China Human Rights Briefing October 27-November 2, 2011
* Chinese activists and netizens continue to make the treacherous trip to visit Chen Guangcheng, currently held under illegal house arrest with his wife and 6-year-old daughter. One group of 37 activists were assaulted while traveling on a highway heading towards Chen’s home village, and three of the activists were further beaten and detained by officers at a local police station where they went to report the violence.
* In good news, Wu Yuebao, an Anhui democracy activist detained on “inciting subversion of state power,” has been released on bail while a court in Hangzhou approved an application to dismiss charges of “inciting subversion of state power” against democracy activist Zhu Yufu, indicating that Zhu might soon be released.
* Arbitrary Detention
o Chongqing Village Representative Seized in Beijing After Futile Protection Attempt
* Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown
o Court to Dismiss “Incitement” Charges Against Hangzhou Activist Zhu Yufu
o Anhui Rights Activist Wu Yuebao Released on Bail
o Villager Gets One-Year Prison Sentence for Exposing Corruption Over Dam Project Compensation
o Thousands of Laid-Off Bank Employees Go To Petition in Beijing, More Than 300 Detained
* Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
o Military Cadre Held in Black Jail For Over 16 Months, Subjected to Beatings & Other Violations
o Another Group Beaten for Attempting to Visit Chen Guangcheng
o Authorities Keep Hunan Petitioner Locked Up For Years in Psychiatric Hospital
* Harassment of Activists
o Beijing Rights Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan’s Law Firm Faces Eviction
o Group Roughly Treated After Guarantees of Safe Entry Into Dongshigu, Others Blocked in Quest to See Chen Guangcheng
* Local People’s Congress Elections Watch
o Guizhou Activist and Independent Candidate Xing Qingxian Stripped of Electoral Qualifications
o Beijing Independent Candidates Face Harassment, Stripped of Electoral Qualifications
o Police Detain Local Activist Past Nomination Deadline, Prevent Candidacy Filing
* Special Notice
o CHRD Has Moved!
o CHRD Posts Submissions to UN Bodies on Behalf of Abused Rights Defenders
o CHRD Releases Statement Urges Protections for Constitutional Rights, Freedom for Chen Guangcheng
Chongqing Village Representative Seized in Beijing After Futile Protection Attempt
Zhang Dingfen (张定芬), a Chongqing petitioner and a village representative, was taken into custody on October 31 after other petitioners failed in their bold efforts to protect he. Interceptors from Chongqing first tried to seize Zhang in an alley near the letters and visits offices of three major government institutions—the National People’s Congress, State Council, and Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which is responsible for rooting out corruption and malfeasance among Party cadres. To help her escape, other petitioners tossed accusations at the interceptors, who were trying to convince Zhang to return to Chongqing, and another petitioner whisked Zhang away by motorcycle. The interceptors went in pursuit and forced Zhang into their vehicle after they caught up with her. Zhang has been forcibly sent back to Fuxing Town in Chongqing Municipality, where she is currently held in the town government building. Zhang had been entrusted by the village committee to represent her fellow villagers’ interests after a spate of evictions, demolitions, and land requisitions. For her advocacy on their behalf, she has been detained by police and sent to Re-education through Labor. (CHRD)[i]
Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to the “Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown
Court to Dismiss “Incitement” Charges Against Hangzhou Activist Zhu Yufu
The Shangcheng County People’s Court approved an application on October 25 to dismiss charges of “inciting subversion of state power” against Hangzhou democracy activist Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), indicating that Zhu may soon be released from detention. (At the time of writing, it was believed that Zhu, who has been held at the Shangcheng District Detention Center, had not yet been freed.) The decision was made the same day that the county procuratorate submitted to the court an application for the charges to be thrown out. According to Zhu’s lawyer, the procuratorate cited “changes in factual evidence” in seeking dismissal of the charges, and that the court “conformed with legal requirements” in consenting. When contacted about the news, Zhu’s family indicated that neither the procuratorate nor the court had notified them, but that a friend had told them.
