[CHRB] Violence & Black Jail Await Petitioners; RTL Victim Seeking Justice Stonewalled (12/5-12/11, 2013)

Contents

Enforced Disappearance

  •  Fujian Activist Disappears After Being Seized by Police in Beijing

Arbitrary Detention; Violence/Reprisals Against Activists

  • Intercepted Petitioners Sent to Local Authorities to Face Violent Retaliation
  • A Victim’s Efforts to Seek Accountability for RTL Stone-Walled

Freedom of Expression

  • Law Professor Dismissed From Post over Academic Writings

Update on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association & Expression

  • Court Rejects Allegations of Torture in Jiangxi Trial of Activists

Enforced Disappearance

Fujian Activist Disappears After Being Seized by Police in Beijing

Fujian-based activist Lin Yingqiang (林应强) disappeared in mid-November after traveling to Beijing during the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Third Plenum (November 9-12) to petition against rights abuses. His family lost contact with him on the 10th after Lin told them that he was seized and detained in a “black jail” in Beijing, waiting to be taken back after the end of the Third Plenum, presumably around November 15. His family have neither heard from him nor received any formal detention notification from authorities. In late November, Fuzhou police searched Lin’s home twice when no one was there, confiscating his computer and materials related to his petitioning and rights-defending activities. Local authorities seized farmlands in Lin’s village in mid-1990s without giving any compensation to farmers. Since 2000, he has been involved in efforts seeking accountability of officials responsible for forced evictions and requesting redress for villagers’ loss of livelihood. For his activism, Lin had previously spent four years in prison.[1]

Arbitrary Detention; Violence/Reprisals Against Activists

Intercepted Petitioners Sent to Local Authorities to Face Violent Retaliation

Local authorities detained 73-year-old petitioner Xu Wanying (许万英) in a makeshift detention cell, known as “black jail,” in Xiangcheng District of Hubei Province, after she was intercepted in Beijing. Xu was held for 36 days since early September at the Huamu Guesthouse. During this period, the head of the local women’s association group violently assaulted Xu. After her release, Xu reported that she is still suffering from internal swelling, insomnia, faintness and loss of appetite. For 19 years, Xu has been trying to lodge her grievances about her son’s mysterious death, but to no avail. She had been repeatedly detained in “black jails,” where she suffered various abuses, for a total of nearly seven hundred days.[2]

In a separate incident, husband and wife Wang Defang (王德芳) and Shi Wenxuan (时文选) were badly beaten by two unidentified men in Jilin Province on December 10. The attackers beat the couple on their heads with thick batons. Wang and Shi fell to the ground, with blood streaming down. Local authorities intercepted the couple when they attempted to lodge complaints about officials’ wrongdoings in village election to central government officials, who were on a tour to inspect local authorities’ performance. After the couple was forcibly returned to their village, local officials agreed to meet them on the 10th to resolve their grievances, but Wang and Shi were attacked on their way to the meeting.[3]

Retaliatory measures, including violence and arbitrary detention in “black jails,” taken by local officials against petitioners or whistleblowers, as reflected in these two cases, have become pervasive. “Black jails,” run by local officials to detain those who try to complain about them to higher authorities, may increasingly assume a key role in the so-called “community correction” (社区矫正) of unlawful behaviors, which the CCP’s Central Committee declared at its Third Plenum as a replacement for Re-Education Through Labor (RTL).

A Victim’s Efforts to Seek Accountability for RTL Stone-Walled

Authorities told farmer and petitioner Bo Shuying (博淑英), who has attempted to file a case about her one-year detention in a RTL camp, that higher-level government instructed officials not to accept complaints or docket lawsuits seeking redress for RTL detention since the CCP has announced the abolition of the system. Local authorities incarcerated Bo in Tangshan, Hebei Province, from July 2012 to July of this year in order to stop her from petitioning in Beijing over alleged illegal land grab by local officials. Bo has tried to file an appeal against the RTL decision at every level of the government, but without success.[4]  While the National People’s Congress has yet to rubber-stamp the CCP’s decision to abolish RTL, victims of the arbitrary detention system like Bo may find no recourse for the grave injustices that the system has inflicted upon them.

