China Human Rights Briefing Weekly July 20-26, 2010
- Uyghur Journalist Hailaite Niyazi Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison: On July 23, a court in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region sentenced journalist Hailaite Niyazi to 15 years in prison for endangering state security (CHRD has not yet learned which specific “endangering state security” crime he was convicted of). The verdict was apparently based on an interview he gave to Hong Kong media following the violence in Xinjiang during July of last year. Niyazi, who has been in detention since October 1, 2009, was reportedly tried without a lawyer present.
- CHRD’s Chinese-Language Website Shut Down for More than One Week by Attack: Except for a few brief hours over the weekend, CHRD’s Chinese-language website (http://www.crd-net.org) has been out of service since July 19 as a result of the latest DDOS attack against the site. This the second-longest DDOS attack directed at CHRD’s site this year: an attack in March rendered the site inaccessible for 15 days.
- Freedom of Expression
- Arbitrary Detention
- Legal Rights
- Freedom of Assembly
- Harassment of Activists
- Forced Eviction and Demolition
- Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Law and Policy Watch
Freedomof ExpressionCHRDProtests Harsh and Unjust Sentence for Uyghur Journalist Hailaite Niyazi
On July 23, a court in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur AutonomousRegion(XUAR) sentenced journalist Hailaite Niyazi (whose name also sometimesappearsas Hairat or Gheyret Niyaz or Niyaze) to 15 years in prison forendangeringstate security (CHRD has not yet learned which specific “endangeringstatesecurity” crime he was convicted of). Niyazi, who has been in detentionsinceOctober 1, 2009, was reportedly tried without a lawyer present.
CHRD believes Niyazi was convicted on the basisof comments he made to a journalist from Hong Kong-based AsiaWeekly, which later appeared in an article entitled"Uyghur NGO Worker, Former XinjiangLegal News Chief Editorial Director Niyazi Provided Early WarningBeforeJuly 5 Incident." In the article, which was published on July 23, 2009,Niyazi is quoted as saying he telephoned a friend working in the XUARgovernment on July 4 and met with top officials on July 5 to warn themof thepotential for violence on July 5, but officials refused to take actioninresponse to his warning. Niyazi went on in the article to comment onthe natureof the riots, possible organizers, as well as the root causes of theviolence.During his trial, prosecutors also brought up articles written byNiyazi priorto the July 5 riots which discussed tensions in the XUAR. (CHRD)
AfterBrief Return to Service, CHRD’s Chinese-Language Website Once AgainInaccessible
Service was briefly restored to CHRD’sChinese-language website (http://www.crd-net.org)on the morning of July 25 following more than 100 hours ofinaccessibility dueto a DDOS attack launched July 19. However, after only two hours, thesite wasonce again rendered inaccessible by the ongoing attack. Later on July25,CHRD’s internet service provider was forced to stop all traffic to thewebsiteas the amount of malicious traffic from the attack became too much fortheserver to handle. At the time of writing, the site remains closed.
ArbitraryDetentionPolicein BeijingBeat, Detain Petitioning Parents of Vaccine Victims
On the afternoon of July 19, a group of nineparents whose children were sickened by tainted vaccines arrived at theMinistry of Health in Beijingto petition. Shortly after reaching the Ministry’s Letters and VisitsOffice,the parents were accosted by police officers, who struck at least fourof thepetitioners before taking them into detention. Liaoning petitioner YangYukui (杨育奎)suffered a broken rib and broken finger, and three others were injuredby theofficers. CHRD has learned that eight of the petitioners, including thefourinjured, have been given five days of administrative detention for"disrupting public order." The whereabouts of the final petitionerare currently unknown. (CHRD)
LegalRightsFuzhou Court Hears Lawsuit Brought byLawyer Lin Hongnan against Bureau of Justice
On the afternoon of July 22, Fuzhou City'sTaijiang District Court held an open court session to hear lawyer LinHongnan's(林洪楠)administrativelitigation lawsuit against the Fuzhou Bureau of Justice, challengingtheBureau's decision to suspend his lawyer's license for one year. Lin wasrepresented by lawyers Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) andZhang Zanning (张赞宁). The court proceedings endedwithout a verdict. According to reports from the scene, approximately100policemen and security guards were on hand to control a crowd whichswelled tobetween 400 and 500 supporters, activists, and petitioners. Lin'slawyer'slicense was suspended for one year on December 23, 2009, during thecaseagainst the "Fuzhou Three" netizens who were later imprisoned forhelping a woman post information online regarding the suspected rapeand murderof her daughter. Ostensibly, Lin's punishment came because heimproperlyhandled evidence in a 2002 case, providing family members of one of thedefendants with a copy of the minutes of a government meeting which thefamilysubsequently published on overseas websites. However, Lin and othersbelievethe punishment to be in retaliation for Lin's insistence on pursuing aplea ofnot guilty for Wu Huaying (吴华英), one of the "FuzhouThree." (CHRD)
