China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  January 19-24, 2011

Highlights

  • Beijing Court to Hold New Hearing in Case against Artist and Activist Wu Yuren: On January 28, the Chaoyang District Court will hold a new hearing in the case against artist and activist Wu Yuren (吴玉仁), who has been charged with “attacking” police. Wu, who was one of the organizers of a march down Chang’an Avenue in February 2010 to protest the demolition of a Beijing arts district, has been in detention since June 1, 2010.
  • Anhui Environmental Whistleblower Held under Residential Surveillance: Anhui province farmer Zhang Bing (张兵), who began efforts to draw attention to a polluting factory in his hometown of Lujiang County in the spring of 2009, has been under residential surveillance since April, 2010, CHRD learned this week. Zhang has accused the Xinzhongyuan Chemical Engineering Company of improperly disposing of phosphogypsum and polluting the local water supply.
  • Democracy Activist He Depu Freed: He Depu (何德普), Beijing dissident and one of the founding members of the banned China Democracy Party, was released from prison this week after serving an eight-year sentence for "subversion of state power." His release was far from smooth, however, as friends and fellow activists were warned not to meet with him, and his hand was injured in a clash with a police officer shortly after regaining his freedom.

 

 Tableof Contents

ArbitraryDetentionHearingUpcoming in Case against Artist andActivist Wu Yuren

CHRD has learned that the ChaoyangDistrict Court in Beijing will hold anotherhearing in the case against artistand activist Wu Yuren (吴玉仁) onJanuary 28 at 9 am. The hearing will be held inChaoyang District's Wenyuhe Courthouse. It isbelieved that the courtspecifically chose the date for its proximity toChinese New Year, in hopesthat many individuals who would otherwise observethe hearing or gather outsidethe courthouse will be away from the city. Wu, whowas detained on June 1,2010, after accompanying fellow artist Yang Licai(杨立才) tothe police station to report the theft of agenerator, has been charged with "attacking"police. An earlier courthearing, on November 17, 2010, was adjourned afterWu’s lawyer Li Fangping (李方平)requested thatfootage from the surveillance camera during theinvestigation be shown at thetrial. However, according to Li, police havealready announced that they willnot provide the surveillance video during theupcoming hearing.  Wu Yurenwas one of the organizers of a bold Februaryprotest down Beijing’s Chang’anAvenue to draw attention to the forced demolitionof the 008 Arts District inFebruary 2010, and his arrest is believed to be inretaliation for hisactivism. (CHRD)[i]

AnhuiFarmerunder Residential Surveillance for Reports onPolluting Factory

On January 21, CHRD learned of thecase of Anhui province farmer Zhang Bing (张兵), whois currently living under residentialsurveillance (jianshi juzhu) after workingto expose a polluting factoryin his Lujiang County hometown. In the spring of2009, Zhang began reporting tolocal officials regarding the XinzhongyuanChemical Engineering Company, whichwas improperly disposing phosphogypsum on localfields; chemicals running offinto water sources after heavy rains werepolluting the water and leading tosevere economic losses for local residents, manyof whom raised fish for sale.When local efforts proved insufficient to changethe habits of the company,Zhang began petitioning higher authorities tointervene and sought mediaattention. As a result, he was criminally detainedfor “extortion” in April2010. According to a police officer whointerrogated Zhang, it was hispetitioning and seeking media attention that ledto his detention. He was thengiven two consecutive six-month terms ofresidential surveillance while legalproceedings against him are underway. (CHRD)[ii]

Crackdownon Petitioners in Beijing as Municipal ‘TwoMeetings’ Open

As officials gather for themunicipal "Two Meetings" of the People’s Congressand the People’sPolitical Consultative Conference in Beijing, manypetitioners are beingillegally detained, placed under surveillance, orsubjected to "softdetention" by the police, security guards andmembers of neighborhoodcommittees.  For example, CHRD has received thefollowing reports ofpetitioners facing restrictions on their movementsas a result of thegovernment meetings:

  • Gao Zhanying (高占英), of Beijing's Fengtai District, has been under "soft detention" since January 11. Gao has been petitioning for years regarding an unjust court verdict.
  • Su Wen (苏文), of Beijing's Xicheng District, has also been under "soft detention" since January 11. Su's home was forcibly demolished without proper compensation.
  • Liu Chunxia (刘春霞), of Beijing's Fengtai District, has been confined to her home since January 17 by police.
  • Jing Haosheng (荆浩生) received a threatening phone call from police on January 15, warning him not to leave his home.
  • Li Lirong (李立荣), of Beijing's Xicheng District, has been under strict surveillance since January 10. Li has been petitioning for years following the forced demolition of her home. (CHRD)[iii]

