China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  December 1-7, 2010

Highlights

  • As Petitioners Mark Legal Publicity Day with Mass Gathering, Thousands Seized: The government-organized “Legal Publicity Day,” held annually on December 4 since 2001, has taken on special meaning for Beijing’s petitioner community, who in recent years have used the occasion to gather outside of the CCTV offices in hopes of drawing attention to their grievances.  This past week, thousands of petitioners were rounded up outside of the offices by police and taken to a central black jail for processing and return to their home provinces; one eyewitness estimated the number of detainees at “close to ten thousand.”
  •  As Nobel Ceremony Nears, Police Ratchet up Pressure on Activists: The crackdown on China’s activist community, launched after the announcement that Liu Xiaobo would be receiving this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, is showing signs of intensifying as the award ceremony nears. This past week, CHRD learned that artist and activist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) was stopped at the Beijing airport and prevented from travelling to South Korea, while retired Shandong University professor Sun Wenguang (孙文广) was notified that his application for a passport, which he hoped to acquire in order to travel to Oslo, was denied. In Guizhou, police began rounding up members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum and taking them into custody in preparation for the award ceremony, and as this edition of CHRB is being sent out, CHRD is receiving reports indicating that police across the country are similarly preparing to detain or disappear prominent members of civil society who are already living under surveillance and restriction on movements.  

ArbitraryDetentionBeijingActivist Wang Zhongxia Taken into Custody afterSearch for Liu Di, Two OthersMissingBeijing activist andwriter Liu Di (刘荻)has been under soft detention at her home sinceOctober 8. On December 6, shewent missing; family members believe she was takenaway by police. On theevening of December 7, a group of Beijing activistsincluding Wang Zhongxia (王仲夏),Liu Shasha (刘沙沙),Zhou Li (周莉),and Du Guanyu (杜冠宇)went to Liu Di's apartment complex to search for her.No one answered thedoorbell at her building, but when they shouted uptowards Liu Di's apartment,a woman who identified herself as Liu's aunt respondedthat Liu wasn't home,and she didn't know where she was. As the group leftthe building, two policeofficers followed Wang Zhongxia, eventually blockinghis taxi and taking him toHujialou police station. Du and Liu Shasha have alsoreportedly gone missingand their whereabouts are currently unknown. (CHRD)[i]LawyersSlapped on the Face during Trial of ShaanxiVillage DirectorDuring the trial ofShaanxi village director GaoQiang (高强)on December 7, one of his lawyers Dong Qianyong (董前勇) was slapped on theface by an officerin Xi'an City's Chang'an District Court. At the trial,which started in themorning, Dong’s lawyers protested that the twodefendants were in leg irons,but the judge refused to have them removed. The trialwas scheduled to beresumed at 2pm after a lunch break, but the judge wasten minutes late. Thelawyers asked to be let into the court first, and whenthey entered andrequested that the lights be turned up, Dong wasslapped in the face by one ofthe court officers, sending his glasses flying. Thelawyers and the villagersthen sent the perpetrator to the local police station,but so far no action hasbeen taken against him. The trial was not resumed inthe afternoon as a resultof the disturbance. Gao and a fellow villager WangWuqin (王武琴)were on trial for “creating a disturbance” afterorganizing villagers to seekcompensation for village land occupied by a brick kilnconstructed by thevillage Party Secretary.  (CHRD)[ii]Policein Beijing Round up Thousands of Petitionersduring Legal Publicity DayDemonstrationsOn December 4, LegalPublicity Day, petitionersgathered throughout the day outside of the CCTVoffices in Beijing, hoping touse the occasion to draw attention to theirgrievances. Thousands ofpetitioners were rounded up by police and put ontowaiting buses, which drovethem to Jiujingzhuang, a central black jail, forprocessing and handing over tointerceptors from their home provinces. One eyewitnessestimated there were "closeto ten thousand" being processed in Jiujingzhuang bythe afternoon. Legal scholar XuZhiyong (许志永) called LegalPublicity Day the mostimportant annual event for petitioners, who haveadopted the holiday for theirown purpose of seeking redress for the injustices theyhave faced. Xu estimatedthat during last year’s event, three to four thousandpetitioners weresimilarly rounded up and processed in Majialou,another central black jail.