China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  June 22-30, 2010

Highlights

  • Sichuan Democracy Activist Liu Xianbin Criminally Detained for “Inciting Subversion of State Power:” Having already served two jail terms for his activism, the most recent lasting nearly a decade, Sichuan democracy activist Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌) has once again been criminally detained. Accused of “inciting subversion of state power,” officials seem determined to punish Liu for his commitment to human rights and democracy. Police also raided his home, confiscating computer equipment, and harassed and questioned his wife and 13-year old daughter.
  • Tibetan Environmental Activist Karma Samdrup Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison after Torture in Detention: Tibetan environmental activist Karma Samdrup (噶玛桑珠), once named “philanthropist of the year” by CCTV for his dedication to funding environmental protection, has been given a harsh and unjust sentence by a court in Yanqi County, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. It is believed that Karma, who was convicted on grave robbing charges which date back to 1998, is being targeted by officials for his activism and for speaking out in defense of his brothers, both of whom are also in detention after they accused officials in Tibet of illegally hunting endangered animals. According to Karma, he was tortured by police seeking to extract a confession.
  • Liaoning High People’s Court Hears Appeal of Liaoning Street Vendor Convicted of Murdering Officials:  Xia Junfeng (夏俊峰), a street vendor in Shenyang City who was sentenced to death for killing two City Administration and Law Enforcement officials (chengguan) as he was being violently beaten by them, appealed his conviction on June 29 in front of the Liaoning Provincial High People’s Court. CHRD believes that Xia’s conviction for intentional homicide is unjust and calls on the Liaoning Provincial High People’s Court to overturn this ruling, sparing Xia from execution. 

Contents

 

Arbitrary DetentionTrial Alert: SichuanRights Defenders Liu Zhengyou and Hu Yulan to be Tried July 6 for“SocialSecurity Fraud”

CHRD learned on June 24 that Sichuan humanrights defender Liu Zhengyou (刘正有) will betried in an open court session on July6 for "social security fraud" by the Ziliujing District People'sCourt in Zigong City, Sichuan Province. Liu's wife, Hu Yulan (胡玉兰), andtwo other individuals have been named as co-defendants in the case. Formoreinformation on the case against Liu and Hu, please see here. (CHRD)[i]

SichuanDemocracy Activist Liu Xianbin Criminally Detained for “IncitingSubversion ofState Power”

Little more thana year after he was releasedfollowing a decade in prison, convicted of “subversion of state power”in 1999,Sichuan democracy activist Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌) has once again beencriminally detained, this time for “inciting subversion of statepower.” OnJune 28, police in SuiningCity, SichuanProvince detained Liuafter raiding his home, and the next day officers summoned, harassed,andthreatened his wife and 13-year old daughter. 

Approximately 14National Security (guobao)officers from the Suining City Public Security Bureau (PSB) arrived atLiu’shome on the afternoon of June 28. While some of the officers took Liuto thePSB station for questioning, others remained to search his residence,confiscating two computer hard drives, two removable drives, Liu’s bankcard,and records of payments received by Liu for articles published onpro-democracywebsites hosted overseas. Liu was criminally detained on suspicion of“incitingsubversion of state power” at seven o’clock that evening, and iscurrentlybeing held at the Suining City Detention Center, according to theformaldetention notice provided to his wife, Chen Mingxian (陈明先). (CHRD)[ii]

Note:An earlier release incorrectly stated that Liu was being criminallydetainedfor “subversion of state power.”

Tibetan Environmental Activist KarmaSamdrup Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison after Torture in Detention

On June 24, a court inYanqi County, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, convicted Tibetanenvironmental activist Karma Samdrup (噶玛桑珠) of grave robbing and sentenced him to 15 years inprison, with an additional five years' deprivation of political rightsand afine of 10,000 RMB. Karma, a successful Tibetan businessman and founderof anenvironmental protection foundation, was named philanthropist of theyear in2006 by CCTV. As the charges against Karma date back to 1998, it isbelievedthat he is being punished for his environmental activism and forspeaking outon behalf of his brothers, who are also environmental activists, aftertheywere detained for accusing local officials in Tibetof illegally huntingendangered animals. Karma stated during the first day of his trial onJune 22that police had beaten him, drugged him, and deprived him of sleepwhile he wasdetained in order to extract a confession. (CHRD)[iii]

Sentences Upheld Following Appeal for FujianNetizensConvicted of “Slander”

