Escalating Crackdown Following Call for Jasmine Revolution in China

InternationalCommunity Must Take Strong andClear Stance Condemning RightsViolations by theChinese Government

(Chinese Human RightsDefenders, March 31,2011) – The Chinese government hascriminally detained a total of 26individuals, disappeared more than30, and put more than 200 undersoft detentionsince mid-February after anonymouscalls for “Jasmine Revolution”protests firstappeared online.  Asof today, three of thecriminally detained have beenformally arrested while five havebeen releasedon bail to await trial, a dozen ofthe disappeared remain missingincluding anumber of prominent human rightslawyers; while almost all of thesoftdetentions have been lifted.Authorities also chose to hand avery harsh10-year sentence to Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌), ademocracy activist, on March 25for “inciting subversion of statepower” tosignal to those currently detainedfor similar crimes that they couldbesubjected to lengthy sentences.See the list below for a completeaccount ofthe arrests, detentions, anddisappearances.

 

“After theinternational community ralliedbehind writer Liu Xiaobo, who wasput behind bars for 11 years forhis speech,or lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who hasdisappeared, the Chinesegovernment now pushesback by criminally detaining,disappearing and possiblytorturing many morewriters, netizens and lawyers fortheir peaceful expression,” saysRenee Xia,CHRD’s International Director,  “thescope of the crackdown and theseriousness of the crimes used todetain orindict individuals have made thisone of harshest since 1998 whenthegovernment imprisoned a coupledozens pro-democracy activists fororganizingthe China Democracy Party.”

 Map showing locations of individuals detained and disappeared whose cases have been confirmed by CHRD (image)

While five of the 26criminally detained—ChengWanyun (程婉芸), Mo Jiangang (莫建刚), Lan Jingyuan (兰靖远), Weng Jie (翁杰) and ZhengChuangtian (郑创添) —have been releasedon bail to await trial, the restremain indetention. Those detained havebeen charged with crimes including“incitingsubversion of state power” and“subversion of state power,”serious crimes thatcould lead up to life imprisonmentif convicted. The decision thisweek toformally arrest Ran Yunfei (冉云飞), Ding Mao (丁茅) and Chen Wei (陈卫), all basedin Sichuan Province, has left manyworried that others may soon facea similar fate.

 

While thesedetentions are arbitrary, andclearly politically-motivated,they at least have some basis inChinese law.The same cannot be said for theenforced disappearances of lawyersandactivists, some of which have nowlasted more than one month. Giventheexperience of prominent lawyerssuch as Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), who was repeatedlydisappeared and tortured  while heldillegally by the police, it islikely that many of those who aremissing may befacing similar mistreatment.Reports have surfaced that lawyerTang Jitian (唐吉田), who was seized bypolice at the same time as JiangTianyong (江天勇) and Teng Biao (滕彪), wastortured while he was being heldincommunicado. Tang has since beensent backfrom Beijing to his hometown inJilin Province,but is being held under softdetention, warned to keep quiet,and barred fromcontacting the outside world.

 

In addition to thosecriminally detained ordisappeared, more than 200activists and netizens weresubjected to softdetention, which also has no legalbasis in Chinese law, as part ofthecrackdown.  Atthis time, theserestrictions on activists’movements have largely beenlifted. Many moreactivists and netizens have beeninterrogated about their blogs andTweets,which mentioned or commented onthe “Jasmine revolution”, or theywerequestioned about their recentactivities and whether they knowanything aboutthe organization of theseprotests.

The actions of the Chinesegovernment laybare once again its policy of zerointolerance of political dissentand itswillingness to completelydisregard Chinese law andinternational human rightsstandards for the sake of rootingout any potential threat to thecommunistparty’s monopoly of power.  In thecontext of the democraticuprisings taking place in theMiddle East and North Africa, theChinese government, fearful of itsownpeople, is counting on gettingaway with staging one of the mostrepressivecampaigns in more than a decadebecause of the internationalcommunity’spreoccupation with eventselsewhere.

