China Human Rights Briefing September 13-20, 2011

Highlights

 

    *Yang Maodong Released, Does Not Discuss Torture: On September 13, the activist,writer, and “barefoot lawyer” Yang Maodong (杨茂东, aka Guo Feixiong  [郭飞雄]), based in GuangzhouCity, Guangdong Province, was released after completing a five-year sentencefor “operating an illegal business.” Yang has not publicly revealed poortreatment he was subjected to, but it is known that he was repeatedly torturedafter being initially detained and then imprisoned.

 

    *Anhui Activist Formally Arrested: CHRD recently learned that Wu Yuebao (吴乐宝),an activist from Bengbu City, Anhui Province, has been formally arrested onsuspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” Charges against himreportedly stem from statements he made via Twitter that “abused” leaders ofthe Chinese Communist Party.

 

    *Shandong Authorities Block Visit to Chen Guangcheng: On September 19,authorities around Dongshigu Village, where lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)lives, prevented five individuals from visiting him, and assaulted and robbedtwo of them.

 

Contents

 

Arbitrary Detention

 

    *Yang Maodong Released, Reveals Little About Torture Experience

    *Anhui Activist Wu Yuebao Formally Arrested for “Inciting Subversion”

    *Anhui Police Question Activists, Issue Administrative Detentions

    *Hunan Petitioner Sent to RTL, Family Suffers Violence, Deaths Over Land Issue

    *Petitioners Detained in Black Jail En Route to Filing Police Report

    *Chengdu Authorities Postpone Detention Hearing, Petitioners Monitored at Home

 

Harassment of Activists

 

    *Shandong Authorities Assault, Expel Individuals Trying to See Chen Guangcheng

    *Jiangxi Authorities Forbid Netizen-Activist From Going to Hong Kong

    *Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

    *Hundreds of Villagers Continue Protests Against Land Expropriation, ThreeBeaten

 

Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

 

    *Difficulties With Proxy Software Reported by Activists Across China

 

Local NPC Election Watch

 

    *Beijing Police Disrupt Election Event, Question Participants

    *Beijing Authorities Attempt to Impede Candidate’s Registration

 

Law and Policy Watch

 

    *Supreme People’s Court Issues Notice on Avoiding Violence in Forced Evictions

 

Arbitrary Detention

Yang Maodong Released, Reveals Little About TortureExperience

On September 13, Yang Maodong (杨茂东, aka Guo Feixiong  [郭飞雄]), an activist, writer,and “barefoot lawyer” based in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was freedfrom Meizhou Prison after completing a five-year sentence, and returned to hisGuangzhou home. In an interview with CHRD, Yang indicated he was dealing withsome health problems, and that he planned to go to a hospital to get a physicalexam. While Yang did not specify any poor treatment that he endured in prison,it is known that he was subjected to repeated torture and mistreatment duringhis detention and imprisonment. Yang said that, although his freedom is notcurrently being restricted, authorities were still likely watching him becausehe has just been released.

 

Known for his role in 2005 as a legal adviser to villagersin Taishi Village in Guangdong, Yang was detained in September 2006 aftermobilizing support for a hunger strike launched by the Beijing lawyer GaoZhisheng (高智晟), whowas imprisoned at the time. Yang was then arrested on suspicion of “operatingan illegal business,” a charge related to his book Shenyang PoliticalEarthquake, which exposed government corruption in Shenyang City, LiaoningProvince. On November 14, 2007, Yang was sentenced to five years’ imprisonmentand fined 40,000 RMB by the Tianhe District People’s Court in Guangzhou.(CHRD)[i]

Anhui Activist Wu Yuebao Formally Arrested for “IncitingSubversion”

CHRD learned on September 13 that Wu Yuebao (吴乐宝),an activist from Bengbu City, Anhui Province, has recently been formallyarrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” according to anindividual with knowledge of Wu’s case. Wu is being held in Bengbu City No. 2Detention Center. Wu was subjected to increased police pressure when theJasmine Revolution crackdown began in February. The charges against himreportedly stem from statements he made via Twitter that “abused” leaders ofthe Chinese Communist Party. He was initially taken into custody on July 14 andissued a 10-day administrative detention before being taken into criminaldetention in late July. (CHRD)[ii]

