Nip any independent and dissident activities and voice in bud: the New Repressive Methods and Old Totalitarian institutions

After Xi Jinping came to power, Chinese regime has nipped any potential activity in bud, by  the new repressive methods and old totalitarian institutions. Law  is  one of the authority's tool to control society, judicial interpretation expanding existing law to punish “online rumors” http://legal.people.com.cn/n/2013/0909/c42510-22859612.html  and Criminal Law Amendment further restraining and more harshly punishing independent activities in society  http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/lfgz/flca/2014-11/03/content_1885029.h…

In addition, Beijing authorities use more internal administration, to root out independent groups and networks and arrest activists or put them under house arrest. http://www.bbc.co.uk/zhongwen/simp/china/2014/06/140620_cn_shangxi_webs… The examples below are merely the tip of the iceberg of the crackdown.

Crackdown any independent and dissident activities and voice

In strident moves meant to further silence government critics, Beijing authorities have shuttered the Transition Institute (传之行), an independent research group, and also the Liren Group (立人) that runs an non-state-owned school and independent libraries, while detaining several individuals affiliated with these groups as well as other independent writers.
He Zhengjun (何正军) of the Transition Institute and well-known writer Xu Xiao (徐晓) were both detained on November 26, a sign of growing suppression against government critics.

Police searched the home of Transition Institute’s administrative director, He Zhengjun (何正军), and took him into custody on November 26. That same day, police also seized a former Transition employee, Liu Jianshu (柳建树), who returned from studying at Harvard and Oxford in 2011, and who has been managing the Liren libraries. Environmentalist and educator Xue Ye 薛野 was detained by police.  Xue, a dedicated activist since 1989, is a former general executive of Friends of Nature, a co-founder of Sisyphe Bookstore and Liren Rural Libraries. http://www.xctsg.org/ The charges against the three and their whereabouts are currently unknown. Also on November 26, police from the Beijing Public Security Bureau seized well-known writer Xu Xiao (徐晓), writer & editor of Today ( a citizen magazine during Democracy Wall 1978-80), the chief cultural editor of the publication New Century, without providing an arrest warrant to her family. She was put under criminal detention on suspicion of “endangering state security,” but her location of detention is unknown. Ms. Xu, who went to prison for “counterrevolutionary” crimes during the Cultural Revolution, has recently been involved in Liren University’s activities.

These detentions followed the detentions of Guo Yushan (郭玉闪), the Transition Institute’s founder and former director, on October 9, and Huang Kaiping (黄凯平), its current director, on October 10. Guo and Huang were both criminally detained on a charge of “creating a disturbance” and are being held at Beijing No. 1 Detention Center. Founded in 2007, the Transition Institute has conducted research and advocacy on tax reform, local election, business regulation, legal reform, citizen participation, and equal rights to education.[1] Mr. Guo and other staff played a key role in Chen Guangcheng’s rescue operation in April 2012.

On October 9, police also detained the Beijing-based writer and documentary filmmaker Kou Yanding (寇延丁), 49, and put her under criminal detention on a charge of “creating a disturbance” at an unknown location. The charge is likely related to her expression of support of pro-democracy freedoms in Hong Kong.[2] Those familiar with the case also believe that her detention is tied to her affiliation with the Transition Institute and her role in Chen Guangcheng’s rescue. Ms. Kou is known for her books on peaceful democratic transition and civil society activism.

Authorities have closed down Liren University, a private school in Beijing run by the Liren Group, and its many branch libraries in Chinese villages. On October 1, police detained Chen Kun (陈堃), 27, the school’s executive director since 2013. The charge against him and his location of detention are not known at the time of reporting.

Following the arrests of the 81-year-old writer Tie Liu (铁流) in September and the veteran dissident journalist Gao Yu (高瑜) in May, the more recent detentions have raised grave concerns that President Xi Jinping may be waging a crackdown on dissent aimed at independent groups and outspoken intellectuals.

Delayed Trials & Rushed Sentences During Thanksgiving Holiday

Court proceedings for four activists initially detained in the summer of 2013 were held on November 28, the day after Thanksgiving, a major holiday in the United States. In Guangzhou, a flawed hearing on the cases of Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) and Sun Desheng (孙德胜) stretched into the early morning of the next day but ended without a verdict. Meanwhile, a court in Jiangsu Province sentenced to prison activists Ding Hongfen (丁红芬) and Shen Aibin (沈爱斌), punishing them for disclosing a black jail and rescuing detainees in Wuxi City in June 2013.

