Sending letters to Harm

If you like to send Harm a letter or postcard, you can use the following address:

北京市第二监狱 韩非子先生

Beijing Prison facility No.2 – Mr. H.R. Fitié
sub-box 2, mailbox 2357,  Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Postcode 100121

Harm visited by the Dutch ambassador

Dutch ambassador Kronenburg and 2 consular staff members visited Harm in Beijing Prison No.2 on September 21th. The visitors were allowed to meet Harm in a room without glass separation and shake his hand. He had heard beforehand that the ambassador would visit him and therefore he was well prepared.

Harm told that the re-education program has ended since 2 weeks. He has been moved to another part of the prison with a total of about 50 other foreigners. He is now housed in a room with 5 people: 1 Tsjetjen from Kyrgyzstan, 1 Tanzanian, 1 Nigerian, 1 Chinese Australian. The room is about 6 x 4 meters and is normally furnished with tables and stools.

The daily routine has a pretty tight schedule of getting up, washing, breakfasting and working. It is simple and not heavy work and incidentally there is no work. In between lunch and at the end of the day they are watching TV after dinner. There is leisure time twice a week for basketball at some sort of school yard.

Harm could keep the books and the food that was handed over the first time and he is very happy with it. The circumstances are now much better. However, the showers are broken and people now wash each morning with a bucket of water. In general, the hygiene is according Harm not that great. The food is alright. The safety is good and the guards are nice and reasonable as an individual. The regime in the prison is generally somewhat rigid. The guards do not have tasers here. Communicating with other foreigners is a huge advance.

The photo of Diane gave him a lot of energy. Harm was allowed to receive Diane’s English-language letter as well as the photo of his family. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to read himself the Dutch-language letter from the family; this was read out by the embassy staff member.

Harm is still eager to proof his innocence and would like to review the possibilities for early release. According to Harm, the (theoretical) communication possibilities do not match the reality as informed by the other prisoners around him. The phone is currently broken and Harm indicates that in practice, requests of friends to visit him in almost all cases are not approved by prison.

Judges find Harm not guilty of intentional injury. Lower sentence for negligence.

Harm Fitié has been sentenced to 4.5 years in court. That is a significantly lower punishment than the court had previously imposed on him. Harm was sentenced to twelve years, but will be released in November 2019.

The judges in the appeal court rejected the original charge and concluded Harm didn’t do anything intentional. In the verdict the following is written: “The behavior of Harm Fitié, shouting ‘he has fallen!’ after the neighbor fell and that he immediately went down to help and reanimate him, shows that the neighbor’s fall was an accident and not deliberate.”

Harm is however found guilty of “negligence”. The judge didn’t explain on what grounds.

In a comment to NOS, Harm’s girlfriend Diane says, “I’m glad that they can interpret the reanimation in this way, but I’ve heard so many stories of people arrested in China because they helped others lay down on the ground. Though, they also see a resuscitation attempt in China as evidence of some guilt.”

Diane responded disappointed to the verdict. Harm’s father Alex was somewhat relieved, though he’d rather see his son released straight away. “It is, of course, a disappointment that someone who is clearly innocent will get 4.5 years in prison” says Alex in the NOS Radio 1 Journal.

He saw his son for 20 minutes after the verdict, but he was not allowed to touch him. “I could talk to him afterwards. At my request to cuddle him, came a negative response from the court’s guard.”

At the verdict also three Dutch embassy staff members were present and the EU delegation. Investigations commissioned by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed earlier that many errors were made in Harm’s case, including changed one sided testimonies, unprofessional and incomplete police investigation, 17 interrogations without a lawyer,  evidence that got lost by the police and medical records that where inaccessible by the lawyer.

Date of verdict July 21st 2017


We got noticed today that the verdict will happen on July 21st in the morning at the Higher People Court in Beijing. It is public so everyone who want to attend is welcome. Please let me know in private message if you want to attend. The more the better to show support to Harm. Thanks a lot.


Message from Diane, May 31st 2017


Dear all, I am still in Beijing waiting for the verdict. Already a month now. And since Harm’s trial period has been extended until July 24th, the verdict could happen anytime. Times are tough here and especially for Harm who believed his nightmare would be over soon after the last hearing (April 17th). More than ever, he needs support, his family needs support and we need to show our determination to make sure he is released. Therefore, I invite everyone to send an email to the embassy for Harm at the following address :

Please ask the embassy to do everything they can for his immediate freedom. You can add a personal message for Harm which he will be able to read the next time they visit him. By the way, according to the Geneva convention, detainees can be visited every month. However, the Dutch ministry for Foreign Affairs is usually visiting detainees once every three months. Considering the detention conditions in China (and in other countries in the world), this is not sufficient. So please stress that point too in your message. Every detainees should be granted a monthly visit, especially if they cannot receive visits from family members. This is a humanitarian necessity.

