China Human Rights Briefing July 7-12, 2011

 Highlights

  • Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown: On June 18, the case against Beijing-based rights activist Wang Lihong (王荔蕻), for “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic order,” was transferred to the procuratorate. Wang was detained on March 21 and arrested on April 21, and her case is likely tied to the gathering of a crowd that voiced support outside the courthouse when the “Fujian Three” netizens’ were sentenced over a year ago.
  • Gao Zhisheng’s Brother: No Official Information in 15 Months: Gao Zhiyi (高智义), the elder brother of disappeared lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), recently told CHRD of his unsuccessful attempts over the past 15 months to find out from authorities the whereabouts of his brother.

ContentsArbitraryDetention

EnforcedDisappearance

Harassmentof Human Rights Lawyers

Tortureand Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment andPunishment

Arbitrary Detention Updates on Detentionsand Disappearances Related to the “JasmineRevolution” Crackdown OnJune 18, the case against Wang Lihong (王荔蕻), a Beijing-based human rights activist, forallegedly “gatheringa crowd to disrupt traffic order” (聚众扰乱交通秩序) was transferred to the procuratorate for review forprosecution. Lawyer Han Yicun (韩一村) recently went to the ChaoyangDistrict Detention Center to meet with her because Wang’s lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), has not yet been able toget his lawyer’s license renewed and thus is unable toreview the case files or see Wang (see story below).After Han met Wang, he stated that Wang’s health andspirits were better than the previous time they hadmet. He also said that Wang told him the food in thedetention center was sufficient, and that the guardshad not insulted or beaten her. Han described Wang asoptimistic, cool, and calm, and said that she wantsher son to take good care of his own life andsituation.  Wang’s case has been withthe procuratorate for almost a month. Liu Xiaoyuanthinks that there should be some news around July19. In any event, either the procuratorate willdecide to indict and transfer the case to court, orit could send the case back to public security forfurther investigation if it deems the evidence to beinsufficient. Han Yicun also mentioned that it’spossible that Wang could be released at any point. An active voice for rights defense cases since 2008, Wang Lihong was criminally detained for“creating a disturbance” (寻衅滋事)on March 21 ofthis year, and formally arrested on April 21. Thecharge against her was later changed to “assembling acrowd to disrupt traffic order,” and is believed to stem from thegathering of a crowd who, along with Wang, put on avocal show of support outside the “Fujian Three”netizens’ sentencing hearing on April 16, 2010. On May13 of this year, Liu Xiaoyuan applied for her releaseon bail to await trial, but the request was rejected.(CHRD)[i]JinanPetitioner Sent to 21 Months of RTL, Had FiledSuit in 2010 Challenging Black Jail Detention Li Hongwei (李红卫), apetitioner from Jinan City, Shandong Province, whofiled a landmark lawsuit against the Lixia Districtgovernment for illegally detaining her in a blackjail for 17 days in 2010, was ordered on July 11 toserve 21 months of Re-education through Labor (RTL).Li has been petitioning about the forced demolitionof her home since 2007, and has made numerous tripsto Beijing to seek redress, all without success. The Lixia District PublicSecurity Bureau issued a notice summoning Li toappear at the Dongguan Police Station on the morningof July 11, 2011. The notice stated that she wasbeing called in on suspicion of “disrupting publicorder” (扰乱公共秩序). At 6 p.m. that evening,the Jinan Municipal RTL Management Committee issuedits decision, referencing incidents on January 16and February 6 when Li allegedly spoke out publiclyin Hero Mountain Square against the Chinesegovernment, Communist Party leaders, and thesocialist system. The decision accused her of“endangering state security” and “incitingsubversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权) (without expressly claiming that she hadcommitted the crime of incitement). It is believed Li has beensent to RTL in retaliation for the lawsuit she filedlast fall against