China Human Rights Briefing August 29-September 6, 2011

Highlights

  • Yao Life Closely Monitored Back in Hometown: Democracy rights activist Yao Lifa (姚立法), from Qianjiang City, Hubei Province, was returned this week to his home after an incommunicado detention, but is being restricted in movement and closely monitored. Yao, who has encouraged and assisted others to follow his example to run as independent candidates for local People’s Congress elections, has been frequently detained and subjected to increased harassment as elections for these congresses, which are held every five years, are scheduled to take place across China in 2011 and 2012.
  • CHRD Releases Letter on Criminal Procedure Reforms: CHRD has released an open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress about the draft amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law. The letter points out serious deficiencies in several areas of human rights and offers recommendations that would ensure greater protections for criminal suspects.

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

CaseAgainst Harbin Netizen Liang HaiyiReportedly Transferred to Court

HarassmentofActivists

LocalNPCElection Watch

SpecialNotice

ArbitraryDetentionUpdates onDetentions and DisappearancesRelated to the “Jasmine Revolution” CrackdownCase AgainstHarbin Netizen Liang HaiyiReportedly Transferred to Court

CHRDhas learnedthat the case against Liang Haiyi (梁海怡, aka Miaoxiao [渺小]), a netizenbased in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, who wascriminally detained for“inciting subversion of state power” in February, hasbeen transferred to acourt. Human rights lawyer Wu Zhenqi (吴镇琦) learned thisinformation from a police officer when he himself wasbeing held overnight inHarbin on August 19 as authorities were obstructinghis work on another case.Wu told the officer that he was willing to defendLiang, who is now being heldat the Harbin Women’s Prison, but the officer claimedshe already has anattorney. The date of Liang’s trial is unclear. Verylittle information abouther case and circumstances has been known since shewas taken away forquestioning on February 20 and detained two dayslater, though authorities havereportedly pushed her to sign a confession, and shehas refused. Police tookLiang into custody for allegedly “posting informationfrom foreign websitesregarding ‘Jasmine Revolution’ actions on domesticwebsites” such as QQ, theChinese social networking site. (CHRD)[i]

AilingYao Lifa’s Movement Restricted Back in Hometown,Official IssuesDemands

Yao Lifa (姚立法), a democracy rightsactivist from Qianjiang City, HubeiProvince, is havinghis movement restricted and beingclosely monitored after being brought back home onSeptember 4 following amonth-long detention during which his physical healthdeclined. On September 5,more than 10 individuals from the school where he works took him from hishome as he was preparing to go to ahospital with his wife for a medical examination. Hehas since been held fromthe early morning each day in the office of theschool’s vice-principal, andthen driven back home at night. Many police officersremain stationed outsidehis home. A high-ranking official has reportedlypresented demands to Yao—thathe leaves Qianjiang, not giveinterviews to foreign journalists norallow them into his home, not instruct citizens aboutparticipatinginelections,and not “incite the masses totry to topple the political powerstructure.”

 

Yao,who initially went missing onJune 20, is suffering from serious medical conditions,including the effects oftwo broken wrists and spinalfractures sustained when he jumped out of a buildingin Qianjiang on July 4 toescape an enforced disappearance. On August 6,Qianjiang Public Security Bureauofficers seized Yao in Beijing, and held him inincommunicado detention inseveral locations in Qianjiang until this week. Yaoendured poor conditions suchas inadequate food and unhygienic detention facilitieswhile he was held by theofficers, who only took him to a hospital on September2. (CHRD)[ii]

ShandongAuthorities Hold Petitioner in Four Black Jails

Localauthorities have held petitioner GuoNana (郭娜娜), of Shan County,Shandong Province, ina total of four black jails since police took her andfive other petitionersinto custody on August 19 in Beijing. After localinterceptors brought thepetitioners back to Shan County, they were firstdetained at an armory base andmonitored by personnel from the Nancheng SubdistrictOffice. After thepetitioners’ fate was revealed, the office personnelon August 22 transferredGuo and another petitioner to a factory warehouse inHuanggang Town, while theother petitioners were taken to Heze City to continuetheir detention. OnAugust 26, Guo was transferred to a black jail in QiliVillage in Shan County,and allegedly was still being held for refusing tosign a guarantee to stoppetitioning. On August 29, Guo was then taken to aguesthouse located in Shan. Thepetitioners had gone to the capital on August 12 afterthe violent demolitionsof their homes, and were reportedly taken into custodyfor allegedly“contacting websites run by hostile foreign elements.”(CHRD)[iii]

