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Police Raid Home of Human Rights Defender and Charter 08 Signatory Xie Qiang

(ChineseHuman Rights Defenders- March 11, 2010) OnMarch 10, Beijing police interrogated human rights defender Xie Qiang (谢强)for the second time in as many weeks.  Ninedays earlier, on March 1, police raided his home, seizing computers andpersonal property.  Xie, a signatory toand promoter of Charter 08, iscurrently under “soft detention” at his home in the capital.“Policedeliberately chose the occasion of thePeople’s Congress meeting in Beijing to harass and intimidate Mr. Xie,apparently to send a stern warning to all Charter08 supporters and human rights activists," said Renee Xia, CHRD'sInternational Director.Nineofficers from the Beijing Municipal PublicSecurity Bureau and the Haidian District National Security Unit arrivedat XieQiang's Haidian District home at approximately 10 pm on March 1 andsearchedthe premises for roughly two hours.  Theofficers confiscated two computers, Xie's passport and Hong Kong andMacauTravel Permit, five notebooks, a digital camera, notes, business cards,andcopies of books and magazines, including two copies of Charter08, belonging to Xie. Afterthe search, Xie Qiang was taken to theXiangshan Police Station and interrogated for more than two hours. Police questioned Xie about his involvementin the drafting of human rights reports, his attendance at a humanrightsconference held in Thailand in January 2010, and his views on Charter08 and the jailedwriter-activist Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波).Though policepresented Xie with documents authorizing the search of his home and hissummons, he was not given a copy of these documents.   Hewas once again called in for questioningon the afternoon of March 10, and subjected to what he described as twohoursof “oppressive” interrogation.CHRDdemands an immediate end to Xie Qiang’s “softdetention” and the return of all of his confiscated possessions.  Theofficials responsible for infringing uponXie’s rights to freedom of expression and association, enshrined inArticle 35of the Chinese Constitution, must be held responsible. The Chinesegovernmentmust end its continuing persecution of Charter08 supporters and human rights defenders.BackgroundMr.Xie is originally from Loudi in Hunan Province.A former civil servant, he has studied law and begun advocating forhuman rights,devoting himself  to promoting the growthof civil society and furthering the cause of democratic reform in Chinainrecent years.  Xie has written articlesfor websites including Minzhu Zhongguo (民主中国)and Boxun (博讯),and taken part in activities organized by ChineseHuman Rights Defenders. He has been active in drafting and circulatingpublicletters and petitions on behalf of Liu Xiaobo and other Charter08 supporters.  He isthe author of two reports on human rights abuses in China, and hasorganizedsupport for human rights defenders persecuted by the government. Presscontacts for this release: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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