China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  April 7-12, 2010

Highlights

  • Home of Activist Gu Chuan Raided: Police interrogated Beijing human rights activist Gu Chuan (古川) for seven hours on April 9. While he was in detention, another group of officers raided his home, seizing computers, personal documents, and books. Police also recorded financial information from Gu and his wife’s bankbooks. Among other topics, police questioned Gu extensively about a conference regarding environmental protection scheduled to take place on April 10, which was eventually cancelled under pressure from the authorities.  
  • Activist Hu Jia Denied Medical Parole: CHRD learned on April 8 that  Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), wife of imprisoned human rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳), applied for Hu’s release on medical parole after learning he was in extremely poor health and may be suffering from liver cancer. Officials rejected that request after telling Zeng that the decision to release Hu on medical parole involved “other considerations” beyond his medical condition. Hu’s family has since been informed that he is back in detention following a stay in the prison hospital and that he does not have liver cancer; however, officials have not provided them with any written medical documentation. This is the second time Hu, who was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 2006, has been formally denied a release on medical parole
  • Sichuan Courthouse Protestors Tried: Ten protestors arrested in Sichuan following a February 2009 demonstration outside of the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court were tried by the Leshan City Intermediate People’s Court for “gathering crowds to disturb social order” in a two-day trial which began on April 7. In the course of their testimony, six of the ten defendants alleged they had been subjected to torture and degrading treatment during their detention. The trial, during which prosecutors referred to CHRD, Radio Free Asia and Boxun as “hostile overseas forces,” ended on April 8 without a verdict.

 

Table of Contents

Freedomof AssemblyTen Tried for Protesting Outsideof SichuanCourt

Ten protestors arrested in Sichuan following aFebruary 2009 demonstration outside of the Chengdu IntermediatePeople’s Court weretried by the Leshan City Intermediate People’s Court for “gatheringcrowds todisturb social order” in a two-day trial which began on April 7. 

On the first dayof the trial, Wan Miaoyan (万淼焱), oneof two lawyers for defendant Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏), was prevented fromentering the courthouse because, according to the court officials, Wanfailedto meet some minor procedural requirements in order to represent hisclient.The day before, Wan received more than forty phone calls from officialsof theSichuan Provincial Bureau of Justice and Leshan Citygovernment pressuring him to not appear in court. Lawyers for otherdefendantswere also contacted by officials from the Sichuan Provincial andChongqingMunicipal Bureaus of Justice. Officials told the lawyers that they mustnot“embarrass” the prosecutors or else their licenses could be revoked.

On April 8, Six of the ten defendants—ZengRongkang (曾荣康),Yang Jiurong (杨久荣,f), Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏), YanWenhan (严文汉),Xing Qingxian (幸清贤), and Lu Daqun (陆大椿)—revealed that they were subjected to torture and degrading treatmentwhiledetained. The six alleged that they were subjected to the “tiger bench,”[1]slapped, and barred from accessing the restroom while their case wasbeinginvestigated by police. The judge did not react to these claims. During the second day of hearings, prosecutors referred to CHRD, RadioFreeAsia and Boxun as “hostile overseas forces.” The defendants allegedlypostedinformation regarding a February 2009 demonstration outside of theChengduIntermediate People’s Courthouse on these websites. According to theindictment, the protestors are should be found guilty for publicizingtheprotests, shouting slogans, taking pictures, hanging banners, andpublishingpictures of the protests online. The indictment also claims that theiractions“affected the normal operation of, and caused losses to, a number ofagenciesand shopping centers.” The court concluded the trial without announcingaverdict.[2]

A number of family members and supporters wereallowed to attend the trial. About 200 supporters gathered outside ofthe courton the first day, and they were closely monitored by a large number ofpolicemen. Traffic police were stationed along the roads to thecourthouse toprevent vehicles from entering the area. At least six supporters weretakenaway by the police on April 7: Sichuan activists Chen Wei (陈卫), FengYuxi (冯玉熙),You Xuenian (游学年),Liang Kaixuan (梁凯旋) and Zhou Yuqiao (周玉樵), aswell as one petitioner whose name was not known. They have since beenreleased.

