China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  April 28-May 3, 2011

Highlights

  • Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Li Fangping Abducted in Beijing: Around 5 pm local time on April 29, human rights lawyer Li Fangping (李方平) was kidnapped by unidentified individuals outside the offices of the health rights NGO Beijing Yirenping Center, of which he is a legal advisor. Li was able to speak briefly with his wife, telling her, “I may be gone for a period of time… can’t talk more.” Further efforts to contact him have been unsuccessful, and his whereabouts are unknown. For more information on his disappearance, please see our website(CHRD): http://chrdnet.org/2011/04/29/human-rights-lawyer-li-fangping-abducted-in-beijing-whereabouts-unknown/.
  • Heightened Fears for those Still Missing or in Detention: Though many of the individuals detained or disappeared during the “Jasmine Revolution” crackdown have been released, CHRD is concerned for the safety and welfare of those who have yet to be freed. Reports indicate that the use of torture against activists seized during the past few months has been widespread, as officials hope to threaten them into abandoning their vocal advocacy work. For a list of those still missing or in detention, updated May 3, please see our website: http://chrdnet.org/2011/04/15/jasmine_crackdown/.

 

Table of Contents

 

Arbitrary DetentionUpdateson Detentions and Disappearances Related to the“Jasmine Revolution” Crackdown

  • CHRD has learned that Shaanxi activist Wei Qiang (魏强), believed to have been sent to Re-education through Labor (RTL), has been released on bail to await trial and is currently convalescing at home. Wei was seized in Beijing on February 26 and detained in a series of detention centers in Beijing until March 21, when he was returned to his hometown of Yan'an City. He was again detained in Yan'an, where police issued both a detention notice for "creating a disturbance" as well as a notice that Wei was to be sent to two years of RTL. At the end of March, however, Beijing police once again returned Wei to the capital, where he was detained in an unknown location for 22 or 23 days. At this place, where Wei was held in solitary confinement, he was chained to a chair except for six hours during which he was allowed to sleep. One time when Wei felt ill and was not able to wake up after six hours, guards stomped on him and beat him. Wei reported that he heard many other detainees held in adjacent rooms in this detention facility. Wei was then once more taken back to Yan'an, where the head of the police used his knee to knead on his spine, injuring his waist. On April 30, Wei was released on bail to await trial.[i]
  • Beijing-based activist Gu Chuan (古川), missing since February, returned home on April 22. Further details about his experience while missing or his current health are not presently available.
  • CHRD learned on April 28 that officials at the Xicheng Detention Center in Beijing, where activist Ni Yulan (倪玉兰) and her husband Dong Jiqin (董继勤) are currently detained, are preventing the couple from meeting with their lawyers. According to the Criminal Procedure Law, officials must make arrangements for lawyers to meet with their clients within 48 hours of the lawyers submitting a request, except in certain situations.[ii]
  • CHRD learned on April 28 that the charge against Beijing-based activist Wang Lihong (王荔蕻) has been changed from "creating a disturbance" to "assembling a crowd to disrupt social order." The new charge is believed to be tied to Wang's support for the "Fujian Three" netizens who were convicted of slander last year; and in particular to the large crowd of netizens who gathered outside of their sentencing on April 16, 2010, to show their support. Wang met with her lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), on April 26, where she conveyed this information as well as the fact that her health, which was poor to begin with, is rapidly worsening in detention. Wang suffers from severe back pain and has been having difficulty sleeping. She is currently detained in the Chaoyang District Detention Center. (CHRD)[iii]

The Chinese government hascriminally detained a total of40 individuals since mid-February after anonymouscalls for “JasmineRevolution” protests first appeared online. As ofMay 3, six of the criminallydetained have been formally arrested, two havebeen sent to Re-educationthrough Labor (RTL) camps, 24 have been released(out of which 19 have beenreleased on bail to await trial) while eightremain detained.

In addition, two people havebeen placed under residentialsurveillance while about 17 activists remainmissing.

JournalistDisappeared after ‘Chat’ with BeijingPolice

On April 28, police inBeijing called journalist Zhang Jialong (张贾龙) in for "a chat." Zhang, a 22year-oldintern for Caijing magazine, has been missing eversince. According to friends,Zhang had closely followed developments in theZhao Lianhai (赵连海) case as well asother recent human rights cases; however, thereason behind his disappearanceis not known. (CHRD)[iv]

GrassrootsElection Monitor Seized by JiangxiPolice

On the morning ofApril 30, Du Quanbing (杜全兵), from Hebei Province, was seized bypolice outsideof the train station in Xinyu City, JiangxiProvince. Du is a member of anon-governmental group of elections observers, andhad travelled to Xinyu toobserve elections proceedings in a local electionfor city people's congressrepresentatives. His whereabouts are currentlyunknown. (CHRD)[v]

