China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  July 1-5, 2010

Highlights

  • Police Raid Home of Human Rights Defender Li Jinfang; Interrogate Her and Daughter: Hebei police raided the home of human rights defender Li Jinfang (李金芳) on July 1, confiscating computer equipment, human rights-related documents, and financial information. Following a five-hour interrogation, Li was told she was suspected of having committed the crime of “inciting subversion of state power” and subject to restrictions on her travel; police also told her they had frozen her bank account. CHRD strongly condemns the harassment of Li Jinfang, a dedicated human rights activist. Her case is unfortunately part of a growing trend in recent months, as police seek to crack down on increasingly vocal members of civil society.
  • Beijing Artist Wu Yuren Faces Arrest Following Beating in Detention: Wu Yuren (吴玉仁), who was one of the leaders of a February protest down Beijing's Chang'an Avenue to draw attention to the forced demolition of the 008 Arts District, has been detained over a month. On July 2, the Beijing Procuratorate approved Wu’s arrest on suspicion of "using violence to obstruct judicial officials from carrying out their duties." Wu was reportedly beaten by police while detained.

Contents

Harassment of ActivistsHumanRights Defender Li Jinfang Summoned by Police, Home Raided and PropertyConfiscated

On July 1, fifteen police officersraided the Xianghe County, Hebei Province home of human rights defenderLiJinfang (李金芳), confiscating 74items, including human rights-related documents, computer equipment andfinancial documents (for a copy of the police report listing itemsconfiscated,in Chinese, please click here). Several officers took Li and her teenagedaughter ArDan (阿丹) to the Shuyang policestation for approximately five hours of questioning. Following herinterrogation, police told Li that she was suspected of havingcommitted thecrime of “inciting subversion of state power,” and was thereforerequired toreport to the police if she planned to leave Xianghe County. However,thepolice refused to provide her with a written summons (chuanhuan)noticeor a search warrant as required by law. She was also told that her bankaccounthad been frozen. Li was questioned about her human rights work and herrelationship with Chinese Human Rights Defenders. A growing list ofgrassrootsactivists have been subjected to similar raids and interrogations inrecentmonths. (CHRD)[1]

Beijing Lawyer Zhang Kai Preventedfrom Leaving China

On the afternoon of July 4, Beijinglawyer Zhang Kai (张凯) was prevented fromboarding a United Airlines flight bound for the United States by borderpoliceat Beijing's Capital Airport. According to the police, Zhang was barredfromleaving the country based on Article 8 of the Citizens' Entry and ExitManagementLaw, which states that citizens who the State Council believes willharm thecountry or the country's interests after leaving China shall be barredfromleaving the country. Officers refused to issue Zhang a written noticeexplaining their decision, and informed him that the State SecurityBureauwould be contacting him in the coming days. It is not currently knownwhypolice decided to ban Zhang, who has traveled internationally in thepast, fromleaving the country for a training workshop organized by a church groupin thisoccasion. (CHRD)[2]

ArbitraryDetentionBeijingOfficials Approve Arrest for Artist Wu Yuren; Wu Reports Beating inDetention

On the morningof July 5, police at the Chaoyang District Detention Center notified agroup ofWu Yuren's (吴玉仁) friends and family, including his wife Canadiancitizen Karen Patterson, artists and activists Ai Weiwei (艾未未) and Yang Licai (杨立才), and lawyer Liu Qiang (刘强), that theBeijing Procuratorate had approved Wu's arrest on July 2 on suspicionof"using violence to obstruct judicial officials from carrying out theirduties." Wu, who has been detained since accompanying Yang to reportthetheft of a generator on June 1, was allegedly beaten by police while indetention. His wife and daughter have not been permitted to visit himsince hewas detained, and he has only met with his lawyer twice. Wu, an artistandactivist, was one of the leaders of a February protest down Beijing'sChang'anAvenue to draw attention to the forced demolition of the 008 ArtsDistrict. Toread a letter by Karen Patterson regarding her husband’s situation,pleaseclick here(in English and Chinese). (CHRD)[3]

YouJingyou, One of the “Fujian Three,” Released from Prison; Police HarassSupporters

