China Human Rights Briefing 23-30 March 2010

Highlights

  • CHRD Website Hacked on Heels of Google, Go Daddy Statements: CHRD’s Chinese-language website, www.crd-net.org, was targeted for the second time this year by a series of directed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks, which began on March 25, have crippled the site for more than five days and are the most serious attack the site has faced in its history. CHRD’s website, managed by human rights activists in China, is hosted outside the country by Go Daddy, a US-based company. Just one day before the site was attacked, Go Daddy’s executive vice president and general counsel Christine N. Jones stated that the company would discontinue registering new Chinese (.cn) domain names after the government imposed new guidelines last December requiring detailed identification from individuals before registering.
  • Tax Officials Launch Surprise Investigation into Beijing NGO Aizhixing: On the morning of March 25, officials from the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau arrived at the offices of Aizhixing, a prominent Beijing-based HIV/AIDS organization, to conduct an unscheduled investigation into the organization's 2008-2009 tax records. Because the directors of Aizhixing were out of the office, the investigation has yet to take place. The investigation brings to mind the experience of the Open Constitution Initiative (Gongmeng) which was targeted via tax regulations by authorities seeking to close it down for its involvement with a number of sensitive cases in recent years. Gongmeng was fined RMB 1.42 million for “tax evasion” before being officially banned last summer.
  • Founder of Children’s’ Rights Website Tried: On March 30, Beijing activist Zhao Lianhai (赵连海) was tried in closed court on the charge of "creating a disturbance." The trial concluded without a verdict.  Zhao is the founder of Kidney Stone Babies (结石宝宝), a website dedicated to advocating for families whose children became ill after drinking tainted milk. He has been in detention since November 2009.

