China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  May 18-24, 2010

Highlights

  • Beijing Tax Officials Launch New Investigation into Aizhixing:  Prominent Beijing-based HIV/AIDS NGO Aizhixing has once again been targeted for inspection by Beijing tax officials. On the morning of May 19, two inspectors from the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau arrived at the organization’s offices, and after conducting a brief inspection left a notice demanding Aizhixing produce comprehensive tax records dating back to 2002 within the next two days. Aizhixing director Wan Yanhai (万延海), currently in exile in the United States, and others believe that Aizhixing is being illegally targeted by Beijing officials in order to pressure the organization into folding.
  • Guangxi Officials Retaliate against Villagers for Opposing Forced Eviction: Five residents of Baihutou Village, Beihai City, Guangxi Province, are currently in detention following a series of interrogations by Beihai City Public Security Bureau officers in recent days. Among those detained is elected village chief Xu Kun (许坤), who has led the villagers in their resistance to forced evictions and requisition of their land. Xu has been criminally detained on suspicion of "running an illegal business,” which is believed to be a trumped-up charge.

Contents

Freedomof AssociationBeijingTax Officials Launch Inspection of NGO Aizhixing, Demand Records by May21

On the morning of May 19, two inspectorsfrom the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau arrived at the offices ofprominentHIV/AIDS NGO Aizhixing. The inspectors questioned employees regardingthereceipt of funding and gifts, and checked the organization's accountingbooks.When they departed, they left a notice stating that Aizhixing had untilMay 21to produce comprehensive tax records dating back to 2002. Aizhixing's2006-2007accounting was already inspected by tax officials in 2008, who did notdiscoverany problems at the time. According to article 86 of the Law on theManagementof Tax Collection, an organization cannot be punished for violations oftaxcode not discovered within five years of their occurrence. This has ledAizhixing director Wan Yanhai (万延海), currently inexile in the United States, and others to believe that Aizhixing isbeingillegally targeted by Beijing officials in order to pressure theorganizationinto folding. (CHRD)[1]

Arbitrary DetentionShenzhen Democracy ActivistSentenced to Three Years in Prison for Distributing Falun Gong CDs

CHRD learnedon May 23 that Shenzhen democracy activist Ren Ming (任铭) was sentenced to three years in prison for"disseminating evil cult anti-government information" after hedistributed compact discs bearing a Falun Gong logo. Netizens andfellowactivists expressed their outrage at Ren's conviction, both because oftheharsh nature of his sentence and because some suspect that the crime of"disseminating evil cult anti-government information," which is highlyunusual, was made up by the ruling judge in Ren's case. Shenzhenactivistsdescribe Ren as a dedicated, if very low-key, democracy activist. (CHRD)[2]

Long Delay in Verdict forChildren’s Rights Activist Zhao Lianhai

On May 20,lawyer Li Fangping (李方平) visited detained Beijing activist Zhao Lianhai (赵连海), the founder of the website Kidney Stone Babies (结石宝宝). It has now been nearly two months since Zhao was triedin a closedcourt on the charge of “creating a disturbance,” and Zhao informed Lithat heplans to begin a hunger strike to protest the court’s lengthy delay inissuinga verdict. Li, who believes that it may be July before a verdict isdeliveredin the case, managed to persuade Zhao to temporarily abandon his plan.However,Zhao stated he would begin the hunger strike if he was found guilty.Zhao wasdetained in November 2009 and formally arrested on December 17, 2009;hiswebsite, Kidney Stone Babies, is dedicated to advocating for familieswhosechildren became ill after drinking tainted milk. (CHRD)[3]

Beijing Activist Yang Qiuyu MissingFollowing 20 Days of Detention

CHRD learnedon May 20 that Beijing activist Yang Qiuyu (杨秋雨) is missing, nine days after he was due to bereleased from the Chongwen District Detention Center. According to hiswifeWang Yuqin (王玉琴), Yang was seized by police from the Longtan policestation in Beijing'sChongwen District after he submitted petitioning materials to theLetters andVisits office of the Beijing Public Security Bureau on April 21. Policeat thestation told Wang that Yang would be detained 10 days for "disruptingpublic order," and would be released on May 1. However, on May 1, Yangwasreportedly seized while on his way to meet his wife, and sent to theChongwenDistrict Detention Center, where he was administratively detained forten daysto "ensure the safety of the Shanghai World Expo." On May 11, Wangwent to meet her husband at the Detention Center, but Yang did notappear, andat the time of writing has yet to return to the couple's home.Officials at thedetention center told Wang that Yang had been released on time, butneither shenor any of Yang's other friends or relatives have any information abouthiswhereabouts. (CHRD)[4]

Update: Family of DetainedReporterXu Yishun Finally Receives Re-education through Labor Notice