You Jingyou (游精佑), one of the three Fujian digital activists jailed forposting onlineinformation regarding the alleged rape and murder of a young woman, wasreleased following one year in prison on July 4. A number of activistswho hadtraveled to Fuzhou City, Fujian Province to greet You upon his releasewereharassed by the police. Beijing activist Wang Lihong (王荔蕻) and Jiangxinetizen Liu Ping (刘萍) were struck by police officers. Beijing humanrights lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪) was prevented from leaving his Fuzhou hotel roomby police, who accused him of "narcotics trafficking" and sought tosearch his belongings. Netizens who arrived at Teng's hotel to protesthistreatment were herded into a conference room in the hotel and confinedbrieflyby police. Reportedly, Teng and his supporters have since beenreleased. (CHRD)[4]

Detained Activist Liu Xianbin Meetswith Lawyer for First Time

On July 1, Chengdu lawyer Ma Xiaopeng (马小鹏)met with Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌),a Sichuan democracy activist detained on June 28 for “incitingsubversion ofstate power.” The two met for half an hour under the guard of threeNationalSecurity officers. Liu said he has been interrogated for hisinvolvement incitizen efforts in support of persecuted activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞),for attending a seminar in May in Beijing on the trial of three Fujianactivists, and for publishing articles on human rights and democracy.[5]

CHRD learned on July 2 that prominent Beijinghuman rights attorney Mo Shaoping (莫少平)will join Ma in defending Liu. (CHRD)[6]

SichuanDemocracy Activist Wang Sen Released Following Nine Years in Prison

On July 2, democracy activist Wang Sen (王森)was released following more than nine years of incarceration. Uponreturning tohis home in Dazhou City, Sichuan Province, Wang was greeted by a groupofaround 20 friends, relatives, and fellow activists, who report that heishealthy and in good spirits. Wang, a leader of the China DemocracyParty in Sichuan,was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in 2002 for “subversion ofstatepower.” (CHRD)[7]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman,or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentGansuFather and Daughter Seized, Beaten, Harassed for Petitioning

CHRD learned on July 3 that LingtaiCounty, Gansu Province petitioner Cao Fulin (曹福林)and his daughter were kidnapped by local officials while petitioning inBeijingand returned to their hometown on June 24, after which they were beatenandplaced under soft detention. According to Cao's daughter, localgovernmentofficials beat the pair while they were en route to their home on June26,injuring her arms and legs and her father's arm. They are currentlyunder24-hour surveillance at their home and have been warned againstcontinuing topetition. Cao and his daughter have been petitioning since another ofCao’sdaughter was abducted in Beijing while petitioning four years ago.(CHRD)[8]

Law and Policy WatchNewTort Law Takes Effect

On July 1, the Tort Law of the People'sRepublic of China (中华人民共和国侵权责任法) went into effect.While previous pieces of legislation allowed Chinese citizens to filecivillawsuits in tort cases, the Chinese government is touting this new lawasoffering citizens increased protection of their personal and propertyrights.Chinese citizens will be able to use the law to sue for damages relatedtofaulty products, traffic accidents, environmental pollution,infringement oftheir rights online, and other related incidents. The law cannot beused tofile suits based on events which took place before it went into effect.Itremains to be seen what impact this law will have on the number ofcivil suitsfiled by citizens, the ability of citizens to collect compensation forinfringement of their rights, and the behavior of individuals andcompaniesaccused of violating citizens' rights. (Xinhua)[9]

SupremePeople’s Court Issues Notice Urging Increased Mediation; Mediation LawDraftPublished

According to a June 28 Xinhua report,the Supreme People's Court has issued a directive[10]urging lower-level courts to promote mediation, rather than legalproceedings,as a means of resolving disputes. The notice called for mediation innine typesof civil cases, including "class action cases posing threat to socialstability, family dispute cases, cases where no convincing evidence isfoundand cases where there is strong antagonism between the two parties."TheSPC also recommended courts use mediation to handle "minor criminaloffenses," stating that mediation would promote "socialharmony." In a related story, the Standing Committee of the NationalPeople's Congress issued the full text of a draft mediation law on July1. Thedraft will be available for comment on the National People's Congresswebsite (www.npc.gov.cn)until the endof July. (Xinhua)[11]