(CHRD)[iii]FourVillagers, Including Two Relatives, Detained asTrial Approaches for ShaanxiVillage HeadFour residents ofGanzhai Village, in Xi'an City,Shaanxi Province, were detained on December 6, the eveof village director GaoQiang's (高强)trial for "creating a disturbance." Gao Shengli (高生力),Gao Puqiang (高普强),Liu Fei (刘飞),and Wang Jianmin (王建民)were all detained on suspicion of "intentionaldestruction of property andintentional injury;" Gao Shengli is Gao Qiang's uncle,and Gao Puqiang isGao Qiang's older brother. Reportedly, the officerswho seized these four didnot present any legal documentation which might haveauthorized their actions,nor did they properly identify themselves. Gao Qiangwas arrested in March ofthis year after organizing villagers to seekcompensation for village landoccupied by a brick kiln constructed by the villageParty Secretary, and willbe tried on December 7 in Xi'an City's Chang'anDistrict Court. (CHRD)[iv]GuizhouActivists Taken Away as Local Police Prepare forNobel Ceremony, Human RightsDayOn the evening ofDecember 6, Guizhou Human RightsForum members Chen Xi (陈西)and Liao Shuangyuan (廖双元)were seized by police in Guiyang City, GuizhouProvince, and taken intodetention. Their current whereabouts are unknown.Other members of the GuizhouHuman Rights Forum, including Huang Yanming (黄燕明), Wu Yuqin (吴玉琴), and Li Renke (李任科),were also believed to be facing possible detention.Chen and Liao'sdisappearance is thought to be related to December 10,the date of the NobelPeace Prize ceremony as well as International HumanRights Day, which theGuizhou Human Rights Forum marks annually by holdingactivities in GuiyangCity. (CHRD)[v]AsMongolian Activist Hada Nears End of PrisonSentence, Police Detain Wife,Question SonOn December 10, InnerMongolia scholar and activistHada (哈达)will reach the end of his 15-year prison sentence for“separatism” and“espionage.” The days leading up to his release,however, have been marked byincreased police pressure on his family members. OnDecember 3, the bookstorerun by his wife Xinna (新娜)was suddenly closed by police, who conducted a 13-hoursearch of the premises.Xinna was then taken into custody by the police, andis currently being held atthe Inner Mongolia Number One Detention Center. Thenext day, Hada's son Uiles(威勒斯)was interrogated by police, after which he released apublic letter detailinghis experience and other instances of policeharassment he has faced over thepast fifteen years. (CHRD)[vi]VillagerRepresentative Freed after More than Three Yearsin Prison for Reporting onLand GrabOn the morning ofDecember 6, Fuzhou City, FujianProvince activist Lin Yingqiang (林应强)was released from Fuqing City Prison after servingthree years and one month ofa four-year sentence for "extortion." Pointing to ascar on hisforehead that is yet to be healed, Lin said he wasbeaten by prison guardsabout two weeks before his release for “failure tofollow orders.”Lin, a landrights advocate and representative of villagers whoseswaths of farmland wererepeatedly expropriated without compensation, leavingthem destitute, wasdetained in 2007 after years of reporting andpetitioning. Before he wasimprisoned, Lin was also attacked by thugs hired bylocal officials who soughtto keep him silent. (CHRD)[vii]Trial Upcoming forGuangxi VillageLeaders Detained over Efforts to Reclaim FarmlandCHRD learned onDecember 2 that a group of 14villagers, including four democratically-electedleaders, from Yang Village,outside Laibin City, Guanxi Zhuang Autonomous Regionwill stand trial onDecember 14 on charges related to their land activism.The villagers have beenin detention since April 1, when officers from theXingbin District PublicSecurity Bureau seized them in a midnight raid. Fiveother villagers originallytaken into custody were later released on bail toawait trial. The fourteen whoremained in detention were formally arrested for"gathering a mob to lootand destroy production operations" on May 7. Thevillagers had organizedothers to reclaim farmland which had been promised tothe village by local officials,but which had never been formally transferred ordemarcated. (CHRD)[viii]Hunan Teachers’Representative Sent toRTL for Organizing PetitionsAccording to a CRLWreport, Shaoyang City, HunanProvince teachers' representative Li Wuyi (李伍一) has been sent to oneyear ofRe-education through Labor (RTL) for organizingteachers to petition. Accordingto the RTL notice, which was dated October 8, 2010, Lihad been holdingmeetings at his home to organize teachers of  “minbanschools” (schoolsnot operated by the state) who lost their jobs in the1980s for violating thestate’s family planning policy. In August 2010, Li leda group of teachers'representatives to Beijing to petition, where theywere seized by police. Liwas administratively detained on September 25 for 15days, and then sent to RTLby the Longhui County Public Security Bureau inShaoyang City. (CRLW)[ix]Updates onPost-Nobel Harassment ofActivistsAiWeiwei Barred from Travelling to South Korea On the evening ofDecember 2, Beijing artist andactivist