China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  September 7-13, 2010 | Countdown for China | 15 Sep 2010 | Amnesty International UK

China Human Rights Briefing Weekly  September 7-13, 2010

Highlights

  • Fujian Village Chief Tried on Trumped-up Charges, Lawyer Harassed: In retaliation for his efforts to organize local villagers against unlawful land expropriation, officials in Fujian Province arrested village chief Lü Jiangbo (吕江波) earlier this year. He was tried September 9 and 10 on nine counts, including “obstructing official business” and “organizing and leading” a triad-like organization. All charges are believed to be groundless, and Lü testified in court that he was tortured while detained. One of his lawyers, well-known Beijing human rights attorney Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), was threatened and followed by police during the period of time surrounding the trial.
  • Courts Rule against Baihutou Villagers in Two Cases: Courts in Beihai City, Guangxi Province rejected appeals by Baihutou villagers fighting prison sentences and forced demolitions this week. In one case, the convictions of villagers Gao Zhenzheng (高镇章), Gao Shihui (高世辉) and Cai Jianyue (蔡建月) for "obstructing official business" were upheld. The three were arrested after resisting the forced demolition of village property. In the other case, the administrative ruling authorizing the forced demolition of homes belonging to Baihutou Village chief Xu Kun (许坤) and six other Baihutou villagers was also upheld. Xu and at least five other Baihutou villagers were detained in May 2010, but have yet to be tried, for their efforts to resist forced evictions. The local government has been trying to evict the villagers to make way for the remodeling of a tourist attraction next to the village.
  • Chen Guangcheng and Chen Shuqing Released: Two activists, Chen Guangcheng from Shandong Province and Chen Shuqing, from Zhejiang Province, were released this week after they serving full sentences. However, Chen, who is ill, is now subjected to house arrest together with his wife in their home and barred from seeking medical attention.

Content

Arbitrary DetentionActivist Chen Guangcheng Released afterServing Full Sentence

Chen Guangcheng ( 陈光诚), awell-known human rights activist and “barefoot lawyer,” was released onSeptember9 from Linyi Prison in Shandong Province after serving his full term offouryears and three months of imprisonment. Convicted in 2006 of“intentionallydamaging property and gathering crowds to disturb transport order,”Chen wasjailed for his work exposing local authorities’ use of violence againstvillagers during official family planning campaigns. While he appearsto be ingood spirits, Chen is in poor health and is still ill from chronicgastroenteritis. Chen has suffered from this illness since July 2008,and wasnot provided with adequate treatment while imprisoned. Since Chen hasbeenreleased, he and his wife have been subjected to house arrest in theirhome. (CHRD)[i]

Village Chief Stands Trial on GroundlessOrganized Crime Charges after Resisting Land Seizure

Lü Jiangbo (吕江波), a rural entrepreneurand the chief of Keren Village in Jinjiang City, Fujian Province, wastried onSeptember 9 and 10 by the Jinjiang City Intermediate Court on ninecounts,including allegedly “obstructing official business” and “organizing andleading”a triad-like organization.  It is believed that the charges aregroundless, and stem from his efforts to organize villagers inopposition tolocal officials' efforts to unlawfully requisition 1200 mu(approximately 200acres) of village land earlier this year. Lü, who first rose tonationalprominence in 1998 for publicly reporting to then-premier Zhu Rongji (朱镕基) onunlawful expropriation of local land, stated in court that he had beentorturedby police to confess, and displayed scars left by the torture to thecourt.Furthermore, one of Lü’s lawyers, well-known Beijing human rightsattorney LiuXiaoyuan (刘晓原),was threatened and followed by police during the period of timesurrounding thetrial. Earlier, Lü was also subjected to one month of shuanggui(双规) bythe Jinjiang City Discipline Inspection Commission. Shuangguiis a formof extralegal detention imposed by the Communist Party, yet Lü is not aPartymember. The court has not yet issued a verdict in the case. (CHRD)[ii]