DemocracyActivistHe Depu Released After Eight Years in Prison

On January 24, He Depu (何德普),Beijing dissident and oneof the founding members of the banned ChinaDemocracy Party, was released fromprison after serving an eight-year sentence for"subversion of statepower." He reported that, shortly after leavingthe prison, he wasinvolved in a physical confrontation with a policeofficer who sought to takehim to a local police station. Though He's handwas injured, he was allowed toreturn home and is not in police custody as of thetime of writing. Reportedly,friends and fellow activists were warned not tomeet with He following hisrelease, and his wife Jia Jianying (贾建英) wascalled in for a "talk" with policeahead of her husband's release. (CHRD)[iv]

DisabledPetitioner Held in Liaoning Re-education throughLabor Camp

On January 20, CHRD learned of thecase of disabledpetitioner Gai Fengzhen (盖凤珍), whois currently detained inMasanjiazi Re-education through Labor (RTL) Campin Liaoning Province. Gai, ofShenyang City, along with his wife Shi Xing (石兴), wereseized while petitioning in Beijing on July 14,2010, and escorted to theirhometown under the pretense of meeting with localofficials. However, once theyarrived on July 15, they were seized by a group ofpolice officers who placedthem under soft detention at a local policestation; that evening, officerstook Gai into detention for "disrupting work unitorder" and latersent him to one year of RTL at Masanjiazi RTLCamp. Gai, who cannot walkwithout crutches, filed for administrativereconsideration of the decision, butthe outcome of is still unclear. (CHRD)[v]

Courtin Beihai CityOnce Again Pushes Back Hearing for Local LandRights Activist

On January 18, relatives of detainedBaihutou villagerepresentative He Xianfu (何显福) wereinformed that the YinhaiDistrict court in Beihai City, Guangxi ZhuangAutonomous Region had once againrescheduled the hearing for He's "obstructingofficial business"case. He was detained in November 2010 forstanding up to developers and localofficials carrying out forced evictions anddemolitions in Baihutou Village;his case was originally scheduled to be heard onJanuary 11, but was changed atthe last minute to January 20. The court has notannounced the new date for thehearing. (CHRD)[vi]

Freedomof ExpressionListofNine Prohibitions for Media in 2011 CirculatedFollowing Publicity DepartmentMeeting

Following a meeting of the ChineseCommunist Party CentralCommittee's Publicity Department on January 4,CHRD has learned that mediaoutlets have been issued a list of nine"requirements andprohibitions" for 2011. Among the instructions aredemands that mediaoutlets "strictly control reporting on disastersand extremeincidents;" media outlets are instructed not to"call intoquestion" forced evictions "conducted according tolaws andregulations;" and journalists are prohibited fromusing the term "civilsociety" or discussing structural reforms toChina's political system. Forthe full list, in Chinese, please click here.  (CHRD)[vii]

HarassmentofActivistsElectricity,Water,Internet Cut to Room of Beijing Activist NiYulan

CHRD learned on January 20 thatpolice in Beijing's XichengDistrict continue to harass Beijing human rightsactivist Ni Yulan (倪玉兰) andher husband. The couple, who have been living inYuxingong Guesthouse for anumber of months, report that the electricity hasbeen repeatedly disconnectedin their room for the past 32 days; the water hasbeen off for 11 days, and theinternet has been shut down for many days as well.Ni, a housing rightsactivist and former lawyer, was sentenced to twoyears’ imprisonment in 2008for resisting the forced demolition of her home.She was released on April 15,2010. Ni and her husband have since been forced tolive on the street becausetheir home was forcibly demolished, and with thehelp of fellow activists, thecouple moved in Yuxingong Guesthouse in the summerof 2010. Police have beenharassing the couple and pressuring them to leavethe guesthouse since then.For her rights activism, since 2001 Ni hasrepeatedly detained, imprisoned andtortured, which left her unable to walk and in awheelchair. (CHRD)[viii]

Update:BeijingHuman Rights Defender Wang Lihong RegainsFreedom of Movement

On January 21, the police officerstationed outside of thehome of Beijing human rights defender Wang Lihong(王荔蕻)departed, indicating that the "soft detention" towhich she had beensubjected for more than three months had come toan end. Police began limitingher freedom of movement in response to the newsthat Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) hadbeen awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Wang wasseized by police at acelebratory gathering on October 8, and lateradministratively detained foreight days. Following her release from detention,police placed Wang under"soft detention," first at a local hotel and thenat her home. Shewas also taken to the outskirts of Beijingfor a period of 18 days surrounding the Nobelaward ceremony. (CHRD)[ix]

