Zhengbin (朱征斌), the other guy was Wang Jun (王君). It seems Wang was a special case officer, involved not only in my case but in the cases of all the others that had been detained related to the New Citizens’ Movement.


Some of those times interrogations would last eight to nine hours, sitting handcuffed to an iron chair [tiger chair]. Everything would start with me writing a letter confessing, repenting. No recording could be done until the letter was ok. Based on our interrogations, they would tell me to write a draft, after which they would check it, point out what was missing, and ask me to change and make another draft. Over and over. What I wrote had to follow what they wanted, completely.


Not surprisingly, they would ask me about my connection with Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, two people seen as leaders of the movement. They wanted to use me to attack Xu, in video or in trial. Neither Xu nor Ding ever confessed, they never made a video. They are stronger than me, more insistent. Many times they would ask about the smallest things, or even about philosophy, or how I understood “Free, Righteous, Loving”, a slogan used in the movement.


When I talked with my other cell mates, they didn’t think it be worth going to prison for a long time just to not make a confession on video. “We stole phones, we did what we did for money, but you, what did you do this for?” They thought nothing should be more important than getting out. They might also have had some selfish reasons for saying it of course, like letting me pass along messages to their families when I was released, but I could feel their support. I couldn’t talk with my family, and it seemed no one was paying attention to me. It felt hopeless. After five month or so, I decided to do it. I said Yes.


Recording a confession

The recording was made in the interrogation room inside the facility. The interrogators were there, but also a journalist. He [the journalist] looked nervous. He was from Beijing TV (BTV). In the end, he didn’t ask any questions, that was all done by the police. They journalist must have known he was doing something dirty, something that wasn’t right. Most of the time was just me reading from the confession letter I had memorized.


Even though the video I appeared in is 10 minutes long or so, recording it all took three recordings over two days. In the first session, police would record with a smaller camera. They then showed the journalist, who would give feedback. The police would talk with the journalist about if it “would work”. I didn’t understand it then, but seeing the editing they did afterwards, I now realize they meant, can we use this recording to edit as we want. The journalist told the police how he could make the video in such a way to make it easy to edit afterwards. After this, the journalist would set up and use the proper BTV camera to record it.


Before each recording session, the interrogator would restate the same point, that I needed to do this, say this, achieve this.


During this time, without Li being aware, police had been working to get Li’s main target, Xu Zhiyong, to make such a recorded confession as well. Xu later wrote:


“[They] urged me to “admit my mistakes.” The meaning was very clear: if I surrendered, I could go home, but if I didn’t capitulate, I’d be facing 10 years or more, and there would be more than one criminal charge. Think about your family… How did they want me to acknowledge them? It must be done in front of the media. A TV confession.”


Xu refused and went to prison instead.




Seeing your own confession on TV

One of my reasons with making the confession recording was that it would require them to let me speak about the New Citizens’ Movement, and maybe even use video from one of the rallies. After seeing the video I realized they edited away any direct mention of the movement, anything related to officials disclosing their assets, etc. In some case, when I said “not good”, they would even edit out the “not”, changing the meaning to the exact opposite! They would edit anything to their wish, and of course, would edit to make it look like I placed all responsibility on Xu as the organizer, even when I didn’t.


The video is not even available on BTV anymore, but you can find it online. Watching closely, it’s not very coherent. They edited it so much, and went to such length to hide the meaning behind what we were doing, what our banners called for, what the New Citizens’ Movement was about, that in the end, it didn’t make for a coherent video.


The months before agreeing to do it, I felt a very intense struggle, an ideological struggle almost. In the end, I did the video, based on my situation inside detention and the pressure on my family. I wasn’t as strong as some others, like Xu. I thought I would lose face making the video, but I also thought I could show what we were all about, what the New Citizens’ Movement was about, by making the confession. After seeing how they edited it all, I realized I was very wrong.


