[CHRB] Crackdown on anti-corruption activists continue with three of the 10 detained formally arrested and more (5/2-8, 2013)

China Human Rights Briefing

May 2-8, 2013

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

  • Update on Ongoing Crackdown: Anti-Corruption Campaigners Formally Arrested, Criminally Detained
  • Guangdong Activist Arrested on Concocted Charge

Reprisals Against Activists’ Family Members

  • Authorities Block Jailed Activist Chen Wei’s Wife, Daughter From Traveling to US

Law & Policy Watch

  • New Mental Health Law Offers Limited Hope For Curbing Involuntary Psychiatric Confinement in China

Special Notice

  • CHRD Submits Allegations of Abuses to UN on Behalf of Jailed Village Director Lü Jiangbo

Arbitrary Detention

Update on Ongoing Crackdown: Anti-Corruption Campaigners Formally Arrested, Criminally Detained

In a sign of an escalating crackdown on free expression, three detained activists in Beijing have been formally arrested and at least one in Jiangxi Province criminally detained for calling for public disclosure of top officials’ financial assets. As detailed in a recent CHRD alert, for weeks, authorities across China have targeted activists who have taken part in the anti-corruption campaigning. On May 7, Yuan Dong (袁冬), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成), and Ma Xinli (马新立) were formally arrested in the capital on charges of “unlawful assembly.” Beijing police had dragged them away on March 31 after they displayed banners in streets. These three are among at least 10 individuals in Beijing recently taken into custody in police response to anti-corruption activism.

Also on May 7, activist Liu Ping (刘萍) of Jiangxi was placed under criminal detention on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power” after being held incommunicado by police since April 27. Authorities have not allowed Liu’s lawyer, Zhang Xuezhong (张雪忠), to meet with her at Xinyu City Detention Center. Police in Xinyu reportedly seized Liu and many other activists on the same day, and went on to raid their homes and confiscate property. At least two individuals taken into custody were tortured before being released. The whereabouts of four others, including Li Sihua (李思华) and Wei Zhongping (魏忠平), are still unknown, but there are unconfirmed reports that they have also been criminally detained for “inciting subversion.”[1]

Guangdong Activist Arrested on Concocted Charge

Liu Yuandong (刘远东), a Guangdong activist detained since February, has been formally arrested, and also subjected to mistreatment such as sleep deprivation while in police custody. Liu was seized on February 23 and administratively detained after taking part in a protest related to North Korea’s nuclear test earlier that month. He was then criminally detained on a charge of “withdrawing contributed capital after incorporation of a company,” and police and tax authorities searched his place of business. Police informed Liu’s wife on April 2 that he had been arrested, but she still has not received any formal notification. Liu Yuandong has been a strong supporter of activists and dissidents in Guangzhou besides also taking part in rights defense campaigns. Many have called for Liu’s release, and some who demonstrated in mid-April to support him were themselves detained.[2]

Reprisals Against Activists’ Family Members

Authorities Block Jailed Activist Chen Wei’s Wife, Daughter From Traveling to US

Officials in Sichuan Province have prevented the wife and daughter of imprisoned activist Chen Wei (陈卫) from taking a trip abroad in likely retaliation for his longtime pro-democracy advocacy. On April 28, a staff member at the Exit-Entry Administration Department of the Suining City Public Security Bureau informed Wang Xiaoyan (王晓燕) that authorities had refused her and her daughter’s applications for entry permits to Hong Kong and Macau, and also had invalidated their passports. Wang was preparing to go with her daughter to visit the United States. Chen Wei, a student leader during the pro-democracy movement of 1989, was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2011 for “inciting subversion of state power” as part of the “Jasmine Crackdown” on civil society.[3]

Law & Policy Watch

New Mental Health Law Offers Limited Hope For Curbing Involuntary Psychiatric Confinement in China

Having gone into effect on May 1, China’s first Mental Health Law (MHL) is being viewed by activists as falling short of meeting UN standards for protecting the rights of the disabled, and unlikely to end human rights abuses of forced psychiatric commitment. Despite establishing a principle of “voluntary commitment” in psychiatric treatment, the MHL still permits “close relatives, employers, and the police” to send to psychiatric hospitals “suspected sufferers of mental disabilities who have harmed or are at risk of harming themselves or others.” At the same time, the law fails to define crucial concepts and terms—like “risk,” “harm,” and “severe”—that can influence decisions on institutionalization, thus making a patient diagnosed with a mental illness vulnerable to involuntary commitment. Even worse, those committed to treatment under the MHL have limited rights to access a lawyer and contact their families.

