China Human Rights Briefing Weekly     September 22-29, 2010 | Countdown for China | 1 Oct 2010 | Amnesty International UK

China Human Rights Briefing Weekly     September 22-29, 2010

Highlights

  • Chengdu Court protestors sentenced: Ten activists were convicted of “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order” on September 28 for protesting outside the Chengdu City Intermediate Court in 2009. CHRD is dismayed at the verdict and continues to call for their immediate and unconditional release.
  • Black jail article stirs up a storm: Southern Metropolis Daily drew wide attention on September 24 when it published a long investigative report revealing that local governments have been paying the Anyuanding Security Company to intercept petitioners and detain them in black jails in Beijing. The company’s chairman and general manager have since been criminally detained.
  • Public Letter Urges Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo: A total of 340 people signed a public letter calling on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to award the prize to jailed dissident and activist Liu Xiaobo.

Contents

ArbitraryDetention

Ten Convictedand Sentenced for Protesting outside Chengdu Court

OnSeptember 28,the Leshan City Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan Provinceconvicted tenactivists— Bao Junsheng (鲍俊生), Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏), Xing Qingxian (幸清贤), LüDachun (陆大椿), Yan Wenhan (严文汉), Zeng Rongkang (曾荣康), LiuJiwei (刘继伟), Zeng Li (曾理), YangJiurong (杨久荣), and Xu Chongli (徐崇丽), of “assembling a crowd todisrupt social order.” Baowas sentenced to three years of prison, Huang and Zeng Li were given2.5 years,Xing, Lü, Yan, Zeng Rongkang, Liu and Yang were given two years. Xu,the onlyfemale defendant, was sentenced to one year of “surveillance” (管制). CHRD believes that the tenactivists have been punishedsolely for staging a peaceful protest and for documenting and reportingonhuman rights violations. CHRD is dismayed at the verdict and continuesto callfor their immediate and unconditional release. The verdict came morethan 18months since the activists were taken into custody for chainingthemselvestogether to protest what they believed to be unfair rulings handed downby the Chengdu CityIntermediate Courtover the years on February 23, 2009. (CHRD)[i]

Heads ofSecurity Company Criminally Detained for Operating Black Jails

After aSouthernMetropolis Daily article dated September 24 revealed that localgovernments have been paying the Anyuanding Security Company tointerceptpetitioners and detain them in black jails in Beijing, the company’s chairman andgeneralmanager have been criminally detained. The article was one of the firstin-depth reports on black jails by Chinese media and the first to befollowedby official actions to detain some of the individuals responsible forthejails. However, no government officials have yet been detained. Xinhua,onSeptember 26 and 27, released for the first time a Chinesecommentary and an Englisharticle on black jails. The Chinese government has repeatedlydenied thatsuch jails exist. Prior to the article by Southern Metropolis Daily,CaijingMagazine also published a report on the same company onSeptember 13,and was threatened by the Beijingpolice following its publication. Last year, when OutlookWeekly, a publication of the Xinhua News Agency, ran a story inNovember aboutthese jails, it raised hopes that it may indicate a change in theofficial attitudetowards these illegal institutions. CHRD started reporting onAnyuandingSecurity Company as early as October 2009 and has been reporting onblack jailssince September 2007.[ii]

Beijing Dissident-Activist Releasedafter BeingHeld for Anti-Japan Protests

OnSeptember 24,Li Jinping (李金平), was released following sixdays ofdetention in Changying Police station in Beijing’s Chaoyang District.Li wastaken away by Beijingpolice just as he arrived at the anti-Japan demonstration in ChaoyangDistricton September 18. Police did not provide him with any formal detentiondocuments. (CHRD)[iii]

 

Police Clear Beijing BusStation ofPetitioners

As theOctober 1National Day approaches, Beijingpolice are increasing their efforts to clear the capital ofpetitioners. Aroundsix in the morning on September 27, about a dozen Beijingpolicemen checked the buses departing from a bus station in Lü Village,locatedin Beijing’sFengtai District, pulling to the side those they suspected to bepetitioners,and holding them in a public bus parked nearby. Two hours later, thebus filledwith more than a hundred petitioners was driven to Jiujingzhuang, acentralizedblack jail in Beijing.It is unclear whether these petitioners are still detained at the timeofwriting. (CHRD)[iv]

