China Human Rights Briefing April 1-15, 2008

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China Human Rights Briefing
Reporting human rights development from the grassroots
April 1-15, 2008


  • In the most blatant act of politicizing the Olympics, Chinese authorities sentenced human rights activist, Hu Jia, to three-and-a-half years in prison and one year’s deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power.”

  • Hu Jia joined Ye Guozhu and Yang Chunlin as “Olympics Prisoners” imprisoned for criticizing Olympics-related human rights abuses.
  • More petitioners were intercepted, forcibly returned home, or incarcerated in black jails as part of the sweeping “clean-up” operations to rid Beijing of potential protesters as it prepares to host the Games.
  • Chinese citizens have continued to challenge the government’s human rights violations. In a Guangdong village, villagers’ persistent protest against fraudulent village elections forced authorities to annul the election. In Sichuan, a court decided to hear the case of a villager suing the local government for forcible demolition, which is likely to inspire other local victims of forced evictions to follow suit.


“Playing dirty politics with the Olympics, the Chinese government is drawing a great deal of attention—unprecedented since 1989– to its abuse of its own citizens. The shock to the international conscience upon exposure to the country’s continuing political repression years after it began economic reforms is now a legacy of the 2008 Olympics: The Beijing Games have opened a window to China’s dark side.” — CHRD


Freedom of Association

Jilin Workers Monitored and Threatened for Organizing Union

CHRD learned on April 2 that representatives of 12,000 dismissed workers of Jilin Oilfields in Songyuan City, Jilin Province have been threatened and monitored for organizing an independent union. On February 19 and March 12, representative, Chen Yuping (陈玉平) was summoned and warned not to establish the union by the National Security Unit police from Songyuan City Public Security Bureau, Songjiang Sub-division. Chen and other representatives have been preparing to apply to establish the union in recent weeks. (CRLW)[i]

Right to vote

Guangdong Village Election Annulled after Protest

On April 1, the village election in Guicheng Street Office, Nanhai District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province was annulled after villagers protested that it violated election laws. Amongst other problems, villagers alleged that ballots were taken out of the designated areas before being brought back and counted. Villagers persisted in protesting against the election until midnight, and in the end, election officials annulled the election and set April 3 as the new election date. (CHRD)[ii]

Guangdong Election Rigged

Democracy activist and veteran election observer, Yao Lifa (姚立法), reported irregularities during the village committee election on April 11 in Beikeng Village, Gujing Township, Jiangmen City in Guangdong Province. Prior to the election, the village election steering committee failed to fulfill its legal obligations to brief villagers of election procedures. Then on April 11, a meeting for villagers to nominate candidates for the election turned into the election itself. The meeting/election was supposed to be chaired by the village election committee, but instead it was conducted by forty Communist Party members and police officers. (CHRD) [iii]

Persecution of Activists

Hu Jia Sentenced to Three Years and Six Months; Denied Access to Lawyers Twice

On April 3, detained human rights defender, Hu Jia (胡 佳), was sentenced by the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court to three years and six months in prison and one year’s deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power”. It is unclear whether or not Hu will appeal. (CHRD)[iv]

On April 14 and 15, Hu’s lawyers were barred from meeting Hu at the Beijing Municipal Detention Center where Hu is held. On April 14, the deadline for submitting an appeal, the lawyers went to consult Hu about his final decision on the appeal. However, detention center authorities told Hu’s lawyers that Hu “was not there” because he had “gone out for a physical check-up”. On April 15, the lawyers returned to the Detention Center but were unable to meet Hu because, according to the authorities, the “deadline for the appeal has passed”. (CHRD)[v]

Guangdong Dissident Summoned for Commemorating Executed Dissident

On April 1, Hu Di (胡迪), a dissident from Xinhui, Guangdong Province was summoned by the local police and interrogated for four hours about his internet initiative to commemorate Lin Zhao (林昭), a well-known dissident executed by the government in the 1960s. Upon his release, police told Hu that he must leave his phone on at all times so he could be easily contacted, that he is barred from leaving Jiangmen City (an area encompassing Xinhui), and that he is to be summoned twice a week. Police also threatened to send Hu to Re-education through Labor. (CHRD)[vi]

Hunan Human Rights Activist Zhou Zhirong Released

On March 31, Hunan human rights activist, Zhou Zhirong (周志荣), was released from Shahe Prison in Jingzhou City, Hubei Province after serving 18 months in prison for “gathering crowds to disturb social order.” Zhou, a veteran activist, was believed to be imprisoned for assisting villagers in Liushanhu Township, Chibi County, Hubei Province to fight against land appropriation without proper compensation by the local government. (CRLW)[vii]

Telecommunications Consumer Rights Advocate Sentenced

On April 3, Chen Shuguang (陈曙光), a telecommunications consumer rights advocate was convicted of “extortion and blackmail” and sentenced to one year in prison immediately commuted to two years’ probation by the Lengshuitan District Court in Yongzhou City, Hunan Province. Chen returned home after being detained for 233 days.