HangzhouDemocracy Activist Chen Shuqing Released Following Four Years in Prison

Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province democracyactivist Chen Shuqing (陈树庆) was released from prison on September 13 afterserving four years for "inciting subversion of state power." Chen, adissident writer and leading member of the China Democracy Party, wastakeninto detention on September 14, 2006, and convicted on August 16, 2007.He isreportedly in good health, and said that the prison authorities mostly“stayedaway from him” due to international and domestic attention to his case.He alsostated that his time in prison has not dampened his resolve to continuefightingfor the ideals of democracy and liberty. (CHRD)[iii]

VeteranLiaoning Petitioner Held in BeijingDetention House without Explanation

CHRD learned on September 13 that Liaoningpetitioner Liu Chunbao (刘纯宝), who was seized by police in Beijing on theevening of September 9, is currently being held in the Fengtai DistrictDetention House. The specific nature of Liu's detention is not known,as Liu'sfamily has not received any formal notice from the authorities. Liu wasseizedby police shortly after arriving at a restaurant near Beijing's SouthRailway Station to eat dinnerwith friends. Liu, a veteran petitioner, has been seeking justice formore than20 years after his business was ruined by what he believed was animpropercourt ruling. (CHRD)[iv]

ShanghaiPetitioner-turned-Activist Seized in Beijing,Missing Over Four Days

CHRD learned on September 13 that Shanghaipetitioner-turned-activist Zhu Jindi (朱金娣) has been missing forfour days. Zhu, who traveled to Beijingto petition regarding the forced demolition of her family's home, waslast seenoutside of the State Council Letters and Visits Office on September 9.On thatdate, Zhu was pulled inside the building by a security guard after sheprotested during a body search, and friends and family members havesince beenunable to contact her. Officials have provided no formal explanationfor herdisappearance. Zhu, whose home was forcibly demolished in 2004, hasbecomeinvolved in assisting other petitioners with similar housing rightscases overthe years and as a result has been detained and badly beaten onnumerousoccasions. (CHRD)[v]

JiangxiVillager Detained 10 Days for Confronting Official over IllegallyOccupied Land

OnSeptember 6, villager Ceng Juanhua (曾娟华)was taken in for 10 days of administrative detention by police inLongnanCounty, Jiangxi Province. Ceng's detention stems from a land disputeshe andher husband have been engaged in with local officials since June ofthis year.The couple and their child returned to their home in DenggongVillage after years of workingin GuangdongProvince; however,upon their return,they discovered part of their property had been occupied by the head ofa localpolice unit, who had planted fruit trees on it. The official falselyaccusedCeng of cutting down some of the fruit trees, and on July 29 drew up adetention notice stating she was to be administratively detained for 10days.(CHRD)[vi]

BeijingActivist Remains Detained after International Martial Arts Competition

OnSeptember 7, CHRD learned that dissident Li Jinping (李金平)remains detained at the Changying police station in Beijing's ChaoyangDistrict. Police took him into custody before the Sportaccord CombatGames toprevent him from speaking out during the event. A number of activistsanddissidents in Beijing were placed undersoftdetention or otherwise subjected to restrictions on their movementduring theinternational competition, which ran from August 28 to September 4 in Beijing. (CHRD)[vii]

HubeiPetitioner Seized outside Supreme People’s Court, Detained in Black Jail

OnSeptember 5, Shiyan City, Hubei Province petitioner Liu Yujie (刘玉洁)was seized by police outside of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) inBeijing.Liu was taken to a centralized black jail in Jiujingzhuang, Beijing,at which point workers from the Beijing Liaison Office of the Shiyan Citygovernment arrived and took her to a black jail operated by the BeijingLiaisonOffice of the Tanghe County, Henan Province government. It is unclearif Liuhas been released. Reportedly, Liu and others had been protestingoutside ofthe Supreme People's Court and demanding a meeting with SPC PresidentWangShengjun (王胜俊). Liuhas been petitioning for years after losing her home in what shebelieves to bean unjust court ruling. (CHRD)[viii]

Legal RightsBeijingLawyer Wang Yajun Barred from Handling Falun Gong Case in Jilin Province

