China Human Rights Briefing Weekly   August 31-September 6, 2010

Highlights

  • Beijing Lawyer Tried Again by Railway Courts: This past week, Beijing lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) was tried for a second time for “intentional injury” by the Tianjin Railway Court after spending over a year in detention. Wang, who was detained and charged seven months after getting into dispute with railway workers in Tianjin in May 2008, had her three-year sentence overturned by the Beijing Railway Intermediate Court on August 10, 2010. Her case has brought the railway court system to the fore of public attention, and critics have argued that its existence is unconstitutional.
  • Case against Gongmeng Dismissed, Bail Lifted from Director and Staffer: According to the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB), Gongmeng (the Open Constitution Initiative) has “paid its fines,” and the “tax evasion” case against the NGO has been dismissed. Officials from the PSB returned items they confiscated from the organization following a raid last summer, and announced that the bail measure (qubao houshen) which they had taken against Gongmeng’s director Xu Zhiyong (许志永) and staffer Zhuang Lu (庄璐) has been lifted.
  • Chongqing Petitioner Released after More than a Year in Psychiatric Institution: CHRD learned this week that Zhao Xiuzhen (赵秀珍), a petitioner from Chongqing, was forcibly institutionalized and held against her will in a psychiatric hospital for 514 days between 2008 and 2010. She was released on January 27, 2010. Zhao, who was mistreated and abused during her detention, had her mental health evaluated following her release by medical professionals, who certified that she was not mentally ill.

Contents

Arbitrary DetentionTwo Democracy Activists Due to be Released

Two leading members of the China Democracy Party(CDP) from Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, Chen Shuqing (陈树庆) andWu Yilong (吴义龙),are due to be released on September 13 and 14, respectively. OnSeptember 4,policemen from the National Security Unit of Hangzhou Public SecurityBureau(PSB) visited Hangzhou activist Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) and warned him againstparticipating in activities to welcome the two when they are releasednextweek. Zhu, a longtime democracy activist and founder of a CDP magazine,hasbeen repeatedly harassed by police since released from prison in April2009.(CHRD)[1]

Lawyer Re-tried for “Intentional Injury,”Supporters Decry Unconstitutional Court System

Beijing lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) wastried for a second time for “intentional injury” by Tianjin RailwayCourt,which concluded its proceedings on September 3. The court has not yetissued averdict. Dozens of Wang’s supporters arrived at the court but were notallowedto attend the trial. One supporter, lawyer Dong Qianyong (董前勇), wasreportedly dragged out of the court and beaten by a number of courtpolicemen.According to Wang’s lawyers, the presiding judge refused to call anywitnessesor alleged victims to testify before the court, among other proceduralviolations.

On May 4, 2008, Wang got into a dispute withfour railway workers at the Tianjin West Railway Station. Wang, whosaid shewas hit by the workers, reported the incident to the railway police,then,after they failed to intervene, complained to the inspection unit of Tianjin railwaypolice.Seven months later, Wang was seized and charged with “intentionalinjury.” Shewas tried on July 15, 2009 and later sentenced to 3 years in prison andorderedto give 130,000 RMB in compensation to the “victims” by the Tianjin Railway Court.However, thejudgment was overturned by the Beijing Railway Intermediate Courton August 10, 2010,which ordered a re-trial of the case due to “insufficient evidence.”Wang’ssupporters and fellow lawyers have argued that it is unconstitutionalfor therailway system to run a parallel system of police, procuratorate andcourts,and that Wang’s case is a perfect example of how easily the system isabused topersecute individuals who irk railway officials. (CHRD)[2]

Shenyang Famer Detained Five Monthsafter Criticizing Village Officials Over Missing Funds

In 2007, the ShenyangCity government requisitionedlandbelonging to Donghuangdi Village, outside of Shenyang City,and promised compensation to the villagers in accordance withregulations atthe time. However, according to villagers, more than 30 million RMBwhichshould have been paid as compensation has gone missing. During ameeting inMarch 2010 to discuss electing a new village chief, Wang Xinjiang (王新江), avillage representative, spoke out against current village leaders onthe issueof the missing funds, and stated that he wanted to elect a villagechief with a"sense of responsibility" to the villagers. Upon hearing this, thevillage Party secretary, who was a candidate for village chief, becameenragedand attacked Wang, tackling him to the ground. Police arrived on thescene butleft without detaining any villagers. On March 24, however, localofficers,acting on the orders of village cadres, seized Wang on suspicion of"disruptingcivic order." Wang remains in detention at the time of writing, morethanfive months later. (CHRD)[3]