 

CHRD urges theinternational community,particularly the governments ofthe United States and members oftheEuropean Union, to take a publicstand to condemn these detentionsanddisappearances. At a time when theinternational community is sovocal in itssupport of citizens seekinggreater freedoms, it must not turnits back on Chinaand its people. Given the severityof the current situation, CHRDbelieves thatstrong and concrete actions byworld leaders, such as issuingpublic statementsand suspension of some diplomaticactivities and visits with theChinesegovernment, can make a difference.

 

CHRD calls once againon the U.N. WorkingGroup on Enforced and InvoluntaryDisappearance, the SpecialRapporteur on theSituation of Human RightsDefenders, and the Working Groupon ArbitraryDetention to take urgent actionand send communiqués to theChinese governmentregarding these cases. These areimportant and meaningful actionsand must becontinued despite the Chinesegovernment’s continued defiance,manifested mostrecently in its response to theWorking Group on ArbitraryDetention’s demandthat Gao Zhisheng be released.

 

Media Contacts

Renee Xia,International Director (Englishand Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or+1 240 374 8937

Wang Songlian,Research Coordinator(English and Mandarin), +852 81911660

David Smalls,Researcher (English) +1 347448 5285

 

Appendix:

Informationabout the three individuals whohave been formally arrested:

  • ChenWei (陈卫), 42, a rightsactivist based inSuining City, Sichuan Province,was formally arrested for“inciting subversionof statepower” on March 28. Chen wascriminally detained for“incitingsubversion of state power” onFebruary 20 after police inSuining called himfor “tea” that same morning.Officers and security guardslater searched hishome, confiscating a computer,two hard drives and a USB drive.He is currentlybeing held at the Suining CityDetention Center. Chen was a1989 Tiananmen student protesterwhen he was studying at theBeijing Instituteof Technology, majoring inmechanical engineering. He wasimprisoned inQincheng prison and released inJanuary 1991.  In May 1992, Chenwas againarrested for commemorating June4 and organizing a politicalparty, and wassentenced to five years inprison. In the past severalyears, Chen has emergedas a leader in organizing humanrights actions in Sichuan.
  • DingMao (丁矛), a 45 year-olddissident, was seized from hishome on February 19 andthen criminally detained on thesame day by police in MianyangCity, SichuanProvince, on suspicion of“inciting subversion of statepower.” CHRD learned ofhis arrest on March 28; he iscurrently being held at theMianyang City Detention Center.As a philosophy student atLanzhou University in the late1980s, Ding became a studentleader during the 1989pro-democracy protests. Hewas twice imprisoned for hisactivism, first in 1989 andagain in 1992 when hewas arrested for organizing theSocial Democratic Party. Hespent a total of 10years in jail. Before hisdetention and arrest, he was thegeneral manager ofan investment company inMianyang.
  • RanYunfei (冉云飞), 46, awriter, blogger, andactivist, was formally arrestedon March 25 for “incitingsubversion of statepower” and is currently beingheld in the Dujiangyan DetentionCenter. Ran was originallycriminally detained for“subversion of state power” onFebruary 24, accordingto a formal detention noticereceived by his wife; it is notknown why thecharge was changed. Ran, amember of the ethnic Tu minoritywho studied Chineseliterature at SichuanUniversity, is an employee ofthe magazine SichuanLiterature and a residentof Chengdu City, SichuanProvince. He is a prolificwriter of social and politicalcommentary. He blogsat <http://www.bullogger.com/blogs/ranyunfei/>andhis Twitter account, @ranyunfei,has more than 44,000 followers. Ranhas been in police detentionsince the morning of February20, when he wassummoned to “tea.” Officerslater searched his home andconfiscated hiscomputer.
  • Informationabout the other 23 individualsunder criminal detention:

