Eighteen Years Later, Tiananmen Prisoners Remain ImprisonedComments Off on Eighteen Years Later, Tiananmen Prisoners Remain Imprisoned
Eighteen Years Later, Tiananmen Protesters from Beijing Remain in Prison
The Chinese government must allow independent investigation and prison visits by international human rights bodies
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, June 3, 2007) – At least thirteen Beijing civilians sentenced to life in prison or a suspended death sentence for participating in the 1989 pro-democracy protests are still imprisoned in Beijing or its surrounding areas. CHRD has obtained the names of the thirteen – their prison terms and the locations of the prisons where they are imprisoned.
The cases of these “Tiananmen prisoners” may have been documented by international human rights groups, along with thousands of others imprisoned since 1989, but the fact that they remain in jail today, possibly along with unknown others, is not widely known and has not been acknowledged by the Chinese government. On the contrary, the government has vehemently denied that China has any political prisoners in its jails today and has dismissed any reports that it still jails people for participating in the 1989 movement as fabricated lies.
A former Tiananmen prisoner in Beijing, whose name is withheld for personal safety, has since his release in 2003 gathered information about fellow Tiananmen prisoners whom he met when he was in prison, has visited the families of some of them, and documented additional cases, on which people have come forward to provide detailed information.
“I want to tell those who claim that Tiananmen ‘belongs to another era’ that, behind the high, barbed-wire-ringed walls of the Chinese prisons, Tiananmen prisoners are still suffering and forced to engage in hard labor day and night today,” said the former prisoner of conscience, who participated in the 1989 pro-democracy protests and has since been imprisoned several times.
Those who were sentenced to death, many of whom were executed immediately, or given long prison terms for their roles in 1989 tended to be ordinary people or workers, while the world focused its condemnation on cases of jailed students and intellectuals. Authorities justified the harsh punishments by accusing these Beijing residents of using violence – killing soldiers, burning army trucks or overturning armored tanks. The 13 cases documented here are also in this category.
The thirteen Tiananmen prisoners known to remain jailed in Beijing are listed below. Where known, the crimes for which they are convicted are listed, but for most, these details are still unavailable.
(1) Seven Beijing residents serving suspended death sentences:
XI, Haoliang (郗浩良), now imprisoned at the Beijing No. 2 Prison.
YANG, Pu (杨璞), now imprisoned at the Tianjin Chadian Prison (天津茶淀监狱).
LI, Yujun (李玉君), convicted of “counter-revolutionary sabotage,” now imprisoned at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
JIANG, Yaqun (姜亚群), convicted of “counter-revolutionary sabotage,” now held at the Yanqing Prison (in the suburbs of Beijing，延庆监狱).
MIAO, Deshun (苗德顺), now imprisoned at Yanqing Prison.
ZHU, Gengsheng (朱更生), convicted of “counter-revolutionary sabotage,” now imprisoned at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
SUN, Hong (孙宏), now imprisoned at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
(2) Six men, all Beijing residents, serving life terms:
WANG, Lianxi (王连禧), imprisoned at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
CHANG, Yongjie (常永杰), at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
SHI, Xuezhi (石学之), imprisoned at Yanqing Prison
LI, Zhixin (李志欣), at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
CHANG, Jingqiang (常景强), convicted of “counter-revolutionary assault,” at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
WU, Chunqi (武春启), at Beijing No. 2 Prison.
The former Beijing prisoner also confirmed that, according to his documentation, the men listed below were swiftly sentenced to death and immediately executed a few weeks after they were arrested following the bloody crackdown on June 3 and 4, 1989:
LIN, Zaorong (林昭荣),
ZHANG, Wenkui (张文奎),
CHEN, Jian (陈坚),
ZU, Jianjun (祖建军),
WANG, Hanwu (王汉武),
LUO, Hongjun (罗红军),
BAN, Huijie (班会杰),
XU, Guoming (徐国明),
BIAN, Hanwu (卞汉武),
YAN, Xuerong (严雪荣).
In recent years, under international pressure, notably the pressure for China to show improvement from the EU before any decision to lift the arms embargo imposed as sanction for the Tiananmen massacre, China has released some 1989 prisoners. However, these men continue to face restrictions such as “deprivation of political rights,” which in the Chinese context means restricted freedom of movement, bans on writing articles or accepting interviews, and subjection to police surveillance, as the three cases below show:
Three men, all residents of Beijing, known to have been released in 2006, but still under deprivation of political rights, are:
DONG, Shengkun (董盛坤), male, suspended death sentence, imprisoned at the Beijing No. 2 Prison, and released on September 5, 2006, with a deprivation of political rights for eight years. Mr. Dong served in the People’s Liberation Army. As a veteran, he was shamed and outraged by the army’s slaughtering of civilians and joined the burning of an army truck, for which he served 17 years in jail.
ZHANG, Maosheng (张茂盛), male, suspended death sentence, imprisoned at the Beijing No. 2 Prison, and released on September 13, 2006, with a deprivation of political rights for five years.
SUN, Chuanheng (孙传恒), male, sentenced to life, imprisoned at the Beijing No. 2 Prison, and released in the spring of 2006, with deprivation of political rights for five years.
The Chinese Human Rights Defenders demands that
·The Chinese authorities unconditionally release all political prisoners jailed for participating in the 1989 pro-democracy protests.
·The government should allow open and independent investigation of the massacre, of cases in which people were allegedly tortured into confessions and of cases of wrongful imprisonment.
·After such investigations, people convicted of committing violent crimes, who merely engaged in peaceful protests or fought back in self-defense against soldiers who opened fire indiscriminately at civilians during the night of June 3 and early morning of June 4, 1989, should be immediately released and compensated for personal damage,
·Where there is corroborated evidence that people engaged in violent acts, their sentences should be reviewed and early release considered, given the circumstances of the time, and
·Any officials responsible for ordering the killings and wrongful convictions must be investigated to determine if they committed crimes.
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