Anhui Police Question Activists, Issue AdministrativeDetentions

On September 14, the Bengshan District branch of the BengbuCity Public Security Bureau issued 10-day administrative detentions to twoactivists from Bengbu, Anhui Province—Li Wenge (李文革) and Zhang Lin (张林)—a day after police had summoned them forquestioning. The previous day, Li and Zhang had gathered with other localactivists to discuss the situation of Wu Yuebao (吴乐宝),who had been formally arrested. Li Wenge’s detention notice alleged that, onJune 19, he had “used the Internet to fabricate facts and spread rumors aboutthe mental illness of Qian Jin (钱进),”a fellow Bengbu activist being held at a psychiatric hospital at the time. Liwas also accused of “disseminating calls demanding that the government releaseQian Jin, pressuring the Party and government, and intentionally disruptingpublic order.” The detention notice for Zhang Lin, who was also fined 200 RMB,indicated he had illegally granted an interview on September 7 with Radio FreeAsia and “fabricating facts that attacked the Communist Party and the socialistsystem.”

 

After Li and Zhang had gone in for questioning and notreturned home, Qian Jin went to the police station on September 14 to inquireabout their whereabouts, and the next day he also was summoned by police.(CHRD)[iii]

Hunan Petitioner Sent to RTL, Family Suffers Violence,Deaths Over Land Issue

On September 19, CHRD learned that Liu Guangbing (刘光兵), a 61-year-old petitioner fromBeita District, Shaoyang City, Hunan Province, was given a one-yearRe-education through Labor (RTL) punishment for “disrupting public order” inJuly after petitioning in Beijing. The Beita branch of the Shaoyang PublicSecurity Bureau took Liu into custody 10 days prior to the RTL decision.Currently being held at the Shaoyang RTL, Liu has petitioned for several yearson the local and provincial levels and in Beijing, including at the U.S.Embassy, after the local government allegedly occupied by force the land onwhich his family’s home was to be built. His petitioning also has followedviolent and tragic incidents that have befallen his family members; government-hiredthugs have beaten the brothers in the family, and his sister-in-law died afterdisputes with the village chief. Also, Liu’s elderly mother, who passed outafter she was handcuffed when trying to seek justice at the local districtcourt, died shortly thereafter. This is the third occasion in the past twoyears that Liu has been sent to RTL. (CHRD)[iv]

Petitioners Detained in Black Jail En Route to Filing PoliceReport

On September 16, Xu Wanying (许万英)and two other petitioners from Xiangcheng District, Xiangfan City, HubeiProvince went to the Beijing Public Security Bureau to report to the policeabout a past incident when they had been beaten and detained in Jiujingzhuang,a black jail in the capital. However, as soon as they stepped off a public busnear Tiananmen Square, they were seized by policemen on duty, and sent first toa police station and then to Jiujingzhuang. The next evening, interceptors fromXiangcheng District forcibly sent them back to Xiangfan, where Xu is currentlybeing held in a black jail. The whereabouts of the other two petitioners areunknown. Xu has been petitioning for years on behalf of her son, whom shebelieves to have been murdered but whose case police have been unwilling toinvestigate. (CHRD)[v]

Chengdu Authorities Postpone Detention Hearing, PetitionersMonitored at Home

On September 14, the Shuangliu County People’s Court inChengdu City, Sichuan Province postponed a hearing about an administrativedetention being contested by petitioner Gan Xingyan (干兴艳). Gan was also reportedly followed when she left the court to gohome, as were other petitioners supportive of her case, which is related toissues involving land requisition and an eviction and demolition. In delayingthe hearing, the court stated that a judge was ill, though the real reason waslikely that too many of Gan’s supporters, which numbered between 40 and 50,were intent on attending; they had refused to move after the Shuangliugovernment and local public security bureau dispatched more than 100 personnelto try to drag them away, and the court only then postponed the hearing.

