CRD Calls Attention to Shanxi Oilfield Investors’ Detention

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CRD called attention to the oilfield investors’ failed attempt to dialogue with government officials and the detentions that followed in May 2005. (See “Storm over Oil Fields in Shanxi” at This case has since become one of the most celebrated human rights cases of 2005 (with the Taishi Village impeachment case and Linyi Family Planning Violence case), a cause for public mobilization in the virtual community of Chinese rights activists. This case highlights the phenomenal failures by local and provincial authorities and by the courts to show any responsiveness to complaints from common folks and to handle mounting economic grievances through established administrative or legal procedures. This case also demonstrates the rural investors’ perseverance, peaceful efforts, and remarkable capability to use the law to fight for their rights. Since May, many outspoken writers and scholars in the country have written articles demanding protection of the investors’ rights and rallying support for their efforts to seeking redress through legal procedures. Prominent human rights lawyers have taken the investors’ cases: first Zhu Jiuhu, then, after he was arrested, Gao Zhisheng, and then, after Gao’s licence to practice law was suspended last week, Mo Shaoping. The international community must closely monitor the development of this case, particularly, the lawyers’ safety and rights to practice law.

The investors said they lost their investments after local government took back oil drilling enterprises in 2003, citing need for regulation. They believed the authorities failed to provide fair compensation. The oil drilling enterprises were opened for private investment in order to attract funds for developing local economy. The investors had petitioned the Yulin city government and the Shanxi provincial government to negotiate administrative settlement between 2003 and April/May 2005. But officials repeatedly ignored their requests and detained some petitioners. The investors then resorted to legal solution. They filed lawsuits against the officials, but the Yulin court refused to accept their case. Their chief legal council and lawyer, Zhu Jiuhu, was arrested by local police on May 26. A dozen of representatives were also detained. In September, police released Zhu and other representatives on bail, waiting for trial, except one, Feng Bingxian. Zhu was barred from representing his clients.


November 11, 2005

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