China Human Rights Briefing February 4-14, 2006Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing February 4-14, 2006
China Human Rights Briefing
(February 4-14, 2006)
Feb. 4-13: Police Crackdown on Villagers Protesting Blind Activist’s Prolonged House Arrest
On February 2, 2006, Chen Hua, a neighbor and relative of Chen Guangcheng, protested about the unlawful detention of Chen Guangcheng to the security guards in front of the latter’s house hired by local officials to ensure he is not able to go out. In response, the guards assaulted Chen Hua, resulting in cuts on his head and bleeding from his nose and mouth. In the afternoon on February 4, 2005, two public security officers and two plain-clothes police went to Chen Hua’s house, according to his wife, taking him away for “questioning.” Chen Hua’s wife noted down the license plate number of the police car: “Shandong Q-0043.” For three days, Chen’s wife demanded that the authorities inform her of his whereabouts before she was finally told that he was being held under a 10-day administrative detention order. He was detained at the Xishan Public Security Detention Center at Yinan County, Yilin City, Shandong Province. No detention order was shown to him or his family. Chen was released on Sunday, February 12, on condition that he would stop assisting Chen Guangcheng, leave the village to look for work in a few days and that his wife must turn herself in for smashing police cars. Chen Hua went on hunger strike for three days during his detention. Chen Hua was detained for 15 days in September 2005 for supporting Chen Guangcheng’s activities providing legal aid to victims of violence used in local birth control campaigns.
On the evening of February 5, more than 200 villagers gathered at the village committee’s office to demand the release of Chen Hua and the lifting of Chen Guangcheng’s house arrest. Some angry villagers attacked two police vehicles. Police threw stones at villagers, causing several injuries, including to Du Dehai, who received a serious wound on his head and had to be hospitalized.
After the clash, more police arrived at the village, East Shigu Village, Shuanghou Township, Yinan County, of Linyi City, Shandong Province. They checked villagers’ identities and wrote down their names. According to Chen Guangcheng, reached by phone by CRD, “police surrounded the village and controlled the area, some came into the village and ordered villagers to stay inside their houses. They recorded everyone’s name and questioned them about whether they had participated in the protest.”
On February 8, Yinan County Public Security Bureau posted “An Open Letter to All Villagers” in the village, announcing that “So as to maintain order, Chen Hua has been subjected to legal penalties by this bureau for intentional destruction of public and private property.” The Public Security Bureau further accuses Chen Hua’s wife, Chen Dengju, and other villagers of destroying public property, chasing “militia members” (minbing) and government officials, and overturning police cars. The Bureau warns of “severe punishment by law” unless villagers “turn each other in,” “turn themselves in” and “confess their crimes.”
However, according to villagers, the so-called “militia members” are guards temporarily hired by village officials to keep Chen Guangcheng under house arrest, and include under-age teens and elderly men, who apparently would not qualify to join the militia, members of which enjoy certain benefits and are regulated by the PRC Law on Military Service, which requires those serving as “militia members” to be between the ages of 18 and 35. Rather, they are casual security guards paid on a daily rate of 50 yuan a day. What they term “public property” included equipment (such as a sun-umbrella and hot water bottles) used by these guards, who were occupying Chen Guangcheng’s private property, his front yard, without the permission of Chen or his family. Villagers smashed windows of three police cars and pushed them into the ditch because police refused to drive to hospital injured villager Du Dehai and Chen Hua’s grandmother who had fainted while begging the officers on the scene to release her grandson, as no other vehicles were available due to bad weather.
After the clash, authorities moved the “headquarters” in charge of confining Chen Guangcheng, to the neighboring Yinghou Village. According to villagers, the “headquarters” is reportedly directed by the township mayor, township party secretary, county party school president, county party secretary and party office director. On February 13, around 11am, villagers reported that more than 70 police with riot-control gear entered East Shigu Village, looking for specific villagers who seem to be on a list. Villagers saw one villager, Chen Guangdong, being taken away in a police car. Police did not show any detention or arrest warrant, nor did they give the cause for the arrest. Police also went into villager Liu Changjun’s house to look for him. But Liu was not home.
Chen Guangcheng has been under “residential surveillance” since September 6, 2005. His wife has also been prevented from leaving the house, and was once beaten when she came out to greet visitors. Their telephone line has been cut off and their computer confiscated. During the confusion of the clashes, Chen Guangcheng and his wife were able to sneak out to a neighbor’s house and used the phone. Since the evening of February 8, that phone has also been cut off, and their cell phones have been jammed by an interference device.
Feb. 8: Local Officials Tighten Control and Threaten Taishi Villagers with Violence
On February 8, 2006, Prof. Ai Xiaoming of Zhongshan University in Guangzhou received several calls from Taishi villagers reporting sporadic violent attacks on villagers. A local security official, Chen Baihua, is said to be responsible for organizing these attacks. Chen is also believed to have organized the attacks on lawyers and activists coming to the assistance of Taishi villagers. One handicapped elderly woman, Guo Meinu, was beaten and another villager, Wu Yueqiu, had his fingers cut by strangers and was hospitalized. Wu’s wife Ma Jinlian believes that the attack has to do with the family’s assistance to the activist Guo Feixiong’s recent visit. Guo Meinu apparently showed her discontent about the night time roadblocks imposed by village officials, checking on each passing persons and vehicles.