On May 14,CHRD reported that Baoding City, Hebei Province reporter Xu Yishun (徐义顺) had been sent to one and a half years of Re-educationthrough Labor(RTL); since that initial report, CHRD has obtained a copy of the RTLnoticeprovided to Xu's family. According to that notice, which the familyreceived onMay 18, Xu has been sent to RTL for "fraud," based on an incidentwhich allegedly took place two years ago. Xu's family believes he isbeingpunished for taking a trip in late April to visit Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), the wife of imprisoned Shandong human rights defenderChen Guangcheng(陈光诚). (CHRD)[5]

DisabledAnhui Petitioner Kidnapped, Forcibly Hospitalized

On the morning of May 19, Anhuipetitioner Liu Jiajia (刘佳佳) was kidnappedfrom his Hanshan County home by police and village committee membersandforcibly detained in a hospital. Liu, who started petitioning after hewasinjured in a workplace accident 23 years ago, had planned to travel totheAnhui Provincial Government offices in Hefei City along with otherdisabledworkers to petition on May 19. Local officials had traveled to Liu'shome onthe evening of May 18 after learning of his plan, but after Liu refusedtheiroffer of medical treatment, they dispatched police officers to standguardoutside of his home to prevent him from leaving. The following morning,Liu wasforcibly taken to Hanshan County People's Hospital. Liu has beenpetitioningfor years in hopes of receiving an insurance settlement and othercompensationrelated to his disability. (CHRD)[6]

ShanghaiActivist Mao Hengfeng Transferred to Re-education through Labor Camp

CHRD learned on May 18 that Shanghaiactivist Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤) wastransferred to Anhui Province Women's Re-education through Labor (RTL)Camp inHefei City, Anhui, on April 27. Mao, who was detained on February 24and given18 months of RTL on March 4, has not been allowed visits from herfamily orlawyers since she was taken into custody. Until her transfer, Mao hadbeen heldat the Yangpu Detention Center in Shanghai, and was taken to theShanghaiWomen's RTL Camp on April 26 before being sent to Hefei. Shanghai RTLofficialscontacted by Mao's husband refused to answer questions related to herdetention, including why she was being sent to a RTL camp AnhuiProvince, whichis roughly 500km from Shanghai. Mao's husband stated that the familyhad notreceived any formal notification from the authorities regarding Mao'stransfer,and that the family is worried they are being barred from visiting withMaobecause she has suffered torture or mistreatment while detained. (CHRD)[7]

More Details Emerge RegardingGovernment Retaliation against Villagers in Guangxi Province

CHRD continues to gather moreinformation regarding government harassment of residents of BaihutouVillage,Beihai City, Guangxi Province, who have been resisting the requisitionof theirland. On May 18, CHRD learned that, between May 8 and May 14, more than20Baihutou villagers were summoned by the Beihai City Public SecurityBureau(PSB). Five remain detained at the time of writing, including formervillageofficial Xu Kun (许坤). According to the villagers summoned,most of whom who were between the ages of 60 and 80, they werequestionedmainly about the parking lot which officials charged Xu with illegallyoperating. On the morning of May 18, Feng Guangmei (冯广梅),Xu's wife, delivered a letter of complaint to the Beihai CityPolitical-LegalCommittee and the Beihai City Procuratorate, accusing the Beihai PSB ofillegally detaining her husband. Xu was criminally detained onsuspicion of"running an illegal business" on May 15, an action believed to be inretaliation for his role leading villagers in their resistance efforts.(CHRD)[8]

On May 19, Beihai Public Security Bureauofficials told lawyer Zheng Jianwei (郑建伟) that he couldnot meet with Xu because his case involves state secrets. However,Zheng wasunable to obtain from the police formal documentation confirming thestatesecrets claim.  As of May 19, Xu had beencriminally detained for five days; however, his relatives had yet toreceiveany formal notification regarding his detention. The family believes Xuisbeing held in a local hotel and may be subjected to torture to extractaconfession. Relatives of the four other Baihutou villagers who havebeen missingfor ten days – Zhang Chunqiong (张春琼), Xie Ruying(谢如英),Lu Xiuzhen (卢秀珍), and Zhu Quanjuan (祝全娟)– report that they have likewise not received any formal noticeregarding theirdetentions. (CHRD)[9]

Tortureand Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment HenanPetitioner Hospitalized after Beating during Forced Return from Beijing

CHRD learned on May 22 that SanmenxiaCity, Henan Province petitioner Wang Qunfeng (王群凤)is currently hospitalized in her hometown after being beaten byindividualsallegedly under the direction of a local Letters and Visits Bureauofficial.According to her family, Wang was seized outside of the Ministry ofPublicSecurity in Beijing by three unidentified individuals on May 13 andforciblyreturned to Lushi County, Sanmenxia. While en route, the individuals,who thefamily believes to be connected to organized crime in Sanmenxia, beatandinjured Wang when she refused to cooperate with their demands. Uponarrival inLushi, Wang was taken to a hospital and the three responsible forbeating herwere taken to a local police station for questioning. They were laterreleasedwithout being charged. (CHRD)[10]

