China Human Rights Briefing May 1-14, 2006Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing May 1-14, 2006
China Human Rights Briefing
(May 1-14, 2006)
May 14: Internet Writer Tried on Subversion Charge, Prosecutor Introduced Coerced “Confession”
Li Yuanlong, a journalist at Bijie Daily in Guizhou Province, was tried for “subversion of state power” at the Bijie Intermediate People’s Court on May 11. Some 20 family members, friends, and activists tried to attend the court hearing, but were prevented from doing so. The court only issued two permits to family members to attend the trial, and told the others that all seats were full. After strong protests against this, four activists, including Zhao Xin, Chen Xi, Wu Yuqin, and Liao Shuanyuan were let in. The trial started at 9:00am and ended at 4:30pm. The court recessed without announcing a verdict after hearing the not-guilty defense by two lawyers (Li Jianqiang and Chen Shenghua).
Those attending the trial told Boxun that the trial appeared procedurally correct. But a “confession” titled “My Anti-Party and Anti-Socialist Confession” signed by Li during his interrogation was produced as evidence by prosecutors in court. This “confession” is thought to be the outcome of ill-treatment and intimidation, including a one-week detention of the defendant’s 16-year-old son and a 10-day detention of his wife in a police-controlled hotel. The lawyers argued that such a “confession” obtained through the use of coercion should not be admissible as evidence.
D([“mb”,”Li Yuanlong, known as "the night wolf" (<i>ye lang</i>), posted articles critical of the Chinese government on overseas websites. He was arrested in September 2005, and charged with subversion on February 9, 2006. His trial date had been changed several times, first from April 7 to April 24, then to April 19. However, one day before the trial was due to open on April 19, the court announced it had been postponed to May 8. On the morning of May 8, his defense lawyers were informed of a further postponement to May 10.n</span><font faceu003d”PMingLiU”><strong><span styleu003d”font-weight:normal;font-size:11pt”> (See </span></strong><strong><span styleu003d”font-weight:normal;font-size:11pt”>nFull text of the lawyer Li Jianqiang’s defense statement in Chinese at:</span></strong><strong><span styleu003d”font-weight:normal;font-size:11pt”> </span></strong>n<strong><span styleu003d”font-weight:normal;font-size:11pt”><a hrefu003d”Article_Show.asp?ArticleIDu003d1170″ targetu003d”_blank” onclicku003d”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)”><span>nArticle<WBR>_Show.asp?ArticleIDu003d1170</span></a></span></strong><strong><span langu003d”ZH-TW” styleu003d”font-weight:normal;font-size:11pt;font-family:PMingLiU”>n）</span></strong></font><strong><span styleu003d”font-size:11pt”></span></strong></p></div></div>”,1]
Li Yuanlong, known as “the night wolf” (ye lang), posted articles critical of the Chinese government on overseas websites. He was arrested in September 2005, and charged with subversion on February 9, 2006. His trial date had been changed several times, first from April 7 to April 24, then to April 19. However, one day before the trial was due to open on April 19, the court announced it had been postponed to May 8. On the morning of May 8, his defense lawyers were informed of a further postponement to May 10. (See Full text of the lawyer Li Jianqiang’s defense statement in Chinese at: Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=1170 ）
May 14: Writer, Activist Xiong Zhongjun Forced out Residence by Shenzhen Police
Xiong Zhongjun, an independent writer and former reporter at China Private Ownership Magazine, was forced out of his rental housing by Shenzhen police. Mr. Xiong has been subjected to continuous harassment by police in Shenzhen. He was held under “police surveillance” for 81 days on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” on May 1, 2005. Although the police released him on the grounds that “his crime didn’t cause serious harm,” he had to report to police regularly about his movements and activities. He had to provide police with all his phone numbers (home and work). All his correspondence and conversations were monitored.
Finding such oppressive surveillance unbearable, Xiong left Shenzhen in September 2005 and went to Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, to seek another job. However, the police tracked him down less than a month, harassed him, and forced him out of his new job.
On April 15, 2006, police detained him on the pretext of checking his temporary residence permit, and fined him for not having his papers in order. (The system of temporary residence permits is used in China to limit people’s internal movement.) A few days later, police threatened Xiong’s landlord with demolition of his property if he continued renting accommodation to Xiong. Xiong moved, only facing the same tactic of intimidation by police. Similar pattern has been applied in the past several years by Shenzhen police to kick out other activists.