the Lixia District governmentchallenging the legality of her past detention in ablack jail. Li’s lawsuit was one of the first blackjail-related suits to be accepted and heard by aChinese court, though the court eventually rejectedthe lawsuit after several hearings. (CHRD)[ii]EnforcedDisappearanceBrother of Gao Zhisheng:Authorities Offer No Information During 15-MonthDisappearanceIt has been 15 months since rights defenselawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) was last heard from. Gao’selder brother, Gao Zhiyi (高智义), told CHRD that he has notbeen able to obtain any information about Gao from theauthorities since Gao went missing in April 2010,despite repeated efforts to find out what has happenedto him. Gao Zhiyi said that he has called the sectionchief responsible for handling the guarding andsurveillance of Gao Zhisheng several times to ask forinformation about his brother. The chief alwaysresponds that he doesn’t know where Gao is, and onoccasion he has even suggested that Gao may havedisappeared on his own. When Gao Zhiyi told the chiefthat he was thinking about coming to Bejing during theannual “Two Meetings” this past March, the chief saidthat he would tell him Gao Zhisheng’s whereabouts oncethe sessions were over. But when Gao Zhiyi calledafter their conclusion, the chief once again said thathe didn’t know where his brother was. Gao Zhiyi saidthat it is unacceptable for the government not toinform the family of Gao Zhisheng’s whereabouts for 15months, and that if his brother is not released onAugust 14, the date when Gao’s probation related tohis 2006 conviction for “inciting subversion of statepower” is setto expire, he will do whatever it takes to obtain anexplanation. Gao Zhisheng was taken into custody on August15, 2006, after working on many sensitive rights casesas well as exposing abuses suffered by Falun Gongpractitioners. On December 22 of that year, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court convicted Gao of “inciting subversion” andsentenced him to a three-year prison term, which wasimmediately commuted to five years’ probation. Afterhis release, Gao and his family were subjected toconstant monitoring and harassment. In 2007, Gao wasdisappeared for over 50 days and tortured. In February2009, he disappeared again for over a year. When Gaore-appeared briefly in late March 2010, he spoke ofthe cruel treatment he had been subjected to while insecret detention, and then he went missing again inApril 2010. (CHRD)[iii]Harassment of Human Rights Lawyers LiuXiaoyuan’s Law Firm Facing Difficulties inAnnual “Assessment and Registration” ProcessTheQijian Law Firm(旗鉴律师事务所), where Beijing-based humanrights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) works, is facing several obstaclesin getting its license renewed even though Qijian went through therequired annual assessment and paid the necessary feesin mid-June, and the online system run by the relevantauthorities showed that the firm has met all therequirements. However, officials from the ChaoyangDistrict and the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureaushave not provided the official stamp on the documentsnecessary for signing off on the assessment proceduresfor the firm, which effectively puts on hold thelicenses of all the firm’s lawyers.Liu has indicated that he believes his license to practice law will likely be revoked aftertwo tense visits this week with officials at the Beijing Justice Bureau’sLawyers’ Management Department, whom he sought out toexpress concerns about the delay ofapproval of Qijian’s license. During the July 5 meeting,one official brought up that Liu had “hyped up” the Yang Jia (杨佳) case three years ago—Yang wasexecuted for killing six police officers inShanghai—and that he had acted similarly with the caseof He Shengkai (何胜凯), who was executed on July 8 for killing a bailiff. This officialalso expressed irritation that Liu’s blog had won a “foreign award.”Furthermore, a department chief surnamed Zhu advised Liu that he should just “quietly amass a fortune.”On July 7, when Liu returned to the Lawyers’Management Department, he said that the deputydirector, Lei Chai (柴磊), was very rude to him, and the two exchangedheated words. Another staff member, ChenYinghui (陈滢辉), even tried to hit Liu, and had to be restrained