Most of my friends seems to understand the confession, why I made it, especially those others taken and detained in relation to my case. In the human rights community people talk [gossip about those who detained or who appears in TV confessions], but I think those not willing to confess tend to be those that get a lot of attention and support. Not people like me. I wasn’t a leader. I couldn’t get support from the human rights lawyer community, or that kind of attention.


The confession on TV did of course have some effect on me, but I was not a professional activist or a famous human rights defender. I only ever attended these events and types of gatherings because I wasn’t very happy with the government. I was, and is, just a normal citizen. I guess in the end they wanted someone like me to go on TV to tell the ‘regular audience’ about the danger of trying to protest, and to also threaten the human rights community about what could happen if you challenged the government.


Seeing other confessions, and how people react to them, I can see many people don’t understand. Like the confession of Gao Yu [famous journalist]. I admired her for a long time, but the police charged her with leaking state security, and mobilized people against her because of that. That kind of charge is very effective to smear someone. Or like Wang Yu. They showed a video of her quarrelling with a judge, but never showed anything else, easily giving people a wrong impression. I think these videos do work, for now, but in the end, with more and more time, and more and more confessions, people will start to see through these confessions.


Statement on rejection of appeal by Tashi Wangchuk

Statement on rejection of appeal for Tashi Wangchuk, by Safeguard Defenders, Human Rights Watch, PEN America, Free Tibet, Human Rights in China, International Service for Human Rights, International Tibet Network, and Tibet Society UK.

23 August 2018
China blocks release of jailed Tibetan rights activist Tashi Wangchuk

We are appalled to learn today that a Chinese court has rejected the appeal of imprisoned Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk. [1] This once again demonstrates that the Chinese Communist Party and justice system are content, before the eyes of the world, to force an innocent man to endure prison despite him never having committed a crime. The decision is an affront to justice and a wasted opportunity for Beijing to have reversed some of the damage it has done.

Having had his appeal rejected, Tashi Wangchuk will have been returned to prison, where he is scheduled to remain until 2021. We are committed to continue pushing for his immediate and unconditional release. We urge all those governments and UN mechanisms who have expressed concern about his case to accelerate their calls for his release and to make strenuous efforts to visit Tashi in prison.

Despite having committed no recognisable crime under Chinese or international law, Tashi Wangchuk has so far spent over two and a half years behind bars. During this time, he has become one of Tibet’s most high-profile prisoners, with Tibetans, Tibet campaigners, human rights organisations, United Nations experts, linguists, and governments all calling for his release.

His case was most recently raised by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in August, when experts present once again pressed Chinese officials for an explanation for his arrest. The delegation responded by claiming that Tashi Wangchuk was arrested due to “inciting separatism”.


Statement signed by (in alphabetical order)
Free Tibet
Human Rights in China
Human Rights Watch
International Service for Human Rights
International Tibet Network
PEN America
Safeguard Defenders
Tibet Society UK


Background Information to Tashi Wangchuk’s case:
Tashi Wangchuk was arrested in January 2016. Prior to his arrest he had carried out a peaceful campaign to urge the Chinese government to ensure that every Tibetan had access to education in their native Tibetan language.

Tashi Wangchuk is a 33-year old Tibetan shopkeeper and language advocate from Kyegundo County in the Kham region of Tibet (Ch: Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province). He became concerned over the lack of Tibetan-language education when local authorities forced local Tibetan language classes to close, leaving his two teenage nieces with no means of learning their native tongue.

He spoke with the New York Times in late 2015 about his attempts to promote the teaching of Tibetan, resulting in a news article and a video documentary on the New York Times website. [2] He insisted the interview be on the record, despite the tight restrictions on freedom of speech in occupied Tibet.

