China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  August 3-9, 2010

Highlights

  • Liu Xianbin Case on Verge of Transfer to Courts: CHRD learned this week from lawyer Ma Xiaopeng (马 小鹏) that the “inciting subversion of state power” case against Sichuan Province democracy activist and human rights defender Liu Xianbin (刘 贤斌) may be transferred to the courts “within the week.” This news confirms speculation by fellow Sichuan activists that the procuratorate would move quickly to prosecute Liu, who was formally arrested on July 5 and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” based on articles he had written and published on websites hosted overseas.
  • CHRD Calls on Supreme People’s Court to Overturn Death Sentence Against Torture Victim: This week, CHRD released a statement urging the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) to consider evidence of torture in the case against alleged Chongqing gangster Fan Qihang (樊奇杭) and overturn his conviction. Fan, whose death sentence is currently up for review by the SPC, was allegedly subjected to months of torture while in police detention in Chongqing. His lawyer, Zhu Mingyong (朱明勇), recently released secret recordings he created during their meetings in which Fan describes the abuse he suffered as interrogators sought to extract a confession from him.  

Contents

 

ArbitraryDetentionCaseAgainst Liu Xianbin to be Transferred to Courts “Within theWeek”

Onthe morning of August 9, Chengdu lawyer MaXiaopeng (马小鹏)contacted Suining City Procuratorate department chief Li Hongzhi(李虹志) toenquire about the status of his client Liu Xianbin's (刘贤斌) case.Li informed lawyer Ma that the investigation into the "incitingsubversionof state power" charge against Liu was "basically complete," andthat the case would be sent to the court "within this week."Thisnews confirms speculation by fellow Sichuanactivists that the procuratorate would move quickly to prosecuteLiu’s case.Liu was criminally detained on June 28 and formally arrested onsuspicion of“inciting subversion of state power” on July 5. He is currentlybeing held inthe SuiningCity Detention Center. (CHRD)[i]

HebeiReporter and Activist XuYishun Challenges RTL Decision in Administrative LitigationSuit

OnAugust 6, the Xinshi District Courtadministrative tribunal held a court session in Baoding City,Hebei Province'sGaoyang Re-education through Labor (RTL) Camp to hear anadministrativelitigation lawsuit brought by reporter and activist Xu Yishun (徐义顺, penname Kong Fanzhong [孔繁重]). Xu's suitchallenged the Baoding City RTLManagement Committee's May 25, 2010, decision to send him to oneand a halfyears of RTL for "fraud;" according to Xu's lawyer, Liu Peifu (刘培福), theallegation of "fraud" has "no factual basis." The hearingended without a verdict being issued. Xu's relative Liu Nanping(刘南平), whoattended the hearing, reported that Xu's health appeared "muchworse"than the last time she saw him. Liu believes that Xu's heartdisease hasworsened since his detention began, and that he is stillsuffering the effectsof a beating by fellow detainees earlier this year which lefthim with earinjuries and hearing damage. It is believed that Xu's detentionhas come inretaliation for his activism, which includes taking a trip inlate April 2010to visit Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), the wife ofimprisoned Shandong human rightsdefender Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚). (CHRD)[ii]

LawyersVisitImprisoned Activist Guo Feixiong, Learn of Plans to Seek aReview ofJudgment

OnJuly 8, lawyers Li Baiguang (李柏光) andLiu Peifu (刘培福)were able to meet with imprisoned activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄, realname Yang Maodong [杨茂东]) in GuangdongProvince's Meizhou Prison.During the 45-minute meeting, Guo presented the lawyers with acopy of adocument he had drafted stating his reasons for seeking a reviewof thejudgment, which recounts the torture to which he was subjectedduring theinvestigation of his case. Guo also told the lawyers that he hadnot appealedhis conviction for “operating an illegal business” in 2007because he thoughtthe judgment so absurd that there was no use in challenging it.According tothe lawyers, Guo appeared to be in reasonable health. (CHRD)[iii]

FreedomofAssociation
Policein BeijingSummon Lawyer and Activist for Questioning Regarding ProposedLawyers Group

Onthe afternoon of August 5, officers from theNational Security Unit of the Beijing Public Security Bureauseparatelysummoned human rights lawyer Yang Huiwen (杨慧文) and human rightsactivist Zhao Changqing (赵常青). Yang and Zhao werereportedly questionedprimarily about plans to organize a group of lawyers dedicatedto defending therights of petitioners. Officers also confiscated a copy of Charter 08, three personal notebooks, and a copyof the book Remembering Lin Zhao from ZhaoChangqing's home. Other Beijing activists, including BaiDongping (白东平) andHu Shigen (胡石根),were previously summoned and questioned regarding the lawyersgroup. (CHRD)[iv]

