September 13-19 2012, China Human Rights Briefing

China Human Rights Briefing September 13-19, 2012

Contents
• Arbitrary Detention
Henan Petitioner Now Held Incommunicado More Than Seven Weeks

• Harassment of Activists
Activists Harassed for Actions Related to Anti-Japan Protests

• Harassment of Human Rights Lawyers
Guangzhou Lawyer Still Without License, Facing Retaliation for Trying to Aid Chen Kegui

• Disability Rights
Report: State Hiring Rates of Disabled in Eastern China Far Short of Legal Requirements

• Law & Policy Watch
Shanghai Health Authorities’ Scheme to Investigate Residents for “Mental Illnesses” Run Risk of Violating Rights

Arbitrary Detention

Henan Petitioner Now Held Incommunicado More Than Seven Weeks

A Henan woman often harassed for her petitioning activities has been out of contact for 50 days since being seized in Beijing in August, and no information is known about her condition or whereabouts. Unidentified individuals believed to have links to the local government took Liu Xianzhi (刘先枝) into custody on August 10. Liu has rented a room in Beijing in order to more conveniently press central authorities over grievances involving the forced eviction and demolition of her home and compensation for her husband’s murder. For taking on official misconduct that has led to her plights, Liu has faced many forms of retaliation, including frequent detentions as well as torture.[1]

Harassment of Activists

Activists Harassed for Actions Related to Anti-Japan Protests

Activists have used the opportunity presented by the heated popular responses to the Japanese government’s purchase of the disputed Diaoyu Islands to publicly voice pointed views on broader issues of China’s legitimacy and human rights. In response, the police moved against some of these activists, including the detention of one of them for “inciting subversion of state power.” Below are some of the police actions taken against activists in recent days:

• Jiao Guobiao (焦国标), who once taught at Beijing University, was criminally detained on September 12 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” allegedly for sharing his satirical articles online about the territorial dispute and politics in China. Police had earlier been stationed outside of his home to prevent him from attending the International PEN conference in South Korea this month.[2]

• Hangzhou activist and member of the local chapter of the China Democratic Party, Zou Wei (邹巍), was taken away from his home and held in a hostel for applying on September 14 to hold a public rally that calls for “protecting human rights domestically and protecting sovereignty externally.” Police also monitored and restricted the movement of several other Hangzhou dissidents.[3]

• On September 16, protest participants in Shenzhen who took photos and held banners calling for democracy and human rights were taken in for questioning by police on suspicion of “disrupting social order.” While they were released the next day, some hailing from other provinces were restricted from leaving Shenzhen.[4]

Harassment of Human Rights Lawyers

Guangzhou Lawyer Still Without License, Facing Retaliation for Trying to Aid Chen Kegui

Guangdong lawyer Chen Wuquan (陈武全) has faced ongoing harassment for trying to represent Chen Kegui (陈克贵), the nephew of activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), with the lawyer blocked from both getting his license renewed and gaining employment, and also being briefly taken into custody by police. The lawyer posted an open letter online in August about his wish to defend Chen Kegui and asking his local justice bureau about a reason for not obtaining license renewal. In September, authorities told Chen that he could get renewed if he joined a new law firm; however, when he was set to take a position with the Guangzhou office of Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm, the firm rescinded its offer due to pressure and orders from authorities. Police then took Chen into custody and interrogated him on September 18. The annual inspection process for Chen has been suspended since the Guangzhou Lawyers Association began to “investigate” his license after he voiced his desire to help Chen Kegui, who is being held in Shandong Province on a charge of “intentional injury” over an altercation with Linyi City authorities that broke out after Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest.[5]

Disability Rights

Report: State Hiring Rates of Disabled in Eastern China Far Short of Legal Requirements