ContentsFreedomofExpression

FreedomofAssociation

FreedomofAssembly

ArbitraryDetention

TortureorOther Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

HarassmentofActivists

Citizens’Actions

Freedomof ExpressionAttackon CHRD’s Website Worst in Its HistoryCHRD'sChinese-language website, www.crd-net.org,was hit by a series of malicious attacks beginning March 25 and hasbeen inaccessiblefor more than five days. As previously reported, hackers directeddistributeddenial of service (DDoS) attacks at servers hosting CHRD's website. Thesourceof the attacks has yet to be determined. For more information, pleasesee ourrecent press release, available here.While the website remains down, CHRD will be uploading news items toBoxun'swebsite (http://peacehall.com);links included in this edition of CHRBwilldirect readers to that site.StateCouncil Information Office Regulations Limit Coverage of Google’sSearch EngineDecisionOnMarch 28, CHRD obtained a copy of a notice issuedby the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Officedirecting website managers to restrict coverage and discussions ofGoogle'sdecision to stop filtering results on their Chinese-language searchengine.Along with standard instructions, such as "only use Central Governmentmain media (website) content" and "do not conduct relatedinvestigative reporting," managers were also told to ban "discussionson the Google topic" and warned not to "participate in and reportGoogle's information/press releases." (CHRD)[i]GuangdongActivist Xiao Qingshan Seized Following ProtestGuangdonglabor rights activist Xiao Qingshan (肖青山)staged a one-man protest outside of the Guangdong Province HighPeople's Court inGuangzhou on March 30. Xiao was protesting against court decisions hebelievedprotected corrupt officials. When officials at the court did notemerge, Xiaotook his protest to the offices of the Southern Newspapers Group. Afterapproximately half an hour of protesting on the street, two policeofficersforced Xiao into a police vehicle and took him away. At the time ofwriting,Xiao remained in police custody. (CHRD)[ii]Freedomof AssociationPolicein Beijing Continue Crackdown on Volunteer Group Sunshine Charity Followinga large-scale crackdown during the annualmeeting of the National People's Congress on Beijing’s SunshineCharity, agroup dedicated to supporting petitioners, police in the capital havecontinuedto detain and harass activists associated with the group. Organizer LiuAnjun (刘安军),who was taken away for nearly three weeks of "forced tourism" duringthe NPC meetings, has been missing for four days since disappearing onMarch26. On March 30, CHRD learned that Han Hongbu (韩洪布),a Sunshine Charity volunteer, was kidnapped by unidentified individualswhilepreparing to distribute blankets to homeless petitioners outside of theSouthTrain Station. Han's current whereabouts are unknown. CHRD willcontinue tomonitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.(CHRD)[iii]TaxBureau Launches New Investigation into HIV/AIDS NGO Aizhixing’s FinancesOnthe morning of March 25, officials from theBeijing Local Taxation Bureau arrived at the offices of Aizhixing, aprominentBeijing-based HIV/AIDS organization, to conduct an unscheduledinvestigationinto the organization's 2008-2009 tax records. However, since neitherdirectorWan Yanhai (万延海)nor the organization's financial manager were inthe office, the officials did not carry out their investigation,insteadleaving directions to contact them within two business days. Staffmembers inthe office when the officials arrived were not given a detailedexplanationabout the nature of the tax investigation. The Local Taxation Bureauinvestigated the organization on one previous occasion, in September2008, butdid not uncover any problems with Aizhixing's record-keeping. (CHRD)[iv]Freedomof AssemblyGuangxiPetitioners Beaten,Detained Following ProtestsBeginningMarch 22, a group of Guangxi petitionersstaged a series of protests lasting thirty hours outside the CityGovernment,Letters and Visits, People's Congress, and Provincial GovernmentOffices in Nanning.The protestorsdemanded to meet with the Party Secretary and the mayor of the city todiscussrights violations directed against petitioners. Police repeatedlyinterruptedthe protests, and finally dispersed the protestors, injuring more than10 and seizingan unknown number in the process. At the time of writing, twopetitionersremained in detention. Approximately sixty petitioners took part in theprotests, and a crowd estimated at 200 people gathered to observebefore theprotestors were dispersed. (CHRD)[v]BeijingDissident Li Jinping Seized forAttempting to Apply to ProtestOnMarch 23, Beijing dissident Li Jinping (李金平)was kidnapped by police while attempting to file an application to holdaprotest. According to Beijing