On the morning of September 10, Beijing lawyerWang Yajun (王雅军)was forced to leave his hotel in Yitong Manchu Autonomous County,Siping City,Jilin Province, by three police officers and placed on a train back toBeijing.Wang had been in Jilinto represent a Falun Gong practitioner in a criminal case. On September9, Wangwas visited in his hotel by officials who claimed to represent thesecretivegovernment unit which handles Falun Gong cases, the "610 Office" ofthe Yitong County Political-Legal Committee. The officials told Wangthat,according to Jilin Province and Siping Cityregulations, lawyers from outside the province were not permitted tohandle"these types of cases." When Wang asked to be shown the regulations,the officials told him they were "top secret" and could not be shownto lawyers. (CHRD)[ix]

Forced Demolition and EvictionSentencesfor Baihutou Villagers Detained after Resisting Forced DemolitionUpheld onAppeal

CHRD has learned that the convictions ofBaihutou Village, Beihai City, Guangxi Province residents Gao Zhenzheng(高镇章), GaoShihui (高世辉)and Cai Jianyue (蔡建月) for "obstructing official business"were upheld on September 2 following their appeal. On June 4, theYinhaiDistrict Court in BeihaiCity sentenced GaoZhenzhang and Gao Shihui to two years in prison, while Cai Jianyue wasgivenone and a half years. The three had been involved in efforts to resisttheforced demolition of village property by local officials. (CHRD)[x]

Court Ruling Sets Stage for Demolition ofBaihutou Village Homes of Xu Kun and Others

According to relatives of detained BaihutouVillage chief Xu Kun (许坤), the Beihai City Intermediate Court in GuangxiProvince has upheld the administrative ruling authorizing the forceddemolitionof Xu's family home in Baihutou Village. Six other Baihutou villagersweresimilarly affected by the ruling, which was handed down on September 2.Villagers expect local officials to wait until after the October 1National Dayholiday to begin carrying out the demolition, as tourism season isnearing itspeak in Baihutou. Preparations are already underway, however, as aconstructionwall has been erected around the village.

 

Xu has been detained since May 2010 along withat least five other villagers for “operating an illegal business;”their casewas transferred to the Yinhai District Procuratorate in Beihai City inearlyAugust.  Additionally, in June of this year, Baihutou villagers GaoZhenzhang (高镇章)and Gao Shihui (高世辉) were sentenced to two years in prison for“obstructing official business,” while Cai Jianyue (蔡建月) wasgiven one and a half years for the same charge. All of the detainedvillagerswere active in resisting forced evictions of their homes and smallbusinessesby the local government. (CHRD)[xi]

Freedom of AssociationAizhixingInspected by BeijingTaxation Bureau Again

On September 7, Beijing NGO Aizhixing Institutereceived a notice from the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau SecondInspectionUnit, stating that the tax authorities had resumed their inspection oftheNGO’s tax compliance status. As a result, Aizhixing is being requiredto supplya list of documents, including its contracts with funders, accountbooks, andfinancial statements stretching back to 2005. According to Aizhixing,theorganization has already been inspected three times since September2008 by theHaidian District Local Taxation Bureau and the Beijing Local TaxationBureauSecond Inspection Unit, and none of the inspections found anyviolations.Moreover, since the beginning of the year, Aizhixing has been inspectedrepeatedly by other government departments, such as the StateAdministration forIndustry and Commerce, the Fire Department, and the Ministry of CivilAffairs.Aizhixing believes that these “inspections” by government departmentsarenothing more than efforts to intimidate and harass the organization.Aizhixingalso said that on September 3, two unidentified men guarded theentrance toAizhixing’s office and demanded that its staff as well as visitorssupply theirpersonal identification information. Aizhixing believes that the recentharassment is related to their provision of legal aid to detained youngAIDSactivist Tian Xi (田喜). (Chinarights email group)

Law and Policy WatchNeighboringProvinces Ready Security Cordon Ahead of Asian Games in Guangzhou

On September 7, top officials from Guangdong,Fujian, Jiangxi,Hunan, Guangxi,and Hainan Provincesgathered in Guangzhou City, GuangdongProvince to discuss security concerns ahead of the upcoming AsianGames,scheduled to begin on November 12 in Guangzhou.The officials signed an agreement pledging to cooperate in sharinginformationand resources and coordinating actions to increase security in theregionsurrounding Guangzhouduring the Games. Specifically mentioned were efforts to resolve"contradictory issues" and "elements leading to socialinstability" locally, to prevent individuals with problems from seekingaplatform to voice their grievances in Guangzhou. (Legal Daily)[xii]