DetainedXinjiang Petitioner Suffers as Injuries from Police Beating Go Untreated

CHRD learned on May 22 that detainedXinjiang petitioner Feng Yongji (冯永记) is in poorhealth as injuries she sustained during a police beating continue toworsen.Feng was sent to two years of Re-education through Labor (RTL) for“disruptingwork unit order” by officials in Shihezi City, Xinjiang UyghurAutonomousRegion; she was originally seized in Shanghai on April 30, shortlyafterarriving via train to visit the Shanghai Expo together with a group ofsixteenother Beijing-based petitioners. She was then detained in the ShanghaiLiaisonOffice of the Shihezi City Government, where she was violently beatenby tenpolice officers, sustaining injuries to her back and head. Feng iscurrentlydetained in the Urumqi Women's RTL Camp, and officials there has notgiven heraccess to adequate treatment. Instead, they told Feng’s family thatthey haveto raise funds for her treatment. (CHRD)[11]

Hundredsof Inmates Begin Hunger Strike to Protest Mistreatment in Jilin Province

CHRD learned on May 19 that hundreds ofinmates in Jilin Province's Changchun Prison began a group hungerstrike onMonday, May 17. The inmates are taking action in response to a May 17raid on“contraband goods,” during which they were roughly handled and had manyoftheir personal belongings such as clothes and soaps confiscated ordestroyed.During the 6-hour raid, the prisoners were not given any food or water,andwere not allowed to use the bathrooms. A few prisoners who felt unwellduringthe raid were not given any medical attention despite requests. At thetime ofwriting, the hunger strike was still ongoing. (CHRD)[12]

ZengJinyan Submits Sixth Application for Hu Jia’s Release on Medical Parole

On May 19, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕),wife of imprisoned human rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳),submitted an application for Hu's release on medical parole to theBeijingMunicipal Prison, Bureau of Prison Administration and the Ministry ofJustice.This is the sixth such application Zeng has filed on behalf of herhusbandsince he was imprisoned in April 2008; the previous five have all beenrejectedwithout a formal written response. Hu suffers from cirrhosis of theliver, andhis health has steadily declined as a result of poor living conditionsandinadequate medical care in Beijing Municipal Prison. (CHRD)[13]

Harassment of ActivistsBeijing Activist Qi Zhiyong Keptunder “Soft Detention” during Sino-US Dialogue

As topofficials from the Chinese and United States government meet in Beijingthisweek for the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Beijingactivist QiZhiyong (齐志勇) reports that he has been placed under 24-hoursurveillance at his Xuanwu District home. Qi states that he is notbeingallowed to leave the premises, and he is concerned his "softdetention" may last through the anniversary of the Tiananmen SquareMassacre on June 4. Qi lost a leg after being shot in the TiananmenSquareMassacre and since becoming an activist has been subjected to repeatedharassment at the hands of local police. (CHRD)[14]

Leading Human Rights Lawyer MoShaoping Pressured into Skipping Symposium at Qinghua University

On May 19,Qinghua University Law School in Beijing hosted a symposium in honor ofthe80th birthday of American legal scholar and Chinese law expert JeromeCohen.However, one prominent human rights lawyer, Beijing's Mo Shaoping (莫少平), had his invitation withdrawn at the last minute. Mo,who had beeninvited to speak at the event along with 13 other lawyers andprofessors, wasinformed on the date of the symposium that he could not attend. Thoughthesponsors later changed their request, and stated that he could attend,providedthat he not speak during the symposium, Mo did not attend the event.(CHRD)[15]

Officials in Hunan RequestActivistXie Qiang Return to Resign from Government Post

On May 17, Beijing-based writer andactivist Xie Qiang (谢强) received a noticefrom his employer in Hunan Province requesting that he return to resignfromhis job. Xie, who is originally from Loudi City, Hunan, has taken aleave ofabsence since 2007 from the financial administration office ofShuidongdi Town,under the Lianyuan City Bureau of Finance, to pursue rights-defensework. Xiebelieves that the move to force him to resign is a form of harassmentbygovernment officials as a result of his support for Charter 08and otherhuman rights activities. In March, police in Beijing raided Xie's home,confiscating computers and personal items, and interrogated him on twooccasions regarding his recent activities. (CHRD)[16]

Freedom of ExpressionAnhuiSchoolteacher Criminally Detained for Internet Post Regarding SchoolViolence

