Two Activists Sentenced After One Year in Detention

China Human Rights Briefing

 

September 12-19, 2013

View this issue on CHRD’s website.

 

Contents

 

Arbitrary Detention

  • Two Shanghai Activists Sent to Prison for Rights Activism
  • Three Monks Sentenced to Prison in Sichuan

Updates on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly & Association

  • Hubei Activist Liu Jiacai Formally Arrested
  • Financier Wang Gongquan, Supporter of New Citizens’ Movement, Criminally Detained

Reprisals Against Activists

  • Two Chinese Activists Blocked From Attending UN Human Rights Training, One Disappeared

Special Notice

  • CHRD Sends Letter of Allegation to UN on Behalf of Imprisoned Journal Editor

 
Arbitrary Detention
Two Shanghai Activists Sent to Prison for Rights Activism  

A court in Shanghai has sentenced two activists on charges of “creating a disturbance” in apparent retaliation for their longtime rights activities and petitioning. On September 17, the Zhabei District People’s Court handed Wang Kouma (王扣玛) and Wei Qin (魏勤) prison terms of 30 months and 27 months, respectively. Police put many activists under surveillance at home to prevent them from attending the sentencing, and also blocked foreign journalists from entering the courtroom. Wang and Wei had been detained for one year before the court issued the verdicts. Wang Kouma was previously imprisoned for two years for trying to expose the local government’s criminal behavior that he believed led to his mother’s death.[i]

 

Three Monks Sentenced to Prison in Sichuan

 

Three Tibetan monks have been sent to prison in Sichuan Province after being held incommunicado since being detained last year, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. On September 9, Choedar (确扎), 47, was sentenced to one year in prison, and two days later Sonam Gonpo (索朗贡布), 22, and Sonam Choedar (索南确达), also 22, were sentenced to four years in prison. Choedar was first detained in October 2012, while Sonam Gonpo and Sonam Choedar were taken into custody in December. From Wonpo Monastery in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the monks were among many individuals seized by authorities after local Tibetans pulled down a Chinese national flag from a school building and replaced it with a Tibetan flag, and also threw leaflets calling for freedoms for Tibetans last September. An ensuing crackdown led to scores of arbitrary detentions and arrests of Tibetans as well as unlawful searches of Tibetan homes by Chinese security officers. [ii]

 

Updates on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly & Association

Hubei Activist Liu Jiacai Formally Arrested

 

Liu Jiacai (刘家财), an activist from Hubei Province, was formally arrested on September 18 on a charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order”—the 29th person known to have been arrested in the crackdown on assembly and association. First taken into custody in late July, Liu’s detention is believed to be in retaliation for his efforts to gather fellow Yichang City activists for “dinner parties,” where they discussed issues of rights and justice. Being held at Yichang City No. 1 Detention Center, Liu had just served an administrative punishment when he was criminally detained on August 12 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” For years, Liu has faced various forms of retaliation for his pro-democracy and rights advocacy, and was sent to prison for two years in 2002 for “inciting subversion.” In late August, CHRD sent allegations of rights abuses against Liu Jiacai to UN Special Procedures.[iii]

 

Financier Wang Gongquan, Supporter of New Citizens’ Movement, Criminally Detained

 

On September 13, Wang Gongquan (王功权), a successful financier and outspoken critic of the Chinese government, was put under criminal detention in Beijing on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” The detention highlights the escalation of the government’s months-long crackdown against rights activism. Wang, who in recent years has taken great interest in the development of China’s civil society, is a close supporter of Xu Zhiyong (许志永), the legal advocate arrested on August 22, and has backed the New Citizens’ Movement, a grouping of activists that Xu has spearheaded since 2011. Wang is being held at the Beijing No. 3 Detention Center, where about a dozen others with ties to the movement are also being detained. More than 20 police searched Wang’s home in the capital before taking him into custody.[iv]

To date, CHRD has confirmed 58 detentions or disappearances in the clampdown on peaceful assembly and association throughout China in 2013.
 

Reprisals Against Activists

Two Chinese Activists Blocked From Attending UN Human Rights Training, One Disappeared

 

Chinese authorities recently stopped two activists from boarding flights for a training on UN human rights mechanisms in Geneva, and one of them has since been disappeared after being taken away by security agents. These actions are further indication that the Chinese government is on high alert as the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on China on October 22 rapidly approaches (see CHRD’s recent alert).