The trial of Mr. Guo and Mr. Sun at the Tianhe District People’s Court went on for 18 hours without a break, and authorities denied the defendants food. In court, judges ignored allegations that police subjected the activists to torture and other inhumane treatment during their detention, and repeatedly interrupted the activists and lawyers from speaking. Only a few individuals were allowed to observe the proceedings, while police kept many supporters from going near the courthouse and took several away. Both Guo and Sun have been detained since August 2013 on charges of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” They are among dozens, including 15 who have been sentenced to prison so far, who were targeted in the crackdown on peaceful assembly, association, and expression that began in early 2013.[3]

In Jiangsu, the Binhu District People’s Court in Wuxi sentenced Ding Hongfen and Shen Aibin to 21 and 18 months, respectively, on charges of “intentional damage of property.” Three other activists tried in the same case in late October were not given prison terms. Authorities seized all five after the activists conducted a daring rescue of petitioners who were being held inside a guesthouse in Wuxi (see video). Due to a lack of evidence, police released them on “bail pending further investigation” in March 2014.  In late May, police arrested Ding and Shen after they reported to authorities that one of the security guards at the local procuratorate was the same guard at the black jail that they had uncovered a year before. Taking into account time already served in detention, Shen’s sentence is scheduled to end in March 2015, and Ding is set for release next June.[4]

Gao Yu (高瑜), Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), and Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), arrested in the suppression surrounding around this year’s June Fourth anniversary, will face trial imminently, with court proceedings in Ms. Gao’s case scheduled to begin this Friday, according to Rights Defense Network. These will be the first cases to be heard in court tied to government suppression from the spring and summer that has led to at least 20 confirmed arrests. Six of the more than 40 people who were put under criminal detention still remain in custody. CHRD demands the immediate and unconditional release of all individuals detained/arrested for exercising their right to free speech and expression during the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre crackdown.

A Beijing court will put dissident journalist Gao Yu on trial on November 21 on a charge of “illegally disseminating state secrets overseas.” Reportedly, the charges against Gao accuse her of leaking a Communist Party directive against “universal values,” widely referred to as Document No. 9, to an overseas website. The hearing will be held at the Beijing No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court. Gao, 70, has been held in Beijing No. 1 Detention Center since she disappeared in April. In reprisal for supporting the 1989 pro-democracy protests, Gao was barred from publishing in China and imprisoned for six years in 1993 after being convicted of “leaking state secrets.”[6]

The cases of lawyers Pu Zhiqiang and Tang Jingling have moved closer to trial, after prosecutors indicted both men. Beijing authorities arrested Pu on charges of “creating a disturbance” and “illegally obtaining personal information” in mid-June, Pu is currently held at Beijing No. 1 Detention Center, where he reportedly had not received proper treatment for illnesses. Guangzhou police arrested Tang on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” in June, and are holding him at the Guangzhou No. 1 Detention Center. A former Tiananmen student leader in 1989, Pu has defended several high-profile human rights cases in recent years. In 2006, Tang lost his license to practice law in reprisal for his activism, and has most recently worked with a network of activists in the “Non-Violent Citizens’ Disobedience Movement.”[6]

Wang Bingzhang (王炳章), a veteran US-based Chinese democracy activist has been sentenced to life in prison in 2003. Wang was abducted by Chinese security forces along the border of China and Vietnam in 2002.

Yang Tongyan (杨同彦, aka Yang Tianshui [杨天水]), a writer, is critically ill, raise serious concerns about the treatment of detainees in Chinese prisons and detention centers. Yang, currently serving a 12-year sentence for “subversion of state power” in Nanjing Prison, has been hospitalized since mid-September 2009. Yang is ill with a myriad of illnesses, which include intestinal tuberculosis, tuberculous peritonitis, diabetes, kidney inflammation, and high blood pressure.

Nationality Rights

Recent Sentences for 5 Tibetans Range From 2 to 12 Years

Over the past two months, Chinese authorities have sentenced to prison five Tibetans, including both monks and musicians, as reported by the Tibetan Centre for Rights and Democracy (TCHRD). The punishments, with the longest being 12 years, were issued in apparent retaliation against the men for exercising their freedom of religion and expression.