Citizens’Actions
China’sHighest CourtMust Overturn Death Sentence Based on Confession Extracted byTorture

OnAugust 3, CHRDissued a statement regarding the death sentence against FanQihang (樊奇杭), which is currently being reviewed by the SupremePeople’s Court. Based on secretrecordings produced by his lawyer Zhu Mingyong (朱明勇), which Zhu madepublic last week, CHRD believesthat Fan was subjected to months of torture at the hands ofpolice inChongqing. CHRD urges the Supreme People’s Court to overturn thedeath sentenceagainst Fan, which was handed down solely on the basis of aconfessionextracted through torture. For the full statement (in English),please click here.

CHRDIssues "Appraisal and Suggestions Regarding Two Regulations onIllegalCollection of Evidence"

OnAugust 4, CHRD issued a public letteraddressed to the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People'sProcuratorate,the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security,and theMinistry of Justice regarding two regulations issued on May 30,2010- oneregulation outlining principles and rules for assessing evidenceused in casesinvolving the death penalty, and the other regarding theexclusion of evidenceobtained through illegal methods from criminal trials. Theletter outlines anumber of concerns with the regulations, particularly with theregulationsregarding the exclusion of evidence obtained through illegalmethods, andoffers concrete proposals for reforming various aspects of theChinese legalsystem to better defend the rights of citizens, and protectindividuals fromtorture. For the full text (in Chinese), please click here.

Lawand Policy Watch
ArrestWarrants for Defamation to Require Approval of Higher-LevelProcuratorate

Accordingto notice released on August 7 by theSupreme People's Procuratorate, local prosecutors will have toobtain approvalfrom a higher-level procuratorate before issuing arrest warrantsin defamationcases. Saying "[w]e should accurately define the limit betweendefamationand non-defamation cases and should not consider criticism,accusation or evenradical speeches and behaviors to individual officials asdefamation," theSupreme People's Procuratorate issued its notice shortly afterthehighly-publicized case of reporter Qiu Ziming, who was put on anationalmost-wanted list before having the arrest warrant against himfor defamationcancelled. (People's Daily)[v]

 

Localofficials have long used defamationcharges to retaliate against individuals for exposing localcorruption andrights violations, or for simply calling for investigation intogovernmentactions. In one of the most widely-followed defamation cases inrecent years,three Fujian netizens- Fan Yanqiong (范燕琼), Wu Huaying (吴华英), andYou Jingyou (游精佑)-were convicted of “slander”  andsentenced to two, one, and one years in prison, respectively,for postingarticles and video online urging government officials toinvestigate thealleged rape and murder of a young woman. While the requirementthat localofficials obtain clearance from higher officials demonstratesthat the centralgovernment is aware of the abuse of this charge by localofficials, this newrequirement will unlikely to be effective unless the Chinesegovernment takesconcrete actions to overhaul its legal and political system tobetter protectcitizens’ right to freedom of expression.

 

Editors:David Smalls and Lin Sang

Newsupdates from CHRD

Annual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009)

 

[i] "Liu Xianbin Inciting Subversion Case About tobe Transferredto Courts" (刘贤斌煽动颠覆案即将移送法院), August9, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/08/201008091113.shtml

[ii] "Hebei activist Xu Yishen's AdministrativeLitigation LawsuitRegarding RTL Heard" (河北维权人士徐义顺劳教行政诉讼案开庭), August 6,2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/08/201008061438.shtml

[iii] "Lawyer Li Baiguang Meets With Guo Feixiong inGuangdong'sMeizhou Prison" (李柏光律师在广东梅州监狱会见郭飞雄), July 30, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007301256.shtml

[iv] "Breaking News: Human Rights Lawyer YangHuiwen Summoned byBeijing Police" (快讯:维权律师杨慧文被北京市局传唤), August 5, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/08/201008051925.shtml;"Situation Regarding Human Rights Activist Zhao Changqing'sSummons"(维权人士赵常青被传唤情况), August 7, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/08/201008071607.shtml

[v] People's Daily, "More hoops for defamationcharges,"August 9, 2010, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/7097805.html

 

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