China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  March 31-April 6, 2010

Highlights

  • CHRD’s website still inaccessible, temporary website also attacked: CHRD’s Chinese-language website, www.crd-net.org, remains inaccessible following directed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which began on March 25. On April 4, CHRD opened a temporary website (http://ww2.crd-net.org/) to publish its articles online, but this site was rendered inaccessible within half an hour of operation.
  • Hunan rights activists given heavy sentences: Changsha activist Xie Fulin (谢福林) and his brother Xie Shulin (谢 樹林) were sentenced to six years in prison on March 26. Although the brothers were convicted of “stealing electricity,” CHRD believes that their prison sentences come as punishment for their human rights and political activism. Xie Fulin’s sentence is one of the longest handed down to a grassroots activist in recent years.
  • At least twenty detained during Qingming Festival: Qingming Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday to remember and honor the dead, has become a “sensitive date” for the Chinese government since it was officially reinstated on the mainland in 2008. At least twenty Chinese activists and petitioners across the nation were detained, subjected to “soft detention,” or otherwise prevented from using the occasion to commemorate those who died as a result of government persecution, or those who dedicated their lives to fighting for justice and democracy.

Tableof Contents

FreedomofExpression Microblogs of Sichuan Democracy Activist LiuXianbinBlocked

At theend of March, Sichuan democracy activist Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌)discovered that a microblog hemaintained on Sina.com had been blocked. Liu, who had amassed more than9,000followers on his microblog, says administrators at Sina.com did notprovide anexplanation for the closure. When Liu opened a microblog on anotherdomesticsite, it was shut within two days; this time, Liu was notified his blogwasclosed because his username contained "1989." Liu, an organizer ofthe China Democracy Party's Sichuan Branch who spent a decade in prisonfor"subversion of state power," has written extensively on democracysince his release in November 2008. (CHRD)[i]

DozensPay Tribute to ZhaoZiyang before Qingming Festival; BeijingDissidents under Soft Detention

On April 1,before the Qingming Festival, oversixty citizens and activists visited the residence of the late Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳) andpaid tribute to the former CommunistParty general secretary who sympathized with studentprotestorsduring the Tiananmen Protest in 1989.  Atthe same time, CHRD learned that several dissidents in Beijing,including ChaJianguo (查建国), Gao Hongming(高洪明), Li Hai (李海), Xu Yonghai (徐永海),QiZhiyong (齐志勇),were put under soft detention since March 30 to prevent them frompayingtribute to Zhao andthe victims of 1989 Tiananmen Protest. (CHRD) [ii][iii]

China Youth University Law ProfessorFired for Challenging Family Planning Regulations

On March26, officials at the ChinaYouth Universityfor Political Sciences Faculty of Law notified associate professor andlegalscholar Yang Zhizhu (杨支柱) that he was being dismissed for violatingfamilyplanning regulations. On December 21, 2009, Yang's wife had given birthto thecouple’s second child; that same date, officials at ChinaYouth Universityissued a set of guidelines stipulating punishments for school employeeswhoviolated Beijingmunicipal family planning regulations. Yang wrote articles and began ablog tochallenge the current family planning regulations as well as theschool'spunishments, which included a three-year ban on promotions forindividuals inviolation of the regulations as well as one year of suspension as adisciplinary action. (CHRD)[iv]

Freedom of Association Website Dedicated to Chinese CivilSocietyShut Down

CHRDlearned on April 3 that NGOCN Development and Exchange Network(www.ngocn.org),a website dedicated to serving the NGO community in China,was ordered to close onMarch 29 by the Propaganda Department of the Yunnan ProvincialCommittee of theCommunist Party of China. According to a message circulated online,NGOCN isonly "temporarily" closed; however, as of the time of writing, itremains inaccessible. NGOCN.org, which provided a forum for NGO staff,volunteers, and other interested parties to post information about NGOactivities, employment opportunities, fundraising requests, and othersimilaritems, had been in operation since January 2005. (Aizhixing Email Group)[v]

