In 2011, Ren Jianyu, a college graduate, was sentenced to two years of “re-education through labour” without a trial for the attempted offence of “overthrow of the government” after reposting comments critical of Chongqing authorities on QQ, a popular Chinese social media platform.
Pu Zhiqiang started to represent Ren in August 2012. With tens of thousands of Chinese being put away into the ‘laojiao’ system every year, Ren’s case would have largely gone unnoticed, were in not for his lawyers’ use of the Internet to highlight Ren’s plight and keep social interest alive.
On November 19, 2012, Ren was released from the labour camp after serving 15 months of his two-year sentence following the heavy news coverage. The Chongqing Municipal Reeducation through Labour Committee revoked its decision on Ren’s case, citing the reason that his case ‘was not handled properly’.