China Human Rights Briefing October 21-26, 2011
Highlights Activists, Authorities Stay Closely Focused on Chen Guangcheng: Authorities have kept up the harassment and intimidation of activists who harbor plans to visit lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) in Shandong Province. In one incident, the writer and activist Li Jianjun (李 建军) was detained by police after authorities had given spoken guarantees that he could safely enter Dongshigu Village, where Chen lives under illegal house arrest. Beating Death Case Simmers With Questions About Evidence, Assaults on Defense Team: A court in Beihai City, Guangxi Province spent nearly a week considering whether to exclude evidence from confessions in a beating death case that were likely extracted through torture, while an irate crowd outside the courthouse physically and verbally assaulted defense lawyers.ContentsArbitrary Detention Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” CrackdownCourt Upholds Wang Lihong Verdict, Police Restrict Movement of Supporters Chen Guangcheng Beaten Again in July; His 6-Year-Old Daughter Finally Allowed to Attend School Villager Given One-Year Sentence For Exposing Corruption Over Dam Project Compensation Hunan Authorities Send 21 to RTL, Arrest Four for Petitioning About Forced Evictions Organizer of Website Promoting Democracy Taken Away for “Inciting Subversion”Harassment of Activists Writer-Activist Detained, Interrogated by Police After Authorities Guarantee Unfettered Entry Into Dongshigu Large Group of Activists Assaulted for Attempting to Visit Chen Guangcheng; Feng Zhenghu Interrogated for Releasing Support Letter for Chen Disabled Petitioner Beaten After Release From Black Jail, Threatened With RTLTorture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Guangxi Beating Death Case Embroiled in Questions About Evidence, Violence Against Defense LawyersForced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation Suicide Victim’s Family Pressured to Accept CompensationLocal People’s Congress Elections Watch Police Detain Local Activist to Prevent Candidacy FilingArbitrary DetentionUpdates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” CrackdownCourt Upholds Wang Lihong Verdict, Police Restrict Movement of SupportersAs expected, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court on October 20 rejected an appeal for the convicted rights activist Wang Lihong (王荔蕻), upholding the original guilty verdict and nine-month sentence at her second-instance trial. Just as with Wang’s first trial on charges of “causing a disturbance” and her sentencing hearing, supporters were blocked from reaching the courthouse, and police had warned people to stay away. At the scene, more than 10 individuals were forced into police vehicles, and they were later released. The lone observer allowed for Wang’s side at the hearing was her son, Qi Jianxiang (齐健翔). On August 12, the trial for Wang’s case lasted just two-and-a-half hours, and her guilty verdict and sentence were announced on September 9. Detained in March, Wang is scheduled to be freed from prison in December. (CHRD)[i]Chen Guangcheng Beaten Again in July; His 6-Year-Old Daughter Finally Allowed to Attend SchoolCHRD has learned from a trusted local source that lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) was beaten by guards in July, the third known beating of Chen since he was released into house arrest in September 2010 at his home in Dongshigu Village in Shandong Province.[ii] The details of the beating are unclear, but the source said Chen “might have sustained serious injury.” Chen continues to suffer from intestinal problems and has had bloody stools, and has been deprived of medical care. Supplies in his home have also run very low, and food is not plentiful; the family is apparently unable to access fruit and, for nutrition, rely largely on chickens they raise themselves. In recent months, between 40 and 50 individuals have been telling villagers around Chen’s home that he is a “traitor” and threatening villagers to make sure news about Chen and his family does not reach the outside world. CHRD also learned that villagers sympathetic to Chen have been detained for helping the activist, some for as long as six months. Some villagers have been forced to flee Dongshigu for their own safety, leaving Chen only further isolated. CHRD has also learned from another trusted source that Chen Guangcheng’s daughter, Chen Kesi (陈克斯), began attending class on September 16. While Kesi, who has been subjected to house arrest along with her parents, is now able to go to school, her movements are still tightly controlled. She is being escorted to and from school by guards who monitor her family, and she cannot go home to have lunch during the school day. Guards also are stationed around the school entrance and at other places on the grounds, and easily monitor movements of individuals by looking