 

Freedom of Assembly

BeijingActivist Zhou LiTried for Role in 2009 Protest; No Verdict Issued

Beijingactivist Zhou Li (周莉) was tried for "creating adisturbance"at 9 a.m. on April 6 in Beijing'sIntermediate People’s Court Chongwen District Courthouse. According toherlawyer, Mo Shaoping (莫少平), the hearing concluded at noon without averdictbeing issued. Around 60 petitioners gathered outside the courthouse insupportof Zhou; only three members of the public (Li Lirong [李立荣], Wu Tianli[吴天丽],and the godmother of Zhou Li's child) were granted passes to observethe trial.Zhou was arrested in August 2009 after she took part in protestsbetween Apriland May 2009 outside of BeijingUniversity againstProfessor Sun Dongdong (孙东东), who had claimed that "99% of petitionerssuffer from mental illness." Zhou started her activism when she foughtagainst the forced demolition of her home in 2005, and it is believedthat sheis being retaliated against for her involvement in a variety ofactivitiesdefending human rights across the country. (CHRD)[vi]

Arbitrary Detention

Hubei Professor Missing More thanTwo Weeksafter Kidnapping

On March16, security guards at Hubei University of Technology took professorMeiChuanjun (梅传军) away from campus. As of April 2, his whereabouts werestill unknown;university officials have told his wife that he was taken to "study"but have provided no legal documentation authorizing his detention. Itisbelieved that Mei is being detained for practicing Falun Gong. In thefall of2006, he was held for more than 40 days in a black jail. (CHRD)[vii]

Update: Guangdong Activist Xiao QingshanDetained

CHRDlearned on April 2 that police in Guangzhou have formally detainedGuangdong-basedlabor activist Xiao Qingshan (肖青山).The nature and length of his detention isnot currently known. Officers at the Guangzhou PSB Meihua VillagePolice Stationdetained Xiao after he was seized on March 30 for protesting againstcorruptionoutside of the Guangdong Province High People's Court and the officesof theSouthern Newspapers Group. According to an officer contacted by CHRD,Xiao isbeing detained for "petitioning." Xiao, originally from Jiangxi Province, is believed to be heldatGuangzhou PSB Yuexiu Subdivision (CHRD)[viii]

 

Activists Xie Fulin and brother Sentencedto Six Years

On March 26,Xie Fulin(谢福林), a Changsha,Hunan-based activist, and his brother Xie Shulin (谢樹林), weresentenced to six years by Changsha's Furong District Court for“stealingelectricity.”  Aftertheverdict, a police source told the Xie family that the case was relatedto Xie Fulin’srights activism. Xie Fulin, a human rights defender and signatoryto Charter08, has participated inactivities with the Pan-BlueAlliance of Chinese Nationalists, a largely online virtual group thatsupportsthe Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and whose members have beenpersecuted inrecent years. (CHRD) [ix][x]

 

ZhejiangFarmer Seized in Beijing,Detained Locally

On theafternoon of April 5, officials in Daishan County,Zhejiang Province detained farmer YangWeibo (杨维波)in the CountyParty School.Police in Beijing had seized Yang twodaysearlier, when he attempted to pay his respects to the dead at Beijing'sBabaoshanRevolutionary Cemeteryduring the Qingming Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday to rememberandhonor the dead. He was then forcibly returned to Zhejiang. On April 4, officials inDaishandetained Yang's sister-in-law. It is believed that Yang and hissister-in-law’sdetention is part of a wider crackdown on local petitioners andactivists in Shanghai and theneighboring ZhejiangProvinceahead of the Shanghai World Expo, set to open on May 1. (CHRD)[xi]

 

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman,andDegrading Treatment or Punishment

