[CHRB] Responding to Quake, Activists Blocked by Authorities (4/19-25, 2013)

China Human Rights Briefing

April 19-25, 2013

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

  • Wave of Detentions in Several Cities Across China

Reprisals Against Activists

  • Chinese Authorities Restrict Activists Responding to Earthquake
  • AIDS Protest Broken Up in Henan, Several Taken Into Custody

Enforced Disappearance

  • Shandong Petitioner’s Fate Unknown Nearly One Year After Her Disappearance

Arbitrary Detention

Wave of Detentions in Several Cities Across China

Chinese police around the country have detained activists who have taken part in an anti-corruption campaign or demonstrated against the injustice of a dissident’s daughter being barred from attending school, as detailed in a statement released by CHRD on April 19.  About 20 individuals have been taken into custody this month over advocacy involving what the government may regard as politically “sensitive” issues. Some of the activists have had their homes searched and property confiscated, and police have put many of them under administrative or criminal detention. In Beijing, police seized participants in the “New Citizens Movement,” a group advocating for social justice and political and legal reforms. Activists in Dongguan City in Guangdong Province were detained for calling for the release of an activist who protested North Korea’s nuclear test in February. In Hefei, Anhui Province, police detained activists, including Zhou Weilin (周维林), who has a disability, for supporting Annie Zhang (张安妮), the 10-year-old daughter of dissident Zhang Lin (张林) who has been prevented by authorities from going to school for nearly two months.[1]

Reprisals Against Activists

Chinese Authorities Restrict Activists Responding to Earthquake

Authorities have restricted the movements of several activists following the recent earthquake in Sichuan Province. On April 20, the day the quake hit Ya’an City, police prevented activists from Chengdu from reaching the stricken area, including Huang Qi (黄琦), Pu Fei (蒲飞), Zhou Wenming (周文明), and Jiang Zhikui (江志奎). Several ethnic Tibetans who reside in Chengdu were also blocked en route to Ya’an after setting out to assist quake victims. In addition, police in Guangzhou took into custody the intellectual Ye Gongmo (叶恭默) on April 23, possibly due to his comments he posted on his weibo account that criticized authorities for mishandling the rescue and relief efforts.[2]

At the time of writing, nearly 200 deaths due to the earthquake have been reported, with more than 10,000 injured and others still missing. Similar to the aftermath of the Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008, both Chinese and foreign media have been prevented from reaching the locations most affected. As authorities have restricted access to the area, there are concerns over transparency surrounding the rescue efforts and how an investigation into the destruction will eventually be handled.

AIDS Protest Broken Up in Henan, Several Taken Into Custody

On April 22, armed police in Henan Province violently dispersed AIDS activists protesting the lack of fair compensation for people affected by the disease, and also took several individuals into custody. A crowd of more than 300 demonstrated in front of the provincial government building and Civil Affairs Department, leading authorities to dispatch a large force of police officers. Brandishing batons and shields, police took away some people from the rally, including Chen Shuo (陈硕), a documentary filmmaker from Beijing who had come to Henan to record stories of persons living with AIDS. The demonstrators were demanding that the Ministry of Civil Affairs implement its policy announced in 2009, which outlined that more benefits should be provided to children of AIDS victims who acquired the disease through contaminated blood.[3]

Enforced Disappearance

Shandong Petitioner’s Fate Unknown Nearly One Year After Her Disappearance

A Shandong petitioner has been missing since being seized in Beijing in early May 2012, when she managed to hand files about her personal grievance to then-Premier Wen Jiabao (温家宝), who at the time was touring a train station with officials. It was initially believed that authorities from Qingdao City had forcibly committed Lin Xiuli (林秀丽) in a psychiatric hospital. However, her whereabouts have never been confirmed, and no one has heard from her since she was taken into custody. Reportedly detained more than 20 times for petitioning, Lin had been held in psychiatric institutions before, including for nearly 300 days in 2011, when she was forcibly medicated and given injections. In August 2003, Lin was crippled after being thrown from a building, and has petitioned over a court decision that she considered unjust.[4]

Edited by Victor Clemens & Renee Xia

[1] “Hefei Rights Defender Zhou Weilin’s Home Raided During His Detention” (特别关注:合肥维权人士周维林被拘留期间居所被查抄), April 21, 2013, WQW; Chinese Authorities Must Release Activists, End Escalating Crackdown on Free Expression, April 19, 2013, CHRD

[2] “Rights Defenders Rushing to Ya’an Earthquake Zone Blocked En Route, Go Missing” (维权人士赴地震灾区雅安途中遭拦截后失踪), April 21, 2013, WQW; “Well-Known Guangzhou Intellectual Ye Gongmo Taken Away by Police” (广州知名文化人士叶恭默被警方带走), April 23, 2013, WQW

[3] “Beijing Aizhixing Demands Henan Provincial Government Immediately Release AIDS Sufferers, Interview Subjects Demonstrating to Defend Rights” (北京爱知行研究所要求河南省政府立即释放维权示威的感染者和采访者), April 23, 2013, Aizhixing

[4] “Qingdao Petitioner Lin Xiuli Missing for Year Since Encountering Premier Wen Jiabao, Disappearing” (青岛访民林秀丽偶遇温家宝后失踪已近1年), April 23, 2013, WQW; “Lin Xiuli Disappears After Approaching Premier Wen Jiabao Over Grievance, Suspected to Be Detained in Psychiatric Hospital” (偶遇总理诉冤的林秀丽失踪,疑被关精神病院), May 12, 2012, WQW;  “Shandong Petitioner Lin Xiuli Presents Grievance to Premier Wen Jiabao, Taken Overnight Back Home to Be Detained in a Psychiatric Hospital” (山东访民林秀丽偶见总理递诉状,连夜被押回当地欲关精神病院), May 11, 2012, WQW;  “Shandong Petitioner Li Xiuli Detained in Qingdao by Provincial Authorities After Meeting Wen Jiabao” (山东访民林秀丽见温总理后遭山东官员扣留在青岛), May 10, 2012, WQW; “Shandong Petitioners Lin Xiuli, Li Ziyan Seized When Passing by Tiananmen Square” (山东访民林秀丽、季子燕路经天安门时被扣押), March 7, 2012, WQW

 

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