China Human Rights Briefing Ist February  2010

Headlines

Harassmentof Activists

Beijing Dissidents Cha Jianguo and GaoHongming Subjected to Soft Detention

Beijing dissidents Cha Jianguo (查建国) andGao Hongming (高洪明)have been subjected to “soft detention” since January 29 and January27,respectively. Cha and Gao have been guarded by policemen stationed attheirapartment blocks. Though they are allowed to leave their homes, theyare asked totravel in police vehicles. The policemen’s only explanation was thatthey wereunder orders from higher authorities. As a result, Cha and Gao werepreventedfrom attending a meeting of fellow dissidents in Beijing. Cha and Gao helped found theChinaDemocracy Party in 1998 and were subsequently jailed on subversionchargesuntil 2008 and 2007, respectively. (CHRD)[i]

ForcedEviction and Demolition

SixInjured in Clash between Developer and Landholders in Guangxi

On January 27, security personnel employed byGuangxi Jiahe Development Group, a real estate developer, wereapproached byHuang Jianxian (黄建先), a 76-year-old man, as they were strippingaway electric cables at Jiuquwan Farm, Santang Town, Xingning District,Nanning,Guangxi. After Huang questioned them about their actions, the securitypersonnel, who were armed with clubs and shields, struck and injuredhim. Agroup of local residents rushed to his aid. Policemen from SantangPoliceStation were called but did not arrive until an hour later, by whichtime five residentswere injured in the ensuing struggle. Later, about 200 Jiuquwanresidentsdemonstrated outside of the Jiahe Group building. They were dispersedby abouta hundred Santang policemen and officials who arrived at the scene, andthreewere taken into custody.

Huang’s family told CHRD that Huang, who isuneducated, signed a contract to sell his two acres of land to theJiahe Groupwithout being told the full extent of the deal. The contract will leaveHuangwith RMB 50,000 in compensation without arrangement for accommodation.  Huang refuses to move from his land or takeany compensation from Jiahe Group, which has since filed a lawsuitaccusing himof not fulfilling the contract and harassed him and a number of elderlyresidents of similar situation.  (CHRD)[ii]

Law andPolicy Watch

Draftof New Regulations Regarding Forced Evictions Released

On January 29, theChinese government released a draft of the new Regulations forExpropriationand Compensation of Residential Buildings on State-owned Land (国有土地上房屋征收与补偿条例) for public comment.  Theseregulations are designed to replace theUrban Housing Demolition and Relocation Management Regulations, theadministrative guidelines which currently stipulate the necessaryproceduresfor demolishing urban properties and forcibly evicting residents. Amongthenotable inclusions in these proposed regulations are: they stress thatforcedevictions can only be carried out in the “public interest,” a term notused inthe Demolition Regulations, and outline seven areas of “publicinterest.” Theystipulate that homeowners should be compensated for the market value oftheirhomes as determined by “independent” property appraisers. They alsostipulatethat the persons affected by the eviction, the public and experts beconsultedprior to the decision to expropriate the homes. For the full text (inChinese),please click here.  Input from the public is being accepted untilFebruary 12, 2010. (Xinhua )

While the abolitionof the Demolition Regulations has been urgently needed, and thatcertainaspects of the draft regulations are encouraging, the new regulationshave manyflaws. For example, the seven areas of public interest are vague andbroad, andcould still potentially encompass commercial real estate development.The newregulations also do not give people being forced to relocate the optionofstopping the process while disputes are resolved, keeping them in aposition oflimited bargaining power with developers. CHRD also believes thatadministrativereform alone will not solve the problems stemming from forcedevictions. Fordetails about the practice and problems of forced evictions, please seeCHRD’supcoming report, ThrownOut: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development, to be released on February 9.

Revision of Administrative Reconsideration Law tobe on State Council’s Legislative Agenda this Year

According to LegalDaily, a revision of Administrative Reconsideration Law will be ontheState Council’s legislative agenda this year. The current law still has the following problems: first, the relationship between administrativereconsideration and other systems of remedies, that is, administrativelitigation lawsuits and Letters and Visits, is unclear  Second,on the municipal and county level,where many cases of administrative reconsideration are focused, thehandling ofsuch cases have not been satisfactory. Third, some leaders at the locallevel arenot familiar with the issue of administrative reconsideration and theyhave notdevoted adequate time to this area. Fourth, agencies in charge of administrative reconsiderationremain negative,often rejecting cases crucial to the people’s welfare, such as casesregardingland expropriation, compensation, etc. (Legal Daily)[iii]

As the organsresponsible for administrative reconsideration are also administrativeagenciesand therefore tend to take orders from leaders in the local government,thereis little hope that revision to the law will bring about substantivechange.Currently, administrative reconsideration is no more than a formalityand doesnot rein in the power of the local government nor protect the people’srights.

Editors: Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang

News updates from CHRD: http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class9/Class10/Index.html

Reining in Civil Society: The Chinesegovernment’s use of laws and regulations to persecute freedom ofassociation http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200908/20090810214902_16733.html

CHRD Yearbook 2007-2008: http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200808/20080807093200_9888.html

[i]“BeijingDissidents Cha Jianguo and Gao Hongming’s Movement Restricted” (北京异议人士查建国、高洪明被限制自), January31, 2010, http://crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201001/20100131194002_19711.html

[ii]“Conflictbetween Developer and Landholders in Nanning, Guangxi, Led to Injuries”(广西南宁开发商与钉子户冲突数人受), January30, 2010, http://crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201001/20100130225409_19704.html

[iii]“Revisionof Administrative Reconsideration Law to beon State Council’s Legislative Agenda this Year” (行政复议法修订列入今年国务院立法计划),January 27, 2010, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/bm/content/2010-01/27/content_2037766.htm?node=20734

 Source: CHRD

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