Gu Yi

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Gu Yi
Native name
ResidenceAthens, Georgia, United States
Other namesSulaiman
Citizenship China
EducationUniversity of Georgia
OccupationStudent activist
Years active2012–present
Known forOn the 26th Anniversary of Tian’anmen Massacre – an Open Letter to Fellow Students in Mainland China

Gu Yi (Chinese: 古懿), also known as Sulaiman, is a Chinese student dissident and human rights activist. He was interrogated and reprimanded for discussing with Ilham Tohti and other Uyghur dissidents and criticizing China's unfair treatment of its minority citizens in Xinjiang in 2009.[1] Later he went abroad to study Chemistry as a graduate student of Chemistry in the University of Georgia continuing his political activism in terms of writings and demonstrations. He was an enthusiastic supporter of 2014 Hong Kong protests.[2][3] In May 2015, he became widely-known for authoring and organizing an open letter to fellow students in China on the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Crackdown.[4]

Early life in China[edit]

Gu was born in People's Republic of China and grew up with interest in politics and human rights in high school.[5] Later in July 2015, as a student of University of Science and Technology of China, he was involved in online discussion with Uighur activists on websites like UighurOnline [zh], where he openly condemned China's forced assimilation policies and violation of religious freedom in Xinjiang, which resulted in him being questioned and reprimanded by the Chinese government for accusation of inciting subversion of state power.

He was ultimately pardoned and allowed to travel to the United States to continue his education.[1]

Political involvements in United States[edit]

In May 2015, Gu, as a Chinese oversea student in University of Georgia, involved in the commemoration event for the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 organised by Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars in front of Embassy of China in Washington, D.C..[6]

In September 2014, Gu published an Article titled "Ilham's Sentence is Depressing" on The New York Times Chinese website, recalling his experience with Ilham Tohti, and rebuke the arrest and sentence of Ilham Tohti conducted by Chinese government.[1]

In October 2014, Gu involved in demonstrations supporting 2014 Hong Kong protests in Washington, D.C.. In the interview of Voice of America and several other media, he said that his value is to fight for freedom and fight against oppression, and he hoped everyone could live without threaten.[7][8]

Since 2015, Gu published several articles on websites such as Boxun, rebuking the oppression to minorities, dissidents and activists conducted by Chinese Government. He believed the political system in People's Republic of China is like ISIS.[9][10][11]

In May 2015, Gu initiated an open letter titled "On the 26th Anniversary of Tian’anmen Massacre – an Open Letter to Fellow Students in Mainland China", urging revealing the truth of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. In the open letter, he expressed that Chinese communist tyranny authorities were not qualified to "redress" the victims of Tiananmen Square Massacre, and "the state criminals must be sentenced". He further called for students in China to acknowledge the evil history of the Communist Party of China since 1921, and to think about the fundamental causes of the suffers by Chinese nations.[12] His open letter was signed by numerous oversea Chinese students such as Wu Lebao in Australia and Chen Bingxu in Michigan State University in United States.[13] After the open letter was published, on 26 May, Global Times, an official media of Chinese Government, published an article titled "Oversea Forces are trying to incite young generations (to against Chinese Government)" criticising Gu's open letter.[14] However, the article was soon recalled by itself.[15] That attracted more attentions and signatories to the open letter.[16]

In May 2016, Gu hosted an event in China in Perspective, a magazine affiliated with Princeton China Initiative, calling for essays about comments on Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 from new generations in China. The event got about 30 submissions.[17]

On 24 July 2015, Gu and Rose Tang initiated an open letter to International Olympic Committee against the bid of Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. In the letter, he expressed "the pure Olympic dream should never serve political oppression by a host government", and "under this government, any more Olympic games would go down in history as the Shame Games”, and appealed International Olympic Committee vote to deny the bid of Beijing. The letter was supported by numerous Chinese dissidents and activists, such as Tony Chang, Chen Guangcheng, Fang Zheng, Hu Jia, Teng Biao and Wu Lebao.[18] However, Hong Lei, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China claimed it was "with ulterior motives" and "will not enjoy popular support" in respond to the letter.[19]

On 25 January 2016, Gu initiated an event supporting Zhang Haitao, a political prisoner who was just sentenced 19 years imprisonment for "inciting subversion of state power" and "illegally providing state secrets overseas". He stated that himself was persecuted because of against the colonialism in Xinjiang conducted by Chinese Government, which was in the similar situation as Zhang Haitao.[20]