Ai Weiwei (艾未未)was stopped at the Beijing Capital InternationalAirport en route to theGwangju Biennale, a contemporary arts event in SouthKorea. A police officerbarred Ai from boarding his flight though he hadsuccessfully passed throughcustoms, showing him a handwritten note by the BeijingPublic Security Bureaustating that his leaving the country "might endangerstate security."However, the police officer refused to allow Ai tokeep the note. Police andborder control officials are increasing their effortsto bar prominent membersof Chinese civil society from travellinginternationally as the Nobel PeacePrize ceremony approaches; for an updated list ofcases documented by CHRD,please click here. (CHRD)[x]Shandong ProfessorSun Wenguang, Invitedby Liu Xia to the Ceremony, is Refused PassportOn the morning ofNovember 30, retired ShandongUniversity professor Sun Wenguang (孙文广)was notified by the Jinan City Public Security Bureauthat his application fora passport, which he submitted on November 15, hadbeen denied. Sun applied forthe passport in hopes of travelling to Oslo to attendthe Nobel Peace Prizeaward ceremony on December 10. Sun is listed as one ofthe more than 140 humanrights activists and dissidents Liu Xia has invited tothe ceremony in a publicletter she released earlier. Officials refused to giveSun an explanation as towhy they would not issue him a passport. (CHRD)[xi]Freedom ofAssemblyChinaDemocracy Party Organizers Summoned for Applyingto DemonstrateOn the afternoon ofDecember 1, Zhejiang democracyactivists Wu Yilong (吴义龙),Zhu Zhengming (祝正明),Chen Shuqing (陈树庆),Wang Rongqing (王荣清),Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫),and Mao Qingxiang (毛庆祥)were all separately summoned for questioning by policein Hangzhou City. Thesix, all of whom were members of the Zhejiang branchof the China Democracy Partyand were sentenced to prison following the 1998crackdown on the party, hadsubmitted an application to protest against theirimprisonment and otherharassment they have faced as a result of theirpolitical activities, as wellas in support of other imprisoned dissidents,including Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波)and Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌).CHRD has also learnedfrom Wu Yilong that officialshave refused to issue him a residency permit (hukou)or ID card morethan two months after his release from prison. As aresult, he has been unableto find employment or travel. Wu served 11 years inprison following a 1999conviction for "subversion of state power." (CHRD)[xii]Forced Evictionand DemolitionJiangsuWoman Hospitalized Following Fight over OngoingEvictions in Nantong CityIn Pingxi Village,Nantong City, Jiangsu Province onDecember 2, a group of residents were attacked afterconfronting demolitionworkers who refused to produce the proper paperworkbefore erecting aconstruction wall around an eviction site. Thevillagers, angered at what theybelieved to be an illegal forced eviction, blockedconstruction equipmentbelonging to the workers, who responded by violentlyhitting the villagers. Onewoman, Zhang Juan (张娟),was hospitalized following the clash. Police who werecalled to the scene didnot adequately respond to the villagers' complaints.Local officials havereportedly failed to make public the terms, includingcompensation and newliving arrangements for affected residents, of theeviction and demolitioncurrently being carried out, and have repeatedlyharassed and threatenedhomeowners. (CHRD)[xiii]Harassment ofActivistsSuizhouCity Activist Liu Feiyue Interrogated, Beaten forTravelling to Visit QinYongminOn the morning ofDecember 5, Suizhou City, HubeiProvince human rights defender Liu Feiyue (刘飞跃) travelled to WuhanCity, Hubei, tovisit with recently-released democracy activist QinYongmin (秦永敏).After meeting with Qin, Liu was seized by four WuhanCity National Securityofficers and taken to the Xingouqiao police station inWuhan for questioning.That evening, a group of National Security officersand Department of Educationofficials from Suizhou arrived in Wuhan, where one ofthem cursed Liu for"embarrassing" officials in Suizhou, and twice struckhim violently.The officials confiscated Liu's cell phone as well assome papers he wascarrying, and forcibly returned him to Suizhou thatnight. (CHRD)[xiv]AnhuiActivist Seized, Questioned after PhotographingForced EvictionOn the morning ofDecember 6, police in Hefei City,Anhui Province took away activist and member of CHRDZhou Weilin (周维林),the third instance in the past month in which Zhou hasbeen targeted forquestioning and harassment by local authorities. Zhouhad been takingphotographs at the site of a forced eviction when hewas approached bysubdistrict office staff who insisted that he stop andthen called the policeafter he refused. Zhou has since been released but hisphotography equipment aswell as his computer have been confiscated by thepolice. Zhou is disabled frominjuries suffered in a factory and uses a wheelchair.