[CHRB] Uyghur Man Gets 11 Years for “Inciting Splittism”; Disappeared Tibetan Scholar May Be Serving 20-Year Sentence, and more

China Human Rights Briefing
February 8-15, 2013

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

Uyghur Man Serving Previously Unreported 11-Year Sentence for “Inciting Splittism”
Early Releases of Prominent RTL Detainees May Be Sign of Reform

Enforced Disappearance

Tibetan Scholar Disappeared After 2008 Protests in Lhasa, Possibly Serving 20-Year Sentence

Reprisals Against Activists

Sichuan Netizen Detained for “Incitement,” Then Unexpectedly Released

Arbitrary Detention
Uyghur Man Serving Previously Unreported 11-Year Sentence for “Inciting Splittism”

A Uyghur man is serving an 11-year prison sentence for “inciting splittism,” allegedly for translating Chinese-language news related to Kashgar City, in a newly revealed case reported by Uyghurbiz.net. In 2009, Mirhemitjan Muzepper (米尔哈米提江·木扎派尔) began serving as a translator for Phoenix TV news as part of a station initiative. Muzepper was later taken into custody, and a court found that the network’s journalists were posting information online from him that resulted in “producing very bad effects.” Although Muzepper was sent to prison with an extremely heavy sentence while working with Phoenix TV, authorities did not pursue criminal charges against the network, which also has never provided information or reported on the Uyghur man’s case.[i]

Early Releases of Prominent RTL Detainees May Be Sign of Reform
Several notable detainees in Re-education through Labor (RTL) have been freed early from labor camps over the past two months, mostly to serve out punishments at home or after having RTL decisions against them dismissed. Detailed below, the releases happen to roughly coincide with official remarks about potential changes to RTL, including proposed reforms on the provincial level (see CHRD’s statement).

On February 9, Hunan activist Xiao Yong (肖勇) was released from an RTL facility and is now being required to “serve out” his 18-month RTL stint at home in Shaoyang City. Xiao was sent to RTL in July 2012 in likely retaliation for his activism, including questioning the death last summer of 1989 labor activist Li Wangyang (李旺阳).[ii]

On February 8, Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), a Shanghai reproductive rights and housing rights activist, was allowed to go home to serve the rest of an 18-month RTL punishment. Mao had been held in a detention center due to her poor health, and an RTL facility refused to admit her in late January because of her high blood pressure. Mao was issued an RTL decision in October 2012 on a charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order,” so has more than a year remaining on her punishment.[iii]

On January 11, Shandong petitioner Li Hongwei (李红卫) was released three months early from a 21-month punishment, supposedly due to her efficient performance with work duties. National security officers reportedly are still keeping close surveillance over Li, who has said she will keep petitioning. Punished for a variety of alleged offenses, Li is believed to have been sent to RTL in July 2011 in retaliation over a landmark lawsuit she waged against local authorities after a black jail detention.[iv]

Hebei petitioner Ma Lijun (马丽君) was released several weeks early, on January 6, after serving most of an 18-month RTL punishment for “disrupting order of a public place.” Ma may be permanently disabled since she was not given medical treatment for illnesses during her detention, as reported previously by CHRD.[v]

Chongqing resident Huang Chengcheng (黄成城) was released on December 17 after the RTL decision against him was dismissed. Initially detained in March 2011, Huang was serving a two-year punishment at the Xishanping RTL camp on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power,” allegedly for sending out online messages related to the Jasmine Revolution.