activist Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇),Qi and Li had discussed holding a demonstration on Qingming Festival, atraditional Chinese holiday to remember and honor the dead. Thedemonstrationis to commemorate those who died during the Tiananmen Massacre and thefifthanniversary of the death of Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳),a former CCP General Secretary known for his sympathy withdemonstrators duringthe 1989 Tiananmen protests. However, when Li arrived at the PublicOrder Corpsof the Beijing Public Security Bureau to file an application for theprotest,he was barred from entering and seized by police. At the time ofwriting, hiswhereabouts remain unknown. (CHRD)[vi]SichuanVillagers Detained FollowingProtest over Forced EvictionsAprotest over forced evictions in Chengdu, Sichuanended with a number of detentions on March 23. Approximately 3,000residents ofvillages in Jinniu District, Chengduwere victims of what they claim to be illegal forced evictions in 2004,andhave been petitioning about unsafe and substandard government-issuedreplacement housing for the past six years. During that time, they havebeenrepeatedly subjected to threats and physical violence from unidentifiedindividuals; the protest on the morning of March 23 began with eightvillagers,including Zhang Qun (张群)and his wife, callingon police to increase their efforts to ensure the safety of thesedisplacedvillagers. However, police seized Zhang and his wife, leading to alargerprotest as more villagers gathered outside of the Jinquan PoliceStation inJinniu District. In the end, a number of other protestors were seized;oneeyewitness estimated that more than 10 villagers were taken intocustody. Atleast two were released by the evening of March 23, though the fate oftheothers remains unclear at the time of writing. (CHRD)[vii]ArbitraryDetentionZhaoLianhai, Advocate for Victims of Contaminated Milk, Tried in ClosedCourt; NoVerdict IssuedOnMarch 30, Beijing activist Zhao Lianhai (赵连海)was tried in closed court on the charge of "creating a disturbance."Zhao, the founder of Kidney Stone Babies (结石宝宝),a website dedicated to advocating for families whose children becameill afterdrinking tainted milk, pleaded not guilty. The trial lastedapproximately sixhours and concluded around 2:30 pm without a verdict. Zhao's lawyer,Peng Jian(彭剑),stated that Zhao appeared in court wearing leg shackles. OutsideBeijing’sDaxing District Courthouse, where the trial was held, more than 30supportersgathered alongside Zhao's wife Li Xuemei (李雪梅).Between 30 and 40 police were present to monitor the crowd. (CHRD)[viii]WuhanPetitioner Detained in Psychiatric HospitalCHRDhas learned that officials in Wuhan, Hubei,illegally detained petitioner Liu Caixia (刘彩霞)in a psychiatric institution on March 29. Liu, a former accountant atCentralChina University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, lost her job afteroffending an official at the university. She was never given anexplanation forthe university's decision, nor did she ever receive proper notice, andas aresult traveled to Beijing on March 26 to petition about the situation.She wasintercepted in the capital that night by officials from the BeijingLiaisonOffice of the Hongshan District Government and forcibly returned toWuhan. Sheis currently detained in the Psychiatric Ward of the Huashan TownHealth Clinicin Hongshan District. (CHRD)[ix]DetainedSichuan Protestors to Be Tried in Early AprilCHRDlearned on March 26 that the case against 10protestors and activists arrested following a February 2009demonstration outsideof the Chengdu Intermediate Court will be heard in early April.According toZheng Jianwei (郑建伟),lawyer for one of the defendants, the CentralDistrict Court in Leshan City, Sichuan, informed him this past weekthat thetrial would begin on April 7; officials also told Zheng that becausethe datewas rapidly approaching, the court would not permit him to review trialdocuments ahead of the hearing. The ten defendants—Bao Junsheng (鲍俊生),Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏),Xing Qingxian (幸清贤),Lu Dachun (陆大椿),Yan Wenhan (严文汉),Ceng Rongkang (曾荣康),Liu Jiwei (刘继伟),Zeng Li (曾理),Yang Jiurong (杨久荣),and Xu Chongli (徐崇丽)—havebeen charged with "assembling a crowd todisrupt social order" for chaining themselves together to protest whatthey believed to be unfair rulings handed down by the court over theyears.They were originally scheduled to be tried in February 2010, but thattrial waspostponed because one judge was ill. (CHRD)[x]Hundredsof Shanghai Petitioners Detained in BeijingInterceptorsand police in Beijing rounded upapproximately 300 Shanghai petitioners in a series of raids on March 25and 26and forcibly returned some of them to Shanghai, CHRD has learned. Atthe timeof writing, no information about the whereabouts of these petitionersisavailable, though fellow petitioners believe they may be subjected todetentionin black jails or placed under “soft detention” at their homes inadvance ofthe 2010 World Expo. At the time of writing, 160 Shanghai petitionerswerereportedly being detained in a black jail near Beijing's South TrainStation. Themajority of those detained in Beijing began petitioning after losingtheirhomes or farmland to construction projects related to the World Expo.