 

Around the time of the annual “Two Meetings” in Beijing inMarch, Gan Xingyan went to the capital to petition and was given a nine-dayadministrative detention by the Shuangliu Public Security Bureau, which sherefused to accept, instead applying for a review. In May, the Chengdu PublicSecurity Bureau upheld the original decision, and Gan then filed suit in theShuangliu County People’s Court in an effort to overturn the punishment. Ganand other petitioners were also detained on August 19 near Sichuan University aday before a visit to Chengdu by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, and then warnedand subjected to abuse. (CHRD)[vi]

Harassment of Activists

Shandong Authorities Assault, Expel Individuals Trying toSee Chen Guangcheng

On September 19, local authorities around Dongshigu Villagenear Linyi City, Shandong Province prevented several netizens and activistsfrom visiting Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), who lives in Dongshigu, and assaulted androbbed two of them. Approaching Dongshigu in a rental car just past midnight,the netizen Liu Shasha (刘莎莎) and Miao Jue (妙觉) were abducted at the village entrance andfell temporarily out of contact. Others trailing behind—Peng Yuanzhong (彭远忠),Renzhong Daoyuan (任重道远, a screen name), and Ge Jianzhong(戈建忠)—wereintercepted between Shuanghou Town and Dongshigu and expelled from the area.Liu Shasha was hooded, threatened, robbed, roughed up, and finally left inDayou Village, located outside Juye County, Heze City. Miao Jue, who had beentaken in another vehicle, was able to contact Peng Yuanzhong, who went toassist her in Miaoshan Town in Laiwu City. Miao Jue had also been roughed upand robbed, and went to the Miaoshan Police Station to file a report about whathad happened.

 

On September 20, rights activist Wang Xuezhen (王雪臻) and a foreignjournalist went to the Shandong Provincial Party Committee Letters and VisitsOffice and demanded that the Yinan County Political-Legal Committee takeresponsibility for the abduction and beating of Liu and Miao. They also soughtan explanation for the car accident and beating involving netizen He Peirong (何培蓉, aka “Pearl” [珍珠]), who tried to visitChen Guangcheng in January. (CHRD)[vii]

Jiangxi Authorities Forbid Netizen-Activist From Going toHong Kong

On September 15, authorities in Pingxiang City, JiangxiProvince refused to grant a permit to local netizen and activist Liao Mulin (廖木林) to travel to HongKong, allegedly due to his online reporting about local officials’ brutalenforcement of family planning policies. A police officer at the Pingxiang CityPublic Security Bureau (PSB) informed Liao that the decision had been made bythe Pingxiang PSB’s leadership, though also admitting its computer system hasno record of any violation of the law by Liao. Liao was later told by anational security officer of Shangli County PSB that he was not being allowedto go abroad because of “online posts that affected the government’s image.” (CHRD)[viii]

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

Hundreds of Villagers Continue Protests Against LandExpropriation, Three Beaten

On September 17, about 200 villagers from Anting Town,Jiading District, Shanghai Municipality again broke through a blockade by localauthorities and took the subway to the municipal center to continue protestingover land requisition and demolitions. Outside the Shanghai Municipal PartyCommittee Office, three villagers were beaten by uniformed policemen while one villager,Gao Xuekun (高雪坤),was taken to a police station in Tianping Road Police Station in XuhuiDistrict, Shanghai. This was the second time Gao, who was later released, hasbeen taken into custody for protesting. The actions on September 17 also markedthe 38th time since August 17 that Anting residents have gathered to demand theShanghai government look into possible illegal land requisitions and propertydemolitions in their local villages. (CHRD)[ix]

Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

Difficulties With Proxy Software Reported by ActivistsAcross China

Since September 14, activists across China have reporteddifficulties in using a number of popular proxy software applications to accesswebsites blocked by the “Great Firewall.” Activists based in Beijing, Hebei,Anhui, Fujian, Sichuan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Guangxi Provinces as wellas Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have reported problems with proxy softwareapplications they often use, including Freegate (自由门), DynaPass (动网通), FreeU (逍遥游), and UltraSurf (无界网络). (CHRD)[x]

