China Human Rights Briefing February 13-19, 2006

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China Human Rights Briefing

(February 13-19, 2006)

February 13-15: After Clash, Police Intimidation in East Shigu Village, Linyi Continues
After the clash between local officials and villagers protesting
against Chen Guangcheng’s prolonged house arrest under “residential surveillance” and the detention of villager Chen Hua, police continued intimidating and detaining villagers. On February 13, around 70 police entered East Shigu Village and took into custody Chen Guangdong. Chen Guangdong remains in detention, while his father who was also taken away from their home was released the same day. Several other villagers were also taken into custody, including Cheng Gengjiang, who was detained in Miaobo City, Shandong Province, and then sent back to Yinan County. Chen Gengjiang is believed to be detained at the Yinan County Public Security Bureau.


Police are still searching for people involved in the protest, which turned violent when police threw rocks and injured villagers and then refused to take them to hospitals in nearby towns. Villagers overturned three police cars and smashed some car windows. Police posted notices on February 14 threatening villagers who participated in the protest with “serious punishment” unless they came forward to “confess.”

On February 15, Chen Guangcheng’s wife Yuan Weijing was beaten up by guards hired by the village communist party secretary, when she set out for the food market. She was pushed into a ditch and was injured. A doctor who examined her said her liver had been injured and that she needed to go to the township hospital to have an X-ray. When she set out on February 16, she was stopped by the communist party secretary with several dozen people. Yuan Weijing was sent back to her house and was unable to seek medical attention.



February 14: Nine Tibetans Detained in Aba Autonomous Region

Nine Tibetan youths were detained in Aba on February 14. In response to a recent call by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala not to kill animals for their fur, some young Tibetans began an environmental campaign against killing animals for fur on February 14, Tibetan Lunar New Year. Thousands of people who supported the campaign burned their own articles of clothing made from or decorated with animal skin. Local authorities intervened and tried to stop the campaign without success, and then detained nine youths. They were charged with the crime of “disturbing public security” and “cooperating with the Dalai Lama.”

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February 13-18: Police Continue Harassing Shanghai Housing Activists

Shanghai Public Security officials detained Mao Hengfeng in the evening of February 13. Three police in uniform stopped her in the street and took her to a police station, where they issued a criminal investigation order without specifying any “crime.” Police also issued a “residential surveillance” order on the same day but refused to tell family the location of her detention. Another housing activist Chen Xiaoming was detained on February 16. Police issued an order to bring criminal charges against him for his support of the hunger strikers (see below). His whereabouts are unknown. Activist Ma Yalian is wanted by Shanghai police, who issued a public notice to search for her. Ma has been in hiding since she was released in January from detention in a government guest house.

Jiang Meili, the wife of lawyer Zheng Enchong, jailed for defending housing activists, is under police surveillance. Jiang has been unable to visit Zheng for three months since November 2005. Initially this halt to family visits was apparently aimed at pressuring Zheng not to authorize her or other people to receive a human rights award for Zheng’s work from the German Judges Association. Later the objectives shifted: the authorities are reportedly trying to pressure Zheng not to continue appeals against his conviction after he has completed his three-year term in June 2006, and to stop representing victims of forced evictions after his release. Jiang Meili is worried that Zheng Enchong may be subjected to torture or extension of his sentence if he refuses to submit to these demands, calls for expressions of concern internationally about her husband’s situation.

February 15: In Beijing, Hunger Strikers and Activists Disappear, are Questioned, or under House Arrest
Activists participating in the hunger strike campaign initiated by Gao Zhisheng continue to face police harassment and several disappeared for various lengths of time. In Beijing, the disappeared include AIDS activist Hu Jia, who has not been heard from since February 16 and June Fourth victim and activist Qi Zhiyong, who lost one leg during the Tiananmen massacre, also went on missing on February 16, his wife and daughter have not heard from him since. Several hunger strike organizers who volunteered to help Gao Zhisheng to contact people were taken away by police or “kidnapped” by unidentified men apparently linked to the Public Security Bureau. Ma Wendu, a 1989 student activist, reportedly disappeared in the morning of February 16. On the evening of February 17, he was released and said that he was held at a location in Miyun, a suburb of Beijing. Wen Haibo, a lawyer and an associate of Gao Zhisheng, was taken away by police from his office for 12 hours, and released during the night of February 16. Two other assistants to Gao were also taken away from the office. Their whereabouts remain unknown. They had helped organize the nationwide hunger strike marathon, intended to protest police violence against rights activists and other abuses, which began on February 8.

Meanwhile, Beijing-based activists have been questioned or put under house arrest, apparently unrelated to the hunger strike. On the February 12, prominent writer Liu Xiaobo, scholar Zhang Zuhua, and on February 17, the Internet writer Liu Di (a.k.a. “Stainless Steel Mouse”) were questioned by State Security officials and put under ostentatious police surveillance.

February 15-17: Elsewhere, Hunger Strikers and Activists also Face Harassment

Artist/activist Yan Zhengxue remains missing. Yan was taken away from his home in Beijing by police from Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, which is his original place of residence, on February 12. A transcript, presumably from a recording device that he carried with him during the first night of his detention, was made available on the Internet. The transcript described his interrogation at the police station in Taizhou. The person who made it public said he was a friend of Yan and had received the device in the mail. Yan was detained after he met with Gao Zhisheng in Beijing.

Lawyer Yang Zaixin, who was laid off by his law firm in Guangxi Province for his involvement in defending Falun Gong practitioners in court, and was then offered a position by Gao Zhisheng, also disappeared in the evening of February 16, whereabouts unknown. Online writer Zhao Dagong was taken away by local police in front of his home in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, when he set out to go to Beijing in the early morning of February 15. His wife has had no word from him and his cell phone was cut off. He was released at noon on February 17. Police wanted him to promise not to go to Beijing. Zhao is a board member of the Independent Chinese PEN.

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