[CHRD] Police Gets 14 Years for Pro-Democracy Activities; Three Commit Suicide in Protest Over Evictions, and more

China Human Rights Briefing
December 28, 2012-January 3, 2013

Contents

Arbitrary Detention
    •    Policeman Gets 14-Year Prison Term for Participating in Pro-Democracy Activities
Reprisals Against Activists
    •    Justice Ministry Bars 1989 Student Leader From Practicing Law
Forced Eviction & Demolition
    •    Three Dam Refugees Kill Themselves in Protest Over Forced Relocation
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association
    •    Police Sweep Up Guangzhou Netizens Planning Public Gathering to Mark New Year
Law & Policy Watch
    •    Supreme People’s Court Issues Interpretation for Amended Criminal Procedural Law

Arbitrary Detention
Policeman Gets 14-Year Prison Term for Participating in Pro-Democracy Activities
Wang Dengchao (王登朝), a policeman from Shenzhen, was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison on trumped-up charges for joining in pro-democracy activities. The 38-year-old Wang was arrested in March 2012, two days before he was to take part in a rally in a Shenzhen park calling for democratic reforms. After being detained for eight months, Wang was tried and convicted of “embezzlement” and “disrupting official business” by the Luohu District People’s Court on November 26. A university graduate who was working as a police officer before his arrest, Wang has spread pro-democracy ideas for years after making contact with local activists on online forums.[1]

Reprisals Against Activists
Justice Ministry Bars 1989 Student Leader From Practicing Law

Officials from the Hunan Bureau of Justice have ordered that Luo Qian (罗茜) be barred from obtaining a lawyer’s license, apparently due to his role as a student leader in the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square and his subsequent imprisonment. Hunan authorities issued the decision about Luo even though he has passed the national qualification exam, and also ordered his test results from the 2012 exam be invalidated. Officials from the Shaoyang Bureau of Justice in Hunan Province initially informed Luo of the decision and the reason behind it. Then he was notified that the decision was based on his “lying” about his “criminal” background. Luo Qian was detained for three months for taking part in the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing, and then sentenced to 6 months in prison for “illegally crossing the border” after he tried to leave the country. In retaliation for his activism, Luo was sent to Re-education through labor twice for a total of four years.[2]   

Forced Eviction & Demolition
Three Dam Refugees Kill Themselves in Protest Over Forced Relocation

Three Hunan men recently committed suicide within days of each other in protest over forced relocation for a dam project in Hongjiang City. On December 25, two villagers in their mid-60s took their own lives, one reportedly leaping to his death from the roof of his residence as it was being demolished. The other hanged himself in his home shortly after he was coerced to sign a relocation agreement. Three days later, another man also hanged himself after eviction personnel from the local government went to his home to have him sign an agreement.[3]

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association
Police Sweep Up Guangzhou Netizens Planning Public Gathering to Mark New Year

On January 2, police in Guangzhou prevented a public gathering of activists by taking into custody dozens of them who planned to play music and recite poetry at a public square to celebrate the new year. In the early morning that day, police seized the activity's apparent organizer, Xu Lin (徐琳), and took him in for questioning. In the afternoon, a large number of officers and more than a dozen police vehicles converged on the activists at a plaza next to the Tianhe Sports Center, and dragged 29 of them off to Luoxi Police Station. The circumstances of the detained activists are unclear at the time of writing.[4]

Law & Policy Watch
Supreme People’s Court Issues Interpretation for Amended Criminal Procedural Law
 
The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) recently issued a judicial interpretation for provisions in the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), which went into effect on January 1 following an amendment process that was closely scrutinized both in China and abroad. Released on December 24, the SPC interpretation clarifies, among other things, that investigators’ use of “corporal punishment” and other tactics to coerce confessions is illegal, with such evidence thus inadmissible in court. It also stipulates that all parties involved in a case have the right to confront evidence, addresses standards for compulsory medical treatment cases, and clarifies how to determine compensation for some civil cases. While the Chinese government has stated that the revised CPL will help protect the rights of criminal suspects and defendants, critics have pointed out troubling provisions, such as one that may in effect legalize the “enforced disappearance” of individuals.[5]
 
Edited by Renee Xia and Victor Clemens

[1] “Shenzhen Policeman Wang Dengchao Imprisoned for Spreading Democratic Ideas” (深圳现役警察王登朝因宣传民主被构陷入狱), December 28, 2012, WQW
 
[2] “Justice Ministry Refuses to Credential June Fourth Figure Luo Qian of Shaoyang” (司法部拒发邵阳“六四”民主人士罗茜律师资格), December 29, 2012; “June Fourth Student Luo Qian’s BAR Exam Result Invalidated”  (“六四”学生罗茜被取消司法考试成绩), January 1, 2013, WQW
 
[3] “Three Suicides Within Days of Each Other Over Forced Evictions in Reservoir Area of Hongjiang, Hunan” (湖南洪江库区逼迁5天内3人自杀身亡), January 1, 2012, WQW
 
[4] “Guangzhou Police Disrupt Citizens Gathering, Large Number of Netizens Taken Away” (广州警方阻止公民集会,大批网友被带走), January 2, 2012, WQW
[5] “Supreme People's Court Issues Interpretation on Criminal Procedure Law” (最高人民法院发布刑事诉讼法司法解释), December 24, 2012, PRC Supreme People's Court; “Interpretation of China's New Criminal Procedure Law Clarifies That Corporal Punishment Falls Under Rubric of Behavior to Coerse Confessions” (中国新刑诉法司法解释明确肉刑属刑讯逼供行为), December 24, 2012, Xinhua
 

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