China Human Rights Briefing March 13-20, 2006

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China Human Rights Briefing

(March 13-20, 2006)

March 20: Trial of Fujian Farmer who Protested Land Appropriation Opens

The trial of farmer Huang Weizhong on “suspicion of gathering crowds to disturb social order” was scheduled to open at the Chengxiang District Court in Putian City, Fujian Province, today, March 20, 2006. (For more information, see Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=608, Article_Class.asp?ClassID=45, Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=609)

Defense lawyer Lu Guang is entering a plea of innocence on his client’s behalf. The trial is seen as a test case. Activists and the lawyer hope to win Huang’s acquittal. They worry that another Shanwei (an area in Guangdong where an escalation of protests regarding ignored complaints about unfair land appropriation led to armed police opening fire, killing at least three villagers in December 2005) could be in the making in Putian, where thousands of farmers have had their land appropriated without fair compensation. Their appeals for the government to solve the problem were ignored, and then their applications for permits to stage demonstrations were denied. Putian villagers have requested to be able to send representatives to attend the trial. The request was denied. Several hundreds of farmers waited peacefully outside the court during the trial.

March 20: Linyi Villagers under Criminal Detention, Blind Activist Illegally Locked up

Chen Guangcheng remains in custody since he was arrested by police from the Yinan Public Security Bureau on March 11, 2006. Two villagers, Chen Guangyu and Chen Guangjun, taken away at the same time, have been formally detained for criminal investigation on suspicion of “disrupting traffic.” Families received the notification on March 17. It was dated March 12, and signed by the Yinan PSB.

On March 12, Yuan Weijing, wife of Chen Guangcheng, was given a “Notice on Continuation of Interrogation” stating that her husband’s detention for interrogation would continue until 9:00pm that evening. She was told that her husband was being held at Shuanghou Police Station (双堠派出所). Since then, however, she has apparently not been given any information about why Chen Guangcheng continues to be held. All her channels of communications have been severed, including her mobile phone, and she remains under guard at home, so we have had no way to check with her in the last few days if there has been any development in the situation.

In Chen’s home village, Dongshigu, authorities are using loud speakers to broadcast warnings not to release information to outsiders; villagers are threatened with the same punishment as those who have been detained if they do not comply.

March 20: Bulletin on Petitioners and Hunger Strikers Missing, in Custody, or Detained

(In brackets are the date when the individual was first detained/disappeared and the location, where known)

Missing: Hu Jia (Feb. 16, Beijing), Qi Zhiyong (Feb. 16, Beijing), Ouyang Xiaorong (Feb. 16, Beijing).

In custody: Liu Xifeng, (March 5, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province), Mao Hengfeng (Feb. 13, Shanghai), Chen Xiaoming (Feb. 15, Shanghai), Ma Yalian (Feb. 15, Shanghai), Tian Bocheng and his wife (mid Feb., Shanghai)

Formally detained: Yu Zhijian (Feb. 18, formally detained on Feb. 20, Hunan), Hou Wenbao (March 1, formally detained on March 2, upgraded to criminal detention on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” Anhui), Wang Lizhuang (Feb. 21, formal notification issued on Feb. 28, Shanghai), Zhu Bingjin (HIV/AIDS activist, March 10, Jilin)

More details:

Family files lawsuit against PSB for AIDS activist’s disappearance

On March 18, Zeng Jinyan, the wife of Hu Jia, the missing Beijing HIV/AIDS activist, filed a lawsuit with the Tongzhou District Procuratorate, Beijing Municipality, suing Tongzhou PSB for arbitrary detention and negligence. The only trace of him was a mysterious delivery of his credit card to the family on March 11.

Surveillance orders lifted on Henan PLWHA and AIDS activists

Measures such as house arrest or intense surveillance aimed at intimidating people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) and HIV/AIDS activists in Henan, including several women who had been infected by tainted blood transfusions in Ningling County, were lifted after the NPC session ended on March 14.

—Zhao Xin Released on March 17

Zhao Xin, Executive Director of the independent Empowerment & Rights Institute, has told friends that he returned to his father’s home in Zhaotong, Yunnan Province. He was detained on Feb. 21 and kept at a resort used by police as a detention facility in Yunnan.

—Mao Hengfeng’s House Searched

On March 15, Mao Hengfeng’s husband, Wu Xuewei, and children returned from a forced trip to find that their home had been searched. After Wu discovered on March 8 that Mao was being detained at the Shanghai Communist Youth Forest Park, he and their three children were ordered to leave Shanghai for a trip paid for by the city government until the NPC meeting in Beijing was over. Mao is still in detention.

March 17: Internet Activist Sentenced to Ten Years for Sedition

CRD has confirmed that Ren Ziyuan, male, 28, an Internet activist and middle-school teacher, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three-year deprivation of political rights for the crime of “subversion of state power” on March 17. The Jining Municipal Intermediate Court, Shandong Province, delivered the verdict before the scheduled date of March 17, Ren’s father was told when he arrived to receive the verdict. The family will appeal. For details of the case and background information about Ren, go to Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=581 and Article_Class.asp?ClassID=46.

A few items of interest from the previous week:

March 12: Internet Activist Luo Changfu Released after Serving Sentence

Luo Changfu, male, 43, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” on March 13, 2003, after he posted articles on the Internet calling for the release of another detained Internet writer, Liu Di. He completed his three-year prison term and was released on March 12, 2006. Liu Di, who uses the pen name “Stainless Steel Mouse,” was the university student who was detained for posting articles on the Internet discussing ideas of democracy. She was released on November 18, 2003. Luo was convicted as a co-defendant for the same charge with Cai Lujun, who also served his full term of three years in prison and was released on March 2, 2006. Luo used the online name “Justice and Conscience” to post articles. Before his imprisonment, he lived in Yuzhong District, Chongqing City, Sichuan Province.

March 7: Website Monitoring Local Elections Suspended

One influential website, China Election and Governance Web,, was ordered to suspend its operation. The site posted a public notification, saying that Internet regulation authorities ordered the suspension citing violation of the Internet Media Information Service Management Regulation. The violation referred to publishing news and commentaries about current political events. The staff is ordered to undergo “study and training,” conduct self-criticism, but stop all editorial activities. The website will no longer do any updates and its message board must be closed down. This website has become one of the best information resources for local elections and political reform in the country. (China Current Events Observer, zhongguo shishi guancha, Bi-weekly, 1st Half of March) This is likely one step in a large-scale crackdown on efforts to push for meaningful political reform during this year’s local elections of deputies to the People’s Congress, which begin in July.

March 5: Oscar Winning Film Banned in China

This year’s Oscar winner for best director, the film Brokeback Mountain, directed by the Taiwanese-born film director Ang Lee, is banned for official import by government authorities, citing its homosexual content. The film was nominated in eight categories for the prestigious Hollywood award. (China Current Events Observer, zhongguo shishi guancha, Bi-weekly, 1st Half of March)

(Unless otherwise attributed, all the information in this Briefing is provided by the network of CRD contacts)

Managing editor: Zhong Yan

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