China Human Rights Briefing March 6-13, 2006

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China Human Rights Briefing

(March 6-13, 2006)

March 13: Bulletin on Petitioners and Hunger Strikers Missing, in Custody, or Detained

(Date and location are bracketed in when the individual was first detained/disappeared)

Still 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), Zhao Xin (Feb. 21, Yunnan), 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 搃nciting subversion of state power,?Anhui), Wang Lizhuang (Feb. 21, formal notification issued on Feb. 28, Shanghai).

More details:

– Activist held at resort

Mao Hengfeng’s husband, Wu Xuewei, has discovered the location of her detention. On March 8, Wu searched for her at the Shanghai Communist Youth Forest Park, an official resort in Yangpu District, where she had been detained before. When confronted, authorities acknowledged that Mao was detained there. (The detention facility can be reached at +86 21 6532 1296). Wu was allowed to see Mao. Mao had bruises on her neck and bumps on her head. She said she had been beaten during the first day of her detention when she refused to make a self-criticism about her hunger strike and to promise not to pursue it. More than a dozen police and officials watched them during the meeting. Mao is kept locked in a small room and needs to get permission to go to the toilet. Wu reported that he saw other housing activists at the same facility. After the visit, Wu and their three children were ordered to leave Shanghai for a trip paid for by the city government until the NPC meeting in Beijing is over.

– Artist evades pursuers

Yan Zhengxue, reportedly detained by Zhejiang police on Feb. 12, resurfaced from hiding on March 8. He reportedly evaded his pursuers at Xianju, Kuocang Mountain and came out after they had given up the search for him. He is now at home in Taizhou.

– Under House arrest, location unknown
Wang Lizhuang‘s family received an official notice containing the decision to impose a one-month “residential surveillance” on Wang at a Shanghai PSB facility. The notice was issued on February 28 by the Shanghai PSB. The notice said that Wang is put under this form of detention on suspicion of “disturbing authorities in carrying out their official duty.” The family was not given any information of the location of Wang抯 detention.

— Gao threatened with death

A police officer gave Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who led the hunger strike protest, a verbal death threat. When two other Beijing lawyers, Li Heping and Jiang Tianyong, tried to meet Gao to discuss matters related to filing an administrative review request on the suspension of Gao’s license to practice law around 10:30am on March 10, they were surrounded by numerous police, guards, and officials in the reception hall downstairs from Gao’s office in the No. 4 Building, 45 Century Jia Garden, Xiaoguan North Lane, Chaoyang District, Beijing, and barred from going to Gao’s office. During the confrontation, one security guard in uniform ran over to Gao and said to him “Your death is coming very soon!?” Gao was enraged by this and had to be held back by his lawyer friends. The confrontation ended when the two lawyers decided to cancel the meeting and left the building.

March 13: PLWHA and AIDS Activists under Residential Surveillance or Criminal Detention

Zhu Bingjin (朱炳金), male, 58, a HIV/AIDS activist in rural Jilin Province, was put under criminal detention on March 10 by the PSB branch of Chuanying District, Jilin City, which issued a criminal detention order. He is being detained for investigation of suspected crimes in the category of "Gathering crowds to disturb social order" (聚众扰乱社会秩序). He is being held at the Jilin City Detention Center (吉林市看守所).

On March 8, Zhu and several other members of his PLWHA support group went to Beijing for a pre-planned tourist trip to visit the Great Wall. They were intercepted at the western gate of the Beijing Train Station by Beijing police, who apparently feared that Zhu’s group was planning to petition the NPC. Zhu was questioned and forced to get into a police car and driven back to Jilin. On March 9, the local PSB branch demanded that Zhu provide an account of his trip. He wrote an account entitled “Strange! When the NPC is in session, March 8 tourist trip must change dates!” On March 10, he was asked to go to the PSB office for questioning. Later in the day, his family was told of his criminal detention. His family is considering filing a request for his release on bail.

Zhu set up a support group of HIV/AIDS infected villagers, “Songhua River Self-Assistance Home,” in Jilin in December 2005. The group now has more than 60 members. Zhu’s wife was affected with HIV and Zhu was infected with hepatitis B from selling blood ten years ago. The couple lives in a village in the Chuanying District of Jilin City. Two years ago, they and other HIV positives filed a lawsuit demanding compensations from government pharmaceuticals and hospitals, which collected blood using unsafe methods that led to the spread of HIV, but the court had allowed the defendants not to be sued and the local government offered them donations. They declined to drop the lawsuit.

Since the beginning of March, several PLWHA and AIDS activists have been put under house arrest or intense surveillance, including several women who were infected or tested positive from blood transfusion in Ningling County. As this briefing was finalized on March 13, all of the above were still under surveillance. In addition, another AIDS activist and his wife, both living with HIV as well as being activists, have been under surveillance since March 1 in Tuocheng County, Henan Province.

The Ningling women petitioners were put under surveillance by local officials and police from the County PSB because they had planned to travel to Beijing to petition the Supreme People’s Court. They are seeking accountability, legal remedies, and compensation for women and children living with HIV/AIDS who were infected due to transfusions of infected blood, a common cause of infection in China today.

The AIDS activist Hu Jia remains missing after he disappeared under close police watch on Feb. 16. Family and colleagues?efforts to search for him in official facilities failed to produce any information about his whereabouts. Family worries that his illness will worsen without taking his medicine.