Thanks for your help, Diane

Report on embassy visit on May 18th 2017


Harm was visited by the Netherlands embassy. A report. The visit took place as usual in the Beijing High People’s Court building. The visit was monitored by a Chinese / Dutch interpreter. Harm reaffirms that his physical health is in order. Blood pressure is good, heart is good, back is slightly painful, but we should not worry about it. There is access to a doctor and painkillers. The food is ok, he has gained weight.

Harm looked tired and said he is emotionally and mentally feeling less good than before. He indicates that he has received a notice that the trial period has been extended until July 24th 2017, and that message felt very heavy. He assumed that there would be a verdict soon after the hearing that took place on April 17th 2017. We asked the lawyer what this date means. The verdict legally has to be rendered before that date. We really hope that the verdict will be given soon, and that the court will not use that maximum allowed time to reach their verdict.

Harm’s feeling about the trial is not very positive, fueled by the opinion of his cellmates. It is hard for him to keep trusting the court, which is quite logical being innocently imprisoned for 2 years. His lawyer will visit him again soon to show support.

The continuing requests of the Embassy on air times and washings has had an effect: Harm is allowed to air outside for about 15 minutes every day, and he can wash himself every day. Further, he has changed from cell, and Harm is satisfied with his new cellmates, the atmosphere is good in the cell. His great wish remains to have a good dictionary. The embassy has tried this many times, but it has been refused by the Chinese authorities every time. Embassy will again offer a dictionary.

Harm has read the messages of the family and the church community. The fourth paragraph of his brother’s letter did not get through the Chinese control and did not reach Harm. He was once again very happy with all the messages.

Harm congratulates Diane on her recent birthday, and also sends his wishes to his mother who has her birthday soon as well. He misses both very much. Harm ended by saying how annoyed he feels to make everyone so upset, and sends many thanks for the support of everyone.

Report on the hearing on April 17th 2017

FAIR TRIAL FOR HARM, April 18th, 2017

A few days ago we received information about a hearing in Harm’s case on Eastern Monday. Because of the very short notice it was impossible for us to get there on time. For China you need visa and one have to make flight arrangements.

The hearing happened on Monday April 16th and we are waiting for the date of the verdict which should come very soon. It seems that Harm may somehow become the scapegoat of a system that cannot recognize its mistakes. We do everything we can so that Harm can be freed immediately. We even paid the family of the deceased 68.000 euros to show we were willing to reach a “compromise” in a Chinese style. We are well aware that in China it is impossible to get acquittal so to help the Court we even agreed on that he could be sentenced to involuntary homicide on the condition of being freed now after two years of terrible detention. But now it seems that we cannot TRUST the Court. Harm is innocent. Mistakes have been made and this situation is totally nuts! 

Just because we dare pointing at the mistakes made by the police and the judge in first instance, just because we want justice and raise awareness about it, now Harm shall be punished even more? Chinese justice system is under reform at the moment so why not showing that people can trust it? Please make him free now. This has lasted too long already.

It is not over but we need mobilization now to get Harm out of this situation. The verdict is not rendered yet. There is still hope but we need to fight to get Harm back!


In 2017, freedom for Harm


I suddenly have a lot to write about what happened recently. I feel the outcome of the trial is coming soon, but we still have some hurdles to overcome.

Before Christmas, the Dutch government told the press they would ask for “clarifications” over the process leading to Harm condemnation. It was a great satisfaction for us to see that the authorities were getting more involved in our quest for justice. This was followed, a few weeks ago, by an official letter sent by fax to the Chinese ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Higher People Court of Justice. Usually, such a letter gets more weight when it is handed over by an official in person, usually an ambassador. Unfortunately, the Netherlands’ embassy has been deprived of ambassador for the past few months, the latter being now under investigation by the Dutch government after he allegedly had an affair with a Chinese member of the embassy staff. Therefore, his vice ambassador, Mr Andre Driessen, had to ask to hand the letter in person but the Chinese authorities said they had no time to meet him. Respecting the hierarchy is extremely important in China. And a deputy head of mission does not have the same political weight as an ambassador…

This is a very tricky situation which could be dangerous for Harm. Indeed, if his case is not taken seriously by the Chinese authorities, we fear that the Higher people court of Beijing may decide to render a guilty verdict, despite the lack of evidence, because it is very difficult for them to overthrow a first instance verdict. Giving a non guilty verdict is almost impossible for the Court because it would mean that their lower level colleagues may “lose face”, be humiliated. And making someone lose face is something you must never EVER do in China.