A court in Sog (Ch: Suo) County in Nagchu (Ch: Naqu) Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region handed down a 12-year sentence on October 1 to Tsangyang Gyatso (仓央嘉措), a senior Tibetan monk, on a charge of “inciting separatism” for allegedly “contacting outsiders” and “inciting other monks to protest against the Chinese government.” Tsangyang Gyatso, who was once the chief chant master/presiding priest at Drilda Monastery, was detained in March 2014 along with three other monks whose whereabouts remain unknown. Both the senior monk’s family and the monastery only received official notification of the verdict 15 days after he was sentenced. Tsangyang Gyatso is being held at Qushui Prison on the outskirts of Lhasa.[7]

The Barkham (Ma’erkang) County Intermediate People’s Court in the Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province sentenced two other Tibetan monks to prison for allegedly “protesting the Chinese nation,” punishments for their solo demonstrations at which they shouted slogans calling for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet. Lobsang Tenpa (洛桑登巴), 19, received two years on November 7, while Lobsang Gyatso (洛桑嘉措), 20, received three years on an unknown date. On different days in April 2014, they each reportedly rallied alone in the main public street in Ngaba County, and police detained them soon afterward. Both monks have reportedly been tortured in detention. Lobsang Gyatso and Lobsang Tenpa had been classmates at Kirti Monastery, where Chinese officials have enforced a patriotic re-education campaign that began in 2012.[8]

In addition, the Chengdu City Intermediate People’s Court in Sichuan sentenced two prominent Tibetan musicians to prison on November 27 for their involvement in making Tibetan folk music with alleged political overtones. Singer Kelsang Yarphel (格桑亚培), 39, received four years, while folk singer and music producer Pema Rigzin (白玛仁增), 44, received two-and-a-half-years. The exact criminal charges against them are unknown. Authorities in Lhasa seized Kelsang Yarphel in July 2013, accusing him of performing a song with political connotations at a concert there. Rigzin reportedly had been pressured by authorities for years to shut down a recording studio he ran that produced Tibetan music. He was detained in Chengdu in May 2013 and held incommunicado until the recent trial and sentencing.[9]

More:
Deprivation of Liberty and Torture/Other Mistreatment of Human Rights Defenders in China (Partial data, updated 9/30/2014: http://www.chrdnet.com/2014/05/deprivation-of-liberty-and-tortureother-…

A partial list of detained after expressing support for Hong Kong Democracy 24 November
 https://www.amnesty.org.uk/node/22867/edit

[1] “Transition Institute Administrative Director He Zhengjun Has Home Searched, NGO Completely Shut Down” (传知行行政主管何正军遭抄家带走 NGO传知行遭全面封杀), Rights Defense Network (RDN), November 27, 2014.

[2] “Commentary on Rights Defense: Authorities Use ‘Steel Cage’ Means to Strengthen Repression of ‘Liberal Intellectual Groups” (维权评论:当局以“铁笼子”手段强化对“自由知识分子群体”的镇压), December 2, 2014, RDN.

[3] “Netizens Across Country Visit Tianhe Detention Center in Guangzhou, Hoping to See Tortured

Guo Feixiong & Sun Desheng” (全国各地网友到广州天河看守所看望遭受虐待酷刑的郭飞雄、孙德胜), November 29, 2014, RDN; “Alert: Many Supporters Seized at Guo Feixiong Trial” (快讯:郭飞雄案庭审现场 多位声援公民被抓走), November 28, 2014, Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch (CRLW).

[4] “Ding Hongfen, Shen Aibin, Others Uncover Black Jail: Case Profile” (“丁红芬、沈爱斌等冲击无锡黑监狱案”全案始末), November 28, 2014, RDN.

[5] “Gao Yu Trial to Open This Friday at 9:30AM at Beijing No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court” (高瑜案将于本周五上午9点30时在北京三中院开庭), November 18, 2014, Rights Defense Network (RDN).

[6] “Alert: Pu Zhiqiang Case Already Indicted by Procuratorate” (快讯:浦志强案件已移送检察院起诉), November 19, 2014, RDN; “Alert: Tang Jingling Already Indicted by Procuratorate in ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’ Case” (快讯:唐荆陵案煽动颠覆国家政权案已经移送检察院起诉), November 19, 2014, RDN.

[7] “Tibetan monk sentenced to 12 years for ‘inciting separatism,’” October 29, 2014, Tibetan Centre for Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

[8] “Two young monks sentenced to prison for staging peaceful protests in Tibet,” November 12, 2014, TCHRD.

[9] “Two Tibetan artists receive harsh sentences, severe fines for creation of Tibetan music,” December 2, 2014, TCHRD.
 

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