  • ChengWanyun (程婉芸), 41, is aBeijing-based netizen originallyfrom Sichuan Province. She wassummoned by Beijing police onFebruary 26 and criminallydetained for “creating adisturbance” and “obstructingpublic safety” the nextday. Her computer was alsoconfiscated.  OnMarch28, Cheng was released on bailto await trial and will besubjected toone year of “publicsurveillance” (guanzhi). Duringher detention in TongzhouDistrict Detention Center, Chengwas interrogated seven timesmainly about herwritings on QQ groups about therevolutions in the Middle East,whether she hasbeen “exploited by someone else”or been part of a wider networkororganization.
  • Guo Weidong (郭卫东), born in 1972, acollege graduate, employee of abusinesscorporation, and an activenetizen from Haining City,Zhejiang Province, wascriminally detained on March 11for "inciting subversion ofstatepower." The day before, policehad arrived at Guo's home andoffice andconfiscated his computer alongwith other items. Guo, whoseTwitter account is@daxa, had previously beensummoned twice for questioningin relation to theanonymous online calls for"Jasmine Revolution" protests.
  • HuaChunhui (华春晖), 47, is a WuxiCity, JiangsuProvince-based netizen,activist, and mid-level managerat an insurancecompany. He was seized by policeon February 21 and criminallydetained onsuspicion of “endangering statesecurity,” according to a noticeissued bypolice at the Tanduqiao Stationin Wuxi’sNanchang District. Hua, usingthe Twitter account @wxhch64,tweeted messagesabout the “Jasmine Revolution.”Hua and his fiancée Wang Yi (王译) have been activein civil society initiatives inrecent years; forexample, the couple organized aforum in Beijing in May 2010 todiscuss thedemonstrations outside of theFuzhou City trial of threeactivists. Wang Yi(whose given name is ChengJianping) was sent to one yearof Re-educationthrough Labor in November 2010for a tweet she posted duringviolent anti-Japandemonstrations in October 2010.
  • Lan Jingyuan (兰靖远), aBeijing-based victim of forcedeviction who has beenpetitioning the government forcompensation, was detainedon February 24 on suspicion oftaking part in an “illegaldemonstration” afterparticipating in the “JasmineRevolution” protest inWangfujing, Beijing, onFebruary 20. Lan was released onbailon February 24and now awaiting for trial. Likeothers released on bail, he waswarned not tospeak about his case to anybody. 
  • LiHai (李海), 57, aBeijing-based dissident andactivist, was criminallydetained on February 26 bypolice in Chaoyang District for "creating adisturbance." Li is beingdetained in the ChaoyangDistrict Detention Center.He was a student leader atBeijing University during the1989 pro-democracydemonstrations, and was expelledfrom school and detainedfor seven months after the demonstrations weresuppressed. In 1995, Li wasdetained and eventuallysentenced to nine years in prison for hispro-democracyactivities and advocacy onbehalf of victims of theTiananmen Massacre. Followinghis release in 2004, Licontinued his activism and hasbeen repeatedlyharassed, threatened, anddetained by the government. Histwitter account is @lihai54.
  • Li Shuangde (李双德), a citizen lawyerand an activist based in ChengduCity, SichuanProvince, was criminallydetained on March 24 onsuspicion of "credit cardfraud" by the Public SecurityBureau (PSB) of JinjiangDistrict of ChengduCity. Police had taken him awayon March 21. Li is currentlybeing held in the ChengduDetention Center,which is located in Pi County.Li operates a legal aid centerin Chengdu, and provideslegal aid to citizens who cannotafford to hire a lawyer. Li hasbeen harassedon numerous occasions in thepast by local officials.
  • Li Yongsheng (李永生), 45, aBeijing-based rights activist,was criminally detained onMarch 7 for "creating adisturbance" by the TongzhouDistrict PSB. Heis currently being held at theTongzhou District DetentionCenter. Li has participatedin a number of activitiesorganized by NGOs in Beijing inrecent years.
