China Human Rights Briefing March 21-29, 2006

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China Human Rights Briefing

(March 21-29, 2006)

March 29: Bulletin on Petitioners & Hunger Strikers – Forced Disappearances, Detention, and Arrests

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

Forced disappearances: Qi Zhiyong (Feb. 16, Beijing), Ouyang Xiaorong (Feb. 16, Beijing). (Hu Jia, the Beijing AIDS activist, was released from secret detention on March 28. See below for details.)

Detention without charge or warrant: Meng Qinggang (March 21, Beijing), Liu Xifeng, (March 5, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province), Chen Xiaoming (Feb. 15, Shanghai), Ma Yalian (Feb. 15, Shanghai), Tian Bocheng and his wife (mid Feb., Shanghai)

Formal detention/arrest: 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 the state,” Anhui), Zhu Bingjin (HIV/AIDS activist, March 10, Jilin)

More details:

– Hu Jia: Returned home on March 28

Hu Jia’s wife Zeng Jinyan received a call from Hu Jia in the afternoon of March 28. Around 6 pm, he returned home. Friends and colleagues visited him at his home in the evening. He had a medical check up today (March 29). Early reports show that he is in the early stage of cirrhosis. Hu Jia had a liver condition prior to his detention and was taking medicine. For 41 days, he was detained incommunicado by the State Security Brigade of PSB in Tongzhou, a suburb of Beijing, without his medicine. The same authorities had denied any knowledge of his whereabouts when repeatedly pressed by his family. After Hu Jia disappeared while under police surveillance on February 16 in Beijing. His family made inquiries with many government offices and went to the press. The search had drawn national and international attention. The UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances has requested the Chinese government to give an account of Hu Jia’s disappearance after Zeng Jinyan filed a report on Hu’s case to the Working Group.

– Beijing police detained man from Xinjiang trying to assist hunger strike

According to the Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Meng Qinggang, a young man who came from Xinjiang to Beijing to assist him in organizing the hunger strike to protest the use of state violence against human rights defenders, was detained by police on March 21. Gao said this young man whom he had never met gave him a call one day, saying he wanted to come to Beijing to help organize the hunger strike, but Gao told him not to do so. Gao believed the phone call was recorded and Beijing police informed the Public Security Bureau in Xinjiang where Meng was located, and local police then visited him for a “talk”. However this young man still traveled to Beijing. He was taken away by police outside Gao’s office after he called Gao and left the phone on. Gao heard the whole process of him being taken away.

– Hou Wenbao: Family denied visits, can’t afford a lawyer

Anhui activist Hou Wenbao was taken away by police on March 1. His family may not be able to afford a lawyer for Hou. Hou’s father went to the police detention centre to request to be able to visit his son and send him some clothes and daily necessities, but these requests were denied. Hou’s father said they really need to hire a lawyer, at least the lawyer may be able to meet Hou and then the family can get some information about his conditions in jail.

– Zhao Xin: Released on March 17, barred from Beijing

Zhao Xin, Executive Director of the independent Empowerment & Rights Institute, 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 in Yunnan used by police as a detention facility. According to Zhao, police in Beijing ordered the Yunnan police to watch him. Yunnan police then sent four people to his house, and asked Zhao to meet the PSB at a tea house to talk. Zhao went to the tea house and was immediately detained, and brought to a three star hotel at Huan Lian River, about 10 km outside the city of Zhaotong. He was detained for 25 days without any formal procedure. He was told that his detention was due to the hunger strike. His family was told not to tell anyone that Zhao was detained. He was watched by policemen 24 hours a day. The police confiscated his computer and cell phone. Zhao’s leg was seriously injured when he was beaten up last year in Sichuan province by unidentified men. He needed medical and physical care. During the detention, he asked for treatment but this was refused. He was released on condition that he stay out of Beijing for at least two weeks and that he not talk about the detention. Zhao’s lawyer, Yang Yisheng, is under pressure from the police to stop working on filing a lawsuit regarding Zhao’s beating.

Mao Hengfeng: Released after detention extended

Shanghai petitioner Mao Hengfeng was released today, March 29, at noon. Her family was warned that they should not inform overseas groups or the press about her detention. Her family had been told that she would be released on Monday, March 20, but on that day, she was told she would be held for a few more days. Since February 13, she was detained at the Shanghai Communist Youth Forest Resort. Her family located her there and was able to visit her.

– Wang Lizhuang: Released on March 22

Wang Lizhuang was infected with pneumonia during his detention and has been in hospital for medical treatment since his release. Wang told friends that the director of the Shanghai Television University Trade Union called him to the University for work-related matters on Feb. 21. When he rushed to the director’s office, he found four men waiting for him. One claimed that they came from the Liangcheng Residents Committee. Another told him that they knew he had participated in Gao Zhisheng’s hunger strike and posted articles on the Internet, and Wang would have to attend “study sessions” for 20 days until the NPC meeting ended. His home was subsequently searched. He was detained at the Shanghai 1st Military Guest House in room number 2225 for a few hours. Then he was transferred to the Shanghai Hongkou Police Detention Center and remained there until his release. He said he was questioned nine times during the detention, each time for several hours. He became infected with pneumonia while he was in the detention center. The prison hospital refused to treat him, claiming all its beds were occupied. His illness became more serious. He was supposed to be released on March 20 after the one-month “residential surveillance” decision had expired, but in the end he was only release after the principal of his university bailed him out.