On February 23 and 24, about thirty Chengducitizens chained themselves together outside of the ChengduIntermediate People’sCourt to protest what they believed to be unfair ruling handed down bythecourt over the years. Ten protestors and activists were later detainedforstaging and reporting on the protests, they are: Bao Junsheng (鲍俊生),Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏), Xing Qingxian (幸清贤), Lu Daqun (陆大椿), YanWenhan (严文汉),Zeng Rongkang (曾荣康), Yang Jiurong (杨久荣, f), Liu Jiwei (刘继伟), ZengLi (曾理)and Xu Chongli (徐崇丽,f) (CHRD)[3]

Freedomof AssociationBeijing Police Interfere withEnvironmental Protection Conference

Beijingpolice have been harassing the organizers and participants of aconference onenvironmental protection and duties of citizens, CHRD learned on April10. Theconference, which was co-organized by CHRD and other groups in Beijing,aimed to discuss the drought in Southwest Chinaand how members of civil society could help the victims of thedisaster.However, between April 9 and 10, the policed summoned individualsinvolved inthe conference for questioning, put some under soft detention, andraided thehome of one of the participants, Gu Chuan (古川). Theconference, scheduled to open on April 10, was subsequently canceled. (CHRD)[4]

ArbitraryDetention PrisonOfficials Refuse to Release Hu Jia on Medical Parole

Prison officialsin Beijing have rejected anapplication for release on medical parole for imprisoned human rightsdefenderHu Jia (胡佳),CHRD learned on April 12. According to Hu's wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), thedirector of the Beijing Municipal Prison Hospital contacted Hu's motherbytelephone to inform her that Hu had been returned to prison on April 9following a stay in the hospital. Zeng added that, according to theofficial,Hu's condition "did not meet the regulations for release on medicalparole." According to the prison hospital director, Hu does not havelivercancer, but rather a benign tumor (hemangioma) on his liver, and thatthe feversand diarrhea he experienced in March were the result of subclinicalhyperthyroidism. However, the family has not been provided with writtenmedicalrecords for Hu. This is the second time Hu has been formally denied areleaseon medical parole, and family members continue to worry about hisdeclininghealth. (CHRD)[5]

Hubei Whistleblowers under IllegalDetention

On April 9, overtwenty employees of Shiyan CityHardware, Electrical Appliances and Chemical Company (十堰市五交化公司)and Shiyan City Grains and Oils Food Company (十堰市粮油食品公司), bothin Shiyan City, Hubei, attempted to report corruption among thecompanies’leadership to Hubei Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection.All wereintercepted by officials from the Shiyan City Letters and Visits Officeandthen held at ShiyanCity DetentionCenter. As ofApril 10,one worker had been sent to a psychiatric hospital for detention, onewas sentto seven days of administrative detention, one was missing, and thefate of therest of the workers were unclear. The workers contacted the CommissionforDiscipline Inspection repeatedly during their detention but no actionwas takento rescue them. (CHRD)[6]

Heilongjiang Petitioner Detained in Morgue

CHRD learned that Chen Qingxia (陈庆霞), adisabled petitioner from Dailing District, Yichun City, HeilongjiangProvince,has been detained in a hospital morgue since April 9 by the staff oftheDailing City Letter and Visit Office. Chen was intercepted in Beijing onApril3 and brought back toDailing. Chen started petitioning after her husband developed a mentalillnessas a result of repeated detention by local authorities in retaliationfor hispersistent petitioning. On April 24, 2007, Chen and her 12-year-old sonwereintercepted by Dailing officials while petitioning in Beijing. In theprocess, interceptors losther son. Chen subsequently suffered a series of illegal detentions andbeatingswhich left her disabled as she tried to press officials to locate herson. WhenChen was intercepted in the capital on April 3, she was looking for hermissingson. Instead of helping her, Dailing interceptors focused theirenergies onintercepting and detaining her. (CHRD)[7]

Beijing Activist and PetitionerAdvocate Liu Anjun Taken away by Police

Beijing activistLiu Anjun (刘安军) wastaken away by three members of the National Security Unit of theBeijing PublicSecurity Bureau (PSB) on April 8. Policemen told Liu’s wife that theywerebringing Liu for a “chat” at a hotel. Liu’s whereabouts are currentlyunknown.Mr. Liu is the director of Sunshine Charity, a group which an advocatesforhomeless petitioners in Beijing.Liu and other volunteers for the group have been harassed and detainedby Beijingpolice onnumerous occasions for their work. Liu was kidnapped and held in asecretlocation for over ten days by unidentified individuals between March 26andApril 6; before that period of detention, he was taken away from hishome anddetained for nearly three weeks by Beijing police during the annualmeetings ofthe National People's Congress and the National Committee of theChinesePeople's Political Consultative Conference in March. (CHRD)[8]

ShenzhenLabor Activist Released

On April 7, Shenzhen-based labor activist XiaoQingshan (肖青山)was released after he was subjected to seven days of administrativedetentionin Guangzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB) Yuexiu Subdivision. Xiao waspunishedfor speaking to a crowd about pollution and corruption outside of theGuangdongProvince High People's Court and the offices of the Southern NewspapersGroupon April 2. (CHRD)[9]