HubeiPetitionerHospitalized Following Beating in Police Station

CHRDlearned on April 2 that Xiangfan, Hubei petitioner Tu Yingchang (凃应昌), wasseriously beaten while inpolice detention last month. Police seized Tu on March 6 on TiananmenSquareand detained him in a Chaoyang District black jail before he andfifteen otherpetitioners were forcibly returned to Hubeion March 12. Upon returning to Xiangfan, Tu and four other petitionersweredetained in a local black jail in Niushou Town.There, guardsassigned to watch the petitioners told Tu to hand in his mobile phoneand money,and when Tu refused, they violently beat him, leaving him with back andheadinjuries. On March 18, town officials sent Tu to a hospital, where a CTscanrevealed fluid in Tu's lungs and other injuries; however, the officialsdid notallow him to be treated until March 23. Tu was able to notify hisfamily, whothen called the police. However, when the policemen arrived, they saidtheycould not help Tu because they could not interfere with the work of thegovernment. At the time of writing, Tu remains hospitalized inXiangfan. (CHRD)[xii]

Inmate Dies in Sichuan DrugRehab Center

On March 31,Yang Xiuan(楊秀安), an inmate serving a mandatoryrehabilitation sentence died in a drug rehabilitation center in Ziyang City inSichuan Province. The official at therehabilitation center said Yang died of natural causes, but Yang’sfamily was suspicious of the circumstance of his death, reporting thatwhenthey saw Yang’s body, his face and the area above his neck were badlybruised.A family member spoke to Yang a few days before his death, and he“seemed fine”during the conversation. (CHRD)[xiii]

Harassment of Activists Petitioners and ActivistsPrevented fromMarking Qingming Day

CHRDcontinues to receive reports from across the country of individuals whohavebeen harassed by police ahead of Qingming Festival on April 5:

  • On April 4, police stopped Chongqing petitioners Zhang Yusen (张育森) and Dai Yuequan (戴月权), along with Nanping, Fujian petitioner Peng Guocai (彭国财), from paying homage to revolutionary martyrs at Beijing's Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery. While the three stood outside the cemetery gates, they observed police officers seize more than 20 petitioners who arrived at the cemetery. (CHRD)[xiv]
  • Security guards at the Beijing residential compound where 67 year-old artist and activist Yan Zhengxue (严正学) lives would not allow him to leave for an arts exhibition on April 3. When Yan argued with the guards blocking his exit, a group of them surrounded and beat him, leaving him with injuries to his kidney, head, back, and legs. [xv]
  • Beijing artist and activist Yang Licai (杨 立才) has been under "soft detention" since March 31. A police vehicle is parked outside of his home and Yang is guarded round the clock by five policemen. Yang reports this is the fifth occasion since the beginning of the year that police have put him under surveillance and restricted his movements.[xvi]
  • Retired Shandong University professor Sun Wenguang (孙文广) was placed under "soft detention" at his home in Jinan, Shandong in the days before Qingming. Sun, an outspoken dissident, was severely beaten during last year's Qingming by a group of unidentified men while he was on his way to the local cemetery to commemorate the life of Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳). While Sun was able to leave his home with fellow dissidents on April 5 to make a similar trip this year without incident, he was followed by an unmarked car and videotaped by plainclothes police officers.[xvii]
  • In Guiyang, Guizhou, police targeted members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum. Activist Chen Xi (陈西) was seized from his house by local police officers, and Mo Jiangang (莫建刚) and Huang Yanming (黄燕明) were taken to a police station and held for a few hours before being released. Liao Shuangyuan (廖 双元), and Wu Yuqin (吴玉琴) were prevented from leaving their home. The group had planned to visit the grave of Cultural Revolution victim Ma Jinzheng (马锦征) at Guiyang's Fenghuang Shan Cemetery; other members were able to evade the police and reach the cemetery. At the time of writing, Chen Xi has not been released. [xviii]
  • Police took Dai Liangming (戴 亮明), wife of detained Hunan activist Luo Qian (罗茜), away from her home and confiscated her cell phone to prevent her from meeting with netizens on Qingming Day. Netizens following the case of deceased Hunan vice-mayor Yang Kuansheng (杨宽生) had planned to visit Dai, whose husband was sent to Re-education through Labor for reporting on Yang's death. Dai was released in the afternoon of April 5.[xix]
  • Beijing activist Wang Lihong (王 荔蕻) was also reportedly placed under “soft detention” and not allowed to leave her home on April 5.[xx]