through the school’s glass windows. There is ongoing concern in the activist community for Kesi’s emotional health, since she has been subjected at such a young age to tight restrictions at home and now at school. Chinese activists and netizens continue to use creative ways to show their solidarity with Chen. In one of the latest visits to Dongshigu Village, a group of five set off a series of fireworks at the village entrance as a message of support for Chen. (CHRD)[iii]Villager Given One-Year Sentence For Exposing Corruption Over Dam Project CompensationXiang Songmei (向松梅), a villager from Hunan Province, has been convicted of “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic order” and sentenced to one year in prison in likely retaliation for organizing fellow villagers to expose corruption by cadres. The ruling was handed down by the Hongjiang City People’s Court on October 25, and Xiang and her family plan to appeal. In 2009, villagers from Xiang’s Longtian Township became suspicious when compensation issued by a power plant—a dam project had previously flooded their farmland—went missing without a trace. Xiang and others subsequently demanded officials make public financial accounts. After the officials refused, villagers gathered in protest, and Xiang was taken into custody and held for several months. In the first half of his year, she was criminally detained after going to Beijing to petition with other villagers. Xiang’s arrest was approved on October 19, by which time her husband and younger son had reportedly fled the area, leaving a disabled son at home. (CHRD)[iv]Hunan Authorities Send 21 to RTL, Arrest Four for Petitioning About Forced EvictionsAuthorities in Hunan Province have taken harsh measures with a group of 25 petitioners (14 women and 11 men) who went to Beijing to seek justice over forced home evictions and demolitions, issuing mass Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishments and several arrests. The petitioners, who had also gone to Beijing in mid-August, were taken into custody on September 1, when they had allegedly expressed grievances beneath a national flag in Tiananmen Square while shouting slogans and carrying banners. After attracting onlookers, the petitioners were seized and charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order.” On October 10, the Changsha RTL Committee doled out 21 punishments, ranging between 12 and 18 months. In addition, four others were arrested. It is unclear which RTL facilities and detention centers the petitioners are being held. Some of the petitioners have been presenting grievances to authorities for as long as 12 years without any resolution. (CHRD)[v]Organizer of Website Promoting Democracy Taken Away for “Inciting Subversion”On October 21, Cao Haibo (曹海波), a manager of an Internet café and organizer of a website that promotes democracy, was taken away by police in Kunming in Yunnan Province. About a dozen officers from the National Security Unit of the Kunming Public Security Bureau in Shanxi District subdivision took away Cao, who is originally from Jiangsu Province, saying that he has been summoned for “inciting subversion of state power,” but did not show him any legal documents. Police also searched Cao’s home and confiscated, among other items, his cell phone, three desktop computers, a laptop, USB drives, and bank cards. The reasons for the charges and detention are currently unclear. (CHRD)[vi] More recent news related to arbitrary detention: “13 Fujian Petitioners Go Missing After Being Seized in Tiananmen Square” (福建13位访民在天安门被带走后失踪), October 24, 2011 “Village Party Secretary From Hongjiang City, Hunan Province Detained Over Activism For Defending Rights Related to Reservoir” (湖南省洪江市老 村支书因水库维权被抓), October 24, 2011 “Chengdu Petitioner and Independent Candidate Chen Qian Subjected to House Arrest after Release from Detention” (欲竞选人大代表的 成都 访民陈茜仍被限制自由), October 21, 2011Harassment of ActivistsWriter-Activist Detained, Interrogated by Police After Authorities Guarantee Unfettered Entry Into DongshiguDespite authorities’ spoken guarantees, Hunan journalist and activist Li Jianjun (李建军) was one of three individuals taken into custody and interrogated by police on October 26, when the group was on the way to see the lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) in Shandong Province. The incident occurred just after officials fed dubious claims and unlikely promises to Li about going to visit Chen in Dongshigu Village. Over the previous two days, authorities had told Li that, contrary to online reports, Chen is allowed medical care and can have visitors if he so chooses, and that recent reports of beatings of activists going to Dongshigu are merely rumors. A former journalist with the Chengdu Business Times, Li was also repeatedly promised that he would not be interfered with if he went to the village. Li was seized and taken to the Shuanghou