(CHRD)[xi]Petitioner-ActivistShen Peilan Administratively Detained, Allegedly Beaten in ShanghaiCHRDlearned on March 27 that Shanghai activist ShenPeilan (沈佩兰)has been placed under administrative detention inthe Minhang District Detention House in Shanghai. According to arecently-released detainee, Shen has been severely beaten whiledetained. The formerdetainee stated that Shen is being administratively detained for 10days, buther family has yet to receive any formal notice regarding herdetention. Shen,who was placed under "soft detention" earlier this month (see below),was taken away from her home on March 24; it is believed that herdetention ispart of a wider crackdown on veteran petitioners ahead of the 2010World Expo,which opens May 1 in Shanghai. (CHRD)[xii]HeilongjiangCourt Continues To Delay Appeal byImprisoned Activist Yuan XianchenOnMarch 25, CHRD spoke with the wife of imprisonedHeilongjiang human rights activist Yuan Xianchen (袁显臣),who stated that, more than a year after Yuan filed an appeal of hisconvictionfor "inciting subversion of state power," he has yet to be granted asecond hearing. Yuan's wife, along with lawyers Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵)and Li Fangping (李方平),have contacted the Heilongjiang High People'sCourt on numerous occasions regarding Yuan's appeal but have receivednoresponse. Yuan's wife told CHRD that she is concerned Yuan, who remainsdetained in JixiCity DetentionCenter, may be illindetention. Yuan, best known for providing legal aid to farmers, miners,andother impoverished or exploited citizens in Jixi City,was convicted of "inciting subversion" on March 4, 2009, andsentenced to four years in prison. (CHRD)[xiii]Tortureor Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentDetainedShanghai Activist Denied Family VisitsCHRDlearned on March 30 that relatives of Shanghaihousing rights activist Tong Guojing (童国菁)have been barred fromvisiting him since he was detained on February 8. Officials decided tosendTong to 18 months of Re-education through Labor on February 13;however,according to his wife, he has yet to be sent to an RTL camp and insteadremainsin the Longwu Road Detention Center in Xuhui District, Shanghai, inviolationof relevant regulations. His wife stated that family members haveapplied tovisit Tong on multiple occasions, but their requests have been rejectedeachtime. Tong, a veteran petitioner and advocate for other petitioners'rights,was criminally detained for a month during the 2008 Olympics forapplying tostage a protest in Beijing with other Shanghai petitioners, andrecentlybriefly detained in December 2009 for shouting slogans in support ofLiu Xioabo(刘晓波)outside of his trial in Beijing. (CHRD)[xiv]Harassmentof ActivistsBeijingActivist Qi Zhiyong Prevented from Meeting with German JournalistOnthe morning of March 25, National Securityofficers stopped Beijing activist Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇)at the gate of his residential compound as he walked his daughter toschool.According to Qi, he had earlier planned a meeting with a DeutschePresseAgentur journalist and fellow activists for the afternoon of the 25th,and theofficers sought to prevent him from speaking with the journalist.Policeremained outside of his home until 8 pm that evening. Qi, who lost aleg afterbeing shot in the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations on June 4,1989,was placed under "soft detention" during the annual meeting of theNationalPeople Congress earlier this month as well. (CHRD)[xv]BeijingOfficials Force AnhuiLaw Firm out of Chongwen DistrictOfficeCHRDlearned on March 25 that Beijing'sAnhui Law Firm has been forced outof its offices in Chongwen District after officials from the Bureau ofJusticeand the Public Security Bureau pressured its landlord not to renew thefirm'slease. Lawyer Tang Jitian (唐吉田)described the move asthe latest in a year-long effort by the authorities to retaliateagainst theAnhui Law Firm and put it out of business. The Bureau of Justice refused to pass the firm in the annualperformanceevaluation of the firm in May 2009. Most of the lawyers have since leftthefirm because it is not allowed to practice unless passed by the Bureau.Onlythree lawyers remain with the firm, out of an original staff of 25.Founded in2007, the firm dedicated itself to defending sensitive clients in humanrightscases, and, coupled