Policein LiaoningSeize Petitioning Engineer Li Bocheng

CHRD learned on September 3 that retiredLiaoning City engineer Li Bocheng (李伯城) was seized at his homeby police on the evening of August 26. Earlier that week, Li had beenstoppedby interceptors and forcibly returned to Liaoning while petitioningalong witha group of approximately 60 other engineers in Beijing. He was forcedby localpolice to sign a document pledging to abandon his petitioning before hewasreleased; he would make one more round trip to Beijing before he was seized onAugust 26.According to Li's wife, local police have not contacted her regardingherhusband's detention. Further information about his condition andwhereabouts isnot presently available. (CHRD)[4]

BeijingActivist Wang Yuqin Detained for Seven Days for Observing Election

Beijing Activist Wang Yuqin (王玉琴) wasdetained for seven days for “disturbing public order” between August 26andSeptember 4. Wang was seized by Beijing police for visiting the venuewhere theelection of the head of Beijing’s Xindongcheng District was being held.(CHRD)[5]

Veteran Petitioner Wang Ling Detained forThree Days during Combat Games

Beijing petitioner Wang Ling (王玲) wasdetained for three days during the Sportaccord Combat Games in Beijing.Wanghad been subjected to “soft detention” at home during the internationalsports event,and when she refused to give up her plans to go out, the policemenguarding hertook her into custody for “attacking the police” and “obstructingofficialbusiness.” Wang was released three days later, but the police refusedtoprovide her with any formal detention documents. (CHRD)[6]

Village Representative Sentenced to 1.5Years for Resisting Land Grab

CHRD learned on September 2 that villagerepresentative Yuan Hanjie (袁汉杰) was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for“extortion” on August 18 by the Haifeng County People’s Court inGuangdongProvince. In 2006, head of MeixingVillage in Haifeng County reportedly soldvillage land to developers without following the proper procedures.When thevillagers found out, they chose Yuan and four others as theirrepresentativesto petition higher authorities about the illegal land deal. For theseactivities, Yuan, who is disabled, had been repeatedly threatened bythevillage head. On October 12, 2009, while petitioning at the GuangdongProvincial Letters and Visits Office, Yuan was seized by Haifeng Countypolice. He was first subjected to 10 days of administrative detention,following which he was criminally detained for “extortion.” (CHRD)[7]

Over 50 Petitioners Detained during Visitof Hunan Party Secretary

On August 31, over 50 petitioners from Hengyang Countywere detained during a visit of the Party Secretary of Hunan Province.When farmers in the county heard that the Party Secretary was going tovisit ashoe factory in Hengyang City, the county seat of Hengyang County,some decided to travel to the city in hope of petitioning him aboutlocalinjustices. However, they were intercepted along the way by policemenandvillage party secretaries from their hometowns, and forcibly detainedin blackjails, where they were threatened and interrogated. (CHRD)[8]

Seven Victims of Forced Eviction Detainedfor Petitioning

On September 1, seven victims of forced evictionfrom Beijing’sChaoyang District were seized while petitioning at the ChaoyangDistrictLetters and Visits Office. The authorities had reportedly designatedSeptember1 as a day when heads of Beijingdistricts would receive petitioners at their respective Letters andVisitsOffices. However, when the seven were waiting to meet with the head ofChaoyangDistrict, they were taken away by the police and detained in Chaowaipolicestation. One petitioner has since been released. (CRLW)[9]

HenanActivist Detained for Effort to Support Detained Activist Liu Xianbin

Between August 26 and 31, Henan activist Wang Yi(王译)was subjected to administrative detention for “spreading rumors” inWuxi City,Jiangsu Province. Wang was released on August 31, but she was thenforciblyreturned by the police to her hometown in Xinxiang City, HenanProvince.According to Wang, she was detained for acting as the spokesperson ofthe“Jiangsu Liu Xianbin Citizens Concern Group.” Since the detention ofwell-knownSichuanactivist Liu Xianbin for “inciting subversion of state power” on June28,groups of concerned citizens and fellow activists have been organizingonlineand forming the “Liu Xianbin Citizens Concern Group” with branchesacross thecountry to draw attention to his case. (CHRD)[10]

