[CHRD] Several Tibetans Sent to Prison; Petitioners Detained During “Sensitive” Period, and more (3/9-3/15, 2013)

on Mar 15, 2013
China Human Rights Briefing
March 9-15, 2013
Contents
Arbitrary Detention
    •    Several Tibetan Monks, Singer Sentenced to Prison in Qinghai
Reprisals Against Activists
    •    Petitioners Formally Detained During “Sensitive” Political Period
Freedom of Information & Access to Information
    •    New Government Campaign: Screen Monks’ Cellphones in Lhasa
Special Notice
    •    CHRD Releases Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in China in 2012

Arbitrary Detention
Several Tibetan Monks, Singer Sentenced to Prison in Qinghai
In Qinghai Province, two ethnic Tibetans—a monk and a singer—have recently been given lengthy prison sentences, while other monks have been issued shorter punishments. On February 23, monk Lobsang Jinpa was given a five-year sentence, and two more monks from the same monastery, Sonam Sherab and Sonam Yignyen, have been imprisoned for two years apiece. The monks were seized in September 2012 when Chinese security forces raided their monastery. The detentions are reportedly linked to a peaceful protest staged by the monks in February of last year.
Also on February 23, Lolo, a popular Tibetan singer, was sentenced to six years in jail in apparent retaliation for a music album he released that includes what authorities consider “politically charged” songs, such as “Raise the Tibetan flag, Children of Snowland.” Lolo was initially detained in April 2012.
In another case, a senior monk, Yarphel, was sentenced to 15 months in early March on charges of “disrupting traffic” and “disrupting public order.” The punishment stems from a procession last year during which Yarphel carried the ashes of his nephew, who self-immolated in November, from a monastery to his nephew’s home. The sentence aligns with the Chinese government policy to criminalize various activities tied to self-immolations.[1]
Reprisals Against Activists
Petitioners Formally Detained During “Sensitive” Political Period
As part of “stability maintenance” efforts, police rounded up thousands of petitioners and ultimately incarcerated many of them around the “Two Meetings,” the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which convened in Beijing. From March 7 to 9, more than 170 Shanghai petitioners were reportedly put under some form of police custody. At least 20 petitioners from Suzhou, Jiangsu Province were given 10-day administrative detentions, and one, Wang Fengyun (王风云), was sentenced to 15 days for “inciting petitioning.” On March 8, 70-year-old petitioner Zhang Zhengting (张正廷) of Liaoning Province, who had distributed leaflets at Tiananmen Square, was issued 10 days of administrative detention after being sent back to her hometown. That same day, blind petitioner Cheng Yongcheng (陈永成) of Shanghai was given a 10-day administrative detention by local police. In addition, petitioners from Jilin Province and the municipality of Tianjin reportedly received administrative detentions.[2]
Freedom of Information & Access to Information
New Government Campaign: Screen Monks’ Cellphones in Lhasa
To tighten up already strict controls over communications in Lhasa, Chinese authorities have begun a campaign of searching cellphones owned by Tibetan monks, specifically targeting monastic institutions. On March 10—the 54th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising in Lhasa—a “work team” of cellphone technicians from Beijing began screening the phones of local monks. Over the coming months, the team is expected to go to monasteries and temples in Lhasa and stay for several days in each location in order to conduct the invasive screening. These measures follow a campaign in which authorities ordered satellites dishes and broadcast equipment in the city to be set on fire.[3]
Special Notice
CHRD Releases Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in China in 2012
On March 14, CHRD published its annual report on the situation of human rights defenders in China in 2012, “In the Name of ‘Stability’.” CHRD finds that the 2012 environment for HRDs remained perilous, with authorities ramping up controls in part to ensure “harmony” during the Communist Party’s major changing of the guard. CHRD applauds activists’ use of new strategies to bolster their advocacy while gaining some impressive ground, even as the government deployed its extensive “stability maintenance” apparatus to intimidate and punish Chinese citizens who tried to exercise basic liberties and defend fundamental human rights. In the report, CHRD analyzes developments in areas that have directly affected HRDs: legalized “enforced disappearance” in the revised Criminal Procedure Law; the controversial Re-education through Labor system; forced psychiatric commitment and passage of the Mental Health Law; and the CCP-controlled local People’s Congress elections counter posed to the unveiling of China’s new top leaders.
Edited by Victor Clemens and Ann Song

[1] “Two Tibetans, monk and singer, sentenced to prison,” March 13, 2013, TCHRD; “Uncle of Tibetan self-immolator sentenced to prison,” March 4, 2013, TCHRD; “China detains uncle of Tibetan self-immolator in Rebkong,” February 4, 2013, TCHRD
[2] “Over 200 People Sentenced to Administrative Detention During Two Meetings” (两会期间上海已有百余人被行政拘留), March 11, 2013, WQW; “Over 20 Rights Petitioners Detained in Suzhou, Anhui” (安徽省宿州拘留20多名上访维权人士), March 9, 2013, WQW; “Tianjin Rights Petitioner Gao Ping Sentenced to Administrative Detention For Distributing Leaflets at the Tiananmen Square” (天津上访维权人士高平因天安门撒传单被行政拘留), March 8, 2013, WQW; “Shanghai Rights Activists Yin Huimin, Li Lingzhen Held Under 10-Day Detention After Being Intercepted When Petitioning In Beijing” (上海维权人士尹慧敏、李玲珍遭截访后被拘留10天), March 8, 2013, WQW; “Shanghai Petitioners, Including Sun Hongqin, Held Under Administrative Detention After Being Intercepted When Petitioning in Beijing” (上海孙洪琴等人在北京遭截访后被行政拘留), March 8, 2013, WQW; “Zhao Yunxia, Mother of Jilin Man Who Sacrificed Self to Save Others, Detained For Distributing Leaflets at Tiananmen Square” (吉林见义勇为母亲赵云侠天安门撒传单被拘留), March 8, 2013, WQW; “Blind Man Chen Yongcheng Detained for 10 Days After Being Forcibly Returned to Shanghai” (盲人陈永成被截回上海后遭拘留10天), March 8, 2013, HRCC; “Distributing Leaflets at Tiananmen Square, 70-Year-Old Petitioner Zhang Zhengting From Dandong Given 10-Day Administrative Detention” (天安门撒传单,丹东70岁访民张正廷被行政拘留10天), March 8, 2013, HRCC
[3] “China launches crackdown on personal cellphones in Lhasa,” March 11, 2013, TCHRD
 

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