This agreement underscores that fact that theAsian Games, like the Olympic Games and other events of internationalsignificance, will be marked once again by a clampdown on freedom ofexpression, freedom of movement, and other rights of Chinese citizens.Localgovernments will target dissidents, activists, and petitioners before,during,and in many cases after the Games themselves in order to prevent anyonefromtheir jurisdiction causing "trouble" in Guangzhou. As with the Olympic Games,illegaldetention, administrative detention, and criminal punishment are allvery realpossibilities for any individual who attempts to speak out or drawattention toissues the Chinese government deems too "sensitive" for such anoccasion.

 

Editors:David Smalls and Lin Sang

Newsupdates from CHRDAnnual Report on the Situation of Human RightsDefenders inChina (2009)

[i] “Activist Chen Guangcheng Released after Serving FullSentence,” September9, 2010,http://chrdnet.org/2010/09/08/activist-chen-guangcheng-released-after-serving-full-sentence/

[ii] "Fujian Rights-Defending Village Official Lv JiangboStandsTrial for 'Suspicion of Obstructing Official Business'" (福建维权村官吕江波“涉嫌妨碍公务罪”受审),September 10, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009102330.shtml.

For blog posts written bylawyer LiuXiaoyuan regarding the case, see Liu's blog at http://blog.sina.com.cn/liuxiaoyuan.

[iii] "Chen Shuqing Released from Jail Safe and Sound, SaysBeliefin Democracy Unchanged" (陈树庆平安出狱,称民主信念不改(图)), September 13,2010,http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009130938.shtml.

[iv] "Liaoning Petitioner Liu Chunbao Detained in Fengtai PSBDetention Center for Several Days" (辽宁访民刘纯宝被关押在丰台公安分局看守所数日), September 13, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009131958.shtml;"Liaoning Petitioner Liu Chunbao Detained in Yangqiao Police Station"(辽宁访民刘纯宝被关押在洋桥派出所), September 11, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009111214.shtml.

[v] "Shanghai Activist Zhu Jindi Missing for Four Days afterPetitioning in Beijing" (上海维权人士朱金娣到北京上访已失踪4天(图)), September 13,2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009132244.shtml.

[vi]  "Public Enraged asGanzhou, Jiangxi Criminal Investigation Unit Leader Forcibly OccupiesForestLand, Detains Woman Who Stands up for Her Rights" (江西赣州刑侦大队长强霸林地拘留维权妇女引公愤(图)), September 8, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009081211.shtml.

[vii] "Beijing Activist Li Jinping Detained in Police StationDuringCombat Games, Yet to Be Released" (北京维权人士李金平因武博会被关派出所仍未获自由), September 7, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009072116.shtml

[viii] "Shiyan City Petitoner Liu Yujie Detained in Black JailbyBeijing Liaison Office" (十堰市访民刘玉洁被驻京办关"黑监狱"), September 7,2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009071822.shtml

 

[ix] "Beijing Lawyer Wang Yajun Illegally Detained, ExpelledbyPolice while Handling Case in Jilin Province" (北京律师王雅军在吉林代理案子时遭到警方非法拘禁与驱逐), September 11, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009110015.shtml.

[x] "Original Verdict in Beihai, Guangxi Forced EvictionCaseUpheld Following Appeal" (广西北海反强拆案二审维持原判),September 13, 2010, http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009131040.shtml.

[xi] "With Rights-Defending Beihai Village Chief in Prison,FamilyHome Faces Forced Demolition" (北海维权村官身陷囹圄家园面临强拆(图)), September 8,2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009081635.shtml;"Beihai Government Builds Walls Encircling Village, Wishes to ForciblyDemolish Baihutou Village" (北海市政府筑墙围村 欲强拆白虎头村), September9, 2010, http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2010/09/201009092139.shtml

[xii] "Five Provinces, One Autonomous Region SurroundingGuangdongSign Safety Cooperation Agreement" (环粤五省一区共签安保协作协议),September 7, 2010, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/index_article/content/2010-09/07/content_2277340.htm?node=5954.

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