Beijing Petitioners Detained forTraveling to Visit ShanghaiExpoOnSeptember 21, agroup of six Beijing petitioners wereseizedfrom a train bound for Shanghai by morethan adozen Beijingpolicemen. The six women were first sent to Majialou, a centralizedblack jailin Beijing,andthen sent to different police stations around the capital. It isunclearwhether they have been released. Together with a seventh petitioner,dissidentJia Jianying (贾建英), the six had planned to visitthe Expoduring the mid-autumn festival holidays in China. Jia has beensubjected tosoft detention at home to prevent her from leaving for Shanghai. (CHRD)[v]Hubei Petitioner Sentenced to ThreeYears for“Extortion”

CHRDlearned onSeptember 22 that petitioner Yin Dengzhen (尹登珍), fromShiyan City in Hubei Province, was convicted of “extortion” andsentenced tothree years in prison on October 13, 2009. Yin disappeared on April 27,2009while petitioning in Beijing. It was later discovered that she waskidnapped bythe ShiyanCity governmentofficials and forciblysent back to her hometown. Yin has been petitioning for years for whatsheconsiders as unfair rulings handed down by the local court regardingtherobbery of her properties. (CHRD)[vi]

 

Updates on Shanghai Women HumanRights Defenders

OnSeptember 23,CHRD received updates regarding the following Shanghai activists:

  • Petitioner-activist Duan Chunfang (段春芳), who is serving an 18-month sentence in Minhang District Detention Center in Shanghai, is thin and ill, and her eyesight is deteriorating. Duan’s father passed away this summer, but the detention center refused to allow him to visit Duan before his death. Duan’s mother and brother are put under soft detention at home during the Shanghai Expo.
  • Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), a reproductive rights activist sent to 18 months of Re-education through Labor (RTL) on March 4, has been barred from meeting her family since she was detained on February 25.
  • Li Huifang (李惠芳), a petitioner-activist sent to 18 months of RTL, is now held at Nanhu RTL camp in Xuancheng City in Anhui Province. Li is weak and afflicted with a skin disease. (CHRD)[vii]

Black JailOperator Drops Case against Petitioner in Bizarre Lawsuit

OnSeptember 19,victim of forced eviction Li Jianhua (李建华), fromNantong City, Anhui Province, received a notice from Nantong’sChongchuanDistrict People’s Court that Nantong City Beige Inn had dropped itslawsuit againsthim and property developer Nantong Industrial Holding Group. Beige Inn,whichoperated a black jail, sued the developer for its failure to pay forthedetained petitioners’ room and board. Reportedly, Nantong Citygovernment had an arrangement with the developer, that the latter wouldpayBeige Inn for operating the black jail and in return, the governmentwould giveland to the developer. However, the developer fell into arrears and theinndecided to sue them as well as the petitioners, such as Li Jianhua, whohadbeen held in the black jail since 2005. The court heard the case inJune 2008but did not issue a verdict. (CHRD)[viii]

Hunan Petitioner ForciblyInstitutionalized inPsychiatric Hospital

OnSeptember 21,farmer Zhang Zhi (张治), from a villagein Tuanjie Town in HunanProvince, was sent to Yaxirongfu Psychiatric Hospital and has been heldthereagainst her will by the town mayor and four other officials forpetitioning.Zhang has been petitioning after she and her family had their farmlandseized andher minimal living allowance withheld by the local government. (CHRD)[ix]

Freedomof Assembly and AssociationProtestors Heldfor Demonstrating against Forced Eviction

OnSeptember 27,83 victims of forced eviction from ChangshaCity in HunanProvince were taken away by Beijing policewhileprotesting outside the State Council Office of Legal Affairs. Theprotestorswanted to hand in a petition calling on the State Council to promulgatethe newregulations on eviction and demolition, which they believe will bettersafeguard the rights of the evictees. They were taken to Jiujingzhuang,acentralized black jail in Beijing,where they were handed to officials from the Beijing Liaison Office ofHunanProvince. The whereabouts of these petitioners are unknown but it isbelievedthat they have been sent back to their hometowns. Beijing human rightsactivistXu Zhiyong (许志永) and netizen Tiantian (天天) were also seized by Beijingpolice for reporting onthe protest at the scene, but they were later released. (CHRD and CRLW)[x]

 

