Police Raid Home of Beijing Activist Gu Chuan as Pressure on Human Rights Defenders Increases

(ChineseHuman Rights Defenders- April 9, 2010)Plainclothes police officers seized writer and human rights activist GuChuan (古川)as he left his Beijing home this morning, taking him in for seven hoursofinterrogation. While Gu was being questioned, a dozen officers enteredhis apartmentand confiscated computers, notebooks, and personal items over thecourse of atwo-hour search. At no point during the day did officers produce anylegaldocument authorizing either Gu Chuan’s interrogation or the search ofhis home. “Policeare increasing their efforts to harass andintimidate human rights activists,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’sInternationalDirector. “These latest actions targeting activists in the network ofChineseHuman Rights Defenders closely follow a government crackdown on NGOs inrecentmonths. Chinese leaders have apparently adopted a zero-tolerance policytowardshuman rights activism!” GuChuan and his wife Li Xinai (李昕艾),along with the couple’s 10-month-old son, were on their way to themarket when Guwas forced into an unmarked car by three policemen around 10:30 a.m.local time.Li returned to their apartment, and around noon a group of more than adozen uniformedand plainclothes police officers arrived at Gu and Li’s home andstarted searchingthe apartment. The officers refused to produce a search warrant. WhenLidemanded the officers identify themselves, one policewoman replied,“Can’t yousee we’re wearing police uniforms? We didn’t bring our ID cards!”Thepolice seized two notebook computers, a flashdrive and removable hard drive, business cards, magazines, dozens ofnotebooks containingGu and Li's notes, and both Gu and Li’s passports. Police also recordedinformation from the couple’s bank card and bankbook.Guhas since been released from questioning andreturned home, but was warned not to talk to anyone about hisexperience. Whilethe nature of his interrogation is not presently known, it is believedin partto be an attempt to prevent Gu from participating in a public forumtomorrow onenvironmental protection co-organized by CHRD and other groups inBeijing.  Organizers of the forum and invitedspeakershave been questioned by police, warned not to participate, or put underresidential surveillance in recent days. The hotel scheduled to hostthe eventhas been forced to cancel the organizers’ conference hall reservation.Theraid on Gu Chuan’s home comes a little over onemonth after a similar action against Beijing human rights defender andwriterXie Qiang (谢强).In both cases, police confiscated similar kindsof materials and items in order to cripple these writers’ abilities tocontinuetheir work and to retaliate against them for their activism. CHRD isalsoconcerned that Beijing police may be collecting information in order tocrackdown on exchanges between human rights defenders in the capital andacross thecountry.CHRDdemands that officials responsible for theillegal search of Gu Chuan’s home be held legally responsible for theiractions.  All of Gu Chuan’s confiscatedproperty must be immediately returned. CHRDprotests the Chinese government’s infringementupon its citizens’ right to have their homes protected from unlawfulsearches,as established by Article 39 of the Chinese Constitution. Thegovernment mustput an end to the practice of raiding human rights activists’ homes andconfiscating their belongings in retaliation for their nonviolent,constitutionally-protected actions.Furthermore,CHRD condemns the Chinese government’s effortsto prevent a citizen forum on environmental concerns from taking place.This isa clear violation of citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly andexpression.Background:Mr.Gu Chuan was an editor of the website “BlogChina” (www.blogchina.com)between 2005 and 2008. He has writteneditorials forSouthern Metropolitan newspaper, andsince 2008 has contributed to various print and online magazines,including Democratic China, an online dissidentjournal. A signatory of Charter 08,Mr. Gu has also participated in CHRD-organized activities and aninternationalhuman rights training program in Geneva. ForMore Information:“PoliceRaid Home of HumanRights Defender and Charter 08Signatory Xie Qiang,” March 11, 2010, http://chrdnet.org/index.php/2010/03/11/police-raid-home-of-human-rights-defender-and-charter-08-signatory-xie-qiang/MediaContacts:ReneeXia, International Director (English andMandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286Jiang Yingying, Researcher(English and Mandarin),+852 8170 0237

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