The Fuzhou CityIntermediate People's Court announced on June 28 that it had upheld theconviction of Fujian netizens Fan Yanqiong (范燕琼), Wu Huaying (吴华英), and You Jingyou (游精佑) for "slander" following the defendants'appeal.  According to Fan's elder sister,who attended the hearing where the decision was announced, Fan appearedin poorhealth, and was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair. While morethan 100supporters gathered outside the courthouse, CHRD received reports thata numberof activists, including Wang Lihong (王荔蕻), Zhang Hui (张辉), Wu Gan (吴淦), Zhang Shihe (张世和) and A Er (阿尔) were placed under soft detention and preventedfrom leaving their homes to travel to Fuzhou. Fan, Wu, and You wereconvictedof “slander” in April 2010 for posting articles and video online urginggovernment officials to investigate the alleged rape and murder of ayoungwoman. Fan was sentenced to two years in prison, while Wu and You werebothsentenced to one year. (CHRD)[iv]

Officials in GuangdongApprove Arrest of Land RightsActivist Liu Xiantong

CHRD learned on June30 that the Foshan City, Guangdong Province Procuratorate has approvedthearrest of activist Liu Xiantong (刘显桐). Liu's arrest is believed to be related to a suithe recently filed against the Guangdongprovincial government, accusing the government of illegallyrequisitioningland. On June 7, Liu was seized by police in Foshan while picking hisgranddaughter up from kindergarten; on June 17, police criminallydetained Liu,using a charge of "obstructing official business" which wasoriginally handed down to Liu in October of 2007.  Liu,who has been active helping villagers inFoshan defend their land rights since 2003, was earlier detained for aperiodof three months by local officials in 2006. (CHRD)[v]

HubeiPetitioner Detained Five Months in Psychiatric Hospital

CHRD learned on June29 that Qianjiang City, Hubei Province petitioner Liao Meizhi (廖梅芝) has been detained in a psychiatric hospitalsincebeing kidnapped while petitioning in front of the Qianjiang governmentofficeson February 11. Liao was petitioning along with her husband anddaughter-in-lawwhen she was seized by individuals organized by the Qianjiang Bureau ofHealthand the Laoxin Town Public Health Clinic. Liao, a former employee ofthe LaoxinTown Public Health Clinic who retired due to illness, has been detainedinpsychiatric institutions for petitioning on previous occasions; it isnot knownwhether any independent doctor has assessed her mental health. (CHRD)[vi]

Update: LiaoningPetitioner, Seized Outside of ShanghaiExpo, Released After Nearly Two Months

On June 21, Liaoning petitioner Liu Chunbao (刘纯宝) wasreleased following 54 days of detention. Liu was seized on April 29outside ofthe Shanghai Expo grounds and forcibly returned to his hometown of Yingkou City, where he was held whilelocalofficials attempted to build a criminal case against him. However,after thelocal procuratorate twice sent his case back to the Public SecurityBureau forfurther investigation, the authorities finally abandoned their effortsandreleased Liu. Liu, a veteran petitioner, has been seeking justice formore than20 years after his business was ruined by what he believed was animpropercourt ruling. (CHRD)[vii]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, orDegrading Treatment or PunishmentHenanProcuratorate Begins Investigation into Case of Man Detained Five YearsBasedon Confession Extracted by Torture

On June 14, Zhoukou City, Henan Province man LiXinchun (李新春)was visited by five officials from the Henan Provincial Procuratorateand thelocal Taikang County Procuratorate, who are beginning an investigationinto hiscase. Li, who was charged with murder by poisoning, was detained forfiveyears, from May 2005 to June 2010, on the basis of a confession whichwasextracted by torture by guards at the Taikang CountyDetention Center.Li was tried in July 2005 and, in April 2006, was sentenced to death bytheZhoukou City Intermediate People's Court; however, this ruling wasreversed bythe Henan Provincial High People's Court in December 2006. He was notreleased,but rather his case was sent back for further investigation, and forthe nextthree years Li's case was transferred between different judicialdepartmentswhile he remained in detention. The visit by the procuratorialofficials onJune 14 follows an investigation conducted by a working group of Henan Provincegovernment officials, who issued a memo criticizing the handling of hiscaseand calling for his release from detention. Li was released on bail toawaittrial (qubaohoushen) on June 5, 2010. (CHRD)[viii]