Taken away by police on March 5 and formally arrested on April 11, Zhu is one of 11 individuals known to have been arrested as part of the Jasmine Revolution crackdown. Zhu has served two prior prison sentences, first receiving a seven-year sentence in 1999 for “subversion of state power” for founding the Opposition Party magazine, which published articles about the China Democratic Party. He was detained again in 2007 after confronting a police officer who was questioning his son, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for “beating police and hindering public duty.” (CHRD)[ii]
Please see CHRD’s website for more information on individuals detained during the Jasmine Revolution crackdown
Anhui Rights Activist Wu Yuebao Released on Bail
CHRD learned on October 29 that democracy rights activist Wu Yuebao (吴乐宝), from Bengbu City, Anhui Province, has been released on bail. Wu was criminally detained on July 24 for “inciting subversion of state power.” The charges reportedly stem from statements Wu made via Twitter that “abused” leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. (CHRD)[iii]
Villager Gets One-Year Prison Sentence for Exposing Corruption Over Dam Project Compensation
Xiang Songmei (向松梅), a villager from Hunan Province, has been convicted of “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic order” and sentenced to one year in prison by the Hongjiang City People’s Court. She and her family plan to appeal the ruling, which was issued on October 25. The decision is likely in retaliation for Xiang’s organizing of fellow villagers to expose corruption over compensation after farmland had been flooded during dam project work. After the flooding in 2009, a power plant had submitted compensation to government officials, but most of the funds allegedly went missing. Suspicious of corruption on the part of cadres, Xiang and others demanded that officials make public their financial accounts, but they refused. Villagers then gathered in protest, and Xiang was taken into custody and held for several months. Earlier this year, she was criminally detained after petitioning in Beijing. (CHRD)[iv]
Thousands of Laid-Off Bank Employees Go To Petition in Beijing, More Than 300 Detained
More than 300 laid-off bank workers—among nearly 3,000 who went to petition in Beijing—were detained in a black jail on October 26. The former bank employees were heading for the China Banking Regulatory Commission when they were intercepted and dispersed by police, who began checking the workers’ ID cards. Some workers tried to avoid the police and reach the commission building, but officers blocked them and took several hundred petitioners into custody at the black jail at Jiujingzhuang. At the black jail, jail guards interrogated the workers who had organized the massive group, before allowing local government and bank officials to take away some of the detainees. Some petitioners who had not been detained went to the State Bureau of Letters and Visits with their grievances, but officials there said they would not to accept their petitioning materials. (CHRD)[v]
More recent news related to arbitrary detention:
CHRD, “Groups of Petitioners Flocked to Wuhan City and Beijing to File Complaints, Over 10 Seized” (武 汉多批民众上访 十余人被抓), October 31, 2011
Human Rights Campaign in China (HRCC), “Hundreds Petitioned Changsha City Government, Two Busloads Taken Away” (王 灼夫：长沙市委市政府门前再现“星期一”维权高潮【视频】), November 1, 2011
CHRD, “Activist Liu Ping Beaten and Held for 48 Hours for Attempting to Visit Chen on October 30”(刘 萍探访陈光诚遭殴打拘禁48小 时), November 1, 2011
CHRD, “Activist Shan Yajun Briefly Detained for Visiting Chen Guangcheng on October 30” (快 讯：单亚娟探访陈光诚遭非法拘禁), November 1, 2011
CHRD, “Henan Petitioner Li Mingcui, Others Seized for Handing Out Materials Around Zhongnanhai Compound” (河南访民李明翠等人前往中南海递材料被抓), October 27, 2011
HRCC, “As Standing Committee of National People’s Congress Considers Mental Health Law, Victim of Psychiatric Involuntary Commitment Xu Wu Remains Under Soft Detention at Home” (全国人大常委会审议精神卫生法 徐武仍然被软禁), October 26, 2011
Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (CRLW), “Wu Gui’e of Wuhan Administratively Detained 10 Days for Petitioning in Beijing”
(武 汉吴贵娥北京上访被拘留十天), October 26, 2011
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Military Cadre Held in Black Jail For Over 16 Months, Subjected to Beatings & Other Violations
In Gansu Province, a military cadre-turned-petitioner, Wang Yundong (王耘东), has been held in a black jail for over 16 months since being detained last year, reportedly enduring myriad abuses at the hands of guards. On July 22, 2010, Wang was seized after he had gone to express grievances at the People’s Liberation Army General Political Department Letters and Visits Office in Beijing. He was returned to Gansu and detained in a black jail in Linxia City that is run by the military. According to Wang’s family, he has been subjected to horrendous treatment during his extended detention: He is often beaten and verbally abused arbitrarily, and lives under 24-hour surveillance—watched by both cameras and guards—and exposed to high-powered light at all hours; in addition, and has had personal property confiscated, including his belt, wallet, and cell phone.