Local NPC Election Watch

Beijing Police Disrupt Election Event, Question Participants

In the morning of September 16, officers from the JingshanDistrict Police Station in Beijing took in for questioning many individuals whowere preparing for an event to support independent candidate Zheng Wei (郑威) in an upcoming People’s Congress election. AtZheng’s home were nine other election participants as well as activist He Depu(何德普), two Britishjournalists with The Guardian, and two neighbors who had come around. Anindividual who said he was the chief of the Jingshan District Police Stationforced his way into Zheng’s home, and then called in more than 10 officers totake away those who had gathered and transport them to the station. Except forthe two journalists, who were not taken in, and Zheng Wei, all the others werefirst held outside in a courtyard in the station and then moved to aninterrogation room. Police did not make a record of the majority of individualsand let them go in the late afternoon. Zheng was also released after beingdetained for about 10 hours. While police did not explicitly state why thegroup was summoned, one officer eventually admitted the individuals werebrought in to disrupt the election event. (CHRD)[xi]

Beijing Authorities Attempt to Impede Candidate’sRegistration

On September 16, a neighborhood committee secretary inBeijing informed Xu Chunliu (徐春柳),an online journalist and People’s Congress candidate from Dongcheng District,that he cannot register his candidacy in his residential neighborhood, but caninstead do so through his work unit. Referencing a “local People’s Congressdocument,” the official said that if an individual works outside theneighborhood where they live, as Xu does, they cannot register in theirneighborhood, since such a person is not a “pure resident” (纯居民).However, this information contradicts the Rules for Implementing the ElectionLaw of Beijing People’s Congress, which allow candidates to register accordingto either their place of residence or work. The secretary indicated Xu has twooptions if he still wishes to remain registered in his neighborhood: quit hisjob and become unemployed at home, or convince his work unit, which has severalthousand employees, to not participate in the election. Xu realizes hiscandidacy may be jeopardized since there is not much time before the electionin October to either wage an appeal about the situation or to change his placeof registration, which would also mean finding new recommenders. (CHRD)[xii]

Law and Policy Watch

Supreme People’s Court Issues Notice on Avoiding Violence inForced Evictions

The Supreme People’s Court has announced an urgent noticethat calls for measures to help prevent negative incidents, including violentepisodes, that can accompany land expropriations and forced evictions anddemolitions. According to a Xinhua article, the notice demands greater care betaken in executing activities related to these land and property issues, andthat extreme behavior—like threats of suicide by affected parties—should begrounds to cease activities in order to preserve safety and prevent harmfulconsequences.[xiii]

 

The forced evictions of individuals from their homes and theviolence that accompanies them have not abated since early this year, when theRegulations for Expropriation and Compensation of Residential Buildings onState-owned Land, touted as an improved version of previous administrativeguidelines on evictions, was issued. An “urgent notice” by the SPC is thereforehighly unlikely to reduce the violence in these incidents, both on the part ofthe evictors and the evictees. As pointed out in a recent report by CHRD,piecemeal changes to administrative regulations would do little to solveproblems stemming from forced evictions. A comprehensive investigation isurgently needed into existing Chinese laws and regulations on the expropriationof land and evictions and demolition of homes to bring the regulatory regime upto standards elaborated by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and CulturalRights based on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and CulturalRights (ICESCR).

 

Editors of this issue: Victor Clemens and Songlian Wang

 

Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnet

 

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News updates from CHRD

 

[i] “Rights Defender Guo Feixiong Out of Prison toRecuperate Temporarily in Guangzhou Home” (维 权人士郭飞雄出狱暂在广州家中 静养),September 13, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_9998.html;“Activist Yang Maodong Sentenced to Five Years in Prison,” November 17, 2007,http://chrdnet.org/2007/11/14/activist-yang-maodong-sentenced-to-five-y…

 

