China Human Rights Briefing August 24-30, 2012
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment & Punishment
Shandong Man Forcibly Held in Psychiatric Hospital, More Such Revelations in CHRD Report
A man from Shandong Province has been held in a psychiatric hospital for more than three months after trying to expose police misconduct that occurred during a land reclamation project, highlighting the very human rights abuses that CHRD explores in its new report on involuntary psychiatric commitment. According to his father, Zhang Jun (张军), who began petitioning over a lost job, had posted online information and images revealing brutal actions by police during a violent land seizure by authorities in Jining City. In retaliation, he was first administratively detained, and police then forcibly took him away from Jining in April. Feeling pressure from authorities, Zhang’s father maintains that the family signed a document under duress committing Zhang to a psychiatric hospital, and that he has now been held incommunicado there since early May. Reportedly, Zhang has been forced to take medication while police have been paying incurred costs to the institution in order to keep him locked up.
Forced Eviction & Demolition/Land Expropriation
Several Detained as Land Conflict Poses Guangdong Villagers Against Officials, Police
Many villagers in Guangdong Province were beaten and seven criminally detained after confronting officials over a development plan and clashing with riot police, with the conflict resembling the headline-grabbing standoff over a land grab that occurred in the province’s Wukan Village in December. Reportedly, hundreds of Zuotan Village residents gathered on June 25 after they learned that, without any advanced notice, their farmland had been re-zoned and rented out as commercial land that will be developed later this year. Irate villagers gathered outside the location where village representatives had asked local cadres and village committee members to explain the matter, and villagers then demanded that the committee members step down and for several hours confronted officials and blocked their vehicles. More than 400 riot police eventually arrived to try to disperse the crowd. Officers indiscriminately beat residents, and enraged villagers fought back by throwing bricks and overturning a police car. Besides injuries suffered by villagers, seven individuals were criminally detained—six for “destroying public property” and one on a charge of “obstructing official business.”
Freedom of Expression
Gansu Court to Try Man for “Inciting Subversion” Over Blog Posts
A court in Gansu Province will try a Lanzhou City resident on September 4 for “inciting subversion of state power” for posting allegedly provocative material about China’s political situation on his blog. According to a procuratorate’s indictment, the charges against Chen Pingfu (陈平福) stem from content of more than 30 articles, including some stating that Marxism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and other ideas propagated by the Communist Party do not benefit Chinese society. Chen’s writings also call for democratic reforms while criticizing the Party for oppressing Chinese citizens and preventing poor people from earning a living. The majority of the articles cited in the indictment remain on Chen’s blog at the time of writing.
Freedom of Religion
Christian Student Secretly Detained on “Cult” Charges
For the past three weeks, authorities in Inner Mongolia have detained a university student in an undisclosed location on suspicion of “using a cult to undermine implementation of the law” and also are holding several other local Christians. From June, Liu Di (刘迪), a devoutly Christian 23-year-old student at a traditional Chinese medical school, had taken part in an activity offering free medical services in UlanhotCity while on summer break. During that time, she reportedly came into contact with other Christians and occasionally preached with them, and was then taken into custody on August 2.
Law & Policy Watch
Supreme People’s Court Proposal: Give Courts Power to Punish Defense Lawyers
The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has proposed an extensive interpretation of the revised Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), with one provision attracting particular controversy as it would give local courts power to discipline lawyers by suspending them from court hearings for up to one year, according to an article published in official Chinese media. Such power would far overstep the authority of courts as set out by both the revised CPL and the Lawyers Law. The revised CPL, which will come into effect in January 2013, states that courts can only punish lawyers who “violate court order” by removing them from the courtroom and fining and detaining them for serious violations, while the Lawyers Law allows only bureaus of justice to suspend a lawyer’s practice. Another provision in SPC’s draft interpretation that lawyers have criticized would prohibit lawyers from using electronic technologies in court to report on proceedings. Reportedly drafted after CPL revisions were approved in March, the SPC’s proposal was leaked online after it was circulated on July 30 to courts nationwide for comments. Lawyers who have spoken out against the far-reaching proposed change have also criticized the SPC for not making the draft available for public comment, unlike the process followed in the past year with the CPL.
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian
 “Supreme People’s Court Proposal for Courts to Directly Punish Lawyers Attracts Ire” (最高法拟规定法院可直接惩戒律师引热议), August 24, 2012, Xinhua; “Courts Directly Punishing Lawyers Drives Fears of ‘Lawyers Law’ Violations” (法院直接处罚律师恐有违《律师法》), August 25, 2012, Beijing News
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