China Human Rights Briefing Weekly   January 11-18, 2011 | Countdown for China | 20 Jan 2011 | Amnesty International UK

China Human Rights Briefing Weekly   January 11-18, 2011

Highlights

  • U.S. Must Deliver on Promise of Making Human Rights the Guiding Principle of its China Policy: In a statement this week, CHRD urged President Obama to send a strong and clear public message during meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao that the U.S. government is dedicated to standing up for the rights of Chinese citizens. CHRD called on the U.S. government to articulate a coherent and strategic approach to the promotion of human rights in China, a central part of which should be direct and vocal support for China’s civil society. For the full statement (in English), please click here.
  • Zeng Jinyan Again Applies for Hu Jia’s Release on Medical Parole: Following a January 14 visit with her husband, imprisoned human rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳), Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕) once again applied for his release on medical parole from Beijing City Prison. This is the seventh such application Zeng has submitted on Hu’s behalf. Hu Jia, who has been in detention since December 2007, is ill with cirrhosis of the liver and has suffered from other ailments while imprisoned.  
  •  Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai Studio Demolished by Local Officials: On January 10 and 11, officials in Jiading Distict, Shanghai, oversaw the demolition of artist and activist Ai Weiwei's (艾未未) Shanghai studio. Though the demolition had been threatened for some time, the actual destruction of the building began without warning, catching Ai (who was in Beijing at the time it began) and his assistants by surprise.

 

Table of Contents

 

ArbitraryDetentionHealthConcerns Continue for Imprisoned ActivistHu Jia; Wife Submits Seventh Application forMedical Parole

On January 14, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕),wife of imprisoned human rights defender HuJia (胡佳), visited herhusband at Beijing City Prison.According to Zeng, Hu Jia appeared pale,sweaty, and complained of sharp painon the left side of his abdomen; he was so illthat he was unable to spend allof the time allotted for the visit with hiswife, and had to leave early. OnJanuary 16, Zeng once again applied for Hu'srelease on medical parole. This isthe seventh application submitted by Zeng onher husband's behalf; she has yetto receive a response to any of the previoussix. Zeng and Hu have alsorepeatedly requested that prison officialsprovide them with the results of allmedical tests performed on Hu since thebeginning of his imprisonment, but therequests have also been ignored. Hu, who wasdiagnosed with cirrhosis of theliver in 2006, has lost weight and struggledwith stomach ailments, persistentcolds, and gallstones in addition to worseningof his cirrhosis since histransfer to Beijing City Prison in October2008. Zeng blames poor nutrition andliving conditions at the prison for theprecipitous decline in her husband’scondition. Hu has been in detention sinceDecember 2007. (CHRD)[i]

“OlympicsProtestor”Ji Sizun Released after CompletingThree-Year Sentence

On January 17, FujianProvincerights activist and "barefoot lawyer" Ji Sizun(纪斯尊) was releasedfrom prison after completing his three-yearsentence for "forging officialdocuments and seals." Ji was originallydetained on August 11, 2008, afterhe applied to protest in one of the “ProtestZones” supposedly set up by thegovernment during the Olympics in Beijing.(CHRD)[ii]

HebeiActivistXu Yishun Seized by RTL Camp Officials,Missing

CHRD has learned thatBaodingCity, Hebei Province human rights activist XuYishun (徐义顺) is missing oneweek after being seized byofficials from Baoding's Gaoyang Re-educationthrough Labor (RTL) Camp.According to Xu's wife, Liu Nanping (刘南平),three officials took Xu from the couple's homeonJanuary 6 to "handle some paperwork" and hehas not been heard fromsince. Xu, a former reporter for PublicOpinion (民意) magazine, wassent to one and a half years of RTL for“fraud” in April 2010 after heattempted to visit Yuan Weijing (袁伟静),the wife of imprisoned Shandong human rightsdefender Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚).During his detention, Xu was beaten by fellowdetainees and was hospitalized after sufferinga heart attack apparentlybrought on by the beating. On August 25, 2010,the RTL camp gave him five daysof leave but then had not require him toreturn. It is believed that Xu hasbeen sent back to the camp because hecontinued to participate in a number ofpublic human rights activities during hisrelease. (CHRD)[iii]