[ii] “Bengbu Rights Defender Wu Yuebao Formally Arrested byAuthorities on Suspicion of ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’” (蚌埠维权人士吴乐宝 被当局以“涉嫌颠覆国家政权罪”正式逮捕), September 12,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_5484.html; “Anhui DissidentWu Yuebao Suspected of ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power,’” (安徽异议人 士吴乐宝 被控涉嫌“煽动颠覆国家政权”), August 15, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-post_888.html; “Bengbu, AnhuiDissident Wu Yuebao Criminally Detained, Several Rights Defenders Warned byPolice,” (安徽蚌埠异议人士吴 乐宝被刑拘,多名维权人士被警 告), July 24, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_8787.html?spref=tw; “Wu YuebaoNot Released When Detention Period Ends; Li Wenge Taken Away, Has HomeSearched,” (吴乐宝到期未放,李 文革被带走抄家),July 24, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_24.html; “UrgentAlert: Bengbu Democracy Rights Activist Wu Yuebao Has Home Searched, IsDetained,” (紧急关注:蚌埠民主 维权人士吴乐宝被抄家拘留), June 18, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_6893.html

 

[iii] “Alert: Police Summon Bengbu Rights Defender Qian Jinfor Questioning” (快讯:安徽蚌埠维权 人士钱进被警方传唤), September 15, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_15.html; “AdministrativeDetention Punishment Decisions for Bengbu Human Rights Defenders Li Wenge andZhang Lin” (蚌 埠民主维权人士李文革、张林行 政处罚决定书), September 14, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_9965.html; “Alert: RightsDefenders Li Wenge, Zhang Lin Summoned for Questioning” (快 讯:蚌埠维权人士李文革、张林 被传唤), September 14, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_9734.html

 

[iv] “Liu Guangbing of Shaoyang, Hunan Again Sent to RTL forPetitioning” (湖南 邵阳市刘光兵因上访被再次劳教), September 19, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_5567.html

 

[v] “Elderly Hubei Petitioner Xu Wanying Detained in BlackJail Again” (湖北访民许万英老人又被关黑监狱), September 17,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_8407.html

 

[vi] “Gan Xingyan, of Shuangliu, Chengdu, Has AdministrativeSuit Delayed, Some Supportive Petitioners Face Controls on Their Freedom” (成 都双流干兴艳行政诉讼延期,部 分围观访民被控制),September 14, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_1297.html

 

[vii] “Wang Xuezhen Petitions Shandong Provincial Party CommitteeLetters and Visits Office for Kidnapping, Beating of Liu Shasha and Miao Jue” (王雪臻女士为刘 沙沙、妙觉遭受绑架殴打上访山东省 省委信访办),September 19, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_9409.html; “Liu Shasha,Miao Jue Again Face Violent Attack When Visiting Chen Guangcheng in a ‘NightRaid’ on Dongshigu Village” (刘莎莎、妙觉夜 闯东师古村再访陈光诚遭暴力袭击),September 18, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_4221.html

 

[viii] “Liao Mulin, from Pingxiang, Jiangxi, Prevented FromGoing to Hong Kong Due to Online Posts” (江西萍乡廖木林因上 网发贴被禁止去香港), September 15,2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_1303.html

 

[ix] “Anting Villagers Protested at the City Government forthe 38th Time, Three Villagers Beaten” (上海安亭镇村民第38次市府抗议,三村民被殴打),September 18, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/38.html

 

[x] “Large Scale Internet Blockade Appeared in China” (中国大陆出现大面积网络封锁), September 16, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_2061.html

 

[xi] “Beijing Police Begin to Suppress Candidates for People’sCongress Elections” (北京警方对北京市公民参选人开始 打压), September 16, 2011,

http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_4176.html;“Part III: Beijing Citizen Candidate News [Extra Edition]” (北京市公民参选人参 选新闻《号外》之三),September 16, 2011, http://rightscampaign.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_8341.html

 

[xii] “Beijing People’s Congress Candidate Xu Chunliu Unableto Register Candidacy” (北京人大代表参选者徐春柳无法做 选民登记), September 15, 2011,http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/09/blog-post_2237.html

 

[xiii] “Supreme Court’s Pilots Division of ‘ExecutiveDecisions’ for Demolitions and Evictions, Aims to Prevent Violent Demolitions”(最高法试点拆迁“裁执”分离 防止暴力血拆), September 11,2011, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2011-09/11/c_122019994.htm

 

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