Henan PetitionerIllegally Detained, Tortured

CHRDlearned onAugust 30 that petitioner Wang Qunfeng (王群凤), from LushiCounty, Sanmenxia City, Henan Province, has beenillegally detained andtortured for petitioning in Beijing. On August 25,Wang was taking a walk atTiananmen Square when she was seized by Beijingpolice, who sent her toJiujingzhuang, a black jail in Beijing. Wang was thenforcibly sent back toLushi County, where she has been detained in LushiDetention Center. Lushiofficials told the family that she will serve a 10-dayadministrative detentionfor “disrupting social and public order” in Beijing.According to Chinese law,such a punishment should only be issued in the localewhere the violation wascommitted, and by authorities above the county level,and not by Lushiofficials. When Wang’s family recently saw her, shetold them she had beatenand deprived of food and water while being returned toLushi by thugs allegedlyhired by the local government. Wang startedpetitioning when the medicalexpenses of her father, a former cadre, were notproperly reimbursed by thegovernment, and her actions have led to violentretaliation from localofficials. (CHRD)[iv]

Xinjiang PetitionerFreed Early FromRTL, Had Signed Agreement to Stop Petitioning

CHRDhas learnedthat Feng Yongji (冯永记), a petitionerfrom Shihezi City, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,was released nine monthsearly from a Re-education Through Labor (RTL) camp inexchange for signing aletter agreeing that she would stop petitioning. Fengwas released nearly amonth ago, and her health had deteriorated indetention, where she could notreceive adequate medical treatment, particularly for aback injury sustainedfrom a beating by Shihezi officials. Feng hasindicated that despite beingreleased, she still must report to the local publicsecurity bureau, is beingclosely monitored, and has been warned not to contactthe outside world. In Mayof 2010, Feng was sent to two years of RTL for“disrupting work unit order” byShihezi officials after she was forcibly returned homefrom Shanghai, where shehad gone to visit the Shanghai World Expo. Feng beganpetitioning in 2007 aftera court in Xinjiang sentenced her husband to nineyears in prison and seizedher property. (CHRD)[v]

WuhanCourt Yet to Issue VerdictAfter April Trial, Suspect Still Held

Thefirst-instance trial of Li Tie (李铁), adissident from Wuhan City, HubeiProvince suspected of “subversion of state power,”concluded on April 18, but averdict has still not been issued andLi remains in detention. Accordingto the relevant Chinese law, the court has a maximumof two-and-a-half monthsto issue a verdict after it accepts a case. Lastweek, his family members twice went to the Wuhan CityIntermediate People’sCourt to ask about the case, but a judge only advisedthe family to petitionabout the matter at a local letters and visitsoffice. The attorney who policeassigned to Li is apparently unaware of any casedevelopments. (Li’s family hadoriginally hired lawyer Jin Guanghong [金光鸿] to representLi, but Jin was never allowed to meet with his clientand went missing justbefore the trial.) Prosecutors had called for a10-year sentence for Li,accusing him of writing articles attacking thegovernment, joining online reactionarydiscussion sites, and giving reactionary speeches. Liwas initially detained inSeptember of 2010 and formally arrested that November.He has written manyonline articles about democracy and constitutionalgovernment, and alsoorganized activities to honor the memory of dissidentLin Zhao (林昭). (CHRD)[vi]

Henan OfficialsIllegally Detain IllFarmer, Prevent Lawyer Visits

Officialsin Shangcheng County, Henan Province have preventeda lawyer from visiting with HongMaoxuan(洪茂轩), afarmer detained and arrested inearly August for “obstructing official business.”The charges, however, stemfrom Hong’s efforts nearly a decade ago to exposeofficial corruption, and thusshould fall beyond the statute of limitations forprosecution. His family fearsthat Hong is perhaps being tortured to the pointwhere his life is at risk.Hong’s attorney, Wang Quanzhang (王全章), wastwice unable to get permissionto see his client, first on August 31 at theShangcheng Detention Center, whereHong is currently held, and then the next day, whenWang went with Hong’sfamily members to the county public security bureau.In detention, Hong has sufferedfrom painful kidney stones attacks, which also haveled to swelling in hislegs, vomiting, nausea, urinary problems, anddifficulty eating, and he haslost 40 kilograms in recent weeks. After seeing Hongin mid-August, Wangunsuccessfully applied for him to be released onmedical parole. SomeShangcheng residents feel that Hong, a popular localleader, was detainedbecause he preparing to run in a People’s Congresselection. Hong was detainedon August 4 and formally arrested on August 8.(CHRD)[vii]