ImprisonedSichuanDemocracy Activist Hu Mingjun in Poor Health

According to recently released democracyactivist She Wanbao (佘万宝), imprisoned political activist and labororganizer Hu Mingjun (胡明军) is in poor health and has suffered repeatedabuse while held in Chuanzhong Prison in Nanchong City, SichuanProvince. Hu,who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for subversion of state powerin 2002,is not due for release until May 2012. She states that Hu suffers fromhighblood pressure and heart disease among other ailments, and has beentaken tothe prison hospital for treatment on four occasions since 2006. Shebelievesthat Hu is not able to receive adequate care for his medical conditionswhileimprisoned, and that release on medical parole is highly unlikely giventhenature of Hu’s sentence. (CHRD)[ix]

Imprisoned Writer Zheng Yichun’s HealthDeclines, Release on Medical Parole Repeatedly Refused

On June 25, CHRDlearned that imprisoned writerand poet Zheng Yichun (郑贻春) is in declining health as his medical problemscontinue to worsen. Though Zheng's relatives have been threatened andharassedinto silence by local officials, CHRD was able to learn through otherchannelsthat Zheng's diabetes has worsened and that he has suffered a cerebralembolismwhile incarcerated over the past five years. CHRD believes that Zhengis notbeing provided with adequate medical treatment while imprisoned, andrepeatedappeals for his release on medical parole by his family have beenrejected byprison officials. Zheng, a former head of the educational affairsdepartment ofthe Chaoqun ForeignLanguages Collegefrom Yingkou City,Liaoning Province, wassentenced to sevenyears in prison for "inciting subversion of state power" in September2005 on the basis of political articles he wrote and published online.He iscurrently imprisoned in Jinzhou Prison, Liaoning Province.(CHRD)[x]

Legal RightsAppeal Hearing for Liaoning Street Vendor ConvictedofMurdering Officials Concludes Without Ruling

On June 29, theLiaoning Provincial High People’s Court held an open court session tohear theappeal of Xia Junfeng (夏俊峰), a street vendor in Shenyang City who was sentenced todeath forkilling two City Administration and Law Enforcement officials (chengguan)as he was being violentlybeaten by them. The hearing concluded without a ruling. Five of Xia'sfamilymembers were on hand to observe the hearing. Outside of the courthouse,aplainclothes police officer struck independent filmmaker He Yang (何杨) for documenting the scene, and confiscated hiscell phone.

CHRD believes thatXia’s conviction for intentional homicide is unjust and calls on theLiaoningProvincial High People’s Court to overturn this ruling, sparing Xiafromexecution. For more information, please see here.(CHRD)[xi]

Citizens’ ActionsBeijingNGO Aizhixing Issues Open Letter Calling for Abolition of NotarizationRequirement for Foreign Funding

On June 22, Beijing-basedAizhixing, a prominent HIV/AIDS organization, issued an open letterregardingthe restrictions on foreign funding for domestic NGOs imposed by aStateAdministration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) regulation, which went intoeffect onMarch 1 of this year. Aizhixing cites concerns that the regulation'srequirement that foreign funds be notarized will prevent Chinese NGOsfromreceiving funding in a timely manner, harming their ability to providedisasterrelief and meet other urgent needs. The letter also expresses concernthatforeign organizations may decrease their funding to Chinese NGOs inlight ofthe increased costs and added red tape, putting these NGOs in danger ofhavingto abandon their work. Aizhixing plans to collect signatures fromindividualsand organizations in support of their letter until July 2, at whichpoint theywill send it to SAFE. (Aizhixing)[xii]

Citizens Organize Online to SupportDetained Activist Liu Xianbin

As news of Sichuanactivist LiuXianbin's detention spreads around the country, concerned citizens andfellowactivists are beginning to organize online in support. Hundreds havealreadyjoined one group, the "Rescue Liu Xianbin Yellow Ribbon Action,"signing an open letter which denounces Liu's detention and calls forhis immediaterelease.

Meanwhile, on themorning of June 30, Chengdu City lawyer Ma Xiaopeng (马小鹏) arrived in Suining City to meet with Liu's wifeChen Mingxian (陈明先) and complete paperwork authorizing him to take Liu'scase. Thatafternoon, Ma traveled to the Suining CityDetention Center to request ameeting with Liu.