March 11-13: Chen Guangcheng and other Linyi Villagers Detained

Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist and self-taught lawyer, was detained along with at least two fellow villagers, Chen Guangyu and Chen Guangjun, around 9pm on March 11.

Before the arrest, Chen Guangyu, a neighbor of Chen Guangcheng, was beaten by four hooded persons with sticks and other weapons. Chen Guangyu was bleeding from his head, neck and arms. This took place on his way home from a convenience store.

Chen Guangcheng had been staying at Chen Guangyu’s house since the villagers?protest on February 5. He came out of his house to join the villagers for a while and then he was invited to Chen Guangyu’s house.

Another villager Chen Guangjun saw two police cars at an open area in the village, and overheard that police planned to take Chen Guangcheng away after dark. He went to Chen Guangyu’s house to inform Chen Guangcheng and ran into Chen Guangcheng’s wife on the way there.

After the beating, Chen Guangyu went back into his house. When Chen Guangcheng found out about the beating, he and his wife Yuan Weijing went out to ask the guards outside the door: “Who was responsible for the violence? Why did the guards watch the beating without doing anything to stop it?” But no one answered. After asking around for half an hour, Chen Guangcheng decided to go to Yinan County to seek an account from higher officials. This attracted local villagers. Three policemen in riot gear and about ten police in normal uniform followed them. About 40 policemen and security later guards joined them. The crowds surrounded them on the highway. Traffic was temporarily blocked.

Chen Guangcheng demanded that police identify the attackers and they refused. Then the Deputy Chief of Yinan County PSB, Liu Jie, gave the order “Arrest them!” Police began pushing through the crowd, throwing Chen Guangcheng’s wife with their infant and his 70-year-old mother down into the ditch by the road, and then wrestling down Chen Guangcheng and holding his head on the ground. They also took away Chen Guangyu and Chen Guangjun.

At 11pm police notified Yuan Weijing that they were detaining Chen Guangcheng and the other two villagers for 24 hours for 搃nvestigation?regarding their role in “leading people to block traffic.” She was told that they were detained at the Shuanghou township police station (双侯镇派出所).

However, by the evening of the next day, and as confirmed by Yuan, reached by phone on March 13, none of them had been released.

March 5-13: University Student Detained for Supporting Hunger Strike Protest

Liu Xifeng, male, 22, is a student majoring in tourism at Lanzhou University in Gansu Province, and is from a village in the northwestern province. Liu was arrested on March 5, 2006, for organizing students in his class to join the hunger strike. A fellow student and the class president Bao Ying was also detained for 13 days. He was released on March 5. Students in their No. 2 class of the Business School at Lanzhou University had planned to raise money to assist legal efforts to bring police to court for beating human rights defenders. All students in this class were questioned by Lanzhou City PSB. Classes were suspended for several days. Their teacher, who goes between the students and the police told the students that Liu may face 15 years in jail.

March 11-12: Hunan Higher Court Judge Proposes Gradual Reduction in Capital Crimes

Judge Jiang Bixin, a deputy to the NPC, submitted to the Fourth meeting of the Tenth NPC assembly a proposal to revise the Criminal Code, suggesting a gradual phasing out of the use of the death penalty on those convicted of economic crimes such as smuggling, embezzlement and taking bribes, and social crimes such as trafficking in women and children, organizing and forcing others into prostitution, illegal manufacturing and transporting weapons. Jiang also proposed to set an upper age limit of 70 for death sentences, citing the ICCPR and other international conventions to back up his proposal.

PRC Supreme Court Chief Judge Xiao Yang, however, said the proposal “does not suit the country’s conditions, and it is impossible to abolish the death penalty.” He told journalists that the death penalty should be used with caution in order to protect human rights. Xiao Yang gave some details about the preparations the Supreme Court is making for taking back the authority to review and approve death sentences from provincial higher courts. But he did not want to give a specific time table. Several hundred judges have been appointed to three criminal courts newly established by the Supreme Court that will be devoted to reviewing death penalty cases, and would take up their posts soon, Xiao said. Xiao also said that the Supreme Court is trying to implement hearings for all appeals involving the death penalty. (Changsha Evening News, 长沙晚报 3/11;New Beijing News, 新京报 3/12)

March 9-13: Popular Poetry Website Blocked

On March 9, the free-spirited website Ai Qin Hai (爱琴海 popular among poets and poetry-loving youths, was shut down for the third time in recent months. This website was officially registered in Zhejiang Province and should enjoy all protections afforded to other registered sites. But authorities blocked it citing lack of legal registration. The well-known poet Bei Dao serves as the chief adviser for the site. Users, many of them college students, who posted messages or whose blogs were hosted at the site, reacted with indignation. They posted messages on BBS and demanded respect for the rights of Internet users. Some enthusiasts are planning to hire lawyers to sue responsible offices at the Zhejiang Provincial News Media Office and Communication Regulation Bureau. Users of the site and supporters have set up the Ai Qin Hai Rights Defense Support Group on Feb. 13, which has begun organizing a legal defense team.

Meanwhile, authorities also shut down a popular blog, Massage Milk (按摩牛奶), run by a Beijing journalist who uses the online name Wang Xiaofeng. The blog once won an international blogger award. Visitors to the blog now see the message: “Due to causes beyond our control, this blog is temporarily shut down.”

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

For more information, contact: Zhong Yan:

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