Township Police Station in Linnan County along with Wang Xuezhen (王雪臻) and Guo Feng (郭峰). At the station, the activists asked police about the guarantees of a safe journey provided by authorities, and officers said they could file a report but implied it would not do any good. Wang, who had been robbed when she had come to the area in September, was struck in the mouth by a station personnel, and the three individuals’ cell phones were taken away. The three were released later and decided to abandon their trip to Dongshigu. On October 24, Li handed over a letter to the Linyi City Party Committee office that criticized the treatment given to those who have tried to visit Chen and also indicated a desire to see Chen and his family. Li returned to the office later and requested a response in writing, but a staff member there said that it was too late in the day to provide one. Instead, the worker gave a verbal guarantee that Li could go to Dongshigu safely. However, the staff person then said his response could not represent the Linyi Party Committee and the city government. But after consulting his superiors, he later told Li that it is the official position that he could go to Dongshigu, he would not be beaten, and that he may see Chen, but that ultimately it is up to Chen to decide if he will see Li. On October 25, Li asked the Linnan County Public Security Bureau (PSB) if they had knowledge of the tight restrictions around Dongshigu and the violent treatment of visitors who came to the village, and about actions they have taken if they have received such reports. The PSB responded that Chen was not a “hostile foreign element,” that he possesses all the rights of a citizen, and is able to receive medical care and have visitors. (CHRD)[vii]Large Group of Activists Assaulted for Attempting to Visit Chen Guangcheng; Feng Zhenghu Interrogated for Releasing Support Letter for ChenAssaults and intimidation of activists have gone unabated in response to ongoing attempts and plans to see activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚). On October 23, a group of about 30 activists were assaulted and had their cameras and cell phones taken away by about 300 hired thugs at the entrance of Dongshigu Village in Shandong Province, where Chen lives under house arrest. Among the activists was Liu Ping (刘萍), an independent People’s Congress candidate from Jiangxi Province. On October 22, Shanghai activist Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎) was interrogated by police from the National Security Unit of the Yangpu District Public Security Bureau at Wujiachang Police Station. The interrogations focused on a letter-signing campaign in support of Chen in Shanghai, as well as on a collection edited by Feng about cases of injustice in Shanghai’s courts. Rights activists across the country continue to be warned about joining activities that press for Chen’s release. On October 22, Li Yu (李宇), an activist from Sichuan Province and organizer of a popular Internet forum on politics, was warned by local national security police against “entering Shandong Province.” (CHRD)[viii] Disabled Petitioner Beaten After Release From Black Jail, Threatened With RTLA disabled petitioner, Liu Bingtong (刘炳同), was beaten by two local officials in Henan Province after his release from a black jail, where he had been abused and reportedly deprived of food for a week and only given water to sustain himself. On October 21, the secretary and director of the Nanguan Subdistrict Office in Zhengzhou beat Liu after he had been called to the office. Unable to defend himself during the assault, Liu was told that the beating was a “light” punishment—though he suffered tissue damage over several parts of his body—and he was threatened with Re-education Through Labor. Liu called the police about the incident, but officers ignored him. Liu had gone to Beijing to petition around National Day, and was detained in the black jail after being forcibly returned to Henan. (CHRD)[ix]Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentGuangxi Beating Death Case Embroiled in Questions About Evidence, Violence Against Defense LawyersA high-profile beating death case in Guangxi Province has been cast into upheaval since the controversial trial of five defendants began on October 14. A team of assembled defense lawyers has fallen under assault as the court grapples with central questions of weighing confessions of guilt by defendants that were likely evinced through torture. In June, when hearings for the case began, four defense attorneys had been detained on charges of “suborning perjury” for submitting evidence during pre-trial hearings that revealed police had tortured the defendants to extract confessions. One of the lawyers, Yang Zaixin (杨在新), was arrested in late June, and eight lawyers from around China have united in support of the lawyers to defend their clients. The arrest of Yang, a