Harassment ofActivists Beijing PoliceHeighten Surveillance,Limitations on Dissidents’ Freedom

SinceAugust 30,a number of Beijing dissidents have been subject tolimitations on theirfreedom of movement, increased police monitoring andramped up surveillance.Though the reasons for the heightened police activityare not completely clear,it is believed to be related to visits or eventsinvolving foreign governments.According to individuals who have been affected (notedbelow), the PhilippinePresident’s visit to Beijing, the International BookFair, and the visit by adelegation of the European Parliament could likelyhave triggered the authorities’actions. Zhang Zuhua (张祖桦), aconstitutional scholar, has had police officersstationed outside the entranceto the floor of his residence, and police have alsoincreased their presenceand monitoring in the downstairs lobby and parkinggarage. Dissidents He Depu (何德普), ZhaJianguo (查建国), and GaoHongming (高洪明), as well as writer Liu Di (刘荻), have been held undersoft detention intheir homes. (CHRD)[viii]

Urumqi Police TakeAway, Beat Activist AroundChina-Eurasia Expo

OnAugust 30, Zhang Haitao (张海涛), a rightsdefender from Urumqi City, Xinjiang Uyghur AutonomousRegion, was dragged off,beaten, and threatened by police on the eve of theChina-Eurasia Expo, which washeld in the city in the first week of September. Zhangwas abducted around theentrance to the Xinshi District government building bytwo plainclothesofficers responsible for monitoring him since August29. He was taken to anearby construction site, where he was roughly handledand his cell phonesnatched away. Zhang was then taken to the ZhongyaSouth Road Police Station,where he was locked up and beaten. A national securityofficer warned Zhangthat he should remain close to his home and not gonear the Expo’s venue. Aftermore than three hours, Zhang was let go and also gotback his cell phone, butthe content had been erased. Zhang believes he wasassaulted due to hisrepeated complaints that law-enforcement personnelviolently beat him over ayear ago, to which authorities have not responded.(CHRD)[ix]

LocalNPC Election WatchJiangxi AuthoritiesDetain Independent Candidates

CHRDhas learned that three independent People’s Congresscandidates in Xinyu City,Jiangxi Province—Liu Ping (刘萍), LiSihua (李思华), and WeiZhongping (魏忠平)—were recentlydetainedin locations outside their homes. Liu believesauthorities held the candidatesin order to prevent a foreign journalist frominterviewing them. Liu indicatedthat, on September 1, personnel from the securitydivision of the Xinyu Ironand Steel Company, Liu’s former employer, took her toa hostel in the ruraloutskirts of Xinyu, where she was held by 20personnel, and seven were stillmonitoring her the next day. Those holding Liu agreedto take her back home,but it was unclear if they would keep restricting hermovement. Liu noted thatthis was the third time in the past month that she’sbeen subjected to suchtreatment. According to Liu, Li Sihua had been takento Jinggang Mountain to“receive education,” while Wei Zhongping was held inthe Yuanhe Hotel locatedat the Xinyu Iron and Steel Company. (CHRD)[x]

Special NoticeCHRDIssues Open Letter to NPC on Draft Amendmentsto Criminal Procedure Law

OnSeptember 2, CHRD released an open letter to the StandingCommittee of the National People’s Congress (NPC)following the August 30publishing of draft amendments to the CriminalProcedure Law. The letter points out seriousdeficiencies in the revisions thatexpand police powers and threaten the rights ofsuspects, including:

  • restricting access to legal counsel so that lawyers are required to seek police permission to have access to their clients in certain types of cases;
  •   expanding police powers to detain citizens so that police are not required to notify a suspect’s family within 24 hours if the suspect is accused of certain crimes or if their family “cannot be contacted”;
  •  introducing investigative techniques such as wiretapping for crimes that “pose serious harm to society”; and
  •  allowing police to appoint anyone to carry out secret investigations on suspects.