(CHRD)[xv]Tianjin ActivistPlaced under SoftDetention to Prevent Legal Publicity Day ProtestCHRD has learned thatTianjin-based human rights andanti-corruption activist Zhang Jianzhong (张建中) has been placedunder soft detentionat his home by police. The authorities are reportedlyconcerned over plans byTianjin petitioners to hold a demonstration on LegalPublicity Day, December 3.Since December 1, an officer has been stationed at theentrance to Zhang'sbuilding. Zhang has faced restrictions on hisactivities for years sincereporting on corruption and illegal activities bypolice and public transportationofficials in Tianjin. (CHRD)[xvi]Police HarassRecently-ReleasedDemocracy Activist Qin YongminOn the morning ofDecember 1, police arrived at theWuhan City, Hubei Province home of recently-releaseddemocracy activist QinYongmin (秦永敏),threatening and abusing him and accusing him ofaccepting interviews withdomestic and international media. Qin began to feelunwell, and his bloodpressure rose dangerously high. In addition to thisinstance of harassment,police have also installed three surveillance camerasoutside of Qin's home.(CHRD)[xvii]Editors:DavidSmalls and Lin Sang Follow us on Twitter:  @CHRDnetNewsupdates from CHRD[i]"BeijingYouth Wang Zhongxia Taken Away by Police for Seekingto Visit Liu Di" (北京青年王仲夏因寻找刘荻被警察带 走), December 7, 2010,http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012072302.shtml[ii]“Democraticallyelected village head was tried in leg irons, hislawyers beaten in court 民选村长戴镣庭审, 代理律师法庭被打,” December7, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012071751.shtml[iii]"LargeNumber of Petitioners Detained in Black Jial onLegal Publicity Day" (法制宣传日大批访民被关进久敬庄黑监狱),December 4, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012042001.shtml[iv]"OnEve of Shaanxi Rights-Defending Village Head'sTrial, Four More VillagersCriminally Detained" (陕西维权村长高强案开庭前又有四村民被刑拘(图)),December6, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012062044.shtml[v]"ChenXi, Liao Shuangyuan Taken Away by Police" (陈西、廖双元被派出所带走),December 6, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012062131.shtml[vi]"AsInner Mongolia Scholar Hada Approaches End ofSentence, Wife and ChildrenSuddenly Detained, House Searched" (内蒙学者哈达刑满前夕,妻儿突遭抄家拘留(图)),December 5, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012050920.shtml[vii]"LinYingqiang, Representative of Fuzhou Residents WhoLost Land, Released fromPrison after Completing Sentence" (福州失地维权代表林应强刑满出狱(图)),December 6, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012061817.shtml[viii]"Wei Chunyong and 13 Other Human Rights ActivistsFace Trial After SevenMonths of Detention in Laibin City, GuangxiProvince" (广西来宾市韦春勇等14名维权代表被羁押7个月面临审判(图)),December3, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012030920.shtml[ix]"HunanCommunity-Run School Teachers' Rights RepresentativeLi Wuyi Sent to RTL" (湖南民办教师维权代表李伍一被劳 教(图)),December 1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012011521.shtml[x]"ProminentArtist and Activist Ai Weiwei Prevented from LeavingCountry en route to SouthKorea" (著名艺术家艾未未前往韩国被禁止出境), December2, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012022251.shtml[xi]"PoliceUnreasonably Deny Professor Sun Wenguang's PassportApplication" (孙文广教授申请办理护照遭公安机关无理拒绝(图)),December 1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012012334.shtml[xii]"ZhejiangDemocracy Activist Wu Yilong and Others Summoned forApplying to Demonstrate"(浙江民主党人吴义龙等 人因申请游行被传唤), December 1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012011944.shtmland “Two and a Half Months after Release fromPrison, Wu Yilong Unable toObtain Hukou or ID Card, Applies to Demonstrate onBehalf of Fellow Victims andto Uphold Rights" (吴义龙出狱 两月半得不到户口与身份证,为伸张权利与难友们申请游行),December1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012011406.shtml[xiii]"Pingchao, Nantong Illegally Builds Enclosure Wall,Zhang Juan Hospitalizedfor Treatment after Being Violently Beaten" (南通平潮镇非法圈地,张娟被暴打入院治疗(图)),December 3, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012031716.shtml[xiv]"LiuFeiyue Beaten by Suizhou National Security Officersfor Paying Visit to QinYongmin" ), (刘 飞跃拜访秦永敏先生被随州国保殴打),December 6, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012061147.shtml[xv]"CHRDInformation Team Member Zhou Weilin Taken Away byPolice" (维权网信息员周维林被警方带走),December 6, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012061229.shtml[xvi]"TianjinRights Activist Zhang Jianzhong Put under SoftDetention on Legal PropagandaDay" (天津维权人士张建中法制宣传日前被软禁), December3, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012031101.shtml[xvii]"Qin Yongmin, Recently Released from Prison, SuffersHigh Blood Pressureafter Being Abused by Police During Visit" (刚出狱的秦永敏因警察上门谩骂,致血压陡升出现严重不适),December 1, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/12/201012012230.shtml

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