byother employees.Liu wrote on his Twitter account that when his rights were seriously violated, the Justice Bureau never complied with provisions in theLawyers’ Law to protect him, but instead used the toolof the “annual assessment” to get rid of him, “a disobedient lawyer.” Liualso wrote that “after lawyers Tang Jitian (唐吉田) and Liu Wei (刘巍) were disbarred last year, this year is perhaps my turn.” Liu was one of many lawyers targeted during theJasmine Revolution crackdown. He went missing between April 14 and 19after indicating he was willing to defend his friendAi Weiwei, the artist and activist who had gonemissing on April 3. After Liu reappeared, he told TheGuardian that he did not want to providedetails about what had happened to him during hisdisappearance. (CHRD)[iv]Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, orDegrading Treatment and PunishmentShanxi PetitionerTortured During 15-Day DetentionOn July 11, CHRD learned that ChengShumin (程淑敏), a petitioner from DatongCity, Shanxi Province, who has been petitioning forthe past eight years over the violent demolition ofher house, was recently arbitrarily detained for 15days, beaten and tortured. On May 26, Cheng traveled toBeijing to petition, but she was forcibly returned toDatong by three interceptors who had been dispatchedby the secretary of Xinjian North Road SubdistrictOffice. After reaching Datong, Cheng was placed underthe control of more than 20 plainclothes officers fromthe Xinjian North Road Police Station, who took her tothe Kuang District Detention House. Unconscious uponarrival, Cheng awoke to find herself on a “tigerbench,” an instrument of torture.* When Cheng regainedconsciousness, other detainees in the same room toldCheng that she had already been there for three days.Cheng informed CHRD of injuries she hadsuffered, including a large bump on her forehead, ablot clot around her right eye, and bruises to herarms and legs. Though Cheng could not remember how shereceived these injuries, she sustained them during thetime she was in the custody of officers from theCriminal Police Unit of the Cheng District branchunder the Datong Public Security Bureau while theyheld her in the detention house for 15 days. (CHRD)[v] Editors of this issue: Victor Clemens andTanya Wang  Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnet Join us on Facebook: CHRDnet (NEW!)Newsupdates from CHRD [i] “Wang Lihong CaseTransferred to Procuratorate, Attorneys DiscussPossible Outcomes,” (王荔蕻案移交检察院,律师谈可能 出现的结果), July 11, 2011http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_2107.html?spref=tw; “Wang Lihong’s LawyerApplies for Her Release on Bail to Await Trial, isRejected” (王荔蕻的律师为其申请取 保候审被拒), May 20, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-post_7307.html; Individuals Affected bythe Crackdown Following Call for “JasmineRevolution,” July 12, 2011 (updated), http://chrdnet.org/2011/04/15/jasmine_crackdown/ [ii] “LiHongwei Sent to RTL, Had Sued Over Detention in Jinan Black Jail,” (曾经起诉济南 黑监狱的李红卫被劳教), July 11,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_3395.html; “Petitioner Li HongweiGiven 1 Year, 9 Months in RTL,” (孙文广:访民李红卫 被劳教1年9个月), July 11, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/19.html; “Third Hearing in CaseBrought by Li Hongwei, of Jinan, Against BlackJail” (济南李红卫诉黑监狱一案第三次开庭),November 1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/11/201011012153.shtml [iii] “GaoZhisheng Missing for 15 Months, Elder Brother’sMultiple Inquiries Yield No Results,” (高智晟失踪15个月,其兄多方找询无果),June 9, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/15_09.html  [iv] Liu Shaoyuan’s Law FirmFaces Difficulties Following ‘Annual Assessment,’”(刘晓原所在律师 所“年检”遭刁难), July 7, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_4584.html [v] “Datong, ShanxiPetitioner Cheng Shumin Tortured, Detained,” (山西大同上访公民程淑敏受酷刑被拘留), July 11, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_5.html [*Tiger bench: A torturevictim is forced to sit upright on a long benchwith hands tied behind their back. Their thighsare fastened to the bench while feet are raisedoff the floor by bricks, putting extreme strain onthe knees. Torture using a “tiger bench” isextremely painful, especially when conducted for along period of time.]

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