China Human Rights Briefing June 22-28, 2011

Highlights

  • Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown: Ai Weiwei (艾未未), the Beijing-based artist and activist, and several of his associates were released last week after going missing in April, but they still remain out of contact. Tax authorities have ordered Ai to pay back taxes and a separate fine related to alleged “economic crimes,” but he has reportedly refused the demand.
  • Hu Jia Released, Beijing Dissidents Face Limited Freedom: On June 26, activist Hu Jia (胡佳) returned home after serving three-and-a-half years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” Around the time of Hu’s release, several other dissidents in Beijing faced increased tightening of restrictions on their freedom.
  • CHRD Releases Handbook on Supporting Torture Victims: CHRD has compiled a handbook on how to care for and support victims of torture. The handbook was released in conjunction with the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, designated as June 26.

ContentsArbitraryDetention

Harassmentof Activists

LocalNPC Election Watch

Tortureand Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment orPunishment

Harassmentof Human Rights Lawyers

Lawand Policy Watch

SpecialNotice

Arbitrary DetentionUpdates on Detentions andDisappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution”CrackdownAi Weiwei (艾未未), the Beijing-based artistand activist who went missing on April 3 when he wasabout to board a flight to Hong Kong, was released onbail (取保候审) on June 22 after being heldunder residentialsurveillance in a still-unknown location by the Beijing MunicipalPublic Security Bureau. Authoritiesindicatedthat Ai was released due in part to his good attitudeand because he is suffering from a chronic disease. CHRD later learned from thelawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), a close friend of Ai’s,that Beijing tax authorities have ordered Beijing FakeCultural Development, Ltd., which handles the businessaspects of Ai’s art career, to pay back taxes ofnearly US$1 million and a fine of over $1 million. Aihas refused to sign any agreement regarding thisdemand because he is not Fake’s CEO, and hasauthorized the lawyers Pu Zhiqiang(浦志强) andXia Lin (夏林) of the Beijing Huayi LawFirm to represent him in handling his legal matters. Hu Mingfen (胡明芬), Liu Zhenggang(刘正刚), and Wen Tao (文涛)—all associates of Ai’s whowere detained in April—were also released fromdetention last week, but remain out of contact at thetime of writing. Even more troubling, CHRD has learnedthat Liu suffered a heart attack while underinterrogation and entered Lanzhou Armed PoliceHospital after being released. There is no informationon when he was checked into the hospital or hiscurrent health condition. (CHRD) TangJingling (唐荆陵), a human rights lawyer fromGuangzhou who first disappeared only to have policetell his family that he was criminally detained onFebruary 22 on suspicion of “inciting subversion ofstate power” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪), has been put underresidential surveillance in an unknown locationoutside his home. Attempts to contact or visit hiswife, Wang Yanfang (汪燕芳),at the couple’s apartment have failed. Wang has notbeen permitted to see her husband since his detention,and she has been intimidated and restricted inmovement, able to go only to the hospital when she issick and certain other places, but always driven byindividuals charged with monitoring her. More than 10officers guard the couple’s apartment around theclock, stopping anyone who tries to enter. (CivilRights & Livelihood Watch)[i] Hu Jia Released fromPrison, Beijing Dissidents Face More Limits onFreedomAt 2:30 a.m. on June 26,activist Hu Jia (胡佳) returned home after servingthree-and-a-half years in prison for incitingsubversion of state power (煽动颠覆国家政权罪), precipitating a tightening of restrictionson other dissidents. According to dissident Zha Jianguo (查建国), officers from TiantanPolice Station sought him out to talk, and police havebeen stationed downstairs from his home since June 25;he must notify them before he goes out and he canleave only after receiving permission, and must betaken in a police vehicle. Another dissident, Gao Hongming (高洪明), was taken away on June 25,and the writer Liu Di (刘荻) has been under policesurveillance since that same day, without being ableto go out freely. Also, the activist PengDingding (彭定鼎), interviewed after Hu’srelease, has had limits placed on his freedom sinceJune 20. Hu Jia was taken into custody in December 2007on suspicion of inciting subversion and convicted ofthe crime in April 2008. His health worsened in prisonprimarily due to complications from cirrhosis, andrequests for medical parole made by his wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), were refused several times.