  • LiangHaiyi (梁海怡, aka Miaoxiao [渺小]), 42, anetizen originally fromGuangdong Province, was taken infor questioning onFebruary 19 by police in HarbinCity, Heilongjiang Province,along with her ex-husband.Her ex-husband was laterreleased, but Liang remained inpolice custody.According to Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), a lawyerretained by her family, LiangHaiyi was criminally detained onsuspicion of“subversion of state power” onFebruary 21. Police accusedLiang Haiyi of“posting information fromforeign websites regarding‘Jasmine Revolution’actions on domestic websites”such as QQ, the popular Chinesesocial networkingsite. She is being held at theHarbin City No. 2 DetentionCenter.
  • Liu Huiping (刘慧萍), a petitioner fromGuangxi Province, was criminallydetained onsuspicion of “incitingsubversion of state power” afterbeing forcibly returnedto Nanning City, Guanxi, fromBeijing on March 15.  Liu isbeing held in Nanning No. 1DetentionCenter. Her home was alsosearched by the police. Liu is aleader of a group offemale village activists whohave been petitioning againstgenderdiscrimination against women whowere married to other villagesandconsequently lost their right inthe management of economicaffairs of villagesaround Nanning.
  • Mo Jiangang (莫建刚), 60, a humanrights and democracy activist,was seized sometimebefore March 6 and criminallydetained. As of March 18, he hadbeen released;however, more detailedinformation regarding hissituation is not currentlyavailable. Mo, who was born inGuiyang City, Guizhou Province,moved to Beijing and becameinvolved in thepro-democracy movement in 1978.He was briefly detained aftertaking part inthe 1989 demonstrations inBeijing.After 1989, Mo returned toGuiyangand continued his activism,becoming a leader among localdemocracy activists.
  • Quan Lianzhao (全连昭), 60, a petitionerfrom Guangxi Province, wasseized by interceptorsin Beijing on February 26 andforcibly returned to NanningCity, GuangxiProvince, where she wascriminally detained for“subversion of state power.”Quan is currently being held inthe Nanning City No. 1 DetentionCenter. It isbelieved that Quan’s detentionis related to her taking part ina“Revolutionary SingingGathering” in a Beijingpark on February 3, wherepetitioners gathered to singrevolutionary songs andpresent accounts of theirgrievances. Quan also gatheredwith a number ofpetitioners on February 20 topresent their grievances atBeijing’sChaoyang Park; while thegathering drew theattention of police because itwas the same date as theproposed “JasmineRevolution” protests, friendssaid that Quan does not use theinternet andwould have not known of thedemonstrations called for thatdate. Quan has beenpetitioning for four years inresponse to the forcedexpropriation of land inher village.
  • Sun Desheng (孙德胜), a young GuangzhouCity, Guangdong Provinceresident, wascriminally detained on suspicionof "inciting subversion of statepower" some time before March 9.Reportedly, Sun's detentionstemmed froma friend's dinner party, whereSun wrote anti-corruption andanti-dictatorshipslogans and then posed withfriends for a picture. Thedinner, which took placeon February 15, was alsoattended by lawyers Liu Shihui (刘士辉) and Li Fangping (李方平); Liu's homewas searched on February 24, andpolice discovered the photographon hiscomputer. Further details aboutSun’s detention are notcurrently available.
  • Tan Lanying (谈兰英), a 67 year-oldShanghai-basedpetitioner-activist, wascriminallydetained for "assembling a crowdto disrupt the order of a publicplace" on February 21. Tan isbeing held in Shanghai's PutuoDetentionCenter. Tan has been petitioningfor 17 years, seeking redressfor grievancesrelated to the forced demolitionof her home.
  • Wang Lihong (王荔蕻), 55, aBeijing-based human rightsdefender and democracy activist,was criminally detained for"creating a disturbance" atsome pointbefore March 26. She iscurrently being held at theChaoyang District DetentionCenter. However, her family hasyet to receive any formaldocumentationregarding her detention. In1989, Ms. Wang joined thepro-democracydemonstrations in Beijing,an experience which led her toresign from her government jobin 1991.  Ms.Wang, a former doctor, thenbecame a dedicateddemocracy activist and humanrights defender. She has workedon projects suchas relief efforts for the"Tiananmen homeless" andadvocated onbehalf of three imprisonedFujian netizens andcitizens fighting land seizuresin BeihaiCity, Guangxi Province. 