Freedomof AssemblyHundredsof Villagers Protest in Guangzhou;Day Ends as Many Are Seized By Police
On the morning of July 22, close to one thousandresidents of XiaogangVillage gatheredoutsideof the Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province government offices to protesttheplanned forced demolition of their homes and requisition of villageland. Theprotest lasted from 9 am until shortly after 5 pm, when police, who hadbeenstationed outside the offices for the duration of the demonstration,descendedon the crowd, forcibly dispersing and seizing villagers. Two largebuses fullof protestors were taken away by police; their current whereabouts areunknown.Xiaogang Village is a “city village” (城中村)—villagesthat have been engulfed by the city. As Chinese cities expand rapidly,residents in these villages are especially vulnerable to forcedeviction as thecity government, in the name of “city village transformation,” seizestheincreasingly valuable land while providing little compensation to thevillagers. (CHRD)
Policein BeijingPrevent Human Rights Lawyer Li Xiongbing from Attending NGO Meeting
On the morning of July 25, officers from theBeijing Public Security Bureau arrived at the home of Beijing humanrightslawyer Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵) to prevent him from leavingfor a scheduled meeting that afternoon. Li had planned to attend aweeklymeeting of the NGO Citizen (Gongmin), a newly-registered organizationafter itspredecessor Open Constitution Initiative (Gongmeng) was formally bannedby thegovernment in the summer of 2009. The officers stationed outside ofLi's homedid not produce any legal documentation which might have authorizedtheiractions. Earlier this month, Li was similarly prevented from attendingameeting on forced evictions in Beijing.(CHRD)
Harassmentof ActivistsShenzhenActivist Zhao Dagong and Wife Forcibly Returned from Shanghai
On July 20, Shenzhen human rights activist ZhaoDagong (赵达功)and his wife reached Shanghai, where they had planned to visit theWorld Expo.However, shortly after the couple checked into their hotel, Shanghai andShenzhen police arrived at theirdoor and, without producing any legal documentation which mightauthorize theiractions, ordered them into a waiting vehicle. Zhao and his wife weredriven to Shanghai'sPudong airport,where they were put on a plane along with the officers from Shenzhenandforcibly returned to Shenzhen. Zhao, the secretary-general of theIndependentChinese PEN (ICPC) and member of the first group of Charter08 signatories, did not publicize his plans to travel to Shanghai, but had reportedly been followed byplainclothespolice en route to Shanghai.(CHRD)
ForcedEviction and DemolitionDemolitionWorkers in JiangsuProvince ViolentlyBeatHomeowner
On July 24, Nantong City, Jiangsu Provinceresident Chen Gang (陈刚) was attacked at the home ofhis father-in-law by a group of approximately 40 workers employed bythe XinjinHousing Demolition and Eviction Company. Chen and his neighbors hadmoved outof their apartment building after demolition workers cut offelectricity andwater to their apartments and damaged door locks; the workers accostedChen athis father-in-law's home, where he had been staying, to coerce him intosigninga demolition agreement. When Chen refused, and when local police whoarrivedafter Chen placed an emergency call refused to disperse the evictionworkers,they turned violent, beating Chen and striking him in the head with awoodenstool. Chen was hospitalized following the attack; workers threatenedto"beat him to death" if he continued to refuse to sign a demolitionagreement. (CHRD)
Tortureand Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or PunishmentSichuan Petitioner Suffers Broken RibFollowing Beating by ChongqingPolice
On July 14, uniformed and plainclothes policeoutside of the Chongqing Municipal Letters and Visits Bureau attackedand beatpetitioner Zhao Jiawei (赵家伟), breaking one of Zhao's ribs.The identity of the officers responsible is not known. Zhao reportedthebeating to the policemen on duty, but they refused to accept the case.Zhao, afarmer from TianciVillage in DaCounty,Sichuan Province, has been petitioning since 2008 regarding what hebelieves tobe an unjust court ruling in the case of his daughter's death. (CHRD)
Law andPolicy WatchRevisionsto Chinese Criminal Law Reportedly to Include Reduction in Number ofCapitalOffenses
According to a July 23 Global Timesarticle, amendments to the Criminal Law may besubmitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congressforreview next month. Reportedly, three categories of crimes- economiccrimes,inciting others to commit crimes, and "crimes that can be tackledthroughincreased legislation, such as abduction and kidnapping"- will beremovedfrom the list of offenses eligible for the death penalty. There arecurrently68 crimes for which offenders can be sentenced to death. However, it isunclearexactly how many of those will be removed from this list by theamendments. (Global Times)
While reducing the number of capital offenseswould unquestionably be a positive development, CHRD continues to urgetheChinese government to abolish the death penalty altogether, and in theshortterm, to set a concrete timetable for its abolition.