March 26: Three Linyi villagers formally arrested

On March 26, three villagers from Dongshigu in Linyi, Shandong Province, Chen Gengjiang, Chen Guanghe and Cheng Guangdong, received formal arrest warrants on charges of “destruction of public property.” All three had been detained since the February 5 protest in which villagers clashed with police. The arrest notifications were dated March 22. Two other villagers, Chen Guangyu and Chen Guangjun, detained on March 11 after they protested against the beating of Chen Guangyu, received notifications that they were being held in detention for investigation on suspicion of “blocking traffic.” Blind activist Chen Guangcheng has now been held in detention without any official order for more than two weeks. In an attempt to frighten his family and villagers into silence, Chen’s family has been told by officials that Chen Guangcheng has been tortured in detention and that he had to wear handcuffs and shackles around his ankles.

Cheng Guangcheng’s lawyer Teng Biao and another lawyer who worked on the Linyi case, Jiang Tianyong, are under huge pressure from their respective working unit to drop any legal actions related to Chen’s case or to the lawsuits filed by Linyi villagers related to abuses committed in the implementation of population control policies.

For more information on Chen Guangcheng’s house arrest/detention, see Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=442

March 24: Shanghai housing petitioner released from psychiatric detention

Shanghai petitioner Liu Xinjuan was released from psychiatric detention on March 24. On February 24,2006, she was taken to a psychiatric hospital for the fifth time by police and officials from the Residents Committee of the area where she lives due to her protest against forced eviction on February 24, 2006. At the psychiatric hospital, she was tied to a bed and watched by guards. In the past, she has been sent to the psychiatric hospital at the time of the NPC meeting or other “important days” to prevent her from staging protests. After each such detention, the hospital has billed her for “hospitalization and treatment.”

March 22: Rural Hebei woman activist detained for 6 days

Li Suhuan (李素环), 55, an activist from Xinxin village, Qianxi County, Hebei Province, was detained on March 22 for taking action to defend the rights of local farmers and also for preventing her from winning re-election to the village committee. She was detained at the Tangshan City police station without any official document, and her family was not formally notified. After her son Gao Dongsheng went public with the case and posted SOS messages on the Internet, she was released around the 26 of March.

Li Suhuan has been seeking legal aid and advice for villagers who suffered due to corruption in the local government. She revealed how local officials had exploited local farmers and expropriated their land. She filed law suits and petitioned the government, without getting any response. Due to this she has been illegally detained many times and frequently harassed.

On March 22, 2006, a local official came to see her with a written notice that said she should come to “discuss finding a solution to her problem,” but when she arrived at the government offices she was immediately detained. Her son Gao Dongsheng went to the government office to look for her, but officials denied any knowledge of her whereabouts. Gao Dongsheng then went to Tangshan City PSB, and was told that the PSB had no authority to end the detention. Some Chinese ournalists made inquiries into the case. Over the weekend, she was let go home.

Li Suhuan ran as a candidate in the election to the village committee in 2003, and received the most votes of any candidate, but authorities annulled the election results and appointed another person to be the village director. Her detention took place prior to the upcoming election in the villages.

March 22: Shanghai housing petitioner appeal against RETL sentence rejected

Shanghai petitioner Wang Qiaojuan appealed against the one-year Re-education Through Labor (RTL) sentence she is currently serving. It was imposed in early February this year, and she immediately filed an administrative litigation lawsuit challenging the sentence. Her appeal was rejected by authorities on March 22. About one hundred petitioners against forced evictions gathered outside the Shanghai City Hall to protest against the decision on March 22.

March 21: After trial of rural activist, local court awaits instructions on sentencing

Sources say that city officials in Putian, Fujian Province, in charge of judicial affairs on the city’s CCP Political and Legal Committee met to decide on the verdict the day after the March 20 trial of Huang Weizhong, a farmer who led efforts to seek compensation for land appropriated by government. The officials apparently did not want to take responsibility for a guilty verdict and thus submitted the case to Fujian provincial authorities for decision. The court may announce the sentence as early as April 3, but no later than April 18, the legal limit for announcing sentencing.

The trial proceeded without incident, according to an observer who is in touch with CRD, who was outside the Chengxiang District Court in Putian and later listened to a recording of the trial. In effect, the trial was closed to observers as the court room only had seats for some two dozen people and only two tickets were given to the defendant’s family. The trial was watched by officials on closed-circuit TV in a room adjacent to the trial room. Several hundred supporters stood outside in the rain in silence. Police watched them nervously and videotaped them. Six-hundred families affected by the land appropriation had elected Huang Weizhong to be their representative.

(For more details on this case, see Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=608, Article_Class.asp?ClassID=45)

March 20: long-time Shanghai activist detained for seven days for “disrupting social order”

Li Guotao, Chinese Democracy Party Shanghai coordinator and a freelance writer, was released on March 27 after spending seven days in detention. He was taken away from his home by four plain-clothes State Security police, saying they were taking him in for questioning. At the police station, they read him the decision: “According to surveillance reports filed by the Supervision Section of Public Information Online Security of the State Public Security System, determining that you posted on the Internet on January 28, 2006, the article ‘Very Urgent: Yang Tianshui Detained, Call for Urgent Rescue.’ This activity is illegal since you used other methods to incite to disrupt social order. According to the PRC Social Order Regulation Penalty Law, Article 19(5), we decide to put you under social order detention for 7 days.” (Yang Tianshui is a Nanjing-based activist/writer, who was detained last December.) Police warned him not to post any such articles online, otherwise, he would face computer confiscation again and longer detention time.

Prior to this incident, Li Guotao had been under “residential surveillance” three times, takiing in for questioning more than 20 times, and his home had been searched and computer confiscated about 10 times, in the past one and half years. Li Guotao was a leader of the student demonstrations in Shanghai during the 1989 democracy movement, and was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in the crackdown on the movement. In 1994, he was jailed for three years and then in 2000 for another three years.

(Unless otherwise attributed, all the information in this Briefing is collected and checked by CRD contacts)

Managing editor: Zhong Yan

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