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China Human Rights Briefing July 7-12, 2012

Arbitrary Detention

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment

Labor Rights



Arbitrary Detention


Shandong Police Interrogate Guards About Chen Guangcheng’s Escape, Determine Activist Escaped on His Own

Soon after learning of Chen Guangcheng’s (陈光诚) escape from house arrest in April, authorities in Shandong Province rounded up and questioned every guard who had monitored the activist, and have reportedly concluded that no guard helped Chen escape. The local public security bureau carried out the interrogation in Dongshigu Village, particularly focusing on so-called “sympathetic guards” who some believe aided Chen’s flight to freedom. When the investigation began, villagers who had grown used to an oppressive security presence suspected the news that the activist had escaped without any assistance was a rumor, and thought Chen actually had been killed and that the investigative activities were merely a cover-up.[1]



Hunan Activist Zhu Chengzhi Still Detained Incommunicado 

Zhu Chengzhi (朱承志), a Hunan activist given a 10-day detention in June after questioning the cause of death of 1989 labor activist Li Wangyang (李旺阳), remains in police custody and his whereabouts are unknown even though his punishment expired three weeks ago. On June 18, the day Zhu’s detention had formally ended, national security officers told his wife that he would continue to be under surveillance and held for “investigation,” and she has not been allowed to see him nor informed where he was held. Li Wangyang died in a Shaoyang hospital room in early June, and police claimed he had hanged himself. Zhu Chengzhi is the only individual known to have been formally punished among those who have been questioned, restricted to their homes, or gone out of contact after trying to learn how Li died (see below).[2]    


Beijing Authorities Detain Residents Over Demolition Protest in Tiananmen Square

About a dozen Beijing residents were recently given 5-day detentions after seeking justice over forced demolitions in front of Mao Zedong’s portrait in Tiananmen Square, and authorities took revenge on one of their relatives who granted interviews about the situation to foreign media. On July 5, police seized the residents at the square only hours after their homes had been destroyed that morning without prior notice or legal procedures followed. Family members have not received notification of the detention, which reportedly began on July 9. Zhou Jie (周杰), a detainee’s relative, gave interviews to foreign media about the demolition, prompting local officials to brand him a “traitor” and, as “punishment,” completely topple the walls of his already destroyed home.[3]

“Jasmine Crackdown” Detainee Languishes in Labor Camp

Huang Chengcheng (黄成), a Chongqing resident given two years of Re-education through Labor (RTL) last year during the “Jasmine Crackdown” to preemptively suppress dissent in the wake of the Arab Spring, has had seven days added to his punishment on the grounds of alleged “poor performance” in forced labor. Huang, who has a worsening hand injury suffered during his RTL term, has reportedly been unable to complete mounting tasks after being assigned to a new work team at the Xishanping RTL. Authorities have refused Huang’s family request to release him on medical parole. Huang was initially detained in March 2011 on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power” for allegedly sending out “Jasmine”-related messages online, including an invitation for others to meet him to “drink jasmine tea.”[4]


Guangzhou Netizen Xu Lin Released Into Soft Detention After Secret Residential Surveillance 

Following criminal detention and “residential surveillance” in a secret location, Guangzhou netizen Xu Lin (徐琳) has been sent home on July 5 and reportedly placed under surveillance.  Authorities have not indicated an explicit reason for restricting his freedom or how long the period will last. Xu was apparently detained for composing the song “It’s Time Now,” whose lyrics are based on “It’s Time!,” a poem by Hangzhou dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) that was circulated during online calls for “Jasmine Rallies” in early 2011. Xu, seized on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power” on April 4, 2012, was held incommunicado from May 4. Police blocked his lawyers and family from seeing him until July under the pretext that his case involves “state secrets.” Authorities have not followed proper procedures for detaining Xu or produced any formal documentation about his detention or residential surveillance.[5]


Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment


Officials Declare Li Wangyang’s Death a “Suicide,” Keep Restricting Movement of Supporters, Family Members

Officials in Hunan Province have declared that 1989 labor leader Li Wangyang’s (李旺阳) death was due to suicide, expectedly backing up what authorities have claimed since Li was found dead in a hospital room in Shaoyang City on June 6. The conclusion was announced at a meeting of personnel from political-legal departments on July 12, though results of an autopsy on Li’s body came out on June 19. More than 20 officials were said to be involved in the autopsy, along with local university heads and experts. Meanwhile, about 20 of Li’s supporters and relatives still face restrictions on their movement for questioning the suspicious circumstances of his death (see above). Exacerbating the ongoing harassment are two fallacies being promoted by officials—that Li’s family consented to the cremation of his body, and that his relatives who have gone out of contact changed their cell phone numbers since they do not wish to speak to anyone.[6]