CHRD learnedon May 24 that Anqing City, Anhui Province math teacher Zhang Yong (张勇) has been criminally detained by the City’s PublicSecurity Bureau (PSB)after he posted a commentary online regarding the recent wave ofattacksagainst schoolchildren. According to reports, Zhang was detained inmid-May;employees at the school where Zhang taught before his detention hung upimmediately upon hearing Zhang’s name when contacted by phone. Zhang is held at Anqing City Detention Center but furtherdetails regarding his detention and the nature of his posts are notcurrentlyavailable. (CHRD)[17]

German Volunteer Teacher Forced toClose Blog on Rural Education

On May 20, German volunteer teacherEckart Loewe (卢安克) announced that hewould be shutting down his personal blog (http://luanke.jiaoyu.org/),writingthat "attention from society has already exceeded my endurance;Icannot endure the consequences, responsibility, and stress broughtabout bysociety's response, so I can't let any more people learn about mysituation." Loewe, who has been working for the past six years inGuangxiProvince with rural children whose migrant worker parents have leftthem behindas they seek work, had been threatened by local officials that he didnotpossess the proper qualifications to serve as a volunteer or teacher inChina.Loewe became well-known in China after appearing on the CCTV programFace-to-Face in December 2009; it was following this interview thatlocalofficials became concerned about his blog, on which he wrote aboutruraleducation and the hardships facing the children of migrant workers.(CHRD)[18]

Citizens’ ActionsHundredsProtest “Unfair Rulings” Outside of Supreme People’s Court

On the morning of May 21, an estimated500 residents from across Beijing gathered outside of the SupremePeople'sCourt to protest against what they believed to be unjust rulings bydistrictcourts in the city. The protestors called for better oversight of thelowercourts and the protection of citizens' rights by the judicial system.Most ofthe protestors have been involved in lawsuits in recent years, and havebecomefrustrated and disillusioned by the appeals process. Though there was aheavypolice presence, the protests took place peacefully and withoutincident.(CHRD)[19]

Freedomof AssemblyWuxiActivist Hua Chunhui and Friend Detained for Meeting with HangzhouActivists

On May 22, Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province,activist Hua Chunhui (华春辉)and his friend Peng Xuefeng (彭雪峰)were seized and detained by police while traveling in Hangzhou City.Hua andPeng were meeting friends and local activists for lunch when a group ofunidentified individuals forced them into a vehicle. They were drivento theGongshu District police station, where they were detained. Hua hassince been released but the whereabouts of Peng  unknown. (CHRD)[20]

Lawand Policy WatchSupremePeople’s Court Calls on Lower Courts to Examine Lawsuits againstGovernment,Rule according to Law

At a national judicial work conferencein Guangdong Province on May 22, Supreme People's Court Vice PresidentJiangBixin (江必新) addressed the issueof lawsuits brought against the government, stating that local courtsmustproperly handle these suits and rule according to the law. Citing thehighnumber of petitions over allegedly unjust rulings in lawsuits againstlocalofficials, Jiang announced that, through the end of the year, theSupremePeople's Court will oversee an effort by local courts to reviewpetitionsregarding decisions in administrative litigation lawsuits, and correctunjustrulings. According to statistics produced by the Supreme People'sCourt, 18percent of all petitions last year regarding court verdicts wererelated toadministrative litigation lawsuits, despite the fact thatadministrativelitigation lawsuits made up only 2 percent of the total cases heard byChinesecourts in 2009. (Beijing News and LegalDaily)[21]

SupremePeople's Court to Address Juror Regulations

According to a May 18 Legal Dailyarticle, the SupremePeople's Court is in the process of researching and drafting a noticeregardingchanges to regulations governing jurors. The article states that theCourt isseeking to refine guidelines regarding the selection of jury members,theirrights and responsibilities, as well as training and oversight ofjurors. Theregulations currently governing jury members have been in effect sinceMay2005, and there are approximately 77,000 jurors at the moment in China.However, the Court is concerned that the number of jurors available indifferent regions of the country varies widely, and that the makeup ofthejuries is unbalanced, with the proportion of Party cadres or retiredmilitaryservicemen and women currently too high. (LegalDaily)[22]

Addressing the makeup of juries iscritical to any hope of moving towards fairer trials in China. Byensuring thatjuries are representative of the community, not only of the governmentormilitary, China's courts will be taking one step towards a more justjudicialsystem. However, many other aspects of the jury system as it existstoday inChina – ensuring that jurors are able to exercise their rights toparticipatein the trial and decide the outcome, for example – need to be furtherreformedas well to better protect the rights of citizens on trial.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang*** CHRD’s Human Rights Yearbook 2009 is now available. For a freecopy, pleasecontact us with your mailing address at crdnetwork@gmail.com.*** News updates from CHRDAnnual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009)

[1] "Be

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