As documented in CHRD’s report last year,The Darkest Corners: Abuses of Involuntary Psychiatric Commitment in China, around 800,000 people are admitted to psychiatric hospitals in China every year, with many confined there forcibly against their will. Authorities have used such institutions to illegally detain and punish activists, dissidents, Falun Gong practitioners, and petitioners outside of the judicial process, thus committing myriad violations of the Convention against Torture and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which China has ratified. Last fall, CHRD submitted allegations of abuses to the UN on behalf of seven petitioners, some of whom have been forcibly institutionalized for years, and pointed out the lack of protections offered by the MHL as the draft was being reviewed.[4]

Special Notice

CHRD Submits Allegations of Abuses to UN on Behalf of Jailed Village Director Lü Jiangbo

On April 26, CHRD sent a letter of allegation to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detendion and other Special Procedures alleging human rights violations on behalf of Lü Jiangbo (吕江波), an elected village director in Fujian Province who was given an 11-year prison sentence in October 2010. Lü had organized residents in Jinjiang City to defend their rights against illegal land requisition by the government, and was convicted of six crimes tied to alleged misuse of power. Lü testified during his trial that he was tortured to confess while in police custody. Though other villagers who resisted land grabs also were sent to prison, Lü’s especially harsh sentence suggests the extent to which local officials sought to retaliate against him. Long before a criminal case against Lü emerged, state publications had heralded him as an example of a “person of ability” filling a leadership role in a rural community.[5]

Edited by Ann Song and Victor Clemens

[1]“Human Rights Defense Network Solemnly Protest Citizens Detained by Authorities in Beijing and Jiangxi for ‘Demanding Officials Disclose Assets’” (“维权网”严正抗议北京和江西当局拘捕“要求官员公布财产”的公民), May 8, 2013, WQW; “Jiangxi Human Rights Activist Liu Ping Criminally Detained on Charge of ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’” (江西维权人士刘萍因“涉嫌煽动颠覆罪”被刑事拘留), May 8, 2013, WQW; “News Flash: Well-known Rights Activist Liu Ping Criminally Detained on Charge of ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’” (快讯:著名维权人士刘萍因涉嫌煽动颠覆国家政权罪被刑事拘留), May 7, 2013, WQW; “Human Rights Activists in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province Tortured in Custody, Many Still Detained, Including Liu Ping” (江西新余被拘押维权人士遭酷刑,刘萍等多人仍未获释), April 29, 2013, WQW; “Chinese Authorities Must Release Activists, End Escalating Crackdown on Free Expression,” April 19, 2013, CHRD

[2] “Family Has Not Received Formal Notice of Arrest for Liu Yuandong” (家属仍然没有接到刘远东逮捕令), April 21, 2013, WQW;  Urgent Action: Activist Detained, Risks Torture, April 19, 2013, Amnesty International; “Several Guangdong Netizens Supporting Liu Yuandong Detained” (广东声援刘远东的数位网友被拘留), April 16, 2013, WQW; “Guangzhou Grassroots Rights Activist Liu Yuan Has Been Arrested” (广州街头民运人士刘远东已被批准逮捕), April 4, 2013, WQW; “Guangzhou Rights Activist Liu Yuandong Faces Further Persecution”(广州民主维权人士刘远东面临被进一步迫害), March 28, 2013, WQW

[3]“Applications for Entry Permit to Hong Kong and Macau SAR of Chen Wei’s Wife and Daughter Refused, Passports Invalidated” (陈卫妻儿港澳通行证被拒办,护照被作废), April 30, 2012, WQW

[4] China Bans Forced Mental Hospital Detentions: Media, May 2, 2013, AFP; “Open Letter On Enforcement of Mental Health Law – Hopes That Law Won’t Become Waste Paper” (关于精神卫生法正式施行的公开信—愿法律不要成为废纸), May 1, 2013, CRLW; “Xing Shiku at Harbin: The Doctor Does Not Know What Illness I Have But Has Detained Me For Six Years!” (哈尔滨邢世库:医生不知道我什么病,却关我六年!), January 6, 2013, CRLW

[5] UN Submission on Lü Jiangbo – April 26, 2013, CHRD

 

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