Freedom of Assembly and AssociationVillagers Pepper-Sprayed and Detained forPetitioning about Forced Eviction

On September 3, about three hundred villagersfrom Dongsanyao Villagefrom ShaanxiProvince werepetitioning outside theoffice of the Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee when policemen sprayedpepperat one of the villagers and seized over a dozen. Three villagersremaineddetained in Xi’an City No.2 Detention Center. The villagers, who livein avillage engulfed by Xi’an City with between 20,000 and 30,000residents, areupset after they were notified that their homes, many of which are nomore than20 years old, must be demolished to “transform” the village. (CHRD)[11]

BeijingPolice Dismiss Case against NGO Gongmeng, Release Director and StafferfromBail

CHRD learned on September 4 that the BeijingPublic Security Bureau (PSB) has dismissed the case of suspected “taxevasion”against Beijing NGO Gongmeng (the Open Constitution Initiative) becausethe“company has paid its fines.” The police also removed the bail measure (qubaohoushen) against Gongmeng’s director Xu Zhiyong (许志永) andstaffer Zhuang Lu (庄璐), who have been out on bail awaiting trialsince they were released from detention in August 2009. The PSB alsoreturnedthe company’s account books as well as other confiscated items.(Chinarightsemail group)

Freedom of Expression600 Sign Petition Calling for an End toRe-education through Labor System, Organizer Threatened

CHRD learned on September 4 that Hunan activistXiao Yong (肖勇)was threatened by National Security policemen from Hunan Province fororganizing a letter signing campaign. The letter calls on the StandingCommittee of the National People’s Congress to abolish the Re-educationthroughLabor system. The letter, which opened for signatures in mid-August,has beensigned by more than 600 people. (CHRD)[12]

Forced Eviction and DemolitionAuthorities Suspend Judge in Order toPressure His Father to Agree to Eviction

CHRD learned on September 5 that a judge, ShiXinrong (施新荣),was suspended by his employer, Chongchuan District Court in NantongCity,Jiangsu Province, since September 2009 in order to force Shi topressure hisfather to agree to the demolition of his home. Shi and his family alsosufferedrepeated harassment and threats from his work unit as well as othergovernmentdepartments in NantongCity. After theywereforced to sign the demolition agreement, the Shi family has founditself insubstandard replacement housing and repeated complaints to thegovernment haveyielded no improvements. (CHRD)[13]

Harassment of ActivistsPolice Question Staff of Beijing NGO Yirenping

On September 2, three policemen fromYangfangdian Police Station in Haidian District arrived at the Beijing Yirenping Center,a NGO advocating for the rights and equal treatment of people withHIV/AIDS andhepatitis. The policemen questioned a staff member about the operationsof theNGO, but did not state the purpose of these enquiries nor produce anylegaldocuments which might have justified their actions. The police’s visitcameonly days after Yirenping helped a HIV carrier in Anhui Provincefile a lawsuit against the Anqing City Bureau of Education foremploymentdiscrimination on August 30. It is the first lawsuit accepted in China’scourtsalleging work discrimination as a result of HIV status. (Rights MailingGroup)

Torture and other cruel, inhuman ordegrading treatment or punishmentWoman Held in Psychiatric Institution overa Year for Petitioning

CHRD learned on September 1 that a Chongqing petitioner washeld against her will in a psychiatric institution for 514 days between2008and 2010, during which she was tied to her bed, slapped, forciblyinjected andmedicated. Zhao Xiuzhen (赵秀珍) was seized by Beijing police on November 11,2008 while petitioning in Beijing. She was first held in a black jailin Beijing before being handed over tointerceptors from Chongqing, who senther back to her hometown and committedher in HuangjueyaPsychiatric HospitalinNan’an District. Zhao was released on January 27, 2010 after herdaughteragreed to pay RMB 9,000 to the hospital. Following her release, Zhaowent tohave her mental health status evaluated at a medical center, and wascertifiednot mentally ill.