However, theauthorities are beginning to act in response. On June 30, Suining CityNationalSecurity officers brought activist Chen Wei (陈卫) to the City Public Security Bureau forquestioning. The officers warned him against taking part in any effortstosupport Liu Xianbin or connecting with others to take action regardingLiu'scase. (CHRD)[xiii]

Law and Policy WatchNPC Standing Committee Adopts Amendment toAdministrative Supervision Law

According to a June 25Xinhua report, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congresshasadopted an amendment to the Administrative Supervision Law which willstrengthen protection for citizens who report on administrativemisconduct. Theamendment makes it a crime for supervisory officials to divulge theidentity ofinformants or information regarding the handling of their reports, andcalls onthese officials to accept, investigate and handle informants' reportsaccordingto law. (Xinhua)[xiv]

According to reports,some 70% of informants are eventually retaliated against for reportingonadministrative abuses. Better legal protection for these citizens isessential,but even more essential is an expansion of the people's power tosupervise thegovernment, so that officials no longer feel they can retaliate againstcitizens without consequences. Without a shift in the balance of power,thereis little hope that this newly amended law will provide any strongerprotectionthan existing legislation.

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

[i] "Zigong Rights Activist Liu Zhengyou to be Tried on July6 for'Social Security Fraud'" (自贡维权人士刘正有“诈骗社保 金”案7月6日开庭), June 24, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100624143643_21871.html

[ii] “Sichuan Democracy ActivistLiu Xianbin Criminally Detained for ‘Inciting Subversion of StatePower,’” June29, 2010, http://chrdnet.org/2010/06/29/sichuan-democracy-activist-liu-xianbin-criminally-detained-for-%E2%80%9Csubversion-of-state-power%E2%80%9D/

[iii] "Tibetan Environmental Activist Karma Samdrup Sentencedto 15Years in Prison for Grave Robbing" (西藏环保人士噶玛桑珠被以“盗掘古墓葬”罪重判十五年), June 26, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100626171737_21903.html;"Tibetan Environmental Activist Karma Samdrup States in Court He WasTortured to Extract Confession" (西藏环保人士噶玛桑珠在法庭上控诉酷刑), June 26, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100626124348_21897.html

[iv] "Verdict Upheld in Fujian 'Three Netizens' Posting Case"(福建“三网民发贴案”二审维持原判), June 28, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/fanyanqiong/201006/20100628092714_21921.html;"Judgment Pronounced in Appeal of Fuzhou Three Netizens, BeijingSupportGroup Members Have Liberty Restricted" (福州三网友二审宣判,北京关注团成员被限制自由), June 28, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/wuhuaying/201006/20100628084047_21919.html

[v] "Foshan Activist Villager Liu Xiantong Arrested" (佛山维权村民刘显桐被逮捕), June30, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100630194018_21966.html

[vi] "Qianjiang Petitioner Detained Incommunicado inPsychiatricHospital for Five Months" (潜江市上访者被关精神病院5个月无音讯), June 29, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100629093446_21935.html

[vii] "Liaoning Rights-Defending Petitioner Liu Chunbao,Detainedfor Attending Shanghai Expo, is Released" (参观世博会被扣押的辽宁维权访民刘纯宝获释),June 22, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/fmzj/201006/20100622104137_21837.html

[viii] "Henan Provincial Procuratorate Investigates Case ofZhoukouCity Victim of Injustice Li Xinchun" (河南省检察院调查周口李新春冤狱案), June23, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100623092450_21857.html;see also "A Report on the Investigation Regarding Li Xinchun, of Henan,Detained Five Years for Murder without Conclusion" (河南李新春疑似杀人被羁押5年未结案的调查报告), June10,2010, http://www.crd-net.org/article/Class53/201006/20100610211650_21675.html

[ix] "Hu Mingjun, Suffering from Many Diseases, ResignsHimself toImprisonment" (胡明军疾病缠身 自 认难以出狱), June 24, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100624110004_21869.html

[x] "Zheng Yichun's Condition Worsens in Prison" (郑怡春狱中病情加重), June25, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class18/Class21/201006/20100625213630_21881.html

[xi] "No Ruling Following Appeal Hearing for Xia Junfeng inShenyang; Independent Filmmaker He Yang Beaten" (沈阳夏俊峰案二审未判独立制片人何杨遭殴打),June 30, 2010, http://www.crd-net.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100630160430_21962.html

[xii] "A Proposal for SAFE Regarding the Abolition of theNotarization Process in SAFE's Notice on the Problem of ForeignExchangeManagement of Contributions to Domestic Organizations" (就《国家外汇管理局关于境内机构捐赠外汇管理有关问题的通知》建议取消公证程序致国家外汇管理局的建议信),June 22, 2010, http://chinarights2.blogspot.com/2010/06/3305.html

[xiii] "'Rescue Liu Xianbin Yellow Ribbon Action' Citizens'ConcernGroup Second Roll" (“营救刘贤斌黄丝带行动”公民关注团签名第二批名单), June 30, 2010,

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