well-known human rights lawyer, has led observers to compare his case to that of Li Zhuang (李庄), a Beijing lawyer sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2009 for the same crime.The trial, being heard by the Beihai Intermediate People’s Court, originally was scheduled to end after seven days. A crucial turning point came on October 20, when the court abruptly ceased the process of examining evidence allegedly obtained through torture that had gone on for the first six days of the trial. During that period, the court had only looked into two pieces of evidence against one of the defendants, Pei Rihong (裴日红), ultimately admitting both as legitimate. The defense lawyers had hoped the court would continue to spend time examining and excluding illegal evidence; for example, they sought to throw out their defendants’ confessions that were most likely extracted through torture, but the court refused. Reportedly, defendants had been exposed to electric shocks, tied up, hanged, and beaten before confessing, and the defense maintained that a video revealed that investigators fabricated interrogation transcripts. The fact that Beihai Court even spent time examining the legality of evidence is unusual for China’s courts, which often ignore allegations of torture during trial proceedings.After court recessed on October 21, defense lawyers were surrounded and threatened by 20 to 30 individuals outside the courthouse, many of whom had attended that day’s proceedings. One woman struck lawyer Xu Tianming (徐天明) in the face, and the father of the man whose death led to the case was among a crowd that rushed to hit lawyer Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱), who evaded the attack. Police officers were unable to rein in the mayhem, and the lawyers rushed back into the courthouse to seek refuge. They requested to see the court president and other court authorities but did not receive any response. Meanwhile, the seething crowd outside cursed them as police simply stood watch. The lawyers, who have been subject to similar threats and harassment since June, stayed inside the courthouse for hours for their own protection. While attracting tremendous controversy, the case and current trial are showcasing a confluence of several modern developments in China: a desire of citizens for more transparency in criminal proceedings (especially after several high-profile cases of torture were covered by domestic media in 2009), the subsequent issuance of official rules on handling illegally obtained evidence, and the innovative use of online communication tools. These were all on display the evening of October 20, when the defense attorneys were among a dozen guests in an online discussion entitled “Who Are the Beihai Lawyers Fighting For?,” when the case was talked about and the attorneys answered questions posed by netizens. (CHRD)[x]Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation Suicide Victim’s Family Pressured to Accept CompensationTwo days after the suicide of a local resident, authorities in Jiangsu Province who head eviction and demolition work have reportedly pressured the victim’s family to accept compensation, which includes 100,000 RMB and a house. But under the agreement’s conditions, the family of Gu Zuping (顾箤萍), who drowned herself on October 17 over an impending home demolition, cannot give interviews or seek legal action against the government for the demolition; the family will receive nothing if they violate either condition. Though the family members reportedly found the conditions unpalatable, they consented to the offer since they could not cope with pressure from government officials. The quickly-hatched deal appears to be a part of a concerted effort to suppress controversy and outrage over Gu’s death, news of which was removed from webpages in China. (CHRD)[xi]Local People’s Congress Elections WatchPolice Detain Local Activist to Prevent Candidacy FilingOn October 19, police took away activist Chen Xi (陈西) and confiscated property from his home as a means to harass Chen and also prevent him from filing as an independent People’s Congress candidate in Guizhou, Guiyang Province. Chen was released on October 25—after the deadline had passed for nominating local candidates, a process that Chen had not completed. Previously, when Chen had announced his plan to run in his local election, national security officers warned him that they would find a way to prevent him from filing his candidacy. The day Chen was abducted, two employees from an elections center and a policeman had followed him home after he had gathered information from the center. They demanded Chen turn over a USB he had used—claiming he had copied confidential information—and forbade anyone in the home from using a computer. Late that evening, the chief of the Jinyang branch of the Guiyang Public Security Bureau and more than 10 individuals forcibly entered