Labor Rights


Female Student Files Complaint, Lawsuit Over Alleged Sexual Discrimination

A female university student from Shanxi Province, claiming that she has faced gender discrimination from companies in their recruiting practices, is taking legal measures to seek justice, according to Yirenping, an NGO dedicated to fighting discrimination. The woman has reportedly filed a complaint with the Beijing Human Resources and Social Security Bureau as well as a lawsuit alleging “violation of equal employment rights” at the Haidian District People’s Court in the capital. Legal experts believe that the woman’s lawsuit is perhaps the first one involving gender discrimination to be filed in a Chinese court since the country’s Employment Promotion Law took effect in 2008.[7]


Editors: Victor Clemens and Renee Xia


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News updates from CHRD



[1] “Authorities Investigate All of Chen Guangcheng’s Guards Following Escape” (陈光诚出逃看守全部受审), July 8, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW)


[2] “Zhu Chengzhi, Who Questioned Li Wangyang’s Death, Held Again in Detention Center After Punishment Expired” (关注李旺阳死因的朱承志拘留期满又被关押进看守所), July 19, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Hunan Rights Defender Zhu Chengzhi Given 10-Day Detention for Refusing to Promise to Stop Questioning Circumstances of Li Wangyang’s Death” (湖南维权人士朱承志因拒写不过问李旺阳事件保证书被拘留10), June 10, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “National Security Forces Barge Into Home, Take Away Ms. Huang Lihong for Showing Concern About Li Wangyang” (紧急关注: 湖南关注李旺阳的黄丽红 女士被国保砸门带走), June 11, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Several Hunan Democracy Activists Taken Away by Police Over Li Wangyang Matter” (湖南多名民主维权人士因李旺阳事件被警方带走), June 9, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Li Wangyang Autopsy Perhaps Already Conducted, Li’s Family & Fellow Shaoyang Activists Under Tight Control” (李旺阳可能已被尸检,李旺阳家属及邵阳维权人士受到严密控制), June 8, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Friends of Li Wangyang Come to Shaoyang & Fall Under Police Control, Li’s Death Declared ‘ Suicide’” (到邵阳想送李旺阳的朋友被控制,李旺阳被宣布), June 7, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Li Wangyang’s Family Urgently Seeking Legal Assistance” (李旺阳家属急求律师仗义援助), June 7, 2012, CHRD; “Family Requests Relevant Experts Perform Autopsy on Li Wangyang” (李旺阳家属强烈要求由相关专家对李旺阳进行尸检), June 6, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Special Alert: June Fourth Victim Li Wangyang’s Corpse Taken Away by Police” (特别关注:六四受害者李旺阳的遗体被警方强行运走), June 6, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Shaoyang Democracy Activist, June Fourth Victim Li Wangyang Suddenly Passes Away” (邵阳民主人士,六四受难者李旺阳突然离世), June 6, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW)


[3] “Several Petitioning Rights Defenders in Beijing Detained” (北京多名上访维权人士被拘留), July 10, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW)


[4] “Chongqing Youth Huang Chengcheng, Sent to RTL During ‘Jasmine Crackdown,’ Has Punishment Increased” (茉莉花劳教的重庆青年黄成城遭加刑), July 7, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Chongqing Resident Sent to Two Years of RTL for ‘Jasmine’-Related Messages,” China Human Rights Briefing, August 10-15, 2011, CHRD; “Authorities Dismiss Appeal, Lawsuits Pursued on Behalf of Chongqing Resident in RTL,” China Human Rights Briefing, August 16-22, 2011, CHRD


[5] “Guangzhou Resident Xu Lin Placed Under Residential Surveillance After Release” (广州公民徐琳获释后被监视居住), July 7, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW);“Panyu PSB Refuse Lawyers’ Visit to Xu Lin, Claiming ‘Secret Case,’” (番禺公安局以徐琳案件涉密为由拒绝律师会见), May 29, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW); “Guangzhou Citizen Xu Lin Cries Foul, Put Under Residential Surveillance After Release From Criminal Detention, Family Denied Visitation” (广州举牌公民徐琳刑拘获 释后被监视居住他处,家属会见遭拒), May 25, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW)


[6] “Post-Autopsy Announcement Today Declares Li Wangyang’s Death ‘Suicide,’ Many Hunan Rights Defenders Face Restricted Movements” (李旺阳尸结论今日公布,数十名湖南维权人士被控制), July 12, 2012, Rights Defense Network (WQW)


[7] “With Top Educational Institutions Only Recruiting Males, What Can Females Do?” (知名教育机构招聘限男性,女性不能当助理?), July 11, 2012, Yirenpin

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