(CHRD)[ii]Harassment of ActivistsPolice Stop FujianActivist from Boarding Beijing-Bound Train Priorto CCP AnniversaryAt 5 p.m. on June 27, Ji Sizun (纪斯尊), a rights activist and legaladvocate from Fujian Province, was stopped andforcibly taken away by up to five plainclothes policeas he was preparing to board a train from Fuzhou Cityto Beijing. His cell phone reportedly was turned off,and despite Ji’s repeated protests, police held himfor several hours until the train left. Police aroundthe country appear to be mobilized to stop andintercept activists and petitioners from traveling toBeijing as authorities prepare celebrations for the90th anniversary of the founding of the ChineseCommunist Party on July 1. Ji had been released fromprison on January 17 of this year after completing athree-year sentence for “forging official documentsand seals.” He was detained in August of 2008 after heapplied to protest in one of the “Protest Zones”supposedly set up by the government during theOlympics in Beijing. (CHRD)[iii]Police Harass Victims ofPsychiatric Detention in WuhanAround 9 a.m. in the morningof June 28, plainclothes police took away HuGuohong (胡国红) and Cheng Xue (程雪), a married couple who hasbeen under strict surveillance since late April.Police also searched their residence and confiscated acomputer and other items. Hu was confined in 2008 inWuhan Mental Hospital for over two months afterpursuing compensation from provincial authorities overa physical assault. Since then, Hu and his wife havebecome outspoken about psychiatric detention andassisted other victims. Police had put them undersurveillance at their home in late April.  In addition, Xu Wu (徐武), a 43-year-old fireman andpetitioner who pursued a grievance against his companystarting in 2003, is under tight surveillance afterbeing released on June 9 from Feiyue PsychiatricHospital, where was forcibly held for over four years.Surveillance personnel are stationed in a shed nearXu’s home and include plainclothes, subdistrict, andpublic security officers, as well as securitypersonnel from the Wuhan Iron and Steel Company, Xu’sformer employer. The security officers also subjectXu’s family members to surveillance, stop anyoneresembling a journalist, and closely inspect theproperty when anyone visits Xu. Surveillance vehicles,including cars and motorcycles, are on watch in frontof Xu’s home. In 2003, Xu began to petition both inWuhan and Beijing over wage issues from his employer.In retaliation, police took Wu away to a companyhospital for psychiatric treatment in late 2006. Heescaped briefly in April 2011 and went to Guangzhou toundergo psychiatric evaluation to prove his sanity.After his story was posted online, it received atremendous amount of media attention. In late April,he was taken back into custody by officers from theWuhan Public Security Bureau, which later releasedhim. (Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch)[iv] Local NPC ElectionWatchIndependent People’sCongress Candidate Put Under “Soft Detention” onElection EveOn the afternoon of June 28,Li Sihua (李思华), an independent candidatefor the Tongzhou Subdistrict People’s Congress inYushui District, Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province, wasforcibly abducted a day before the election and takenaway from the area. Three individuals—the secretary of the ChengbeiSubdistrict Office, Security Patrol Chief LinWenfeng (林文峰), and Officer HuJianyong (胡建勇)—took Li to Tonggu County, andtold him that he would be held under “County, and tol until aroundthe evening of June 30, and then be allowed to gohome. Li is reportedly being held in a guest house.His abduction is likely connected to criminalsuspicion of Li for “undermining People’s Congresselections,” a charge levied by Xinyu authorities whohave claimed since June 14 that Li’s “recommendationform” required for candidacy is fraudulent. (CivilRights & Livelihood Watch)[v]Torture and OtherCruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment orPunishmentYunnan RTL Detainee Diesfrom Suspected Beating The family of Yue Yuan (岳远), who was sent last Octoberto Re-education Through Labor (RTL) due to drug usebefore dying in the facility this month, suspects thathe was beaten to death, and they have encounteredinterference while trying to uncover the truth. TheYunnan Provincial No. 3 RTL Facility called the familyon June 19 and indicated that Yue had diedaccidentally while taking drugs, but when the familywent to the facility on June 20, they found his bodyhad wounds on his arms, chest, and face. To try tocover up what had happened to Yue, police claimed theinjuries came from a “collision” during a “rescue”attempt, and they dissuaded the family from preservingand taking away the body, and also warned them not tophotograph it. Family members returned with twolawyers, but police prohibited them from seeing thecorpse. In addition, the facility rejected thefamily’s request to bring lawyers to investigate thecase. (Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch)[vi]Henan Farmer Let Go AfterCoerced Confession, Five-Year Detention CHRD has learned that Li Xinchun (李新春), a farmer from TaikangCounty, Zhoukou City, Henan Province who was detainedfor five years on a murder charge after confessingunder torture, has had his bail lifted more than ayear after his release from detention (and nearlythree weeks after his bail period had expired on June5). According to Li’s daughter, authorities announcedon June 25 that her father’s bail was lifted, but onlyafter repeated requests by the family for authoritiesto take this action. Authorities said nothing abouthis five years of wrongful detention.  Charged with murder by poisoning, Li wasdetained from May 2005 to June 2010. He was tried inJuly 2005 and, in April 2006, was sentenced to deathby the Zhoukou City Intermediate People’s Court—aruling reversed by the Henan Provincial High People’sCourt in December 2006. Instead of releasing Li,however, authorities sent his case back for furtherinvestigation, and he remained in detention until theTaikang County Procuratorate decided to release him onbail last year. (CHRD)[vii]Harassment of HumanRights LawyersHumanRights Lawyers May Face Suspended Licenses, BeBarred from Practice  Just days before the close ofChina’s annual assessment by judicial authorities andregistration of lawyers, the Dao Heng Law Firm inBeijing still has not received results from the annualinspection conducted in past weeks by the BeijingMunicipal Bureau of Judicial Affairs and itssub-division in Haidian District. The firm’s lawyer Liang Xiaojun (梁小军) represents TianXi (田喜), an AIDS activist serving aone-year sentence for “intentional destruction ofproperty” in Xincai County, Henan Province. Tian wasdetained in August 2010 after a dispute with thedirector of the hospital where he contracted AIDS as ayoung boy following a tainted blood transfusion. Also, many rights defense lawyers who have notheard the results of the annual assessment processface the possibility of being barred from practicinglaw, including Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), Cheng Hai (程海), Han Zhiguang (韩志广), and LiBaiguang (李柏光). In recent years,authorities have used the annual assessment forrenewing lawyers’ licenses to suspend or barseveral human rights lawyers from practicing law,including Teng Biao (滕彪), Jiang Tianyong(江天勇), Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Liu Wei (刘巍), Tang Jingling(唐荆陵), and ZhangJiankang (张鉴康). (Aizhixing)Law and Policy Watch Aizhixing SendsLetter of Recommendations About Drafted MentalHealth Law to State CouncilOn June 24, theBeijing Aizhixing Institute sent a letter outliningconcerns and recommendations about the draft MentalHealth Law recently circulated by China’s StateCouncil Legislative Affairs Office. The letterstates that the draft law, which was posted forpublic comment on June 10, does not providesufficient measures to safeguard the legal interestsor basic rights of those suffering from mentalhealth disorders, including the rights to privacyand human dignity. Aizhizing’s letter emphasizesthat strict conditions and procedures should beapplied to ensure that forced actions are not takenagainst individuals, including non-voluntaryadmission into psychiatric facilities. The letterfurther recommends