ForcedDemolition and EvictionShanghaiOfficialsRaze Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei’sShanghai Studio

Beginning on the evening ofJanuary 10, and continuingthrough the afternoon of January 11, officialsin Shanghai forcibly demolishedartist and activist Ai Weiwei's (艾未未)Jiading District studio.Though the demolition had been threatened forsome time, the actual destructionof the building began without warning,catching Ai (who was in Beijing at thetime it began) and his assistants by surprise.After learning in November 2010that the studio would be demolished because itwas an “illegal structure,” Aiorganized a “River Crab Grand Banquet,” partperformance art and partcollective protest, to mock the authorities’suppression of criticism anddissent in the name of maintaining “socialharmony” (the Chinese word for rivercrab, he xie, is similar to that forharmony). Approximately 1,000people made their way to the studio for thegathering, though Ai and a numberof Shanghai activists were placed under softdetention to prevent them fromattending. (CHRD)[iv]

BeihaiCourt Violates Regulations, ChangesHearing Date for Detained VillageRepresentative

A hearing originallyscheduled for January 11 in the"obstructing official business" case againstBaihutou villager HeXianfu (何显福) was changedafter the close of business on January 10 bythe Yinhai District Court in Beihai City,Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Thehearing, originally scheduled for January 11,is now re-scheduled for January20. Lawyer Xie Yanyi (谢燕益)traveled to Beihai fromBeijing for the hearing, and He's relativeshad traveled to be in attendance aswell. According to the relevant regulations, adefendant's lawyer and familymust be notified of any changes to the date ofa hearing a minimum of threedays in advance of the original date. He, avillage representative, wasdetained in November 2010 for standing up todevelopers and local officialscarrying out forced evictions and demolitionsin Baihutou Village. Altogether,eight villagers have been detained for theiropposition to the land grab inBaihutou, including three who have beensentenced to prison for “obstructingofficial business. (CHRD)[v]

WellPolluted in Guangxi to Drive out Villagers

CHRD learned on January 15that residents of TietengshanVillage, who have been holding out againstforced expropriation of theirfarmland for nearly four years, discoveredlast week that the sole source ofwater for their village, a recently-dug well,had been polluted with a largeamount of motor oil. The villagers believe thelocal government to beresponsible; in October 2010, officials cutoff the village's supply of runningwater and electricity in an attempt to forcethe villagers to abandon theirhomes. Approximately 105 of the village'soriginal 700-odd residents currentlyremain in the village, fighting theexpropriation of their farmland on thegrounds that the compensation offered by thegovernment is too low. Tietengshanis located in the Guangxi Zhuang AutonomousRegion's Qinzhou City. (CHRD)[vi]

Tortureand Other Cruel, Inhuman, or DegradingTreatment or PunishmentElderlyShaanxiPetitioner Hospitalized in CriticalCondition after Beating from LocalOfficial

CHRD learned on January 13that 72 year-old retired workerZhang Suidong (张岁栋), of ShaanxiProvince, is in critical condition after beingbeaten by a local government official. OnJanuary 10, Zhang traveled from hishome in Biaojiao Town to the Fengxiang Countygovernment offices to petitionregarding a construction dispute. There, hewas attacked and beaten by thedirector of the county letters and visitsbureau, suffering serious headinjuries. Zhang is currently hospitalized inBaoji City's Number Three MilitaryHospital.  Prior to the beating, Zhang hadbeen detained 15 days byFengxiang County police for petitioning inBeijing. (CHRD)[vii]

Harassmentof ActivistsBeijingHuman Rights Defender Wang Lihong EntersFourth Month of Soft Detention

CHRD learned on January 18thathuman rights activist Wang Lihong (王荔蕻)remains under "soft detention" inBeijing, more than three months after policebegan limiting her freedom ofmovement in response to the news that LiuXiaobo (刘晓波) had beenawarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Wangwas seized by police at a celebratorygathering on October 8, and lateradministratively detained for eight days.Following her release from detention,police placed Wang under "soft detention,"first at a local hotel andthen at her home. She was also taken to theoutskirts of Beijing for a periodof 18 days surrounding the Nobel awardceremony. As of the time of writing,Wang is still required to travel in a policevehicle whenever she leaves herhome, and is under constant policesurveillance. (CHRD)[viii]