Feb. 8-10: Activist Guo Feixiong (a.k.a. Yang Maodong) Tried to Stage Hunger Strike in Beijing, Detained, and Returned to Guangzhou Under Guard
Guo Feixiong was reportedly detained in Beijing when he tried to stage a hunger strike in front of Xinhuamen, the gate to the Zhongnanhai government compound where some top leaders live and work, on February 8, 2006. On February 10, he was forced to return to Guangzhou, where his family lives, and then put under “residential surveillance” or house arrest.
Feb. 9: Shanghai Housing Activist Released after Month-Long Detention
Mao Hengfeng was released on February 9, 2006. She has been repeatedly detained for petitioning government authorities about the grievances of Shanghai residents forced to relocate without fair compensation.
Feb. 11-12: Jiang Meili, the Wife of Jailed Shanghai Lawyer, Briefly Detained
On Saturday evening, February 11, 2006, Jiang Meili was detained and then held for 17 hours after she tried to go to Beijing to join a hunger strike marathon to protest her husband Zheng Enchong’s imprisonment. In 2004, Zheng Enchong, a lawyer who had been disbarred for providing legal assistance to Shanghai residents forcibly evicted from their homes without adequate compensation, was sentenced to a three-year prison term for allegedly “leaking state secrets” after he reported on the housing rights actions internationally. Before the train left Shanghai, six Zaibei District police and four Jing’an District police forcibly took her off the train. She and two another housing petitioners travelling with her were detained in different police stations. Other petitioners were released earlier, while Jiang Meili was held until 1:00pm on February 12. Jiang Meili wanted to join the hunger strike started by the lawyers Zhang Sizhi and Gao Zhisheng in Beijing. She was also trying to visit the UN refugee office to report that she had been denied visitation rights to her husband for 3 months and her letters sent to him in prison had been returned. She fears that Zheng is being tortured or ill-treated. Police produced no detention warrant. (Jiang can be reached for interview at 021－6380-3254 at the home of her husband’s brother)
Feb. 12: China Promulgates New AIDS Prevention and Treatment Regulations
The new Regulations, issued on January 29, takes effect on March 1, 2006. In a public statement released on February 12, the Beijing Aizhixing Institute said that the new Regulations do not employ the terms “human rights” or “rights.” Though the words “rights and interests” are used, the Regulations fail to mention that people living with HIV/AIDS have few legally protected “rights and interests.” The statement points out that existing law implies that hospitals are authorized to prohibit people living with certain medical conditions (including AIDS) from getting married; incorporates legal restrictions on the employment rights of people living with AIDS; and fails to protect the equal rights to health care of people living with HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, the Education Law fails to require that people with different health conditions have equal rights to education. The Aizhixing Institute points out that the new Regulations do not accord with the principle of human rights protection. It calls for the promulgation of a Bill of Equal Rights for people living with HIV/AIDS, and for all other laws and regulations to be revised to comply with its provisions.
Feb. 11-12: Actvist and Artist Yan Zhengxue Detained in Beijing
On February 11, 2006, police from Taizhou City detained the activist Yan Zhengxue, male, 61, after he met with the lawyer Gao Zhisheng to consult Gao on filing a legal case against local officials for intentional injury and also expressed his intention to join the hunger strike marathon started by Gao. Yan was released in the early morning of February 12 and was able to go home to sleep for a few hours before Taizhou police came and took him away again. His family has no further information about his whereabouts. His mobile phone has been cut off. Yan has been actively involved in helping people to sue officials for various cases involving corruption or ill-treatment. He spent time in a Re-education through Labor (RETL) camp in 1994-6. After this, he started a personal campaign to end the RETL system through art work which he created while in the RETL camp.
Feb. 13: Beijing Christian Prisoner Released into Police Surveillance
According to a February 13, 2006, statement released by the Duihua Yuanzhu Xiehui, a group assisting Chinese Christians, based in Texas, US, the doctor Xu Yonghai, 46, a Christian, was released on January 29, 2006, after spending two years in jail in Hangzhou. Beijing police installed two video cameras in front of his home and refused to return to him his personal identification papers. Xu was arrested on November 9, 2003. He and two other Christians, Liu Fenggang and Zhang Shengqi, were accused of “collecting and illegally providing state intelligence to agencies outside the borders.” Liu Fenggang, who is serving a 3-year term, is said to suffer from diabetes and heart disease. Xu was sent to a Reeducation-through-Labor camp from 1995 to 1997 for his church activities. Xu can be contacted for interview at: 86-10-8208-2198 or email: email@example.com
Contact: Zhong Yan firstname.lastname@example.org