China Human Rights Briefing April 21-May 1, 2006Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing April 21-May 1, 2006
China Human Rights Briefing
April 21-May 1, 2006
May 1: TIME nominates activist Chen Guangcheng as one of 100 people “who shape our world”
Time magazine nominated the blind Shandong activist Chen Guangcheng as one of 100 people who shape our world in its April 30, 2006 edition ( http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1186887,00.html ). Chen Guangcheng has now been detained without charge for 51 days. He may face criminal charges for his work in defending rights. Chen had been under house arrest since September 6, 2005. He was detained and taken to the local police station on March 11 when he tried to leave the house to meet officials regarding the case of villager Chen Guangyu, a relative of his. Chen Guangyu had been beaten up by four hooded men wielding wooden sticks while police guards outside his house looked on and failed to intervene. No warrant has been issued for Chen Guangcheng’s arrest, and his family has not been told where he is being detained. His wife, Yuan Weijing, was also assaulted by police on the same day her husband was taken into custody. According to sources, Chen Guangcheng has now been transferred to a government-run vacation site called Victoria Holiday Village in Yinan County. Lawyers for Chen Guangcheng believe he may face criminal charges for “providing information to overseas organizations.” (For additional information and background, see https://www.nchrd.org/Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=1014 , https://www.nchrd.org/Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=442 )
April 27: Zheng Enchong to continue work for forced eviction victims after release
Shanghai human rights lawyer Zheng Enchong is due for release in June 2006 when he will complete his three-year prison term. He issued a statement through his family that that he would continue his work for victims of forced evictions after his release. Prior to his detention and conviction on charges of “illegally releasing state secrets” on October 28, 2003 , Zheng represented the interests of more than 500 such cases, challenging violations of people’s economic and social rights by local government and business people. He was sentenced to three years in prison for sending information about these actions to groups overseas and was allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prison. Zheng’s most notable case was a law suit on behalf of people forcibly evicted for a development project run by Shanghai tycoon Zhou Zhengyi, charging that Zhou had engaged in corruption to obtain the land he had taken over for investment. Zhou Zhengyi was himself later convicted on corruption charges, and will complete his three-year prison term in May 2006. His wife, former general manager of Shanghai Land, Mao Yuping, was charged by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in January this year for 12 counts of conspiracy to defraud relating to letters of credits worth more than HK$49 million based on bogus business transactions, and was sentenced to 32 months in prison by the Hong Kong District Court in January 2006. For details about Zheng Enchong and his human rights defense work see: Article_Class.asp?ClassID=43 ( Chinese)
April 26: Delay in judgment in trial of Fujian farmer Huang Weizhong sign of controversy over verdict
The delay in pronouncing the court judgment in the case of Putian farmer, activist Huang Weizhong, in Fujian Province may be an indication that there are divisions of opinion within the judiciary or a sign of external intervention.
A verdict in the case should have been announced on April 18, 2006, but the Putian City Chengxiang District People’s Court did not follow proper procedure by pronouncing the judgment, and also refused to issue a written record to the family about the delay, and Huang’s family was only informed verbally of the one-month postponement. Huang Weizhong’s family had appealed against the delay, handing a copy of the “Circular of the Supreme People’s Court Regarding 10 measures to Prevent Detention over Time Limits” issued on December 1, 2003 to the court. On April 25, an official then gave them a document entitled,“ Chengxiang District People‘ s Court of Putian City Notice of Conditions Requiring Adjustment of Time Limits for Judgment “( 《莆田市城廂區法院審限變動情況通知書》 ). If there is insufficient evidence to convict, CRD believes the court should issue a not-guilty verdict and release Huang Weizhong immediately. CRD believes that the postponement of the court judgment may indicate intervention by outside forces, which would be a violation of international principles on fair trial and judicial independence. Keeping Huang Weizhong in detention if there is no evidence he committed the crimes with which he has been charged violates his fundamental human rights and will be of no help in resolving the dispute between farmers and local government on land expropriation.
Representative of private investors in the Shanbei oil fields, Feng Bingxian, 60, is now serving a three-year prison term at Shanxi Province No. 4 Prison in Hejiata, Shenmu County, Yulin City, where his already poor health is worsening, according to his family. Feng took the lead in requesting a dialogue to discuss compensation and resolution of the dispute with local government, after its expropriation of private oil fields in Shanxi Province caused serious losses to nearly 5,000 private investors. Feng was detained on July 26, 2005 , and was held for eight months before the case went to court following international and domestic public pressure. His appeal against his conviction was rejected on March 30, 2006, and he was transferred from the police detention center to prison on April 7, 2006 . According to his family, Feng has a serious stomach problem and his health has recently been getting worse.