Shandong Petitioner Detained forAttendingMid-Autumn Festival Gathering

CHRDlearned onSeptember 25 that petitioner Liu Houshun (刘厚顺), fromWendeng City in Shandong Province, has been held in Beijing’s FengtaiDistrictDetention Center since September 22. Liu was seized by the Beijingpolice whileattending a mid-autumn festival gathering with a group of fellowpetitionersoutside the Beijing South Station. It is not currently known why Liuwasseized, or how long he will be held. Liu, who was a businessman,startedpetitioning in 2005 when Beijingpolice mistook him for a petitioner and detained and tortured him.(CHRD)[xi]

Hundreds ofPetitioners Protested in Beijing;Dozens Detained

OnSeptember 22,hundreds of petitioners gathered outside the former site of the LettersandVisits Office of the Supreme People’s Court near Beijing South TrainStation.They sang and shouted slogans such as “We Want Human Rights,” and atone point,the crowd swelled to about one thousand. Police seized dozens of thepetitioners and detained them in a public bus. It is unclear whetherthey havebeen released. (CHRD)[xii]

 

Freedom ofExpression

 

Xinhua RemovesBlack Jail Report from Website

OnSeptember 27,CHRD discovered that the Southern Metropolis Daily’s in-depthreportabout black jail is no longer available on Xinhua’s website(www.xinhuanet.com). The report has also been removed from a number ofgovernment-controlled media, such as the websites of People’s Daily(www.people.com.cn), Tianjin Daily (www.tianjinwe.com) and theCentral People'sBroadcasting Station (www.cnr.cn). (CHRD)[xiii]

Forced Eviction and DemolitionMan Given LightSentence for Beating an Evictee to Death

Accordingto anarticle by Xinwenhua Post on September 25, Yang Xuesong(杨雪松), a man hired by a propertydeveloper, was convictedof “intentional bodily harm” and sentenced to 18 months in prison forkilling anevictee in Siping City in Jilin Province. Yang was also ordered to giveRMB26,000 in compensation to the victim’s family. In August 2007, Yang andanotherman, Wang Changlin (王长林), were hired by a developer toevictfamilies who refused to leave in Siping City. Yang and Wang in turnhired anotherman, who hired four men to carry out the eviction. In the process, Mr.Deng, anevictee, was killed when Yang told one of the four men to “hit hisshouldersand legs with a pick.” Deng’s family is dissatisfied with the verdict,sayingthat the sentence is too light, the compensation is too little, andthat they willappeal. The article also reports that some of the men involved havebeen caughtand sentenced, but it did not give details of their sentences. (XinwenhuoPost)[xiv]

Courts Refuseto Accept Lawsuits Filed by Victims of Forced Eviction

 

OnSeptember 21,two victims of forced eviction from Huaiyin District in Jinan City, ShandongProvince went tothe Jinan City Intermediate People’s Court for the second time to filealawsuit against the JinanCity government.The twoallege that the government failed to make public official documentsauthorizingthe demolition of their homes. The pair mailed their application tofile thelawsuit to the court on September 2, but they never heard back withinthe timelimit stipulated by law. They visited the court on September 20, andthe judgereceiving them told them they needed to supply supplementaryinformation tofile the case. However, when the pair returned with the information thenextday, the judge said he needed time to “study the case” and refused toeitheraccept or officially reject it. (CHRD)[xv]

 

In aseparateincident, on September 22, six victims of forced eviction from Jinxiang County,Jining Cityin ShandongProvince went tofile a lawsuit at theShandong High People’s Court against the county government, allegingthat the government’sforce demolition of their home was illegal. Prior to that, on September13, thesix went to file the lawsuit with the Jining City Intermediate People’sCourt,which did not respond to the application within the time limit. The sixwillhave to wait to see if the High Court will ignore their case as well.(CHRD)[xvi]

Torture andother cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

 

SupremePeople’s Court Gives Green Light to Execution despite TortureAllegations

FanQihang (樊奇杭), the alleged Chongqing mobboss convicted of“organizing, leading and participating in triads,” murder, and otherchargesand sentenced to death, was executed on September 26. The SupremePeople’sCourt (SPC), after reviewing Fan’s case, approved of the penaltybecause “thefacts were clear, the evidences were reliable and adequate, theconviction wasaccurate, the sentence was appropriate and the proceedings were legal.”(Sina)[xvii]In late July, Fan’s lawyer Zhu Mingyong (朱明勇)submitted to the SPC and then released to the public a video recordingin whichFan described being subjected to torture by police seeking to extract aconfession. A month before lawyer Zhu came forward with the video, inlateJune, the SPC together with other ministries issued Rules ConcerningQuestionsabout Exclusion of Illegal Evidence in Handling Criminal Cases, whichstatethat evidence obtained through illegal means such as torture must beexcludedfrom criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, in this critical case, thenew rules appearto amount to no more than empty words, as the SPC simply ignored theallegations and gave green light to the execution.

