[CHRB] Jailed Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Released Into Control by Authorities (7/30-8/7/2014)

China Human Rights Briefing

July 30 – August 7, 2014

Contents

 Arbitrary Detention

  • Police Detain Several Demonstrating against Incommunicado Detentions in Zhengzhou
  • Trial of Anhui Activists Opens, No Sentence Announced
  • Jailed Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Released Into Control by Authorities

 

Arbitrary Detention

Police Detain Several Demonstrating against Incommunicado Detentions in Zhengzhou

Ten individuals detained in May during the suppression around the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre (see CHRD’s ongoing updates) are still being held incommunicado in a Zhengzhou detention facility, without access to their lawyers (see report). Scores of supporters (including lawyers) have held hunger strikes and demonstrations in front of the detention center, protesting against authorities’ abuse of the detainees’ right to legal counsel. Henan police seized dozens of the supporters on August 1 outside the Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center. Rights Defense Network has reported that, of the 42 initially taken into custody that day, all but seven were released by early the next morning. Mr. Deng Fuquan (邓福权), Mr. Jiang Jianjun (姜建军), Mr. Li Yanjun (李燕军), Mr. Yin Enpei (尹恩沛), Mr. Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民), and Mr. Zhang Zhan (张占) were criminally detained on unknown charges. They are all being held at the No. 3 Detention Center. Hubei activist Chen Jianxiong (陈剑雄, aka Chen Jinxin 陈进新) was taken back to his home province by police and then arrested on August 2 on a charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” by police in Chibi City. He is currently being held in the Chibi City Detention Center. Chen participated in several rights advocacy campaigns and was briefly detained and then released on bail three times in 2013. On August 5, one of the 10 detainees seized in May, Jia Lingmin (贾灵敏), was allowed to see her lawyer for the first time.[1]

Hubei police arrested activist Chen Jianxiong (陈剑雄) after he demonstrated in support of detainees in Henan.

Hubei police arrested activist Chen Jianxiong (陈剑雄) after he demonstrated in support of detainees in Henan.

Trial of Anhui Activists Opens, No Sentence Announced

The trial of activists Zhou Weilin (周维林) and Yao Cheng (姚城) opened on August 6 in Anhui Province, reports Rights Defense Network. Both were tried on charges of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” by the Shushan District People’s Court in Hefei City. The court did not issue a sentence after a three-hour hearing. There was reportedly a heavy police presence at the courthouse, and Zhou’s parents were not permitted to attend the hearing, though his son, ex-wife, and one more relative were allowed in. Zhou and Yao have been held in Feixi County Detention Center since September 2013, when they were detained during the crackdown on peaceful assembly, association and expression. The two men took part in demonstrations held in April 2013 in support of Annie Zhang (张安妮), the daughter of democracy activist Zhang Lin (林), after she was kept out of the elementary school that she had attended in Hefei in likely reprisal for her father’s activism. Pre-trial proceedings for Zhou were held last week (see report).[2]

Jailed Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Released Into Control by Authorities

Authorities released human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) on August 7 from a Xinjiang prison after he completed a three-year prison sentence, but Gao is apparently not free. He appeared to be accompanied by Chinese security personnel and barred from speaking on the phone to family or supporters so far. His wife Geng He (耿和), based in the US, reached his brother who had travelled to Xinjiang to meet Gao. The phone call was cut off soon after the brother said he was with Gao on the return trip, and he said it was “not possible” for her to speak to Gao, according to the wife’s Twitter @genghe1. Activist Hu Jia (胡佳) told CHRD that he spoke with the brother, who said Gao’s teeth were ruined and they would seek medical treatment in Urumqi for a few days and then head back to their home village in Yulin, Shaanxi Province.

An outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s rights abuses, Gao was known for defending Falun Gong practitioners and members of Christian house churches, which led to authorities stripping him of his lawyer’s license in 2005. Beijing police charged him with “inciting subversion of state power” in the summer of 2006, and that December he was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years. Though released on parole, Gao was repeatedly disappeared for extended periods and tortured by police between 2007 and 2011. In December 2011, state media reported that Gao had been imprisoned in Xinjiang to serve his sentence after violating terms of his parole. Gao Zhisheng’s case has been the focus of intense international pressure and advocacy; the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an opinion in 2010 that called on the Chinese government to release him, and the US granted political asylum to his wife and children in 2009, after they fled China in January of that year.[3]

 

Contacts:

Renee Xia, International Director (Mandarin, English), +1 240 374 8937, reneexia@chrdnet.com

Victor Clemens, Research Coordinator (English), +1 209 643 0539, victorclemens@chrdnet.com

Frances Eve, Research Assistant (English), + 1 646 801 9479, franceseve@chrdnet.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CHRDnet

 

[1] “Zhengzhou Case Alert: 27 Citizens Demonstrate at Gate of Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center, Melon Farmers Send Watermelons in Support” (郑州案通报:三看门口27公民高喊口号,瓜农送西瓜祛暑), August 5, 2014, Rights Defense Network (RDN); “Zhengzhou Case Alert: The Six, Including Jiang Jianjun and Li Yanjun Held in No. 3 Detention Center, Meeting Arranged for Day After Tomorrow” (郑州案通报:六君子中姜建军、李燕军就在三看 后天安排会见), August 5, 2014, RDN; “Breaking: Human Rights Defender Chen Jianxiong (Chen Jinxin) Arrested by Chibi City, Hubei Authorities For Participating in Zhengzhou Demonstration” (快讯:人权捍卫者陈剑雄(陈进新)因参与声援郑州案遭湖北赤壁当局逮捕), August 3, 2014, RDN; “Zhengzhou Case Alert: Citizen Supporters at Gates of Zhengzhou No. 3 Detention Center Taken Away by Police, Most Freed but 6 Criminally Detained; Rights Defense Citizens Continue to Mass” (郑州案通报:郑州三看门口声援公民全部被抓后大部释放6人被刑拘维权公民继续集结), August 2, 2014, RDN; “Jia Lingmin Finally Saw Her Lawyers Zhu Xiaoding Today, Insisting on Her Innocence,” (贾灵敏今终于会见律师朱孝顶坚信自己无罪), August 5, 2014.

[2] “Zhou Weilin, Yao Cheng Trial Opened Today, Defends Innocence, No Sentence Passed” (周维林、姚诚案今同时开庭 均作无罪辩护 未当庭宣判), August 7, 2014, RDN; “Zhou Weilin Trial Opens Today, Restrictions Around Courthouse, Parents Blocked From Hearing” (快讯:周维林案今开庭 法院戒备森严 拒其父母旁听), August 6, 2014, RDN; “Human Rights Defender and Rights Defence Network Citizen Journalist Zhou Weilin’s Trial to on August 6, 2014 in Hefei City” (人权捍卫者、维权网信息员周维林案将于2014年8月6日在合肥开庭), August 1, 2014, RDN.

[3] “On Eve of Release of Lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Still Unclear if He Will Get His Freedom, Whole World Waits to See” (高智晟律师能否自由释放前夜仍不明朗 全世界拭目以待), August 7, 2014, RDN.

 

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