For further information, see:
Feng Bingxian’s defense statement for the first trial Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=1016 (Chinese)
Lawyer Mo Shaoping’s statement for the appeal Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=1017 (Chinese)
Background information about the dispute between private investors in the Shanbei Oil Field and local government Article_Class.asp?ClassID=41 (Chinese )
April 21: Internet writer Yang Tianshui charged with “subversion of state power”
Jiangsu Provincial People’s Procuratorate filed charges of “subversion of state power” against Yang Tianshui, an internet writer. According to Yang’s defence Lawyer Liu Lu, the only evidence listed in the indictment is writings by Yang. After a visit to Yang in the police detention center, Liu said his spirits and his health seemed fine. Zhenjiang City government claimed Yang Tianshui helped overseas exile groups deliver money to families of political prisoners and was involved in the “Swan Action” organized by “an overseas enemy organization” which aimed to subvert the current state power. Yang told his lawyer that he has never heard of the “Swan Action.” Yang Tianshui’s trial is likely to be held right after the May 1st Labour Day holiday. Yang served a 10-year prison sentence for “counterrevolution” between 1990 and 2000, which also included four years deprivation of political rights following his release. Yang continued his involvement in the democracy movement in China after his release. He was detained in December 2004 for publishing critical articles on the internet and was released on bail in January 2005. One year later, on January 22, 2006, he was arrested by Zhenjiang police on suspicion of “subversion of state power”. （ Information from Chinese Independent Pen Association ）
April 21: HIV/AIDS activist subjected one year “Re-education Through Labor”
Zhu Bingjin, a HIV/AIDS activist in rural Jilin Province, was sentenced to one year “Re-Education Through Labor” (RETL) on April 15, 2006 , after being detained for 35 days. In his case, it was specified that the RETL term could be implemented outside RETL facilities. Zhu had been taken in to custody in early March this year for bringing a group of people infected with HIV/AIDS to Beijing for a tour during the annual session of the National People Congress. He was put under criminal detention on March 10 by the Public Security Bureau branch of Chuanying District, Jilin City, on suspicion of “gathering crowds to disturb social order.” The charge is thought to relate to his history of organizing to protect the rights of people infected with HIV/ AIDS in Jilin Province Changchun City in 2005. No protest activities were carried out during the 2006 Beijing trip. Beijing AIZHIXING Institute of Health Education said Zhu Bingjin will carry on his work to promote the rights of HIV/AIDS-infected people despite the RETL decision. Many HIV/AIDS carriers in China became infected through transfusions of infected blood in hospital or through unsafe practices involved in the collection of blood, which people sold due to extreme poverty. For background on this case see Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=519 (Information from Beijing AIZHIXING Institute of Health Education）
April 21: Several housing and land rights activists in Shanghai still under detention, may be subject to torture and ill-treatment
Three Shanghai activists who participated in the hunger strike launched by Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng have been illegally detained since February. Chen Xiaoming, Ma Yalian and Han Zhongming were taken away by police in mid-February, but police have refused to tell their families where they are being detained and no charges have been laid. Ma Yalian’s 70-year-old mother has traveled to Beijing to petition about her daughter’s disappearance several time but has been sent back to Shanghai. Chen Xiaoming’s house has been searched twice, and police confiscated bank savings belonging to him and his family and took his computer. Shanghai police commonly use custody or illegal detention of petitioners to suppress group protests.
Beatings and other kinds of ill-treatment of activists in detention are also common in Shanghai , various media reported. Protester Tian Baocheng was severely beaten and detained without legal procedure for 15 days after he protested outside the people’s court in Shanghai’s Zaibei District in support of a lawsuit brought by another protester, Du Yangming, against police for illegal detention. Tian was released on April 28 but was reportedly subject to ill-treatment during detention and was refused medical treatment for injuries he suffered as a result. Tian Baocheng is now waiting for a medical report on his injuries.
Another protester, Cai Wenjun (f), has been sentenced to a further 18 months of RETL on April 25, due to her persistent appeals regarding the case of her father, who died immediately after illegal detention by Shanghai police in 2000. Cai has already served a one year RETL term from August 2004 to July 2005.
April 21: Shut-down of “independent investigation” website in Shanghai affects more than 100 other websites
A website called “Wang Ganlin’s independent investigation” was closed down for a second time. The host server company, Shanghai Wangsu Technology Ltd., is reportedly being “punished” for hosting “Wang Ganlin’s independent investigation” without official approval. As a result, about 100 other websites hosted by the same server also became unavailable. Legal Morning Post journalist Wang Ganlin（http://www.wgldc.com, http://wgl.tougao.com/） has become well known since he posted an article “Bloodshed caused after a People’s Congress deputy filed a complaint about a county Communist Party secretary” ( 《人大代表举报县委书记后发生的血案》). The article reported on an investigation by Wang Ganlin and had been published earlier in the Legal Morning Post on April 16, 2006 on page 13. However, on April 21 the server company staff told Wang they had received a phone call from the Shanghai Telecommunications Bureau saying that Shanghai police believed that the article was illegal and asked them to close Wang’s website. Wang called the Shanghai PSB to check on the procedure for closing down a website, and found out that without an official fax from the PSB on the decision to shut down a site, the Shanghai Telecommunication Bureau could not order such an action. After he argued with the Bureau that since they had not received any official fax from the PSB the closure was illegitimate, the Bureau then agreed the website be reopened.
April 20︰ Li Yuanlong’s trial delayed again, Microsoft’s Hotmail thought to have provided information leading to charges
The trial of journalist Li Yuanlong has again been delayed, according to his defense lawyer Liu Lu. Originally scheduled to open on April 7, the trial was first postponed to April 24 and has now been delayed again to May, but the lawyer has not yet been told the exact date. Li was a journalist at Bijie Daily published in Guizhou Province. He used the pen name “Night Wolf” to uncover stories expressing concern about disadvantaged groups and vulnerable individuals. On September 29, 2005 , Li Yuanlong was arrested by police in the news office on suspicion of “subversion of state power.” His house was searched and personal belongings confiscated. This is not the first time Li has been persecuted for his writing; he had previously been put under “house arrest” for “sending subversive writing through HOTMAIL.” Since the HOTMAIL server is in the US , it seems apparent that unless Li had sent the same material to other addresses on a China-hosted server or had provided information to the Chinese government himself, his identity could only be revealed to the Chinese authorities if Microsoft had helped in providing information. For more details about this case see: Article_Class.asp?ClassID=25 (Chinese)
(Unless otherwise attributed, all the information in this Briefing is provided by the network of CRD contacts)
Managing editor: Zhong Yan