  • Wei Qiang (魏强), a human rightsactivist, was criminallydetained in Beijing onsuspicion of taking part in an“illegal demonstration;” hisfamily was notifiedon March 2 by the Beijing PSB.He is being held in the HaidianDistrict Detention Center.Wei, originally from Xi’an City,Shaanxi Province, moved toBeijing in 2010. On February 20,he used hisTwitter account (@Watchmen725)to report from the scene infront of theWangfujing McDonald’s, one ofthe locations identified in thecall for “JasmineRevolution” protests.
  • Wei Shuishan (魏水山), aZhejiangProvince-based dissident anddemocracy activist, wascriminally detained onMarch 5. However, as of the timeof writing, Wei’s family has yetto receive a formaldetention notice so no furtherdetails are currently available. Weiisa member of the banned ChinaDemocracy Party.
  • Weng Jie (翁杰), a Beijingresident, was criminallydetained for "creating adisturbance" on March 2. Wenghad been present at the Beijingsite pickedfor "Jasmine Revolution"protests on February 20 and waslater seizedby police. Weng was detained inthe Chaoyang District DetentionCenter until March 25,when he was released on bail toawait trial.
  • Xue Mingkai (薛明凯), 22, an activistfrom Shandong Province's QufuCity, was seized onFebruary 18 in Hangzhou City,Zhejiang Province and forciblyreturned to hishometown. He was latercriminally detained; however,CHRD has been unable tocontact his family to learnfurther details. Xue served 18months in prisonbetween May 2009 andNovember2010 for “subversion ofstate power.” A migrantworker living in Shenzhen at thetime, Xue was charged with"subversion" after allegedlyplanning to organize a politicalpartycalled the “China DemocraticWorkers’ Party” with onlinefriends in the summerof 2006 and then contacting andjoining an overseas democracyorganization inearly 2009.
  • Yang Lamei (杨腊梅), a Shanghai-basedactivist, has been missing sinceFebruary 20 andis believed to be criminallydetained. An eyewitness hasreported that Yang wasseized by police at the sametime as activist Tan Lanying (谈兰英), whose familyreceived a formal detentionnotice on February 22.However, CHRD has so far beenunable to contact Yang's familyfor further details.
  • Yang Qiuyu (杨秋雨), a Beijing-baseddissident, was criminallydetained on March 7 for“creatinga disturbance.”. Yang was takenaway on March 6, and on March 9police returnedto search his home, confiscatinga computer, name cards, andother items. Yangis currently held in XichengDistrict Detention Center.
  • Zhang Jiannan (张健男), better known byhis online name, Secretary Zhang(张书记), was seized athis home in Beijing on March 2and criminallydetained for taking part in an“illegal demonstration.” Zhangwas the founderof the website 1984 BBS (http://1984bbs.com),anonline discussion forumdedicated to discussion ofcurrent events and thepublication of censored news,which was shut down by thegovernment on October12, 2010. His twitter account is@SecretaryZhang.
  • ZhengChuangtian (郑创添), a human rightsactivist, wascriminally detained for“inciting subversion of statepower” by police inHuilai County, Jieyang City,Guangdong Province on February26. Officers alsosearched Zheng’s home; it is notknown what, if anything, theyconfiscated. OnMarch 28, Zheng was released onbail to await trial and returnedhome to Huilai County.
  • Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), 58, a HangzhouCity, Zhejiang Province-baseddemocracy activist,was taken away by police onMarch 5. Officers also searchedhis home andconfiscated two computers andother items. Zhu was latercriminally detained onsuspicion of “incitingsubversion of state power.”Formerly a property managerat the Hangzhou City ShangchengDistrict Urban Housing Bureau,Zhu wasconvicted of “subversion ofstate power” in 1999 and servedseven years inprison for founding the OppositionParty magazine, whichcarriedarticles about the ChinaDemocratic Party. After hisrelease in 2006, he spokeout against the torture hesuffered in prison and continuedto promotedemocratization. He was detainedagain in 2007 after aconfrontation with apolice officer who wasquestioning his son, andsentenced to two years inprison for "beating police andhindering public duty."
  • Informationabout the 12 individuals who arestill missing as of the time ofwriting; theyare at high risk of torture orother mistreatment while heldillegallyincommunicado:

