On July 13th, a court in Chongqing, China, sentenced 50-year-old Chinese cartoonist Jiang Yefei to over six years in jail for “inciting subversion of state power” with his work and “illegally crossing a national border.”
He had been held since he claimed refugee status in Thailand in 2015 but was abducted by Chinese agents posing as UN officials and returned to China with the willingness of Thai authorities. He had been granted official refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Bangkok and was planning to move to Canada when he was taken.
Over the past three years, he was held without access to the outside world and tried in secret. Reports on the trial were then released by the China News Service — the first time his family were able to find out what had happened to him.
The cartoonist had created a number of cartoons critical of the government over economic inequality published on US site Boxun and referred to General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping by his nickname “Xi Baozi” or “Steamed Bun”.
He was also seen on Chinese television the November after being removed from Thailand, in a worse state of wear and confessing to “human trafficking” charges.