Police bar wife of imprisoned rights defender from leaving China to collect award

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Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)

Web: https://www.nchrd.org/ Email: networkcrd@gmail.com

Promoting human rights and empowering grassroots activism in China

Police bar wife of imprisoned rights defender from leaving China to collect award

Officials assault Yuan Weijing at Beijing airport, block her from leaving for the Philippines to receive award on behalf of husband Chen Guangcheng

(Beijing, August 24, 2007) – Yuan Weijing, the wife of imprisoned human rights defender Chen Guangcheng, was intercepted at the Beijing airport around 3 pm today and prevented her from leaving for the Philippines to receive the prestigious Magsaysay Award on behalf of her husband. Airport authorities confiscated her passport and her belongings, including a camera, a video camera, a recording device, etc. Beijing police then handed her over to policemen from Shandong, her home province, who detained her and forcibly took her back to her village in Linyi, Shandong. When she protested, police used violence to restrain her: they pulled her hair, twisted her arms backward, and hit her on her arms and back.

Police claimed that Ms. Yuan was being stopped from leaving the country because her passport was invalid, citing Article 8 in the PRC Regulations on Border Entry and Exit Inspection. But Ms. Yuan holds a valid passport (which expires on March 23, 2008) containing a valid visa issued by the Philippines Embassy on August 7. Ms. Yuan has not apparently violated any provisions under Article 8 of this law. However, Art. 8, Clause 7 states that the State Council and Ministry of Public Security have the power to put citizens on a list of people “not permitted to exit the border.” But Ms. Yuan was never notified that she had been placed on any such list. Barring Chinese citizens from leaving the country without any legal procedure is an exercise of illegal and arbitrary power.

Ms. Yuan has been under house arrest and close surveillance in her village for more than two years now due to her assistance to her husband’s human rights activities, including disclosing incidents of official violence in implementing the state family planning policy. In early July this year, she evaded police surveillance and arrived in Beijing with her two-year-old daughter in order to draw public and international attention to her husband’s imprisonment.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders condemns the Chinese authorities’ violation of Yuan Weijing’s right to freedom of movement, including the freedom to leave the country, a right protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13 (2). We protest the violence used against Ms. Yuan and her forced return to her village in Shandong. We demand that the Shandong police set Ms. Yuan free, guarantee her personal safety, and return her personal belongings. We believe that authorities should investigate this incident, and hold those responsible for ordering the assault and detention of Ms. Yuan to account under the law.


August 24, 2007


Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) is a non-political, non-government network of grassroots and international activists promoting human rights protection and empowering grassroots activism in China. CHRD’s objective is to build NGO capacities, monitor rights development, and assist victims of abuse. CHRD advocates non-violent and rule of law approaches. CHRD conducts investigation and research, provides information, organizes training, supports a program of small grants, and offers legal assistance.

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