Harassment of ActivistsPoliceRaid Home of Beijing Activist Gu Chuan as Pressure on Human RightsDefendersIncreases

Plainclothes police officers seized writer and human rights activist GuChuan (古川) as heleft his Beijing home on the morning of April 9, taking him in forseven hoursof interrogation. While Gu was being questioned, a dozen officersentered hisapartment and confiscated two notebook computers, a flash drive andremovablehard drive, business cards, magazines, dozens of notebooks containingGu andLi's notes, and both Gu and Li’s passports over the course of atwo-hour search.Police also recorded information from the couple’s bank card andbankbook. Atno point during the day did officers produce any legal documentauthorizingeither Gu Chuan’s interrogation or the search of his home.  (CHRD)[10]

Human Rights Lawyers TangJitian and Liu Wei Face Loss of Licenses

CHRD learned on April 12 that Beijing humanrights lawyers Tang Jitian (唐吉田) and LiuWei (刘巍) have been notified by theBeijing Bureau of Justice that they are to appear at a hearing on April22. Atthe hearing, the two are expected to have their licenses revoked for"disturbing the order in court and disrupting the normal proceedings oflitigation." According to Tang, the accusation officially stems fromthepair's protest in court against being prevented from presenting acompletedefense on behalf of a client, but he believes it to more likely be inretaliation for confronting a police officer who was illegallyvideotaping himbefore an appearance in court. Tang and Liu were among eight lawyerswhoselicenses were not renewed following their annual review last year, amove by Beijingauthorities inretaliation for their work defending "sensitive" clients andadvocating direct elections to the leadership of the Beijing LawyersAssociation. (CHRD)[11]

Freedomof ExpressionCase of FujianActivists Will Be Heard on April 16

On April 12, lawyers for Fujian activists FanYanqiong (范燕琼),Wu Huaying (吴华英),and You Jingyou (游精佑) told CHRD thatthe next hearing for the threeis scheduled for April 16 at the Mawei District Court in Fuzhou City,FujianProvince. Fan, Wu, and You have been charged with “making falseaccusations”for posting articles online alleging that local officials haveimproperlyhandled the suspicious death of a young woman, Yan Xiaoling (严晓玲). OnMarch 19, at a hearing at the Mawei District Court when the judge wassupposedto deliver the verdict, the case was sent back to the procuratorate for“further evidence.” According to lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), mostof the “supplementary evidence” concerns the consequences of thepostings bythe three activists. Observers are concerned that this new “evidence”may beused as the basis for a harsher sentence for the three. (CHRD)[12]

Torture and Other Cruel,Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or PunishmentShanghai Rights Activist ShenPeilan Tortured during Detention

CHRD learned on April 9 that Shen Pailan (沈佩兰), aShanghai-based activist and petitioner, was tortured and seriouslybeaten whilein detention between March 24 and April 9. On March 24, Shen waskidnapped byover ten people employed by the Maqiao Town government in MinhangDistrict,Shanghai. She was locked up in Yinghe Hotel in Minhang District, wherehercaptors stripped her clothes off and placed her in a room with theair-conditioner on full blast for two hours until she lost feelings inherlegs. Later on, her captors covered up her head and beat her. Shen waslater transferredto Zhuanqiao Town Police Station and then to Minhang District DetentionCenter,where the police announced that she would be subjected to 15 days ofadministrative detention and fined 500 RMB for “assault.” Shen wasreleased onApril 9. It is believed that her detention is part of a wider crackdownonveteran petitioners ahead of the 2010 World Expo, which opens May 1 in Shanghai. (CHRD)[13]

Citizens’Rights ActionsXu Zhiyong Issues Suggestionsfor Evictees Resisting Forced Demolition

On April 6, Xu Zhiyong (许志永),a human rights activist and former director of banned NGO Gongmeng (公盟),published an article outlining his recommendations to those resistingforcedeviction. Xu urges the evictees to drag out the process, to unite andworktogether, to refuse to cooperate with the government and developers ineveryaspect of the process, to document and expose rights violations, and tobecreative in protesting and speaking out against the eviction, and tonegotiatefirmly and rationally with the developers. (CHRD)[14]

Law andPolicy WatchMinistry of Justice Issues TwoNew Measures, Increases Control over Lawyers