Wang took up petitioning after his attempt, back in 1997, to deactivate from the People’s Liberation Army. At that time, a file that he had submitted requesting deactivation was sent back to his unit, which has reportedly refused to resubmit Wang’s file, thus preventing the process from being completed. As a result, Wang has not been able to register his hukou (residency permit) elsewhere or start a new job. (CRLW)[vi]
Another Group Beaten for Attempting to Visit Chen Guangcheng
The Chinese government has continued with assaults and intimidation of activists who have tried to visit activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陈 光诚), who is currently held under house arrest in his home in Dongshigu Village, Linyi City, Shandong Province, despite growing domestic and international attention to the situation. On October 30, a group of 37 activists were on a national highway in Linnan County traveling to Dongshigu Village when they were assaulted by a group of unidentified men and women. Many were reportedly injured and one of them, Li Yu (李宇), suffered particularly badly but the details of their injuries are unclear. Li, together with fellow activists Liu Ping (刘 萍) and Shan Yajun (单 亚娟), were seized and beaten when they were at Shuanghou Town Police Station, where they went to file a report to the police about the beating in Dongshigu Village. Shan was released shortly after, Liu was held for 48 hours in local hostel, while Li still cannot be contacted at the time of writing. (CHRD)[vii]
Authorities Keep Hunan Petitioner Locked Up For Years in Psychiatric Hospital
Officials in Hunan Province have kept a petitioner locked up in a psychiatric hospital for a total of more than four years, though the detained villager, He Fangwu (何芳武), insists he is not mentally ill, and that he is being detained in retaliation for aggressively pursuing a long-held grievance. He’s family recently learned that local government officials in Yongzhou City had given 100,000 RMB to the Yongzhou City Psychiatric Hospital while providing 10,000 RMB for He’s own use, ensuring his detention will go on for some time. He has been forcibly detained without the permission of his family, and many other petitioners are also believed to be held at the institution.
He Fangwu began petitioning in 1992 after authorities abused him and his family members over violations of family planning laws. He was first detained in the psychiatric institution from late 2003 to early 2006 after being taken into custody for petitioning in Beijing. During that time, he was forced to receive injections and take mental health medication, receiving electric shocks if he refused. He suffered several health problems as a result. He was sent back to the institution after being seized in Beijing again, in September of 2007, and has not been released since. He has indicated that, during the current stretch of detention, hospital staff have been fully aware that he does not have a mental illness and are not giving him any psychiatric treatments. According to an individual who visited him in late August, He reasons that he is being detained since officials from the Jiangyong County Letters and Visits Office are worried that he will return to Beijing to petition. He has often requested the hospital release him, but personnel have always said that they need permission from authorities to let him go.
Like other cases of forced detention in psychiatric facilities, He’s case is especially significant as China’s State Council considers a new draft of the Mental Health Law, which includes prohibitions against forcibly detaining people in such institutions and having them undergo unnecessary mental health treatments. (CRLW)[viii]
Harassment of Activists
Beijing Rights Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan’s Law Firm Faces Eviction
On November 2, Beijing human rights lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) was notified that his law firm is being evicted because the landlord “cannot withstand the pressure” from the authorities. Liu said the current landlord has been subjected to “enormous pressure” from the authorities ever since the company rented the office space to the firm in July. Although Liu passed the annual evaluation of lawyers on July 25 after an extended delay, Qi Jian Law Firm has not yet passed the annual evaluation. Liu moved his law firm to its current location in July because Beijing Municipal Bureau of Judicial Affairs, which conducts the evaluation, told Liu that the firm’s previous location was “too small” and did not meet the official requirements. However, after the firm was moved, the Bureau continued to delay in passing the firm. (CHRD)[ix]
Group Roughly Treated After Guarantees of Safe Entry Into Dongshigu, Others Blocked in Quest to See Chen Guangcheng
On October 26, Hunan journalist and activist Li Jianjun (李建军) and two other activists Wang Xuezhen (王雪臻) and Guo Feng (郭峰) went to the Shuanghou Township Police Station in Linnan County. At the station, the activists asked police what they would do if the group was to be assaulted in Dongshigu Village, and officers only said they could file a report. When Wang, who had been robbed when she came to the area in September, then asked the police why they had not acted to protect her earlier, she was struck in the mouth by a station personnel. The police also took away the three individuals’ cell phones. The three were released later and decided to abandon their trip to Dongshigu. Over the previous two days, authorities from the Linyi City Party Committee and Linnan County Public Security Bureau had told Li that he could safely enter Dongshigu Village, that Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) is a free citizen who is allowed medical care and able to receive visitors, and that recent reports of beatings of activists going to Dongshigu are merely rumors.