Bo Shuying (博淑英) has run into stonewalls in seeking accountability for her detention in a Re-Education Through Labor camp.

Bo Shuying (博淑英) has run into stonewalls in seeking accountability for her detention in a Re-Education Through Labor camp.

Freedom of Expression

Law Professor Dismissed From Post over Academic Writings

Zhang Xuezhong (张雪忠), an associate professor at the East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai was fired from his position at the university on December 9, over articles he wrote in support of constitutional democracy. According to Dr. Zhang, who released his story online, he was called in to see the head of the law department, who gave him a verbal notice that his contract would not be renewed after this month and the school will make a final decision soon. Zhang published the e-book New Common Sense this year and an article about the roots and dangers of the attacks by hardliners against constitutional reform since early 2013. His works unsettled the authorities; he was prevented from teaching classes since August and told to reflect on his “mistakes.” Zhang criticized his dismissal, saying he was politically persecuted for expressing his thoughts and opinions as a university professor.[5] In recent months, Zhang, a practicing lawyer, has represented criminally detained human rights activists Zhao Changqing (赵长青) and Liu Ping (刘萍). If the decision becomes final, Zhang will be the second prominent legal scholar fired this year from established academic institutions for free expression, following the sacking of Beijing University professor Xia Yeliang (夏业良).

Update on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association & Expression

Court Rejects Allegations of Torture in Jiangxi Trial of Activists

The four-day trial of Jiangxi-activists Liu Ping (刘萍), Wei Zhongping (魏忠平) and Li Sihua (李思华) ended on December 6 with no verdict. The court has not announced a sentencing date. Liu Ping was allegedly tortured not only after her arrest, but also over the past several months while in detention. When Liu was interrogated, police repeatedly shoved her head against metal bars, twisted her neck and arms, and also shackled her extensively. Her lawyer raised the issue of torture during the trial, but the court refused to dismiss evidence or confession that may have been extracted from torture or to file a case to investigate the allegation of torture.[6] (Read the defense statement by Si Weijiang (斯伟江), Liu Ping’s lawyer, in Chinese, and Liu Ping and Wei Zhongping’s final statements in Chinese). All three defendants have been detained since April on charges of “unlawful assembly,” with Liu and Wei facing two additional charges. Their first trial was suspended in October after their lawyers resigned over blatant violations of the defendants’ legal rights (see previous CHRB).

[1]  “Fujian Activist Lin Yingqiang Detained for Almost A Month, Family Has Not Received Legal Notification (福建维权人士林应强被羁押近月,家属没有收到法律文书),” December 11, 2013, WQW.

[2] “Elderly Petitioner Xu Wanying of Hubei Sent to Black Jail and Beaten (湖北古稀老人许万英上访被关黑监狱遭毒打),” December 9, 2013, WQW.

[3] “Husband and Wife Wang Defang, Shi Wenxuan Brutally Beaten by Thugs Hired by Officials, Hospitalized with Serious Injuries (王德芳、时文选夫妇被政府雇凶暴打重伤入院),” December 11, 2013, WQW.

[4] “Hebei Victim Bo Shuying, Crippled After Being Illegal Held in RTL, Files Suit Without Success (河北冤民博淑英被非法劳教、拘禁致残状告无门),” December 9, 2013, WQW.

[5] “Constitutional Scholar Zhang Xuezhong Faces Dismissal From University Over Articles in Support of Constitutional Government (宪政学者张雪忠因宣讲宪政文章面临被学校解聘),” December 9, 2013, WQW.

[6] “Trial of Jiangxi Three Ends, Sentence Day To Be Scheduled (江西刘萍等“三君子”案庭审结束,择日宣判),” December 6, 2013, WQW.

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