Cao Shunli (曹顺利), based in Beijing, has been missing since September 14, after she was taken aside by airport security agents and interrogated at the Beijing Capital International Airport. On the same day, security agents at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport also intercepted Shanghai activist Chen Jianfang (陈建芳). Chen insisted that the agents produce legal documents for barring her from leaving the country, but they refused. Instead, agents reportedly said to her: “Shanghai police told [us] to do this” and that “you are barred from traveling abroad for life.” One security officer reportedly told Chen that they would go so far as resort to “armed violence to handle” her if she tried to force her way past security, and another officer tore her plane tickets to pieces. Chen was sent back to Shanghai and then held and questioned for 10 hours before being released[v]. International Service for Human Rights, a Geneva-based NGO, had invited Cao and Chen to the training.

 

Special Notice

CHRD Sends Letter of Allegation to UN on Behalf of Imprisoned Journal Editor

 

On August 29, CHRD sent a communiqué to UN Special Procedures alleging rights violations against Wang Hanfei (王寒非), the imprisoned editor of the Hong Kong-based journal “China Special Report.” In April 2013, the Chenzhou City People’s Court in Hunan Province sentenced Wang to four years on charges of “illegal business activity” and “fraud,” in likely retaliation for his publishing articles that authorities deemed to be politically sensitive, such as ones exposing corruption by the Chenzhou Communist Party secretary and praising Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). Incarcerated at Chenzhou Prison, Wang has reportedly been injured as a result of beatings and forced to work long hours.[vi]

 

[1] “Shanghai Activists Wang Kouma, Wei Qin Sentenced for Creating Disturbance” (上海王扣玛、魏勤被以寻衅滋事罪分别判刑(附案情介绍)), September 17, 2013, CRLW; “Paying Attention to Trial of Shanghai Rights Activists Wang Kouma and Wei Qin” (关注上海维权人士王扣玛、魏勤的审判), September 15, 2013, WQW; “Shanghai Rights Activist Wei Qin Will Face Trial After Being Detained for One Year” (上海维权人士魏勤被羁押一年后将出庭受审), September 15, 2013, WQW; “Shanghai Petitioner Wang Kouma in Critical Condition After Beating at Letters and Visits Office” (上海访民王扣玛在信访办被殴打生命危急), January 30, 2012, CHRD; “Shanghai Rights Activist Wang Kouma Severely Beaten While Petitioning” (上海维权人士王扣玛上访被殴打), January 30, 2012, CRLW

[2] “Wonpo Monastery: China sentences three monks to up to 4 years in prison,” September 16, 2013, TCHRD

[3] “HRD Liu Jiacai of Yichang, Hubei Formally Arrested” (湖北宜昌维权人士刘家财被批准逮捕), September 18, 2013, CRLW; Submission to UN on Liu Jiacai – August 26, 2013, CHRD; “Yichang, Hubei Activist Liu Jiacai Criminally Detained for Inciting Subversion” (湖北宜昌维权人士刘家财被以煽动颠覆国家政权罪刑拘), August 13, 2013, CRLW

[4] “Wang Gongquan, Supporter of New Citizens’ Movement, Criminally Detained” (新公民运动的支持者王功权被刑事拘留), September 13, 2013, WQW;  “Prominent Entrepreneur, Passionate Supporter of Social Welfare Wang Gongquan Taken Away in Beijing, Has Home Searched” (著名企业家热心公益事业者王功权被北京警方带走并抄家), September 13, 2013, WQW

[5] “Police Stop Chen Jianfang From Going Abroad in Guangzhou, Send Her Back to Shanghai, Where She Is Held for 10 Hours” (陈建芳在广州出境受阻反遭行政警告,返回上海被扣押10小时), September 17, 2013, WQW; “Beijing HRD Cao Shunli Blocked From Going Abroad at Beijing Capital International Airport, Has Been Missing for Several Days” (北京维权人士曹顺利在首都机场出境时受阻,已失踪多日), September 16, 2013, WQW; “Shanghai HRD Chen Jianfang Blocked From Going Abroad in Guangzhou”(上海维权人士陈建芳在广州出境受阻), September 14, 2013, WQW

[6] Submission to UN on Wang Hanfei – August 29, 2013, CHRD

 

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