with many lawyers' active support for directelections forthe leadership of the Beijing Lawyers' Association, has led Beijing judicialauthorities to decide onshutting down the law firm. (CHRD)[xvi]Policein Shanghai PlaceActivists Jin Yuehua and Shen Peilan under “Soft Detention”Shanghaipolice placed petitioner-activists JinYuehua (金月花)and Shen Peilan (沈佩兰)under “soft detention” beginning March 23, CHRD has learned. In aconversation onMarch 24, Jin told CHRD that she was not being allowed to leave herhome tovisit a doctor for blood tests. The individuals guarding her home didnot giveher a reason for the measure, she added. Later that day, a group ofMinhangDistrict Government officials arrived at Shen's home and attempted totake heraway. While it was later reported that Shen had indeed been detained,CHRD wasunable to independently verify this information, as phone calls to Shenand herhusband could not be connected. The authorities’ latest actions againstJin andShen are believed to be part of a wider crackdown on veteranpetitioners aheadof the Shanghai Expo. (CHRD)[xvii]Citizens’ActionsSupportersGather at Google Headquarters in Beijingto Commemorate Historic DecisionDozensof Beijingnetizens and activists gathered outside of Google’s Beijing offices on the evening ofMarch 23 incommemoration of Google's announcement that the company had stoppedcensoringresults on their Chinese search engine and were directing mainlandusers totheir Hong Kong-based site, google.com.hk. Netizens lit candles inactionsreminiscent of the displays of flowers first seen when Google announceditwould stop censoring its search results in early January 2010. Aswell-knownactivists, including Xu Zhiyong (许志永),Teng Biao (滕彪),Fan Yafeng (范亚峰)and others began to arrive after 9 pm,so too did an increased police presence. The gathering was dispersedaround 10pm. (CHRD)[xviii]EnvironmentalNGO Friends of Nature Issues Annual Report, Cites “Insufficient” EffortsOnMarch 19, Chinese environmental NGO Friends ofNature (自然之友)issued the 2010 edition of Green Book of Environment,their annualreport on environmental protection efforts in China. While notcurrentlyavailable for download, the table of contents can be viewed online here.Thereportincludes an analysis of localized health problems related to pollutionin thepast year: for example, the sickening of 200,000 in Jiangsubecause of contaminated drinking water, or outbreaks of lead poisoningamong 3,057adults and children in Fengxiang, Shaanxi, Wugang,Hunan and Jiyuan, Henan.The report concludes thatenvironmental protection efforts are insufficient to offset the effectsof China'srapiddevelopment. The group estimates that at least 2% of China'sGDP must be dedicated to environmental protection simply to prevent theoverallsituation from worsening; however, between 2001 and 2005, at its peak,spendingon environmental protection has not surpassed 1.4% of China'sGDP. Thegroup also points out that although China has many progressivelaws inplace to protect the environment, they are “mostly not complied with orimplemented.” (Friends of Nature)PublicLetter Calls on Citizens to Address Widespread Trafficking of UighurChildrenCHRDhas obtained a copy of a public letter by aUyghur writer identified as "The Poet Young Ai" (诗人小爱)calling for a coordinated effort by Chinese citizens to combat theproblem ofchild trafficking currently affecting Uyghur children in China.According tothe letter, there are more than 50,000 Uyghur children living on thestreetsacross the country who have been abducted by organized crimesyndicates. Theauthor writes that organized criminals coerce the children into a lifeof crimethrough violence and intimidation, and continue to abuse them as theyforcethem to commit illegal acts. The letter argues that the police haveturned ablind eye towards the plight of these children because of theirethnicity, thenoutlines the steps citizens can take to report sightings of Uyghurchildren whothey believe to have been abducted or trafficked, is available here(in Chinese). (Uyghur Online)Editors:Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang***CHRD’s Human Rights Yearbook 2009 is now available. For a free copy,pleasecontact us with your mailing address at crdnetwork@gmail.com. ***News updates fromCHRD ThrownOut: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development[i]"CCP 'Ministry of Truth' Issues Notice Restricting News on Google'sWithdrawal"(中共“真理部”发通知控制谷歌退信息),March28, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/03/201003282313.shtml[ii]"Rights Activist Xiao Qingshan Taken Away for Protesting Corruption"(维权人士肖青山抗议腐败被带走(图)), March 30, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/03/201003302111.shtml[iii]"Sunshine Charity Volunteer Han Hongbu Kidna

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
View latest posts
0 comments