In addition, on October 27, two police officers dragged off the activist Liu Shasha (刘沙沙) at the Linyi Railway Station; she was also abducted by authorities last month and in early October en route to trying to visit Chen. Liu Ping (刘萍), an activist and independent People’s Congress candidate from Jiangxi Province, has said that she received a message from Gu Shanmin (古山民), who remains hospitalized with a broken rib suffered after being beaten by guards around Dongshigu Village on October 23. That day, Liu and Gu were among nearly 30 people assaulted and robbed by about 300 hired thugs at the village entrance. (CHRD)[x]
More recent news related to harassment of activists:
CHRD, “Police Accompany Independent Candidate Yao Lifa to Doctor, Unidentified Individuals Enter Home” (选举专家姚立 法被陪同看病，不明身份人侵入家中), October 27, 2011
Local People’s Congress Elections Watch
Guizhou Activist and Independent Candidate Xing Qingxian Stripped of Electoral Qualifications
On November 1, when the list of preliminary candidates for the People’s Congress election in Electoral District No. 92 in Nanming District, Guiyang City, was announced, independent candidate Xing Qingxian (幸清贤) did not find his name on it, even though he met all the requirements to run in the election. Voters in the district told him while he was out canvassing that the preliminary candidates had already been chosen at a meeting organized by the district authorities. During the meeting, selected voters whose attendance was paid for by various neighborhood committees “voted” for three government officials—the Chinese Communist Party secretary of a subdistrict office and two local police chiefs. Xing was neither informed of, nor asked to participate in, this meeting. During his election campaign, Xing and his supporters were harassed. For example, on October 31, Xing was stopped while distributing leaflets on the grounds of the Guiyang City Forestry Research Institute by a police officer because, according to the officer, Xing “affected work order” even though it was already past work hours. (CHRD)[xi]
Then, on October 30, national security officers in Guiyang took away Chen Xi (陈西) and Li Renke (李任科), who the officers were escorting as the pair went door-to-door distributing election information for Xing Qingxian. To keep close watch over Chen and Li, both members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, officers drove them in separate vehicles to a location where they went door-to-door passing out “election declarations” for Xing. After Chen and Li had been driven to another area, officers from a local police station called the two candidates and demanded that they return, and so the national security officers took them. The two were then sent home. Xing and others continued to distribute the notices in the election district. Once a potential independent candidate himself, Chen was recently detained for several days by police, who intentionally caused him to miss the nomination deadline for filing his candidacy. (CHRD)[xii]
Beijing Independent Candidates Face Harassment, Stripped of Electoral Qualifications
As November 8, the day for the people’s congress elections for Beijing’s districts draws near, independent candidates continue to suffer official harassment and prevented from running in the elections:
* On November 1, Wu Lihong (吴丽红), an independent candidate in Xiaohongmen, Chaoyang District, was briefly taken away from her home on the day she planned to carry out publicity activities in her district. Wu’s friends and fellow independent candidates were either barred from leaving their homes or intercepted by Beijing police to prevent them from joining Wu in her publicity efforts. (CHRD)[xiii]
* CHRD learned on October 31 that 10 independent candidates in Beijing, who made a pact to run in the elections together, have all been excluded from the official lists of candidates in their respective districts. Except for Shao Lihua (邵黎华), none of the candidates were notified to attend the “voters’ conferences,” during which official lists of candidates were produced. Although Shao was able to participate in the conference in her district, she was prevented by the secretary of the Neighborhood Committee to obtain the number of recommendations required to run in the elections. (CHRD)[xiv]
Police Detain Local Activist Past Nomination Deadline, Prevent Candidacy Filing
Activist Chen Xi (陈西), who had been detained by police on October 19, was released on October 25—after the deadline had passed for nominating local People’s Congress candidates, a process that Chen had not completed. The day Chen was abducted, police confiscated property from his home in Guizhou, Guiyang Province, including election materials. Previously, when Chen had announced his plan to run in his local election, national security officers warned him that they would find a way to prevent him from filing his candidacy. (CHRD)[xv]
More recent news related to local people’s congresses elections:
“Beijing Independent Candidate Liu Hong Complained to Beijing Authorities that the Election was Unfair,”(北京独立参选人柳红与选举组织者的争议), November 2, 2011
“Jiangxi Authorities Refused to Issue Written Replies to Independent Candidate Li Sihua’s Complaint” (江西独立参选人李思华向人大要书面答复遭拒), November 2, 2011
“Beijing Independent Candidate Han Ying Harassed and Threatened by Beijing Police” (北京独立参选人韩颖受到骚扰威胁), November 1, 2011
“Cadres at Beijing’s Changping District Tried to Convince Independent Candidate Li Kunpeng to Pull Out from Race” (独立参选人李昆鹏拒绝“领导”劝退 申请预 选石沉大海), November 3, 2011.