BaihutouVillagers Sentenced to Prison after BeingDetained Nearly One Year

Xu Kun (许坤), the director ofBaihutou Village, Guangxi Province, who wasdetained for leading fellowvillagers in resistance against the expropriationof Baihutou land, wassentenced to four years in prison on April 29 for"operating an illegalbusiness." Co-defendants Gao Shifu (高世福) and Zhang Chunqiong (张春琼) were both given twoyears on the same charge. Xu was fined 200,000RMB, while Gao and Zhang wereboth fined 150,000. The verdict was delivered inYinhai District Court in Beihai City,Guangxi; the three all stated their intention toappeal the ruling in court.They have been in detention since May 2010, thoughZhang was released on bailbetween October 12 and November 12, and arecurrently being held in the Beihai City Number TwoDetention Center.According to Xu’s family, he is held in a verysmall (four square meters) roomtogether with three other detainees, and thedetention conditions are poor. Afew days before the hearing, guards confiscatedXu’s diaries, letters, pens andpapers. Prior to that, Xu spent 13 days in heavyhandcuffs and leg irons, andwas subjected to beatings by fellow detainees. Xureported the beating to theguards but has received no response.

Altogether, eightvillagers from Baihutou have been sentenced toprison in related cases, eitherfor "operating an illegal business" or"obstructing officialbusiness." (CHRD)[vi]

PoliceSend HunanMan to RTL to Prevent Possible Petitioning

CHRD learned on April29 that villager Peng Xinzhong (彭新忠), of Chenzhou City, Hunan Province,was sent to oneyear of Re-education through Labor (RTL) on March12 for "disruptingofficial business." Peng was sentenced to fouryears in prison for"malicious accusation" after reporting oncorruption among localofficials in 2005. Though this conviction wasoverturned on appeal, localofficials have continued to harass Peng and havedetained him on four separateoccasions. Lawsuits brought by Peng have failed tobring a satisfactoryresolution to the situation. In early February2011, Peng set off firecrackersoutside of the Chenzhou city government officesand presented a list of writtengrievances to the municipal party committee;officials cited this as evidencein the decision to send Peng to RTL, though it isbelieved that officialsdetained Peng to keep him from petitioning inBeijing and suing the government. (CHRD)[vii]

Forced Eviction and DemolitionBeijingResident, Holding out against Eviction, isInjured by Thugs in Late-Night Assault

Shortly after midnighton April 26, a group ofunidentified individuals gathered outside the homeof Beijing resident ZhanJiang (湛 江),where one of them began damaging Zhan's car with ahatchet. When Zhan emergedto confront the group, he was attacked andinjured. He later went to thehospital for an examination, but the extent of hisinjuries is not currentlyknown. Zhan has been resisting the forceddemolition of his home, in Beijing's HaidianDistrict, for some time now, and his family'sproperty has been damaged on anumber of previous occasions. Following this mostrecent attack, a number ofactivists and fellow victims of forced evictionwent to visit Zhan; they couldnot speak with him, as he was at the hospital, butthey discovered that policewere conducting an investigation into theincident. (CHRD)[viii]Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang Follow us on Twitter:  @CHRDnetNewsupdates from CHRD

[i] "Shaanxi Rights Activist WeiQiang Released, ReturnsHome" (陕西维权人士魏强获释回家),May 1, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-post_01.html

[ii] "Ni Yulan and Husband DeniedVisit from Lawyer in DetentionCenter" (倪玉兰夫妇在看守所被禁见律师),April 28, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post_4810.html

[iii] "Health Concerns for BeijingActivist Wang Lihong FollowingArrest" (北京维权人士王荔蕻被抓捕后身体堪忧),April 28, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post_8290.html

[iv] "Young Reporter Zhang GulongCalled in For Talks with Police,Missing More than 60 Hours"  (青年记者张贾龙被警方约谈,失去联系超过60小时), May 1, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/05/60.html

[v] "China Non-Governmental ElectionObserver Du Quanbing Seizedby Police" (中国民间选举观察员杜全兵被警方绑架),April 30, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post_3939.html

[vi] "Health of BeihaiRights-Defending Village Chief Xu Kun inPrison Worth Serious Consideration" (北海维权村官许坤狱中情况堪忧), April 30, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post_30.html

[vii] "Hunan Activist Peng XinzhongSent to Re-education throughLabor" (湖南维权人士彭新忠被劳教),April 29, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post_78.html

[viii] "Beijing Resident Zhan JiangAttacked Late at Night, PoliceInvestigate Case" (北京拆迁夜袭湛江,公安机关立案侦查), April 28, 2011, http://wqw2010.blogspot.com/2011/04/blog-post_7866.html

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