Low hiring rates of persons with disabilities to work as civil servants in eastern China violate national law and expose ongoing barriers to employment faced by the disabled, according to a study by the public welfare nonprofit Nanjing Tianxiagong. The report, which draws on incomplete data from 2008 through 2011 from 40 cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui as well as Shanghai, reveals that the highest state employment rate for the disabled in a city was just 0.22% while the average stood at 0.03%, both far short of the national legal requirement of 1.5%, which was established in 2008. According to the report, a dozen cities had not hired a single person with a disability. In fact, authorities in more than half of the cities were not able to provide any data about disabled hiring, which means the situation may be worse than the study shows. While analyzing factors that influence the hiring of disabled persons, the report recommends certain policies for increasing their state employment, including having government agencies reserve jobs for them and eliminating disability-specific obstacles for hiring.[6]

Law & Policy Watch

Shanghai Health Authorities’ Scheme to Investigate Residents for “Mental Illnesses” Run Risk of Violating Rights

Shanghai residents can now be checked for psychiatric illness for displaying certain “odd behavior” and have their personal information recorded by mental health authorities, a move that can lead to serious rights violations. Under the standards issued in August by the Shanghai Municipality Bureau of Health, individuals who have lived in Shanghai for at least six straight months may be investigated if they, among other things, do not attend school or work or fail to leave their homes “for no reason,” or engage in “many activities, scamper about, and create chaos.” A surveyed individual would have personal information turned over to authorities, including “clues” to their supposed “psychiatric illness,” and then be diagnosed at a mental health agency and have their records entered into a database. The policy is rife with rights concerns, from questions of privacy and free consent to determining psychiatric illness on vague grounds that leave ample room for abuse. The process may even put locals at risk of forced institutionalization—among the violations that CHRD analyzes in its report on involuntary psychiatric commitment.[7]

Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

[1] “Henan Petitioner Liu Xianzhi Seized, Missing for 50 Days Without Any Information” (河南访民刘先枝被绑架失踪50天仍无音讯), September 19, 2012, WQW; “Henan Petitioner Liu Xianzhi Seized in Beijing, Detained, Goes on Life-Threatening Hunger Strike” (河南访民刘先枝在北京被抓回拘留,绝食抗议生命重危), March 14, 2012, CHRD

[2] “Former Beijing University Instructor Jiao Guobiao Detained Over Opinions” (原北大教师焦国标因言论被刑拘), September 17, 2012, WQW

[3] “Hangzhou Activist Zou Wei Sent to ‘Travel’ After Applying for Rally” (杭州维权人士邹巍因申请游行被强制旅游), September 17, 2012, WQW; “Hangzhou Residents Apply to Hold Rally, China Democratic Party Members Restricted From Going Out, Zou Wei Taken Away by Police” (杭州市民申请游行,民主党人被禁止出门,邹巍被警方带走), September 15, 2012, WQW

[4] “Shenzhen Activists Zi Yuan, Lin Guohui, Jiang Weidong Released, Back Home” (深圳维权人士子元、林国辉、姜卫东已释放回家), September 17, 2012, WQW

[5] “Human Rights Lawyer Chen Wuquan Seized by Police in Guangzhou” (人权律师陈武权在广州被警方带走), September 18, 2012, WQW; “Guangzhou Lawyer Chen Wuquan Deprived of Annual Inspection and Renewal For Representing Chen Kegui” (广州律师陈武全因代理陈克贵案被变相剥夺年检考核), September 14, 2012, WQW; “Chen Guangcheng: A Special Bulletin – Updates on Situation of Chen Guangcheng & His Family Members, Relatives & Supporters Since Chen’s Flight for Freedom,” September 18, 2012 (updated), CHRD

[6] “Disabled Hiring Rates of State Agencies in 41 Cities in East China Fall Far Short of Legal Requirements” (华东41市行政机关招录残障人比例远低于法定要求), August 30, 2012, Nanjing Tianxiagong
[7] “Shanghai Inspect Individuals Suspected of Having Psychiatric Illnesses” (上海将排查疑似精神病患者), September 12, 2012, Caixin

 

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