“Shanghai City Administration Officials Damage Campaign Banner of Independent Candidate and Doctor,”(上 海打假医生陈晓兰宣传自荐参选，遭遇城管暴力阻拦), October 31, 2011.
“The 14 Ways the Government Has Been Using to Suppress Independent Candidates” (中 国独立参选人遭遇的十四种压制手段), October 31, 2011
CHRD Has Moved!
CHRD Posts Submissions to UN Bodies on Behalf of Abused Rights Defenders
CHRD has posted on its website dozens of submissions the organization has sent to various UN Special Procedures on behalf of human rights defenders in China whose rights have been violated by authorities. Dating back to 2005, the submissions concern not only prominent activists and lawyers but also lesser-known individuals on the grassroots level who have suffered rights violations through their work to promote human rights in China. Learn more about the process of submitting complaints of human rights violations to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders here. (CHRD)[xvi]
CHRD Releases Statement Urges Protections for Constitutional Rights, Freedom for Chen Guangcheng
On October 27, CHRD issued a statement calling for the immediate release of lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈 光诚) and his family from illegal house arrest in Shandong Province. The statement detailed rights violations against Chen and his family and also the harassment of individuals who have ventured to Dongshigu Village to try to see them. In the statement, CHRD expressed several demands to the Chinese government: fulfill the promise to guarantee human rights in the Constitution by freeing Chen and his family from house arrest, and allow people to freely visit them; hold accountable Linyi authorities and local guards for violating human rights as well as offer compensation for those harassed when trying to see Chen; and begin true political reform so that its power comes from the people and that citizens’ oversight is accepted by the government. (CHRD)[xvii]
Editors: Victor Clemens and Songlian Wang
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News updates from CHRD
[i] “Chongqing Petitioner Detained in Town Government Building After Being Seized in Beijing” (重庆访民在北京被绑架回镇政府关押), November 2, 2011; “Chongqing Petitioner Zhang Dingfen Taken Into Custody by PSB in Beijing” (重庆访民张定芬在北京遭公安绑架), October 31, 2011
[ii] “Shangcheng Court in Hangzhou Approves Procuratorate’s Application to Dismiss ‘Incitement’ Charges Against Zhu Yufu” (上城 法院批准检察院撤销对朱虞夫“煽动 颠覆国家政权罪”的起 诉), October 27, 2011
[iii] Anhui Bengbu Democracy Activist Wu Yuebao Released (安徽蚌埠民主人士吴乐宝获释), October 29, 2011.
[iv] Hunan Rights Defender Xiang Songmei Sentenced to One Year in Prison for ‘Gathering Crowd to Disrupt Traffic Order’” (湖南 维权人士向松梅被以“聚众扰乱交通秩序 罪”判刑 一年), October 25, 2011; “Rights Defense Village Woman From Longtian Township, Hunan Arrested” (湖南龙田乡维权村 姑被逮捕), October 20, 2011
[v] “Nearly 3,000 Laid-Off Bank Workers Go to Beijing to Defend Their Rights, More Than 300 Taken Into Custody at Black Jail in Jiujingzhuang” (近3千名银行买断职工 进京维权，300余人被抓进久敬庄), October 26, 2011
[vi] “Wang Yundong, Discharged Soldier From Military District in Lanzhou, Remains Held in Black Jail for 463 Days” (兰州军区退伍军人王耘东被关黑监狱463天仍未获释), October 28, 2011
[vii] “Liu Ping Beaten and Detained for Visiting Chen Guangcheng, Reports the Incident to the Police Today According to the Law” (刘萍探访陈光诚遭殴打拘禁 今日依法报案), November 2, 2011; “Liu Ping Beaten and Held for 48 Hours for visiting Chen Guangcheng” (刘萍探访陈光诚遭 殴打拘禁48小时), November 1, 2011; “Breaking News: Shan Yajun Illegally Detained for Visiting Chen Guangcheng” (快讯：单亚娟 探访陈光诚遭非法拘禁), November 1, 2011; “Group of over 30 Beaten En Route to Visiting Chen Guangcheng, Li Yu ‘Seriously Injured’” (30余人在探访陈光诚 的路上被殴打，李宇伤势严重), October 30, 2011
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