China Human Rights Briefing February 20 – 26, 2006Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing February 20 – 26, 2006
China Human Rights Briefing
(February 20 – 26, 2006)
February 21: NPC Plans to Pass Illegal Behaviors Correction Law (Weifa xingwei jiuzheng fa) to Reform RETL System
The NPC plans to pass this new law at its annual Congress in March to enact reforms to the controversial system of administrative detention, Reeducation Through Labor (RETL). The Correction Law allows those sent to Reeducation Through Labor camps by Public Security officials to appeal the decision in court, and the court can rule against the decision; and “correction” time will be limited to 6-18 months, while in the current system police have the power to lock up people for up to four years. The official Workers’ Daily and Xinhua net reported on this new bill. (Source: xinhua.net; Workers’ Daily)
February 22: Website Focusing on Workers Ordered to Shut Down
The website Zhongguo Gongren Wang (Chinese Workers Net http://www.zggr.org) received notification from the Beijing Municipal News Media Office’s Internet Propaganda Management Bureau that the site was to be shut down temporarily at 9:00am on February 22, 2006. This website was set up in 2005 by a group calling themselves “socialists.” The website set up columns such as “Letters from the Factories,” “Voice of Workers,” and “Labor Forum.” The site got many letters, inquiries, and petitions from workers and drew significant attention. In late January 2006, the site joined forces with another website called “Communists Website,” which focuses on the international communist movement, to sponsor a forum called “Workers, Farmers, and Soldiers Forum” [gong nong bing luntan]. It is unclear whether this new addition is what caused the closure. (The editors Lu Shi and Dong Feng can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.)
February 23-24: More Linyi Villagers Taken into Custody, Some under Criminal Detention
Since the February 5 clash with police after villagers protested the house arrest of Chen Guangcheng, police continued searching for key participants concentrating on male relatives of Mr. Chen in an apparent attempt to intimidate him into silence.
On the 181st day of his house arrest, Chen Guangcheng, reached by phone, told CRD that, in the early morning on February 23, several Yinan County police cars surrounded villager Chen Guanghe’s house, then officers threw rocks at the door and jumped over the walls. They took away Chen and kicked his wife when she demanded that they produce a warrant.
On February 23, when the wife of Chen Gengjiang, who had been detained on February 16, went to the Yinan County Detention Center, she was told by the guards that Chen Gengjiang was being held under criminal detention. She called a friend in Beijing on February 24 to report on this. She said she was also told that villagers Chen Guangdong and Chen Guanghe, taken away by police on February 13 and February 24, were also incarcerated at the center. Guards told her they did not have any warrants to detain them, but they had to hold them as they had been brought in by Public Security officials. Chen’s wife went to Yinan County Public Security Bureau, Yinan County Criminal Police Unit (xing jing dui) and Shuanghou Township Police Station (pai chu suo), but was not shown any official document for the detention order or stating the “crime” her husband was suspected of. According to the PRC Criminal Procedure Law, Public Security officials must present a detention order when taking anyone into detention and must notify family of the cause and location of the detention within 24 hours unless such notification is not possible or would hinder an investigation (Art. 64).
(Contacts for authorities: Yinan County Custody Center: 86-539-3232110, Ex. 7304; Bureau Chief of Yinan County Public Security Bureau: 86-539-3221238，86-539-3860615; Yinan County Criminal Police Unit: 86-539-3232110, Ex. 4517)
February 24: Hunger Strikers Remain Missing or in Police Custody
As stated in the CRD release of February 23, HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia vanished on February 16 in Beijing while he was being closely followed by police, who had escorted him on his way to a meeting at the AIZHIXING Institute on February 15. Another activist, Qi Zhiyong, who is a double amputee due to injuries from gunshots during the Tiananmen massacre, also went missing during the night of February 15. The artist and activist Yan Zhengxue has not been seen since his wife witnessed him being taken away by police from his home in Beijing on February 12 after he met with Gao Zhisheng. The officers were not from Beijing, but from Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province, Yan’s original place of residence. One hunger striker who volunteered to assist Gao Zhisheng was taken away by police from Gao’s office on February 16. Their families reported them missing to authorities, but were not given any information about their whereabouts. (By February 26, these individuals remain missing or in police custody. –Editor)
Also on February 16, police in Shanghai took away Chen Xiaoming, a housing rights activist, citing his participation in the hunger strike. His whereabouts remains unknown. His residence was searched and computer confiscated by police. On February 2d, activist Zhao Xin was taken in by police for questioning in the afternoon and still has not returned to his parents’ house in Zhaotong City, Yunnan Province, where he was recovering from injuries he sustained when he was beaten by unidentified men in December 2005.
Feb. 25: Detained Rural Land Rights Activist Indicted, Alleging Torture
Farmer Hang Weizhong, male, 46, was detained on November 9, 2005, in Beijing when he arrived there to petition central government authorities about land appropriation by local officials on behalf of 676 families. He was arrested by Putian City police, who traveled from Fujian Province to Beijing to apprehend Huang. Huang was first put under administrative detention for 15 days and then was formally arrested. He is being detained at the Second Unit of the No. 2 Detention Center (kan shou suo) in Putian City, Fujian Province. Huang’s lawyer Lu Guang, of Dingtai Law Firm in Liaoning Province, visited Huang in prison several days ago. He saw Huang with bloody wounds near his mouth and was told that Huang had been beaten. Huang is being forced to work 14 hours a day. Family members have not seen Huang since his detention. On February 25, Putian villagers told journalists that their application for a permit to protest against unfair land appropriation had been turned down by Fuzhou City authorities. Since August 2005, Putian farmers have been petitioning municipal and provincial authorities for intervention and, after being ignored, applied for permits to stage demonstrations, but without success. (Source: Boxun.com)
Feb. 25: Shanghai Internet Writer Abducted after Joining Hunger Strike
Around 10 pm on February 25, Li Jianhong sent the text message from her cell phone “They’ve abducted me in an alleyway” to Jiang Meili, the wife of imprisoned Shanghai lawyer Zheng Enchong. She has been missing since. All efforts to contact LI have failed. Ms. Li made public her decision to join the hunger strike marathon led by the Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng in the morning of February 25. Li Jianhong, pen name Xiao Qiao, female, 38, graduated from Huadong Normal University with a MA in North American studies in 1994 and has since worked as a teacher, journalist and administrative manager. Ms. Li is a member of the independent Chinese PEN, a Shanghai-based frequent contributor to and editor of online independent publications such as “Enlightenment Forum” (qi meng lun tan) and “Free China Forum” (zi you zhongguo lun tan), an advocate for freedom of expression and the press. Due to her activism, she had been under close surveillance and frequently harassed by police. Before her abduction, she had lost the last of several jobs all due to police pressuring companies to let her go. (Ms. Li was released this morning, February 27. – Editor)
(Unless otherwise specified, all the above information is provided by the network of CRD contacts)
For more information, contact: Zhong Yan: firstname.lastname@example.org