Citizens’Action

Over ThreeHundred Sign Letter Urging Nobel Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo

Atotal of 340 publicintellectuals, human rights activists, lawyers, government officialsand otherssigned a public letter calling on the Nobel Peace PrizeCommittee to awardthe prize to Liu Xiaobo, prominent dissident and activist currentlyserving an11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power.” The letter,madepublic on September 25, is available here.

Law andPolicy Watch

ChineseGovernment Releases White Paper on Human Rights

OnSeptember 26,the State Council Information Office issued a white paperon “HumanRights Developments in China in 2009.” The paper praises thegovernment’sefforts in every area, ignoring many serious areas of rightsviolations, suchas torture, black jails and the Re-education through Labor (RTL)system. It isequally silent on government’s actions to persecute human rightsdefenders. Thepaper fails to use international standards and definitions of humanrights inevaluating the government’s performance, but merely uses detailed butmarginallyrelevant statistics to support its claims. For example, it cites thepublication of three government documents encouraging the reception ofpetitioners and government statistics, which find that the number ofpetitionshad gone down 2.7% in 2009, as evidence that citizens “have the rightstocriticize, make suggestion, complain, and make accusations andcharges.”Conveniently left out of the picture, however, is that petitioners areintercepted, beaten, detained in black jails and sent to RTL camps forpetitioning.

NationalDevelopment and Reform Commission Advocates for Maintaining the HukouSystem

OnSeptember 21,the secretary of the National Development and Reform Commission, YangWeimin (杨伟民), said at a meeting that headvocates for maintainingthe hukou (residency permit) system in order to maintain control overthenumber of rural migrants settling in cities. According to Yang, citygovernmentscan decide, depending on their own circumstances and capacity, thenumber of ruralmigrants they would allow residency status in a given year. Migrantswould berequired to wait in line for a few years before they are given thepermits. Atthe same time, he said cities should relax the conditions in obtainingthesepermits, and that they should provide the same public services to citydwellersas well as to rural migrants with permits. (Beijing News)[xviii]

Editors: David Smalls and LinSang News updatesfromCHRDAnnual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009)

 

[i] CHRD,“Defendants in ‘chained gate’ case are convicted and their verdictsannounced,lawyers and families decry illegality (“链子门”案件有罪宣判律师家属均指非法),”September 28, 2010,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009281221.shtml

[ii] See CHRD’s 2007 report, Black Jails” in theHost City of the “OpenOlympics,” http://chrdnet.org/2007/09/21/black-jails-in-the-host-city/and itsfollowing report in 2008, ““BlackJails:” China’s Growing Network of Illegal and SecretDetention Facilities”,http://chrdnet.org/2008/10/19/black-jails-chinas-growing-network-of-illegal-and-secret-detention-facilities/

[iii] CHRD,“Li Jinping released after he was held for participating in theSeptember 18demonstration (因参加9.18游行的北京维权人士李金平获释),” September 25,2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009251922.shtml

[iv] CHRD,“Beijing public bus subjected to major check, 100 people detained andsent toJiujingzhuang (北京公交车遭遇大检查,100余人被押往久敬庄),” September 27, 2010,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009271454.shtml

[v]CHRD, “Police Says Because You Are Jia Jianying Therefore You Cannot GotoShanghai; Concerned about Ye Jinghuan and Others Who Have been TakenintoCustody for Going to the World Expo (警察说因为你叫贾建英所以不能去上海----关注野靖环等因去看世博被抓),”September 22, 2010,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009222137.shtml

[vi]CHRD, “Hubei Shiyan City Petitioner Yin Dengzhen Sentenced forExtortion (湖北十堰访民尹登珍被法院以敲诈勒索罪判刑),” September20, 2010,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009221131.shtml

[vii]CHRD, “The Situation of Shanghai Women Activists Mao Hengfeng andOthers afterThey Were Sent to Prison (上海女性维权人士毛恒凤等人入狱后的近况),” September 23, 2010,

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