The increased emphasis on mediationmarks a serious threat to the development of rule of law in China.Mediationcan certainly be a useful alternative in dispute resolution, but onlyinsituation where the parties are not pressured to mediate or to come toasettlement and where, if they wish, can return to the ordinarylitigationprocess where their procedural rights are protected. However, in China,mediation is conducted either by the judicial authorities or by peopleofinfluence in the community, making it intimidating for the partiesinvolved. Inaddition, with great pressure being placed on the judicial authoritiestoresolve disputes through mediation, there is some considerable worrythatquotas may be imposed on the courts or even on prosecutors to carry outmediation in cases where this would be inappropriate, effectivelyforcingparties to settle. At the same time, the government is deterringcitizens fromresorting to litigation, which are already conducted in flawed ways bycourtsthat lack independence. The combined effect of the government’s efforttopromote mediation while undermining litigation is to distort thepurpose of thecourts, chipping away at the very basis of an already weak legalsystem.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin SangNews updates from CHRDAnnual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009)

[1] CHRD, Human Rights Defender Li Jinfang Summoned byPolice, HomeRaided and Property Confiscated, July 1, 2010, http://chrdnet.org/2010/07/01/human-rights-defender-li-jinfang-summoned-by-police-home-raided-and-property-confiscated/

[2] "Beijing Lawyer Zhang Kai Barred from Leaving Country atBeijing Capital Airport" (北京律师张凯在首都机场出关时被拦截), July 4,2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100704201003_22038.html

[3] "Beijing Procuratorate Approves Arrest of Wu Yuren,Organizerof Chang'an Avenue Protest" (长安街游行组织者吴玉仁被北京检察院批准 逮捕),July 5,2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/wuyuren/201007/20100705171819_22053.html;"Arrest Approved for Wu Yuren on Charge of "Using Violence toObstruct the Official Business of Police" (吴玉仁被以“以暴力手段妨碍司法人员执行 公务”罪批捕), July 5, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/wuyuren/201007/20100705235813_22064.html

[4] "You Jingyou Already Released from Prison" (游精佑已经出狱), July 5, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/youjingyou/201007/20100705135552_22045.html;"Wang Lihong Beaten, Teng Biao Falsely Accused, Many Netizens FaceRestrictions on Liberty" (王荔蕻被打,滕彪被诬,大批网友被限制自 由),July 4,2010, http://crd-net.org/Article/Class18/youjingyou/201007/20100704192842_22037.html

[5] CHRD, “Lawyer Meets Liu Xianbin (律师会见刘贤斌),” July 2, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/Class35/201007/20100702095056_21990.html

[6] "Famous Human Rights Attorney Mo Shaoping AcceptsCommissionto Represent Liu Xianbin" (著名人权律师莫少平接受委托代 理刘贤斌案),July 2,2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/Class35/201007/20100702131912_21993.html

[7] "Major Sichuan Democracy Activist Wang Sen Released fromPrison; Greeted by Flowers from Relatives and Friends" (四川重要民主党人王森出狱 众亲友鲜花迎接), July 2, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/wangsen/201007/20100702221017_21999.html

[8] "Gansu Petitioner Cao Fulin's Family Kidnapped, ReturnedtoHometown, Beaten, and Placed under Soft Detention" (甘肃访民曹福林一家绑架回地方后遭殴打软 禁), July 4, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100704080026_22020.html

[9] Xinhua, “China tort law set to further guard individualrights,”July 2, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-07/02/c_13381332.htm

[10] 进一步贯彻“调解优先、调判结合”工作原 则的若干意见

[11] Xinhua, "Chinese judges told to use mediation to settledisputes," June 28, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-06/28/c_13373863.htm;"Full Text of Draft Law on People's Mediation Issued; SolicitingOpinionsfrom a Wide Range of Sources" (人民调解法草案全文公布 广泛征求各方面意见), http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2010-07/01/c_12287777.htm

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
View latest posts
0 comments