Xiong Zhongjun, male, 26, who writes under the pen-name “Yanbo yuze” (fisherman in smoky waves), has published literary reviews, poetry, and political commentary online. He set up several online literary magazines since 2004, and is an active member of the Chinese Independent PEN.
May 13: “Citizens Talk Bi-Weekly” at Sanwei Bookstore Banned by Authorities
A bi-weekly readers’ seminar on culture and current events, scheduled for May 13, hosted by the Beijing bookstore Sanwei (three flavors) was ordered to stop by Beijing Public Security Bureau. Mr. Zhou Tuo, host of the informal seminars, was taken by State Security officials (guo bao) to a holiday resort in the Beijing suburb of Changping District before the latest gathering was scheduled on May 13, 2006, and is now being held there under “surveillance.” The topic of the barred seminar was: “Farewell to Radicalism: On the Middle Path for Chinese Political Modernization.” Sanwei Bookstore has regularly hosted cultural activities and discussions of current events participated by Beijing intellectuals. It recently hosted a talk by Ms. Dai Qing about the Three-Gorges Dam, in a debut public appearance after she was under police surveillance for many years. Mr. Zhou Tuo is a well-known writer and was formerly a professor at Beijing Normal University. During the 1989 pro-democracy movement, he participated in a hunger strike by intellectuals.
May 12: Tiananmen Mother Ding Zilin Calls for Humanitarian Assistance for Victims’ Families of “6.4” Killings
Less than one month before the 17th anniversary of the military crackdown on the student democracy movement in Beijing in 1989, Ding Zilin, the mother of a 17-year-old student shot to death in the massacre, and a leader of the group of victims’ families seeking redress, made a public plead for international pressure on the Chinese government to provide humanitarian assistance to victims and their families living in poverty. She highlighted the case of the family of another 17-year-old student, surnamed Wu, who died of gun shots fired by the People’s Liberation Army on June 4. Ms. Ding said that Wu’s parents survived on only 300 yuan pension money per month. Both in their 60s, they cannot find work and their other son died due to illness two years ago, leaving the couple a six-year-old granddaughter to care for. Ms.
Another leader of the Tiananmen Mothers group, Ms. Zhang Xianlin told RFA that they would not giving up demanding compensation, but they are encouraged by a recent landmark case, last month, in which authorities provided aid in the amount of 70,000 YMB yuan on the ground of “difficult life conditions” to the mother of a student killed during the 1989 crackdown in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. The Tiananmen Mothers want the government to provide similar assistance to other families living in dire poverty. The Chengdu case was won with the assistance of a Chengdu-based group, Tianwang (skynet), which specializes in assisting families searching for victims of disappearances and other forms of harassment. (For more information, see Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=1075 )
May 9: Five Uyghur Refugees in Albania at Risk of Being Deported to China
Five Uyghurs from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have just been released from the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay after more than four years in detention there. They have now been accepted by the Albanian National Center for Refugees in Tirana. While they told media they were finding freedom “like a celebration,” the Chinese ambassador in Albania is requesting that the Albanian government hand them over to China. The Chinese government insists these men are “East Turkistan terrorists” and not refugees.
The U.S. government dropped terrorism charges against them in 2005, but the men had nowhere to go as the U.S. agreed not to deport them to China after international human rights groups expressed concern about their being sent back to China. It is assumed they belonged to a pro-independence Uyghur group. According to the U.S. government, they asked more than 20 countries, but only Albania was willing to accept the men as refugees.
May 9: After Plead by Lawyers & Activists, Court Trial of Journalist Yang Xiaoqing Postponed
After his defense lawyers protested about not being given sufficient time to read the case file, the court agreed to postpone the opening of the trial of journalist Yang Xiaoqing to May 16.
Yang Xiaoqing, a reporter with the China Industrial Economy News (Zhongguo Chanjing Xinwenbao), was arrested by the Public Security Bureau of Longhui County, Hunan Province, on January 22, 2006, and charged on April 25. The arrest came after Yang investigated and reported on allegations of corruption among Longhui County officials. He is accused of posting defamatory articles on the Internet after failing to extort up to 800,000 yuan (US$100,000) from Longhui County officials in return for dropping the story.