Also on December 17, Dai Yuequan (戴月权), a disabled petitioner being held in the same labor camp as Huang Chengcheng, was released after his punishment was similarly dismissed. Dai was given a 15-month RTL punishment last May after seeking redress for grievances related to workplace injuries.[vi]

Enforced Disappearance
Tibetan Scholar Disappeared After 2008 Protests in Lhasa, Possibly Serving 20-Year Sentence

Authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region have held a Buddhist scholar incommunicado for nearly five years, only revealing that he was given a 20-year sentence for his role in “instigating” protests by monks that rocked Lhasa in March 2008. Kunchok Nyima of Drepung Monastery University was taken into custody the month after the protests. His fate was unknown until April 2010, when Chinese officials admitted that they were detaining the scholar, who the officials said had been sentenced for “inciting” and “abetting” protests among Drepung monks, although Nyima reportedly urged monks to engage only in peaceful protest. To date, there still has been no reliable information on Nyima’s whereabouts. As a leader at Drepung Monastery, Nyima was known for mediating disputes between Tibetans and Chinese security forces. However, officials had also paid close attention to Nyima’s perceived political activities, such as his vocal support for the protection of Tibetan culture.[vii]

Reprisals Against Activists
Sichuan Netizen Detained for “Incitement,” Then Unexpectedly Released

A Sichuan netizen and accountant, Cheng Wanyun (程婉芸), recently was criminally detained, apparently for critical comments on her weibo account aimed at incoming President Xi Jinping (习近平), but was freed after activists clamored for her release on free speech grounds. Summoned by police on February 6, Cheng was taken into custody on a charge of “inciting subversion of state power” in Xicheng County. Her family received notice of the detention on February 7. Cheng’s detention spurred fellow activists to travel to Xicheng or protest online what they believed was a retaliatory act against Cheng’s right to free expression. Unexpectedly, Cheng was let go after four days. During the Jasmine Crackdown on civil society in 2011, Cheng was criminally detained on charges of “creating a disturbance” and “obstructing public safety,” allegedly for writings on QQ groups about the political revolutions then taking place in North Africa and the Middle East.[viii]

Edited by Victor Clemens and Renee Xia
[i] “Exclusive Report: Uyghur Man Sentenced to 11 Years for Translating Chinese News, Media Does Not Dare Report Case for Years,” (独家报道:一维吾尔人为中国媒体当翻译被判11年 媒体长达几年不敢报道), Uyghurbiz.net, February 13, 2013.
[ii] “Hunan Rights Defense Xiao Yong Returns Home to Serve Punishment,” (湖南维权人士肖勇获所外执行回家), February 9, 2013, WQW
[iii] “Shanghai Rights Defender Mao Hengfeng Released Home Before New Year to Serve RTL Term,” (上海维权人士毛恒凤春节前获所外执行回家), February 9, 2013, WQW
[iv] “Jinan Rights Defender Li Hongwei Released Early From RTL,” (济南维权人士李红卫劳教提前获释), January 11, 2013, WQW
[v] “Hebei Petitioner Ma Lijun Faces Lifelong Disability After Illnesses Go Untreated in RTL,” China Human Rights Briefing February 1-7, 2013, CHRD; “Without Any Treatment for Illnesses in RTL, Ma Lijun May be Disabled for Life” (劳教所有病不给治,马丽君可能终生残疾), February 5, 2013
[vi] “Chongqing RTL Detainees Dai Yuequan, Huang Chengcheng Freed Yesterday” (重庆被劳教人员戴月权和黄成城昨日重获自由), December 18, 2012, Fengyunlu.com; “Individuals Affected by Crackdown Following Call for ‘Jasmine Revolution’,” February 13, 2013 (updated), CHRD
[vii] “Buddhist scholar serving 20-yr sentence remain ‘missing’ for four years,” February 4, 2013, TCHRD
[viii] “Rights Defender Liu Shasha Rushes to Nanchong on New Year’s Day to ‘Rescue’ Cheng Wanyun,” (维权人士刘沙沙大年初一赴南充营救程婉芸), February 11, 2013, WQW; “Nanchong, Sichuan Netizen Cheng Wanyun (Peili) Criminally Detained for ‘Incitement’,” (四川南充籍网友(佩利)程婉芸被以“煽颠”罪刑事拘留), February 9, 2013, WQW; “Individuals Affected by Crackdown Following Call for ‘Jasmine Revolution’,” January 30, 2013 (updated), CHRD

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