The Ministry of Justice has issued two newadministrative regulations in recent days: measures punishing illegalacts oflawyers and law firms and measures on the annual inspection of lawfirms, whichwere promulgated on April 8 and 7, respectively. The latter goes intoeffectimmediately, while the former will take effect on June 1. The newmeasuresregarding the annual inspection procedure specify procedures to befollowed byadministrative organs in carrying out annual inspections andevaluations, andare designed to standardize the practice across the country. Themeasuresregarding illegal acts of lawyers, on the other hand, expand uponexistent regulationsin the Lawyers Law which deal with similar issues. (Legal Daily)[15]

These new regulations will allow the Ministry ofJustice even greater control over lawyers and law firms across thecountry, andtheir appearance marks yet another step back for the rule of law in China.Comingon the heels of a year in which eight lawyers were not able to renewtheirlicenses and at least one law firm remains closed after it was shutdown for"reorganization," it is clear that these regulations were designed toprotect the interests of the government, rather than lawyers or the law.

Officials from Five ProvincesConvene Symposium on Veterans’ Rights-Defense Actions

According to an April 4 Legal Dailyarticle, officials from five central-southern Chinese provinces (Sichuan, Hubei,Hunan, Anhui,and Jiangxi)have issued aset of measures designed to address a growing number of disputesinvolvingveteran soldiers. Over the course of the past decade, these provinceshaveresolved a total of 37,921 disputes, while courts at all levels havehandled anadditional 9, 298 cases brought by veterans. The majority of veterans'disputesand cases involve access to housing, employment, medical insurance andotherbenefits once they leave military service. Details about the measureswere notavailable at the time of writing. (Legal Daily)[16]

CHRD is concerned that these measures areprimarily concerned with limiting petitions by demobilized soldiers,and notwith addressing the underlying causes of their problems. Protests,lawsuits,and petitions by veterans have become increasingly prevalent in recentyears,and CHRD has documented numerous cases of veterans who have beenharassed,threatened, or detained for attempting to defend their own rights andthose oftheir fellow veterans.

Editors: Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang

*** CHRD’sHuman Rights Yearbook 2009 is now available.Fora free copy, please contact us with your mailing address at crdnetwork@gmail.com. ***

News updatesfrom CHRD

ThrownOut: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development

[1] The torture victim is made to sit upright on a longbench with herhands tied behind her back. Her thighs are fastened with a rope to thebenchwhile her feet are raised off the floor by bricks placed under herfeet. Thisputs extreme strain on the knees and is a very painful form of torture,especially when conducted for an extended period of time.

[2] CHRD, Chengdu court case ends early, some of thedefendants weretortured (成都“链子门”案庭审提前结束  部分当事人遭到酷刑), April9, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004090955.shtml

[3] CHRD, Prior to the trial, lawyers of Chengdu casethreatened (开庭前夕成都“链子门”律师遭遇打招呼威胁), April 7, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004070851.shtml;CHRD, Breaking news: Chengdu court will soon open for trial,authorities onhigh alert (快讯:成都“链子门”案开庭在即戒备严密), April 7,2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004070935.shtml;CHRD, Chen Wei talks about his experience of being kidnapped outside ofthecourt (陈卫讲述在“链子门”案庭审现场被绑架经过), April7,2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004072010.shtml;CHRD, Feng Yuxi talks about being kidnapped outside of the court (冯玉熙“链子门”被绑架经过), April 7,2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004072308.shtml;CHRD, Many kidnapped by the police outside of the court in Chengdu (成都“链子门”案庭审,现场多人被警察绑架),April 7, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004071934.shtml;CHRD, Temporary end to the trial in Chengdu, lawyer stripped of theright todefend client (成都“链子门” 案庭审暂时结束 律师被剥夺辩护权), April7, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004071356.shtml

[4] “Beijing Police Interferes with Environment Conference北京警方阻扰民间召开环保座谈会,”April 10, 2010, http://crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201004/20100410164355_20709.html;Police Raid Home of Beijing Activist Gu Chuan as Pressure on HumanRightsDefenders Increases, April 9, 2010, http://chrdnet.org/index.php/2010/04/09/police-raid-home-of-beijing-activist-gu-chuan-as-pressure-on-human-rights-defenders-increases/

[5] "Prison Officials Refuse to Release Hu Jia on MedicalParole" (监狱方拒绝胡佳保外就医), April 12,2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/hujia/201004/20100412123116_20751.html

[6] “Whistleblowers of Corruption in Hubei Companies underIllegalDetention, 湖北十堰反映腐败的职工被非法拘禁,” April10, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201004/20100410134635_20689.html

[7]  “Heilongjiang PetitionerDetained in the Morgue黑龙江访民陈庆霞被进太平间,” April 10,2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004100037.shtml

[8] CHRD, Breaking news: Liu Anjun taken away by B

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