Police have not allowed Yang Xiaoqing’s lawyers to meet him during his detention on the grounds that the case involves “state secrets.” The court also refused lawyers access to any legal documents on the case until one day before the trial, which was scheduled to open on May 10. Several human rights lawyers protested against these violations of criminal procedure and requested that the court allow lawyers time to prepare their defense. CRD also issued an urgent appeal on May 7, calling for the trial to be postponed on the grounds that officials in charge of the case had violated domestic legal procedure and international fair trial standards. (For details see https://www.nchrd.org/Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=1167 Further information related to this case can be found on the blog of Yang’s wife, Gong Jie: http://gongjiexiaoqing.bokee.com/)
May 6: Shanghai housing activist Ma Yalian released on bail, two other activists still held incommunicado
On May 6, Ma Yalian was released on bail awaiting trial for a period of one year. On her release, Ma told CRD she had been held in a room at Yuanhuyuan Motel in the Zhujiajiao suburb of Shanghai, which is in Qingpu district. During her 52-day detention she was deprived of necessary medical treatment, was not able to sleep and had no privacy at all.
Her back problem, caused by torture during a previous term of Re-education Through Labor (RETL), was giving her serious pain, but her many requests to see a doctor or get some pain relief medicine were all rejected. She said 12 men and women took turns to watch her, with all staying in the tiny motel room, and even when she used the toilet she was not allowed to close the door. All of them, including herself, had to sleep on the three beds in the room, and it was so noisy that she hardly slept.
Representatives of the Shanghai authorities came to talk to her four times during her detention, trying to pressure her to give up her protests. She told them that unless the authorities stopped persecuting victims of forced evictions in the city, and dealt with compensation claims fairly through the courts respecting independent assessment of the losses incurred by relocated people, she would not agree to the government’s request. She said she absolutely refused to accept any pay off to stop her actions. She also requested that the government order an independent investigation into torture and ill-treatment she suffered during her term of RETL.
Since her release from her second 18-month incarceration in RETL, Ma Yalian has been continuously harassed by the authorities. She has suffered arbitrary detention almost every month. On February 15, she was taken away by police again because she participated in a hunger strike protesting against the use of violence against human rights defenders launched by lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Her house was searched and all documents regarding her case were confiscated. A friend’s house where she stayed to escape from police harassment was also searched, and her friend’s computer was confiscated and has not been returned.
Two other housing activists who participated in the hunger strike are still missing. It was thought Han Zhongming would be released on May 10, and Chen Xiaoming’s whereabouts remains unknown. (For details about Ma Yalian’s case and forced evictions in Shanghai, see Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=390 and Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=390)
May 6: Secret Trial of Internet Writer Yang Tianshui
On May 6, Nanjing independent internet writer Yang Tianshui was tried in secret on charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” with even members of his family not being allowed to attend court. His defense lawyer Li Jianqiang reported on his meeting with Yang Tianshui on April 29, after meeting with officials from the court and the procuratorate to exchange opinions and obtain case documents. He was told that the Zhejiang Public Security Bureau considered this case as involving secrets of the second level (just below the top level) and thus there would be no public hearing. No verdict has been announced.
The real name of Yang Tianshui, male, 45, is Yang Tongyan. He graduated with a BA in history in 1982. From 1990, he served a 10 year prison term on counter-revolution charges. After his release, Yang remained active in the democracy movement in China. He was put under house arrest on December 23, 2005, and charged on January 22, 2006. (For details see Article_Class.asp?ClassID=23)
May 5: Zhu Zhengming Released on Parole, 6-year Imprisonment Ruined His Health
Zhu Zhengming, co-founder of the China Democracy Party and in his mid-40s, was freed on May 5 on parole four years before the end of his prison term. However, he is under orders not to make any public comment, including about his condition or his state of mind. He needs to report to the police regularly and has to apply for permission to travel to any place outside Hangzhou city.
According China Democracy Party member Chen Shuiqing, six years imprisonment has destroyed Zhu’s health. He had to perform heavy work in a toxic environment for a long time and was not given sufficient food, so he has many medical problems. In particular, his shoulders and knees can cause him unbearable pain whenever the weather turns cold or wet. Since his house was appropriated by the authorities, Zhu is now staying in his hometown Jiangshan (near Hangzhou city) where his brothers and parents live.