  • Ceng Renguang (曾仁广), aBeijing-based human rightsactivist, has been missing sinceFebruary 22.
  • Gu Chuan (古川), a Beijing-basedauthor and human rightsactivist, has been missingsince February 19. On February19, about twenty Beijingpolicemen searched Gu’shome without presenting theirpolice IDs or a search warrant.They confiscated twocomputers, two cell phones andsome books. Gu’s wife hasrepeatedly asked Beijingpolicemen thewhereabouts of her husband, butwas told they “do not know.” Shehas notreceived any formal detentiondocuments from the police. WhenGu’s home wassearched, the policemen said thesearch was related to Gu usingTwitter torepost messages about the“Jasmine Revolution.”
  • Hu Di (胡荻), a Beijing-basednetizen and writer, has beenmissing since March13.
  • Jiang Tianyong(江天勇), a Beijing-basedhuman rights lawyer,has been missing since February19. On the afternoon ofFebruary 19, Jiang wasseized from his brother’s homeand driven away by menidentified by his familyas Beijing policemen. Policereturned that evening andconfiscated Jiang’scomputer. The police neverpresented any police IDs, searchor detentionwarrants at any point during theproceedings. Beijing police haverefused to tell Jiang’sfamily his whereabouts. 
  • Ma He (马贺, aka KucunJiasha [库存袈裟]), a Chengdu-basednetizen, has beenmissing since March 3. Ma was atechnician for the website 1984BBS (http://1984bbs.com),whosefounder, Zhang Jiannan (张健男), has beencriminally detained.
  • Lan Ruoyu (蓝若宇), a Chongqing-basedgraduate student, has beenmissing since February27. Police also confiscated acomputer belonging to Lan, astudent atCommunication University ofChina.
  • Li Tiantian (李天天), a Shanghai-basedhuman rights lawyer, has beenmissing sinceFebruary 19.Li was taken awayfrom her home by police. Shemaintains a blog(http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1896094822)and her Twitter account is@litiantian.
  • Liu Anjun (刘安军), a Beijing-basedhuman rights activist, exactdate of disappearanceunknown. Amongother activities, Liuis the organizer of the groupSunshine Charity, which isdedicated tosupporting petitioners inBeijing.He has been subjected to policeharassment and enforceddisappearances on anumber of occasions in the past.
  • Liu Dejun (刘德军), a Beijing-basednetizen, has been missing sinceFebruary 27. SinceLiu went missing, police havegone to the home of Liu'ssister, in Wuhan City,on three occasions to search hercomputer as well as items leftby Liu after arecent visit. Officers did notprovide any legal notificationregarding Liu'sdisappearance on any of theseoccasions, and officers inBeijingand Wuhancontacted by the family haverefused to provide anyinformation about Liu'swhereabouts.
  • Liu Shihui (刘士辉), a Guangzhou-basedhuman rights lawyer, has beenmissing sinceFebruary 20. Before hedisappeared, Liu was brutallybeaten by a group ofunidentified individuals whilewaiting at a bus stop toparticipate in theFebruary 20 “Jasmine Revolution”protests in Guangzhou.
  • Teng Biao (滕彪), a Beijing-basedhuman rights lawyer, has beenmissing sinceFebruary 19. Teng disappearedafter leaving his home to meetwith friends.Reportedly, policemen from theBeijing Public Security Bureau’sNationalSecurity Unit searched Teng’shome the following day,confiscating two computers,a printer, articles, books, DVDsand photos of Chen Guangcheng.
  • Zhou Li (周莉), a Beijing-basedactivist, has been missing sinceMarch 27. Lastyear, Zhou was convicted of"creating a disturbance" andsentenced toone year in prison afterparticipating in 2009 protestsagainst Sun Dongdong (孙东东), the BeijingUniversity professor who createdan uproar in theactivist community when heclaimed that “99% of petitionerssuffer from mentalillness.”
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