Citizens’ActionsCHRDReleases New Report on Obstacles to JudicialIndependencein China

On January 24, CHRD issued a newreport examining the obstacles to judicialindependence in China. Thereport discusses Party and government interferencewith the court system in China, usinglandmark cases to demonstrate the role ofpolitical-legal committees (zhengfawei)in "guiding" court decisions.  For the full text(in Chinese),please click here. (CHRD)[x]

Senda Holiday Card to Chinese Prisoners ofConscience

On January 21, human rights lawyerJiang Tianyong (江天勇)announced the launch of a postcard drive for closeto 40 Chinese prisoners ofconscience, timed to coincide with Chinese NewYear, only 12 days away. For thefull list of prisoners of conscience, includingTan Zuoren (谭作人), HuJia (胡佳), Liu Xiaobo (刘晓 波), andothers, as well as the mailing addresses of thefacilities at which they arecurrently being held (in Chinese), please click here and consider sending apostcard with a holidaygreeting. (CHRD)[xi]

Lawand Policy WatchStateCouncil Approves Draft Regulations GoverningForced Evictions and Demolitions

On January 19, the State Councilapproved the DraftRegulations for Expropriation and Compensation ofHousing on State-owned Land,a set of guidelines designed to replace the UrbanHousing Demolition andRelocation Management Regulations, which currentlygovern forced evictions anddemolitions. The draft regulations call for localofficials, not developers, tohandle the relocation of, and negotiate faircompensation with, homeowners. Thedraft regulations also stipulate that localofficials must use the courts toforce homeowners to move if the owners otherwiserefuse to relocate. The draftregulations may still be revised before receivingfinal State Council approval.(Xinhua)[xii]

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

[i]"Another Court Hearing Upcoming for Artist WuYuren's 'Police AttackCase'" (艺术家吴玉仁“袭警案”将再次开庭), January22,2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101221528.shtml

[ii]"Anhui Farmer Zhang Bing is Prosecuted forProtecting Environment,Reporting Polluting Business" (安徽农民张兵保护 环境举报企业污染被起诉), January 21, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101212117.shtml

[iii]"Many Petitioners in Beijing Placed underSurveillance or Soft Detentionduring Municipal 'Two Meetings'" (北京多位访民在市 两会期间被监控软禁), January 23, 2011, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101231232.shtml

[iv]"He Depu Injured in Clash with Police Outside ofJail FollowingRelease" (何德普在监狱外与警方发生冲突受伤), January24,2011, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101241252.shtml

[v]"Ill, Handicapped Petitioner Gai Fengzhen Sentto RTL" (残疾多病上访者盖凤珍被劳教), January20, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101202258.shtml

[vi]"Beihai Court Changes Hearing Time for He XianfuAgain" (北海法院再次变更何显福开庭时间), January19, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101191336.shtml

[vii]"Publicity Department of the CCP CentralCommittee Issues Nine PublicitySpecifications and Prohibitions for 2011" (中宣部发布2011年的九条宣传口径和禁令), January 19,2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101191328.shtml

[viii]"Water, Electricity, Internet Cut to Room Rentedby Human Rights Lawyer NiYulan for 32 Days" (维权律师倪玉兰的房间被断水断电断网32天),January 20, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101201715.shtml

[ix]"Beijing Human Rights Activist Wang Lihong MakesPublic 'Guarantee' fromPeriod of Soft Detention" (北京维权人士王荔蕻公开被软禁期间的“保证书”),January 21, 2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101211411.shtml

[x]"CHRD Report: Obstacles to Judicial Independencein China" (维权网报告:中国司法独立的障碍), January24, 2011, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101240023.shtml

[xi]"Human Rights Lawyer Jiang Tianyong LaunchesPostcard Drive for Prisonersof Conscience" (维权律师江天勇发起给良心犯寄明信片活动),January 21,2011, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2011/01/201101212115.shtml

[xii]Xinhua, “Draft Regulations for Expropriation andCompensation of ResidentialBuildings on State-owned Land Abolishes ForcedAdministrative Eviction(《國有土地上房屋徵收與補償條例(草案)》取消行政強制拆遷),” January 19, 2011; see alsoAssociated Press,“China moves to tighten eviction rules afterunrest,” January 19, 2011, http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9KREDEO0.htm

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