After graduating from Zhejiang University with a degree in chemistry, Zhu worked as an engineer for one of the biggest chemical fibre companies (Yizheng Huaqian). In 1989, Zhu gave a speech on Tiananmen Square and wrote 10 suggestions for the political movement addressed to the student leaders of the protests. After the suppression of the protests, Zhu went back to his hometown to study world history and political philosophy. He wrote a book entitled, Political Democracy, which he published using his own savings in 1995. The book was quickly banned. In 1998, Zhu helped set up the China Democracy Party, drafting the CDP Constitution and the “public statement of Zhejiang CDP preparatory committee,” and filing an application to register the party formally with the authorities. He was then arrested and sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
May 2: Shandong Activist Chen Guangcheng Still Held Incommunicado
Chen Guangcheng, the blind “barefoot lawyer” from Linyi in Shandong Province, has now been held incommunicado for more than two months. Chen was taken away by police on March 11, and there is still no news about any charges against him or his whereabouts. Some 20 people stand constant guard outside the house of his wife, Yuan Weijing, and she has not been allowed to contact anyone outside. Chen Guangjun and Chen Guangyu, two villagers taken away by police at the same time as Chen Guangcheng, were released on bail on April 18. But they were not allowed to go back to their home village so as to prevent them from telling people about Chen Guangcheng’s situation. They said they did not see Chen Guangcheng during their detention in Yinan County Police Station. Some villagers said that Chen Guangcheng is being detained at the government-run Victoria Holiday Resort, but the information could not be confirmed.
Chen Guangcheng has faced persecution by local government since he gave legal advice to villagers who had been victims of violence used in implementing birth control policies in Linyi and made public information on some such cases. (For detailed information regarding Chen Guangcheng see: Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=214）
Zhang Weiqing, the director of the State Family Planning Commission, recently published an article in the Chinese magazine Study Times saying that China would not loosen the current family planning policy, and any one who violated the regulations would continue to be punished. He urged village officials to follow the family planning policy themselves so as to be a model for rural people. (Full content of Zhang’s article in Chinese see: http://www.studytimes.com.cn/chinese/zhuanti/xxsb/1187152.htm ]
May 2: Detained without Trial for More than a Year, Journalist Ching Cheong Case File Handed Over to Court
Mary Lau, wife of Straits Times journalist Ching Cheong, confirmed she had received a notice from the Hong Kong government informing her that the procuratorate in China had handed over Ching Cheong’s case to the court for trial. However no trial date was given. Mary Lau said that the fact that the case had been passed on to the court may not mean that there would be an open and public trial. She thought that the situation was more worrying. She urged the Chinese government to release Ching Cheong unconditionally.
Ching Cheong, born in mainland China, is a Hong Kong resident and a permanent resident of Singapore. He used to work for the Chinese government-backed Wenhuibao in Hong Kong as Beijing-based correspondent and deputy editor. He resigned from his position along with some 40 colleagues in 1989 to protest the government’s brutal suppression of the 1989 pro-democracy movement. In 1996, he was hired as Singapore daily Straits Times China desk chief correspondent.
Ching Cheong was taken away by police in Guangzhou on April 22, 2005. During the first few months of his detention, Chinese authorities refused to release any information about his case. Then on August 5 2005, the official Xinhuanet published an article accusing Ching Cheong of spying and “stealing state secrets” for Taiwan, saying that he had been arrested on related charges by the Beijing State Security Bureau.
May 2: Henan House Church Leader Sentenced to One Year Re-education Through Labor
Li Huimin, male, 48, a farmer from Wuhuaying Village, Nanle County, became a leader of a house church in Puyang City, Henan Province. Facing severe poverty, Li found support in house church gatherings and eventually became a leader of the movement.
On March 13, 2006, Li Huimin was arrested by local police for “participating in an illegal gathering” and received notice that he was being held for criminal investigation two days later. On April 12, the authorities sent him to serve a one-year term of RETL. Li refused to accept the decision. He appointed his eldest son Li Weiqiang as his civil representative to file an appeal against the decision. Li was sent to Puyang RETL facility on April 25. According to terms stated in the “RETL decision” in Li’s case, he can file an appeal within 60 days to the provincial RETL Management Bureau, and he can also file an appeal to the courts. Li filed an appeal on April 27.
(Unless otherwise attributed, all the information in this Briefing is collected and verified by CRD)
Managing editor: Zhong Yan