[CHRD] Activist Sentenced for Exposing Land Rights Abuses; NGO Sues After Being Forced to Cancel Conference

China Human Rights Briefing
 
December 19-20, 2012
 
Contents

Arbitrary Detention
    •    Inner Mongolia Activist Sentenced for Revealing Government’s Illegal Land Grabs
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association
    •    Authorities Pressured Hotel to Cancel NGO’s Room Reservations, Group Files Suit

Arbitrary Detention
Inner Mongolia Activist Sentenced for Revealing Government’s Illegal Land Grabs

An Inner Mongolia activist, Song Yunfei (宋云飞), was given a two-year sentence on December 7—a punishment suspended for three years—on an alleged charge of “intentionally leaking state secrets” for revealing information about land grabs and reserves held by the local government. In late 2011, Song began posting reports online to expose the illegal takeover of land in Ordos City, and he also gave many media interviews. Looking to hinder Song’s efforts, officials in Shanghaimiao Township enlisted thugs to harass him and his family. Despite this pressure, Song, who himself has lost land without being compensated, kept up his reporting but was eventually detained in late July.[1]
 
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association
Authorities Pressured Hotel to Cancel NGO’s Room Reservations, Group Files Suit
 
In yet another act of suppressing civil society groups often resorted to by Chinese authorities, Jiangsu officials reportedly pressured a hotel to cancel rooms booked by the NGO Justice for All, effectively forcing the anti-discrimination group to call off an event in April. The Nanjing-based organization has filed a civil lawsuit against the Suzhou Motai Hotel Company. The NGO had reserved guest rooms and a conference room at a hotel for an event intended to bring together lawyers to discuss issues tied to public interest law. However, two days before the event was to begin, the hotel in Suzhou told the NGO that their reservations had been cancelled, and that the space would instead be used by the local government, a claim that the NGO later found was untrue. On December 19, a court heard a lawsuit filed by Justice for All, which is seeking compensation for funds lost due to the cancellations.[2]
 
Edited by Ann Song and Victor Clemens

[1] “Inner Mongolia Villager Song Yunfei of Shanghaimiao Township Sentenced for Reporting Government’s Illegal Land Reserves” (内蒙古上海庙镇村民宋云飞举报政府违法囤地被判刑), December 18, 2012, WQW
 
[2] “Hotel Sued by NGO Over Cancelled Conference Reservations, Proceedings to Open on December 19” (酒店临时取消会议订单被NGO起诉,19日开庭审理), November 19, 2012, Justice for All
 

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