So basically, even though the judges may be personally convinced that Harm is innocent and that the procedures were not respected, they will never admit it and render a non guilty verdict. To give you an idea, in China, about 97% of the people facing a trial are found guilty. And the amount of wrongful convictions is obviously staggering. The Chinese government is aware of the issue and has recently launched a reform of the justice system but the habits are difficult to change…

All I am trying to say is that the judges are now in a very delicate situation. And they are apparently playing the clock to solve this case quickly. Chinese New Year is around the corner, and everyone want to go back home at the end of January. I have good reasons to think that : a few days ago, we received a message from our Chinese lawyer telling us that he was approached by the judge who asked if Harm’s family would be “willing” to pay a very big amount of money in compensations to the family of the defunct. The verdict has not been rendered yet so we were a little surprised, to say the least, by this request and by the amount asked for. Not mentioning the fact that we already had to pay € 150.000 in lawyer’s fees (which you can help to contribute to on this online money pot). After some explanation, it seems that it is aimed at showing good will from Harm’s family in exchange of what the judge could potentially decide to lower the sentence or the charge and satisfy the family of the defunct in their quest for money. Officially though, plea bargaining does not exist in China. So we are asked to pay but we do not know what will happen afterwards. Will Harm be freed? Will he be sentenced to six years instead of 12? Will he be get a non guilty verdict? The decision of the judge is a mystery to everyone.

What are we supposed to do to make sure Harm is freed straight away?

This situation is very stressful and difficult to cope with for us. We urgently need assistance and advice. And I am afraid that the Netherland’s embassy alone is too weak now, without its ambassador, to be of great help. Fortunately, we are still members of the European Union, this supranational power everyone loves to denounce and destroy instead of finding solutions to improve it. The European Union has embassies abroad, called delegations, to represent the interests of the whole EU in third countries. EU delegations can legally represent the Member States when they are confronted with representation issues, like the Netherlands right now. That is why I sent a letter requesting assistance to Mr Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, ambassador of the EU in China. We are facing a very obvious injustice and Harm has never had a fair trial. So I believe it is the duty of the European Union to make sure that its citizens are not victims of unfair treatments and trials inside and outside the borders of the EU.

We do not want to cause damage to China’s relationships with other countries. Despite everything, Harm has not lost his faith. He still wants to promote the cooperation between Chinese and Dutch companies in the Agro feed sector. He does not want his situation to trigger tensions. He just wants to be out and free, see his family and friends and have a normal life again. And when he is out, he still wants to be able to travel and do business in China. Recently, when the people from the Dutch consulate met him in the detention centre, he told them to send me a message. This message was “do not blame what is happening on the country that gave us everything”.

Indeed, this country gave us a lot, taught us a lot on ourselves and other people. It is the most fascinating country I have ever visited and I cannot imagine my life without anything related to China or Chinese people. It is also in China that I met Harm in February 2012, in a Chinese teaching school. He helped me a lot getting used to my new life at the other side of the world. We have been together ever since. He has always been there for me and I will always support him because he is a good, honest person and I love him. Everything I do now, I know that he would do exactly the same for me.

To finish, as it is still time for New Year’s wishes, let me tell you mine for 2017 : Freedom for Harm. Now!


Help us to fight for justice!

As Harm’s girlfriend I would like to thank everyone for supporting Harm on this page and the Facebook page. Intense media coverage and social media support are of great help to make sure Harm gets a fair trial. We recently received some very nice messages from people asking how they could financially support Harm and his family. Indeed, the total cost of lawyers’ fees alone have so far reached 150.000 euros… A rather heavy burden… Therefore, for the one who would like to contribute in making it possible that Harm is released as soon as possible, you can do so via a bank transfer to Harm’s account. For more information see below. All money will be used to get Harm free. Thank you very much for your help!   Diane

You can use a bank transfer to donate. You can send it directly to Harm Fitié his IBAN bank account NL13RABO0301536058 with a description like “help free Harm”. In case you need it, the Rabobank SWIFT/BIC code is RABONL2U. Thank you!