New WuhanMental HealthRegulations Leave Potential for Abuse by Officials
Released publicly on July 20, the Wuhan CityMental Health Regulations are set to take effect on September 1. Theseare thesixth such local regulations to be issued in China on the subject ofmentalhealth. The regulations lay out standards regarding institutionalizingapatient for mental health reasons and other issues related to themanagement ofthe mental health system. (Chutian DushiNews)
CHRD is concerned that these regulations will dolittle to restrict the wide powers police have to force psychiatrictreatmenton individuals and to forcibly detain them in mental health facilities. According to article 25 of the regulations,individuals with "serious mental disorders" should be “helped” bytheir "work units, public security officials, sub district officials,township or town government officials, neighborhood committee members,orvillage committee members" if their relatives or guardians are “unable”tosend them for treatment. Article 25 thus leaves much room for abuse, asgovernment officials and neighbors are given the power to determinethat anindividual suffers from “serious mental disorders” and to forcetreatment onthis person. In situations where the individual “are behaving in waysthatseriously endangers the safety of the public or others,” according toarticle32, the police can forcibly hospitalize the person after obtaining anassessment of the individual's mental health status by a certifiedhealthprofessional. The person is therefore deprived of access to legalcounsel andto a court hearing as the police holds the sole power to subjecthim/her toinvoluntary hospitalization.
Editors:David Smalls and Lin Sang News updatesfromCHRDAnnual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009)
 “CHRD Protests Harsh andUnjust Sentence for Uyghur Journalist Hailaite Niyazi,” July 23, 2010, http://chrdnet.org/2010/07/23/chrd-protests-harsh-and-unjust-sentence-for-uyghur-journalist-hailaite-niyazi/
 "Parents of Vaccine Victim Beaten, Detained in Beijing" (疫苗受害家长在北京被殴打关押),July 21, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007211401.shtml
 “Trial Opens in Case ofFuzhou Lawyer Lin Hongnan, Human Rights Activists On the Scene toProvideSupport" (福州林洪楠律师案开庭，维权人士现场声援(图)), July 22, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007221739.shtml
 "Hundreds Protest Outside Guangzhou City Government,ManyDetained" (广州千余名村民到市政府抗议，多人被抓),July 22, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007222031.shtml
 "Beijing Human Rights Lawyer Li Xiongbing Has FreedomRestricted Again" (北京维权律师黎雄兵再次被限制人身自由), July 25, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007251540.shtml
 "Zhao Dagong Forcibly Returned to Shenzhen fromShanghai"(赵达功在上海被警方遣送回深圳), July 21, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007212127.shtml
 "Another Violent Eviction in Nantong Turns Bloody:EvicteeChen Gang Undergoing Emergency Treatment in Hospital" (南通暴力拆迁又发血案：被拆迁户陈刚在医院抢救(图)), July 25, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007251248.shtml
 "Chongqing Police Break Petitioner's Rib Outside ofLettersand Visits Bureau" (重庆警察在信访局打断访民肋骨),July 26, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/07/201007262050.shtml
 "China'scriminal law to be revised once more," GlobalTimes, July 23, 2010, http://china.globaltimes.cn/chinanews/2010-07/555487.html
 "Wuhan City Mental Health Regulations PublishedYesterday,Take Effect September 1"《武汉市精神卫生条例》昨公布 9月1日实施), July 20, 2010, http://ctdsw.cnhubei.com/cnews/shfz/201007/t1310313.shtml
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.