Chen’s home and confiscated three computers, a printer, a USB drive, a camera, and materials related to local elections, and took Chen away. Police held Chen in a neighborhood center’s police office before releasing him. (CHRD)[xii] More recent news related to local People’s Congress elections:“Beijing Independent Candidate Sun Baomei Surrounded During Meeting to Elect Citizen Groups” (北京独立参选人孙 宝妹在选民小组会议上遭围攻), October 24, 2011“Several University Professors in Beijing Face Obstructions in Running for People’s Congress Seats” (北京多位大学老师 参选人大代表受到阻挠), October 24, 2011 “Chengdu Petitioner Chen Qian Illegally Detained for 59 Hours for Running in People’s Congress Elections” (成都访民陈茜因 竞选人大代表被非法拘禁), October 19, 2011 “Well-known Model Cheng Yuting Obstructed in Running as Independent Candidate” (北京自荐参选人 程钰婷遭遇刁难), October 19, 2011 Editors: Victor Clemens and Songlian Wang Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnet Join us on Facebook: CHRDnetNews updates from CHRD [i] “Around Wang Lihong’s Second-Instance Trial, Zhu Chengzhi Taken Into Police Vehicle, Ye Jinghuan Removed From Scene” (王荔蕻二审现场，朱承志被带上警车，野靖环被带离现场), October 19, 2011; “Original Decision Upheld in Wang Lihong Case, Several at Scene Taken Into Police Vehicles” (王荔蕻案维持原判，现场多人被带上警车), October 19, 2011; “Second-Instance Trial for Human Rights Activist Wang Lihong” (人权活动家王荔蕻案二审将宣判), October 19, 2011 [ii] The first reported beating took place on February 8, and the second on February 18. “Special Alert: Chen Guangcheng and Wife Beaten by Police; Unable to Get out of Bed” (特别快 讯：陈光诚夫 妇被国保 及警察殴 打致伤无 法下床), February 10, 2011; “Detained Blind Activist Chen Guangcheng's Wife Reveals Details of Torture,” June 16, 2011 [iii] “Chen Guangcheng Is Ill and Not Receiving Treatment, Basic Necessities Becomes Luxury” (陈光诚有病难医，基本生活用品成奢侈品), October 20, 2011; “Spotlighting Guangcheng” Fireworks Action Stir People’s Hearts, Authorities Have Made Only Small Concessions (“光明光诚”烟花行动震撼人心 当局仅作微小让步), October 20, 2011; “Chen Guangcheng’s Daughter Chen Kesi Unable to Attend Classes” (陈光诚之女陈克斯仍无法就学), September 2, 2011 [iv] Hunan Rights Defender Xiang Songmei Sentenced to One Year in Prison for ‘Gathering Crowd to Disrupt Traffic Order’” (湖南 维权人士向松梅被以“聚众扰乱交通秩序罪”判刑 一年), October 25, 2011; “Rights Defense Village Woman From Longtian Township, Hunan Arrested” (湖南龙田乡维权村姑被逮捕), October 20, 2011 [v] “Changsha Rights Defenders, Victims of Evictions & Demolitions: 21 Sent to RTL, 4 Arrested” (长沙一次劳教21名拆迁维权者，逮捕4人), October 21, 2011 [vi] Jiangsu Netizen Cao Haibo Summoned and Home Searched for Suspicion of “Inciting Subversion of State Power” （江苏 网友曹 海波 在昆明被以涉嫌“煽动颠覆国家政 权” 带走), October 21, 2011 [vii] “News Flash: Li Jianjun, Wang Xuezhen, and Guo Feng Interrogated, Beaten in Shuanghou Township Police Station While on ‘Visit Chen Guangcheng’ Mission” (快 讯：“探 访陈光诚”李 建军、王雪臻等在双堠镇派出所遭殴打), October 26, 2011; “Response to Li Jianjun On Visiting Chen Guangcheng: Chen Is a Citizen, Able to Receive Medical Care, Visitors” (李 建军探访陈光诚获答复：陈光诚是公民，可送医可探视), October 25, 2011; “Famed Journalist Li Jianjun Gives ‘Advice Letter to Linyi Authorities,’ Who Promise Li Entry to Dongshigu, Chance to See Chen Guangcheng” (著名记者李建军赴临沂递《谏临沂当局书》 当局承诺可见陈光诚), October 24, 2011 [viii] “30 Individuals from All Walks of Life Assaulted, Robbed by Over 300 for Visiting Chen Guangcheng” (30位各界人 士探望陈光诚遭300余人围攻打劫), October 23, 2011; “Visitors, Who Released Lanterns to Pray for Good Fortunate Yesterday, Were Beaten and Robbed at Dongshigu Village Today” (探访陈光 诚网友昨晚放孔明灯祈福 今在东师 古村遭殴打抢劫), October 22, 2011; “Feng Zhenghu Summoned for Supporting Activities to ‘Free Chen Guangcheng” (冯正虎支 持“自由光诚”行动被传 唤), October 22, 2011; “Organizer of ’Unicorn Club’ Goes to Join ‘Operation Free Chen Guangcheng” (角马俱乐 部李宇前往参与“自由光城”活动), October 23, 2011 [ix] “Disabled Petitioner Li Bingtong Beaten After Release From Black Jail” (河南残疾访民刘炳同出黑监狱后遭殴打), October 23, 2011 [x] “Guangxi Lawyers’ Case Report, No. 15: Court Recesses on October 23 Shortly After Proceedings Open” (广西律师案15：23日短暂开庭后休庭), October 23, 2011; “Urgent News: Beihai Defense Lawyer Team Surrounded Outside Courthouse” (紧急消息：北海律师团在法院门口被围攻), October 21, 2011; “Guangxi Lawyers’ Case: Court Finally Halts Process of Excluding Illegal Evidence” (广西律师案：法庭终止非法证据排除程序), October 21, 2011; “Case of Four Guangxi Lawyers: One Arrest Approved, Three Lawyers Released,” (广西四律师案：一人被批捕，三人已释放), June 29, 2011,; “Beihai, Guangxi Rights Defense Lawyer Yang Zaixin Criminally Detained,” (广西北海维权律师杨在新被刑拘), June 14, 2011 [xi] “Brutal Demolition, Eviction in Nantong Leads to Suicide, 100,000 RMB Settlement” (南通野蛮拆迁致人自杀，10万元了结), October 20, 2011 [xii] “Guizhou Rights Defender Chen Xi Held for One Week, Released Only After Deadline Passes for People’s Congress Nominations” (贵州 人权捍卫者陈西被关押一周错过参选后回到家中), October 25, 2011; “Guizhou Rights Defender Chen Xi Has Home Searched, Is Taken Away by Police” (贵州 人权捍卫者陈西被警方抄家带走), October 19, 2011
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