[CHRB] Arrest of Cao Shunli Confirmed; Mysterious Death of Petitioner in Custody and More (10/24-31, 2013)

China Human Rights Briefing

 

 October 24 – 31, 2013

 

Contents

 

Arbitrary Detention

 

Updates on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association & Expression

 

Lawyer Met Cao Shunli, Confirmed Arrest and Serious Illness

Detained Activist Sun Desheng Held Incommunicado Over Ten Weeks

Updates on Detention

 

Court Upholds Verdict Against Dissident Li Bifeng

Forced Eviction & Demolition/Land Expropriation

 

Victim of Forced Eviction Died Mysteriously in Police Custody

Special Notice

 

CHRD Brings Case of Activist Gu Yimin to UN Experts on Arbitrary Detention

Arbitrary Detention

 

Updates on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association & Expression

 

Lawyer Met Cao Shunli, Confirmed Arrest and Serious Illness  

 

Detained activist Cao Shunli (曹顺利) has suffered from deteriorating health due to lack of medical attention, according to her lawyer, who met with Cao on October 30 for the first time since Cao was abducted in mid-September. Lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) went to Chaoyang District Detention Center several times before she was finally allowed an hour-long visit with Cao. The 52-year-old Beijing-based activist looks very thin and needs urgent treatment for a severe liver disease that has caused ascites. The lawyer submitted a bail request on October 31 for Cao to be released on medical grounds, but to no avail.

 

The lawyer confirmed that Cao was arrested and charged with “creating a disturbance” on October 21, the eve of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) review of China’s human rights record. Cao had been initially detained on suspicion of “unlawful assembly.” The activist was taken into custody on September 14 at Beijing Capital International Airport as she was set to fly to Geneva to take part in training activities on UN human rights mechanisms. For several years, Cao and other activists demanded the Chinese government to include contributions from civil society in its preparation for HRC’s Universal Periodic Review. The government has responded with retaliations against them instead.[1]

 

Detained Activist Sun Desheng Held Incommunicado Over Ten Weeks

 

Activist Sun Desheng (孙德胜) remains incommunicado since being seized on August 13 in the ongoing crackdown on freedom of assembly, association, and expression.  Authorities have repeatedly rejected his lawyer’s requests for visit. The 32-year-old activist was arrested on October 16 and charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” He is detained at Tianhe District Detention Center in Guangzhou. On October 30, national security guards also rejected Sun’s family member’s request to contact him. Sun has faced frequent retaliation for his activism. The activist had called for the release of the prominent legal advocate Xu Zhiyong (许志永), who spearheaded “New Citizens Movement,” which might be the trigger for his own arrest.[2]

 

Updates on Detention

 

Court Upholds Verdict Against Dissident Li Bifeng

 

An intermediate court in Sichuan Province has upheld a verdict issued in March to dissident and poet Li Bifeng (李必丰) on a concocted charge of “contract fraud,” but reduced his original 12-year sentence to 10 years. Li was detained in September 2011, but his trial took place more than a year later, in November 2012. According to Li’s wife, she has not been allowed to visit him since this past June. The 49-year-old Li is now serving his third prison term in retaliation for his activism; he was imprisoned a total of 12 years between 1990 and 2005. At the trial of first-instance, Li was also fined 300,000 yuan and requested to return 3 million yuan (nearly $500,000) that he supposedly embezzled from a company. Li Bifeng is currently incarcerated at Mianyang Chuanbei Prison in Sichuan.[3]

 

Forced Eviction & Demolition/Land Expropriation

 

Victim of Forced Eviction Died Mysteriously in Police Custody

 

Shen Yong (沈勇), who had been fighting forced eviction, died in police custody one hour after being taken away from his temporary shelter on October 24. Family members saw bruises all over his body when they rushed to the hospital where he was found deceased. According to his family, Shen had been in good health. Reportedly, dozens of police officers and local government personnel barged into Shen’s temporary shelter, handcuffed Shen, and dragged off both him and his 78-year-old mother. Shen’s home was demolished in 2008, and his family has not received any compensation. They became homeless for several years and only recently set up a shelter on the land where their home once stood.[4]

 

 

Shen Yong, a victim of forced demolition in Shanghai, died soon after local authorities took him away, with his body reportedly showing signs of trauma.

Special Notice

 

CHRD Brings Case of Activist Gu Yimin to UN Experts on Arbitrary Detention

 

On October 17, CHRD sent a communiqué to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the activist Gu Yimin (顾义民) of Jiangsu Province. Gu was arrested in June for “inciting subversion of state power” in the continuing crackdown on freedom of assembly, association, and expression. In May 2013, Gu posted photos online from the 1989 massacre around Tiananmen Square and applied to hold a public commemoration for victims. On June 1, police raided Gu’s home, confiscated his computer, and took him away, criminally detaining him the next day. Gu was put on trial on September 29, when many individuals were prevented from attending the proceedings. The court has yet to issue a verdict.

 

[1] “Cao Shunli Formally Arrested, Lawyer Wang Yu Goes to Detention Center to Visit” (曹顺利被正式逮捕,王宇律师到看守所会见), October 31, 2013, WQW; “With High Political Awareness, Police Persecuting Cao Shunli Claim to Be ‘Unavailable’” (政治觉悟实在高,迫害曹顺利的公安自称不在), October 31, 2013, HRCC

 

[2] “Guangzhou National Security Guards Visit Hubei Sun Desheng’s Brother’s Home, Sun’s Mother Pleads For Son’s Release” (广州国保到湖北孙德胜兄长家 孙母跪求放儿), October 31, 2013, CRLW

 

[3] “Sichuan Underground Poet Li Bifeng Relocated to Mianyang Chuanbei Prison to Serve Sentence, Second-Instance Trial Decision Disclosed” (四川地下诗人李必丰被移送绵阳川北监狱服刑二审判决书曝光), October 24, 2013, WQW

 

[4] “Shen Yong, Shanghai Victim of Forced Eviction, Dies An Hour After Police Take Him Away” (上海强拆受害者沈勇被警方带走一小时后死亡), October 24, 2013, WQW; “Shanghai Citizen Shen Yong’s Home Repeatedly Vandalized and Robbed By Corrupt Officials and Businessmen” (上海市民沈勇家连续遭到官商勾结的打砸抢), August 14, 2013, WQW

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