On 28 April 2016, Gu was invited by Voice of America to analyse the incident of Wu Wei [zh].[21] He believed that the protests by Chinese oversea student in The University of Sydney had "Chinese official backgrounds", and argued that the so-called "little pinks" (Chinese patriots) were the actual racist. He was also against the statement of "independence of Taiwan", as he believed that was actually the rebellion conducted by the Communist Party of China.[22]

On 1 September 2016, Kwon Pyong, a graduated student from Iowa State University was arrested by Chinese police in Yanji for planning wearing a T-shirt to protest against Xi Jinping, who is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.[23] After that, on 8 December, Gu, Tony Chang and Yi Songnan initiated an open letter to General Secretary Xi Jinping, urging Xi "stop the ongoing fascist persecution, release Kwon Pyong and all the other kidnapped citizens", challenging him "who will drive your tanks to crush us, the new generation of students after 1989", and warning him "not draw for yourself a despot's future". The letter got signed by 54 Chinese oversea students.[24] The letter was later spread among several Chinese forums and Weibo, and Chinese Muslim Forum was shut down by Chinese Government because of spreading the letter.[25] Gu believed that Chinese Government was trying to stop the spreading of the letter, as well as persecute Muslims in China.[26] He further claimed that he did not admit the legitimacy of the Communist Party in China, and hoped peaceful protests to end the communist political systems in China, and did not interested to "contribute to China".[27]


  1. ^ a b c 伊力哈木入狱令人寒心 [Ilham's Sentence is Depressing]. The New York Times (in Chinese).
  2. ^ "Pro-democracy Rally for Hong Kong Draws 200 People in Washington". Voice of America.
  3. ^ "Protesters in Washington D.C. Sing Outside Hong Kong Office". The Epoch Times.
  4. ^ Emma Graham-Harrison (26 May 2015). "Chinese students in the west call for transparency over Tiananmen Square". Guardian.
  5. ^ 王曦 (15 June 2015). “六·四”坦克辗人另一受害证人露面 方政:意义重大 (in Chinese). The Epoch Times. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  6. ^ "全美国学自联在中国大使馆外纪念六四二十五周年集会". Boxun (in Chinese). 1 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Pro-democracy Rally for Hong Kong Draws 200 People in Washington". Voice of America. 2 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Protesters in Washington D.C. Sing Outside Hong Kong Office". Epoch Times. 2 October 2014.
  9. ^ "自由、圣战和极权,从查理到中国". Boxun (in Chinese). 18 January 2015.
  10. ^ "中共和ISIS:政教合一的奥秘". Boxun (in Chinese). 29 March 2015.
  11. ^ "关于此次镇压维权律师的几点思考". Boxun (in Chinese). 13 July 2015.
  12. ^ "古懿等:六四二十六周年致国内同学的公开信". China Digital Times (in Chinese).
  13. ^ "焦点对话:抹杀六四历史,八零后九零后不答应?". Voice of America (in Chinese). 5 June 2015.
  14. ^ "【真理部】境外势力试图煽动八零后九零后". China Digital Times (in Chinese).
  15. ^ "环时社论讥讽留学生六四公开信但遭撤稿". Voice of America (in Chinese). 26 May 2015.
  16. ^ "《环球时报》撤稿传播了真相". Radio Free Asia (in Chinese). 27 May 2015.
  17. ^ "特别专辑:新生代的六四". China in Perspective (in Chinese).
  18. ^ "致国际奥委会反对北京申办2022年冬奥会的公开信". Boxun (in Chinese). 25 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Activists aim to derail Beijing's bid for Winter Olympics". Reuters. 30 July 2015.
  20. ^ "VOA连线: 声援无名政治犯,海外发起"我是张海涛"运动". Voice of America (in Chinese). 25 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  21. ^ "悉尼大学华裔教员公开辱华惹争议". BBC (in Chinese). 15 April 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  22. ^ Huang Yaoyi (28 April 2016). "时事大家谈:黯然辞职的吴维 vs 留洋激愤的小粉红". Voice of America (in Chinese). Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  23. ^ "【独家】年轻网友公开反对习近平遭秘密拘捕". Radio Free Asia (in Chinese). 31 October 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  24. ^ "留学生致习近平公开信:释放权平同学、释放被绑架公民、停止镇压并谢罪、暴君没有未来 (签名联署)". Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Popular Chinese Muslim website down after posting letter critical of Xi". Reuters. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  26. ^ "中穆网疑刊载海外留学生致习近平公开信遭封杀". Radio Free Asia (in Chinese). 12 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  27. ^ "中国留学生超半数海归想要"再归海"". Radio Free Asia (in Chinese). 23 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.

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