CHRD’sletteralso provides recommendations that would ensuregreater human rightsprotections for suspects, which include unrestrictedaccess to lawyers, notificationof families of suspects in all cases, and ratificationof the InternationalConvention for the Protection of All Persons fromEnforced Disappearance.(CHRD)[xi]

CHRD ProducesReport on Equal Education Rights for VulnerableChildren

OnSeptember 1,CHRD released a report analyzing the state ofeducation equality in China,focusing on three vulnerable groups of children: thosewho accompany migrantworkers, those whose parents are involved inpetitioning, and children whoseparents are serving either criminal sentences orRe-education through Laborpunishments. Read the full report in Chinese here. (CHRD)[xii]

Editors of thisissue: Victor Clemens and Songlian Wang

Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnet

Joinus onFacebook: CHRDnet (NEW!)

 

News updatesfrom CHRD

[i] “Liang Haiyi‘Inciting Subversion’ Case Has Been Transferred toCourt,” (梁海怡“煽动颠覆国家政权”案已移交到法院), August 30,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_1515.html; “HarbinNetizen Liang Haiyi in Custody Over Five Months,” (哈尔滨网民梁海怡被羁押逾5个月),August 3,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/5.html

[ii]“Adventuresof Elections Expert Yao Lifa, Part II,” (秦永敏:选举专家姚立法历险记之二),September 6, 2011, http://rightscampaign.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_6939.html; “Elections Expert Yao LifaIll, Again Disappeared,” (选举专家姚立法病痛中被带走再次失踪),September 5, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_7769.html;“Elections Expert, Missing for Many Days, IsReleased With Severe Illnesses,”(失踪多日的选举专家姚立法病重获释),September 4, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_2851.html;  “Details of Surveillance ofElections ExpertYao Lifa,” (选举专家姚立法被监禁期间详情),September 4, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_7674.html;“FengLing Uncovers Nothing at Police Station, Yao Lifa’sWhereabouts Still Unknown,”(秦永敏:冯玲找派出所无果 姚立法仍无下落),August8, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_323.html; “YaoLifa’s Lower Back Severely Injured, No Informationfor Over 50 Hours SinceBeing Taken Away,” (姚立法腰部严重受伤,被带走逾50个小时没消息),August7, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/50.html; “UrgentAttention:Elections Expert Yao Lifa Seized in Beijing,” (紧急关注:选举专家姚立法在北京被抓),August6, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_3525.html 

[iii] “Danxian CountyGovernment Operates Black Jails; Worrying Situationof Guo Nana, Victim ofEviction and Demolition,” (单县政府多处设黑监 狱,拆迁受害人郭娜处境堪忧), September 1,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_4610.html; “DanxianCounty Petitioner Guo Nana, Others Seized in Beijingfor Contacting ‘Hostile’Websites,” (因与“敌对”网站联系,单县郭娜娜等在京被 抓),August 19, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_3791.html

[iv] “HenanPetitioner Wang Qunfeng Sent Back Home, IllegallyDetained,” (河南访民王群 凤被押回地方非法关押), August 30, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_7648.html; “HenanPetitioner Wang Qunfeng Missing After Being Held inJiujingzhuang,” (河南访民王群 凤关久敬庄后失踪), August 28, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_28.html

[v] “XinjiangPetitioner Feng Yongji Released From RTL After BeingForced to Sign Letter ofGuarantee,” (新疆访民冯永 记被逼写保证书后从劳教所获释), August 30, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_30.html; “XinjiangPetitioner Feng Yongji Again Sent to RTL After BeingBeaten” (新疆访民冯永 记再次被毒打后劳教两年), May 13, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201005/20100513215809_21194.html

[vi] “Trialof Wuhan’s Li Tie, Suspected of‘Subversion,’ Yields No Result After 4 ½ Months,”(武汉李铁涉嫌“颠覆国家政权案”开庭四个半月无果), September 2,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_02.html; “TrialBegins in Li Tie Case, Prosecutors Propose Sentenceof 10 Years” (李铁案开庭,检控方建议判刑10年),April 17, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/10.html

[vii] “Rural LeaderHong Maoxuan Arrested for ‘Obstructing OfficialBusiness,’ Lawyer Is RefusedVisitation,” (农民领袖洪茂轩被以“妨害公务罪”逮捕,律师会见遭拒), September 1,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_5203.html

[viii] “SeveralBeijing Dissidents Have Personal Freedom Limited,” (北京多位异议人士被限 制人身自由),August 31, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_5658.html 

[ix] “RightsDefender Kidnapped, Beaten Downtown on Eve of Urumqi‘China-Eurasia Expo’,” (乌鲁木齐&#2

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