Zhao started petitioning after she was seriouslyinjured by the car of a Sichuanmilitary officer in 1990. For the past twenty years, she has beenrepeatedlydetained by Chongqinggovernment authorities for seeking compensation and legalaccountability forher disability. Zhao was previously detained in a psychiatricinstitution in2007, where she was also subjected to cruel treatment and was releasedonlyafter her daughter paid RMB 10,000 and signed an agreement promisingthat Zhaowould never petition again. (CHRD)[14]

Law and Policy WatchMinistry to Begin Registering IDInformation of Cell Phone Users on September 1

The Ministry of Industry and InformationTechnology has issued a new order decreeing that, starting on September1,buyers of mobile phone SIM cards must present their identificationcards forregistration. Existing mobile phone users will also be required tosupply theirID information, and the Ministry aims to accomplish the registration ofmobilephone owners by 2012. According to the government, the measure wasintroducedto clamp down on junk and fraudulent text messages. (The Beijing News)[15]

However, CHRD is concerned that the system mightbe abused to strengthen the monitoring of citizens’ communications andtopunish those who use mobile phones to expose human rights violations ororganize protests. A number of large-scale protests in recent years,such asthe demonstrations against the construction of a chemical factory in Xiamen City, FujianProvince, were organized using mobile phone text messaging.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang

Newsupdates from CHRDAnnual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009) 

[1] CHRD, “Member of China Democracy Party Zhejiang BranchSoonReleased from Prison, Zhu Yufu Harassed by the Police (浙江民主党人即将出狱,朱虞夫被警察骚扰),”September 4, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009042046.shtml

[2] CHRD, “Beijing Lawyer Wang Yu on Trial again, the CourtWillAnnounce Verdict at a Later Date (北京律师王宇案再次开庭,法院择日宣判),” September 3, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009031720.shtml;CHRD, “Beijing Lawyer Dong Qianyong Beaten by Tianjin Court Police, aFullReport by Yang Xuelin” (北京律师董前勇被天津法警殴打全程/杨学林), September 5, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009052156.shtml

[3] "Liaozhong Country, Shenyang City Farmer Wang XinjiangDetained for Calling into Question 30 Million RMB in Compensation" (沈阳市辽中县农民王新江因质疑3000万补偿被拘捕), September1,2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009010730.shtml

[4] "Shenyang, Liaoning Police Detained Petitioning EngineerLiBocheng" (辽宁沈阳警方抓捕上访维权高工李伯城),September 3, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009032306.shtml

[5] CHRD, “Police Earns RMB 100 bonus Each Time forDetainingPetitioner-Activist Wang Yuqin” (警方拘留上访维权人士王玉琴一次可得100元奖金), September 5,2010,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009051524.shtml

[6] CHRD, “Wang Ling Illegally Detained for Martial ArtsExhibition” (因武博会维权人士王玲被非法关押), September 5, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009051552.shtml

[7] CHRD, “Guangdong Haifeng Disabled Villager Sentenced to1.5 Yearsfor Petitioning” (广东海丰残疾村民上访被判刑一年半),September 2, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009022159.shtml

[8] CHRD, “Many petitioners in Hengyang County lost theirfreedombecause of visit by Hunan Party Secretary” (衡阳县多位上访人因湖南省委书记到来失去自由),September 2, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009021950.shtml

[9] CRLW, “<区长接待日北京陈淑云等七位访民被抓到派出所>,” September 1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009011706.shtml

[10] CHRD, “Wang Yi detained for acting as spokesperson forJiangsu LiuXianbin Concerned Group” <王译因担任刘贤斌江苏关注团发言人而被拘留>, August 31, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/08/201008311753.shtml

[11] CHRD, “We Were Pepper-Sprayed and Detained forPetitioning theShaanxi Provincial Party Committee” (我们到陕西省委上访被喷辣椒水被拘留),September 5, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009051450.shtml

[12] CHRD, “More than 600 People Sign Petition Advocating fortheAbolition of Re-education through Labor, the Organizer was Threatened” (废除劳教主张书签名超600人,发起人受到威胁),September 4,2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009041713.shtml

[13] CHRD, “Judge Shi from Jiangsu’s Nantong City WasSubjected toCollective Punishment, and Reveals the Inside Story” (江苏南通法院施法官遭遇拆迁株连&#3

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
View latest posts
0 comments