He also emphasised that his language advocacy was non-political and that he did not wish to criticise the Chinese government or call for Tibetan independence. His attempts to persuade the Chinese government to guarantee Tibetan language instruction were conducted through official channels and were focused on ending the decline of the Tibetan language and the threat this posed to Tibetan culture. Nevertheless, in January 2016 he was arrested and held in secret. While in detention Tashi Wangchuk was isolated from his family and subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

Tashi Wangchuk did not stand trial until January 2018, almost two years after he was first arrested. During his trial, which took place behind closed doors, the New York Times documentary was screened. On 22 May 2018 he was found guilty of “inciting separatism” and sentenced to five years in prison, which included the time he served in arbitrary detention.

Tashi Wangchuk is one of a number of Tibetans who have been convicted of “inciting separatism” and other vaguely worded state security laws that the occupying Chinese authorities routinely use against Tibetans. This occurs, despite the fact that the rights for ethnic minorities are guaranteed by Chinese law, [3] [including the right to use their own language.

There are an estimated 2,000 Tibetans political prisoners who remain in jail, [4] many of them for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, their cultural and religious rights, sending information about human rights abuses to the outside world and other acts which are protected under international law.


1. Liang Xiaojun tweeted: “The second instance of Tashi Wangchuk’s case was announced in Yushu City Detention Center on 13th August. His family was not allowed to hear the sentence. The adjudication from Qinghai High Court was received recently, and both the argument from Tashi Wangchuk himself and the defending statement from the lawyers were not accepted at all. The second instance has upheld the same sentence. After the trial, Tashi Wangchuk was allowed to meet his family.”


Forced TV Confessions database

UPDATED: An updated version of the database on China’s use of Forced TV Confessions is now available. Easier, better looking and more informative, the spreadsheet database can be downloaded below. Bilingual (dual-tab) excel.

Following China’s continued use of Forced TV Confessions, most recently with journalist Chen Jieren and his brothers, and the increasingly political nature of those cases where these confessions are forced out of victims, and following Safeguard Defenders groundbreaking report on the reality behind these TV appearances, RSDLmonitor is now making available its full database on Forced TV Confessions, going back to 2013 – the year these TV appearances started becoming institutionalized as part of the government’s attack on lawyers, journalists, and rights defenders.


Download full database (excel file): Forced TV Confessions Database EN, CN 2018-11-15 RSDLmon


Any entry/case into this database marked with blue highlight indicates detailed information, either as a testimony or as part of extensive interview with the victim, can be found in ‘Scripted and Staged‘ or other material on RSDLmonitor website. This does not include many interviews done with people in this database conducted anonymously. Those marked in purple indicates detailed information or testimony exist, and is being prepared for release with Safeguard Defenders next book, set for release in October, on China’s use of Forced TV Confessions, the media’s role as collaborates in gross human rights violations, and the current and planned expansion of Chinese party-controlled media internationally. Check back with RSDLmonitor in September for more information on the upcoming book, our second book following ‘The People’s Republic of the Disappeared‘, the book that exposed the RSDL system and which received widespread acclaim.


Legend to reading the spreadsheet

Main confessor or target. In most cases, the name of the main confessor of any specific broadcast, sometimes more than one person. On a few occasions, the main target is ‘off-screen’, for example “709 lawyers”, Guo Wengui, or Taiwanese Telecom fraud case).

Supporting confessor. People used to attack the Main confessor or off-screen target.

Setting. Jailhouse or Neutral. The setting in which the victim is displayed. Use of neutral setting being more common for political cases, and also being a trend in that neutral setting has become more common over time.

Victim. HRD being ‘political cases’, Media for writers, journalists or bloggers, with ‘Other’ denoting those accused of regular crimes – drug use, bribery, murder, etc.

Legal status when FC. Where in judicial process the victim was in at time of broadcast. Most TV confessions take place when people are either in detention or in RSDL – before being arrest.

Sentence or Imprisonment. Whether the person was actually sentenced for the crime. In many cases, people are not. In some cases, people are sentenced for different crime than the one they admitted to during their Forced TV Confession.

Other categories are self-explanatory. Any empty field indicates the information is not available.