GuiyangActivistChen Xi Summoned, Threatened by Police

On January 13, NationalSecurity officials in Guiyang City,Guizhou Province summoned human rightsactivist and Guizhou Human Rights Forummember Chen Xi (陈西) forquestioning. During the questioning, officersrepeatedly threatened Chen as well as his wifeand daughter, saying they wouldtake away the family's jobs and possessions ifChen participated in anyactivities related to the China DemocracyParty. Chen believes the threats wererelated to online comments by overseasdemocracy activists who recently calledhim the "honorary president" of the ChinaDemocracy Party. He washeld by police for approximately 10 hoursbefore being released. (CHRD)[ix]

Citizens’ActionsNineteenProminent Human Rights Lawyers IssueJoint Letter Calling for End to Torture

Citing the continued"disappearance" of humanrights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟),now in its ninth month, aswell as the kidnapping and torture of Beijingscholar Fan Yafeng (范亚峰)thispast December, a group of nineteen prominenthuman rights lawyers issued apublic letter on January 17, calling for theChinese government to live up toits responsibility to put an end to thepractice of torture. The letter, whichlists a number of recent victims of tortureand calls attention to the growingtrend of police violence and torture ofdissidents and activists outside ofcriminal proceedings, cites the Conventionagainst Torture, which China hasratified, as well as the Chinese Constitutionand Chinese law as the basis forits demands. For the full text of the letter(in Chinese), please click here.(CHRD)[x]

Editors:David Smalls and Lin Sang Follow us on Twitter:  @CHRDnetNewsupdates from CHRD

[i]"Zeng Jinyan Once Again Applies for Hu Jia'sRelease from Prison onMedical Parole" (曾金燕再次就胡佳狱中病情申请保外就医),January 17,2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101171208.shtml

[ii]"Ji Sizun Released from Prison, Many RightsActivists Greet Him" (纪斯尊出狱,众维权人士前往迎接), January 18, 2011,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101180016.shtml

[iii]"Hebei Rights Activist Xu Yishun Taken Awayby RTL Police" (河北维权人士徐义顺被劳教所干警带走),January 13, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101131153.shtml

[iv]"Ai Weiwei's Shanghai Workshop ForciblyDemolished" (艾未未上海工作室被强制拆除),January 11, 2011, http://www.newcenturynews.com/Article/china/201101/20110111185021.html

[v]"Yinhai District Court in Beihai IllegallyChanges Court Hearing Time,Mocking Lawyers and Villagers" (北海银海法院违法变更开庭时间,捉弄律师与村 民),January 11, 2011, http://www.newcenturynews.com/Article/china/201101/20110111183544.html

[vi]"New Provocation in Qinzhou, Guangxi ForcedExpropriation: Well Pollutedto Force Move" (广西钦州征地新招 污染水源 逼迁),January 15, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101150932.shtml

[vii]"Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province Lettersand Visits Bureau DirectorBeats 72-Year Old Petitioning Worker intoCritical Condition" (陕西省凤翔县信访 局长殴打72岁上访工人致生命垂危),January 13, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101132155.shtml

[viii]"Rights Activist Wang Lihong Has Been underSoft Detention since LiuXiaobo Won the Nobel Prize" (维权人士 王荔蕻自刘晓波获奖后被软禁至今), January 18,2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101181206.shtml

[ix]"National Security Police Threaten to 'Wreckthe Home and Disperse theFamily' of Chen Xi" (陈西受到国保“家破人亡”威胁),January 14, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101141204.shtml

[x]"Nineteen Lawyers Jointly Sign Appeal: TheState's Respect and Protectionof Human Rights Begins with the StrictProhibition of Torture" (19名律师联 署呼吁:国家尊重和保障人权从严禁酷刑开始),January 18, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101180146.shtml

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