the new law ensure rights asoutlined by the Universal Declaration of HumanRights and China’s Constitution, and that specialprovisions be added to protect certain groups, suchas women and children who suffer from mentaldisability. (Aizhixing)[viii] Special NoticeCHRD Releases Handbook on PsychiatricSupport forTorture Victims CHRD has compiled a Chinese-language handbookon how to provide care and support to victims oftorture, releasing it in conjunction with theInternational Day in Support of Victims of Torture,designated as June 26 by the United Nations. The brochure lays out information onunderstanding the needs of torture victims, howactivists as well as ordinary citizens can assist invictims’ psychological rehabilitation, and howjournalists and human rights workers should conductinterviews with victims. It also includes insightscollected from those who have worked with victims oftorture. (CHRD)[ix]   Editors of this issue:Victor Clemens and Renee Xia  Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnetNews updates from CHRD  [i] “Ai Weiwei Receives Tax Penalty ofOver Ten Million RMB, Liu Zhenggang Suffers Heart Attack inDetention,” (艾未未被追罚税款逾千万,刘正刚羁押时突发心脏病), June27, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post_4607.html?spref=tw;“AiWeiwei Released on Bail After 80 Days in Custody,” (艾未未被羁押80天传出获取保候审), June 22, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/80.html?spref=tw; “TangJingling Detained Over Four Months, Wife Hoping forLegal Intervention,” (唐荆陵被关押四个多月仍未获释妻子希望律师介入), June 23, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14364;“IndividualsAffectedby the Crackdown Following Call for ‘JasmineRevolution,’” June 27, 2011 (updated), http://chrdnet.org/2011/06/17/jasmine_crackdown/     [ii] “Hu Jia Released FromPrison Overnight, Several Dissidents Have FreedomLimited,” (胡佳深夜出狱,多位异议人士被限制自由),June 26, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post_5382.html  [iii] Ji Suxun: Report onPersonal Freedom Restricted at Fuzhou TrainStation,” (纪斯尊:福州市火车站被限制人身自由纪实), June 27, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post_7537.html?spref=tw  [iv] “Wuhan Rights DefenderCouple Hu Guohong and Cheng Xue Have Home Raided,Are Taken Away,” (武汉维权人士胡国红程雪夫妇被抄家抓走), June 28,2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14379;                      “Media Attention on Fate of Hu GuohongSince Suffering in Wuhan Mental Hospital,” (媒体关注难阻武汉精神病院受难者胡国红被堵门的命运), May 23, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14232;“Xu Wu Tightly Monitored Upon Return Homefrom Feiyue Psychiatric Hospital,” (飞越精神病院的徐武回家后受到严密监控), June 25, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14374  [v] “IndependentPeople’s Congress Candidate Li Sihua Taken Away,Put Under ‘Soft Detention’ Day Before Election,” (选举日前夜独立候选人李思华被绑架软), June 28, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14387;“IndependentCandidateLi Sihua Faces Prosecution,” (独立候选人李思华疑面临被起诉), June 20, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post_173.html  [vi] “Another UnexplainedDetainee Death in Yunnan Re-education through LaborFacility,” (云南劳教所内再发生关押人员不明死亡), June 27, 2011, http://www.msguancha.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=14376  [vii] “Henan Farmer ReleasedAfter Five Years of Unjust Imprisonment As BailPeriod Expires,” (河南农民冤狱5年取保结束), June27, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/5.html; “Henan ProvincialProcuratorate Investigates Case of Zhoukou CityVictim of Injustice Li Xinchun” (河南省检察院调查周口李新春冤狱案), June 23, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100623092450_21857.html;“A Report on the Investigation Regarding Li Xinchunof Henan, Detained Five Years for Murder WithoutConclusion” (河南李新春疑似杀人被羁押5年未结案的调查报告), June 10, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/article/Class53/201006/20100610211650_21675.html  [viii] “Letter of Recommendationson “Mental Health Law (Draft)” to the State CouncilLegislative Affairs Office,” (就《精神卫生法(草案)》致国务 院法制办公室的建议信) , June 24, 2011, http://chinaaidsgroup.blogspot.com/2011/06/china-aids6614.html  [ix] “CaringFor Victims of Torture: Psychological and Practical Knowledge—To Commemorate theJune 26 International Day in Support of Victims ofTorture,” (关注酷刑受害人:实用心理知识--纪念6月26日支持酷刑受害人国际日), June 22, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/06/blog-post_2889.html   

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