 

Law and Policy Watch

Legal Authorities Issue Joint Memoon ChildTrafficking

Accordingto an April 1 Xinhua report, the Supreme People's Court, the SupremePeople'sProcuratorate, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of PublicSecurity havejointly issued a memo on child trafficking, clarifying potentialcharges forchild trafficking. The memo differentiates between profiting from thesale of achild and giving away a child because the parents cannot or will notraise it.Parents who sell their own children for profit are in violation ofexistinganti-trafficking laws, the memo states. (Xinhua)[xxi]

Clarifyinglaws already on the books will undoubtedly benefit law enforcementofficials intheir efforts to combat child trafficking. However, it does not addressthemore fundamental problem that, in the absence of genuine democracy andofficialaccountability, law enforcement and judicial officials are generallyunmotivated to act to protect the interests of ordinary people.Instead, theyare motivated to act when higher authorities order them to solve aparticularlyhigh-profile case, or when it brings direct benefit to their officialcoffersor their pockets.

 

Editors:DavidSmalls,Jenn Ling and Lin Sang

 

***CHRD’s HumanRights Yearbook 2009 is now available. For a free copy, please contactus withyour mailing address at crdnetwork@gmail.com.***

 

News updates from CHRD

 

ThrownOut: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development

[i] "Democracy Activist Liu Xianbin's Microblogs Blocked" (民运人士刘贤斌的微博被封),April 2, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004021048.shtml

[ii] “Beijing Residents Pay Tribute to Zhao Ziyang; Some Putunder HouseArrest 北京各界人士前往赵紫阳故居悼念,部分市民被限制自由,” April 1, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004011317.shtml

[iii] “Beijing Dissidents Put under House Arrest over PlannedVisit to ZhaoZiyang’s Residence 北京多位异议人士因欲悼念赵紫阳被限制自由,” March 31, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/03/201003311703.shtml

[iv] "Famous Scholar Yang Zhizhu Fired for Challenging FamilyPlanning Regulations" (著名学者杨支柱因挑战计划生育政策被解聘), April 6, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004060931.shtml

[v] "Announcement: NGOCN Temporarily Inaccessible" (公告:NGOCN暂时无法访问通知), March29,2010, http://www.cdb.org.cn/callboardview.php?id=1979

[vi] "Scene at the Trial of Beijing Activist Zhou Li" (北京维权人士周莉庭审现场),April 6, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004062231.shtml

[vii] "Hubei University of Technology Professor Mei ChuanjunMissingafter Kidnapping" (湖北工业大学教师梅传军被绑架后失踪), April 2, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004022058.shtml

[viii] "Activist Xiao Qingshan Detained in Guangzhou" (维权人士肖青山在广州被拘留),April 3, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004031020.shtml

[ix] “ActivistsXie Fulin and brother Sentenced to Six Years人权捍卫者谢福林被判刑案质疑,”March 31, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/03/201003311043.shtml

[x] “Sources Reveal the Political Influences on XieBrothers’ case  知情人爆谢福林兄弟案内幕,” April 1, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004012158.shtml

[xi] "As World Expo Approaches, Zhejiang Begins to DetainPetitioners" (世博会临近,浙江开始关押访民),April 6, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004061122.shtml

[xii] "Hubei Petitioner Tu Yingchang Hospitalized afterBeating inBlack Jail" (湖北访民凃应昌在黑监狱被打伤住院),April 2, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004022258.shtml

[xiii]“Inmate Dies in Sichuan Drug RehabCenter 四川看守所内戒毒人员颈部乌黑死亡,” April 1, 2010, http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/04/201004011859.shtml

[xiv] "Petitioners from Different Areas Seized for PayingHomage toDead at Babaoshan on Qingming Day" (清明时节各地访民前

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