Chen was detained on August 23, 2007, after China Mobile reported to the police that he extorted money from the company. The so-called “extortion” refers to Chen‘s demand for compensation after he had been reportedly charged for junk text messages. (CRLW)[viii]

Dissident Detained for Calling for a Re-evaluation of Zhao Ziyang’s Legacy

Since March 31, Beijing dissident, Li Jinping (李金平), has been detained by Beijing police. Li is known for his public call for a re-evaluation of the late Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary Zhao Ziyang’s legacy. On March 31, Li went to the home of another Beijing dissident, Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), to discuss details about setting up an altar to commemorate Zhao. Upon arrival, Li was seized by police from Beijing PSB Xicheng sub-division who had been monitoring Ni. It is believed that Li is currently incarcerated at a holiday resort at Changyuan Village, Huairou Yanxihu Township in Beijing. (CRLW)[ix]

Human Rights Activist/Petitioner Liu Jie Still Denied Medical Treatment

Liu Jie (刘杰), a veteran rural campaigner and human rights defender serving 18 months of RTL in Heilongjiang Province, continues to be detained and denied medical treatment. According to a doctor who examined her on December 20, 2007, Liu will go blind if she does not receive proper treatment immediately. Liu‘s eye injuries require treatment unavailable in Heilongjiang Province, so she must be sent to Beijing for treatment. Since December, Liu‘s family has demanded her release for medical treatment but the authorities have continued to delay a decision over Liu‘s application for release. (CHRD)[x]

Democracy Activist Zhu Yufu Given Harsher Sentence after Re-trial

Hangzhou democracy activist, Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), was given a harsher sentence on April 9 after he was re-tried for “obstructing the police from carrying out their public duty” on March 28. In addition to the original sentence of two years in prison, Zhu has been deprived of political rights for two years, four months and twenty-six days. The sentence for Zhu’s co-defendant, his son, Zhu Ang (朱卬), remains the same– one year in prison immediately commuted to 18 months’ probation. The father and son were originally tried and sentenced on July 10, 2007. Reportedly, the president of the court discovered mistakes in the trial of their case and decided to try it again. (CHRD)[xi]

CHRD Launches the “Free Olympics Prisoners” Campaign

CHRD launched the “Free Olympics Prisoners” Campaign on April 8, four months to the day before the Olympic Games are scheduled to open in Beijing, in order to press for the release of three Chinese human rights defenders, Ye Guozhu (叶国柱), Yang Chunlin (杨春林) and Hu Jia (胡佳). CHRD urges those concerned about the imprisonment of these “Olympics prisoners” to ask their government representatives and the International Olympic Committee to express concern when they meet with Chinese leaders, as well as to write to the relevant Chinese authorities to demand the prisoners’ release and send messages of support to the prisoners and their families. (CHRD)[xii]

Persecution of petitioners

Heilongjiang Petitioner Intercepted in Beijing

On April 1, Zhao Guirong (赵桂荣), a petitioner from Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province was intercepted by staff from Harbin Beijing Liaison Office while on her way to the Beijing Letters and Visits Office. Zhao was detained for 20 hours at the Harbin Beijing Liaison Office before being escorted to a train bound for Harbin. Zhao, like other petitioners heading to Beijing, has faced increased interception activities by the authorities as Beijing prepares to host the Olympics. (64tianwang)[xiii]

Petitioner Detained in Black Jail after Petitioning During “Two Meetings”

Sun Chongping (孙崇平), a petitioner from Mudanjiang City, Heilongjiang Province, continues to be detained in a black jail at Mudanjiang Assistance Station. On March 12, Sun escaped from the jail by jumping out of a window. However, she was caught again the next day, sent back to the same jail, and beaten by six police officers. Her money and identification card were confiscated. Sun has been told that she might be detained until after the Olympics because of her attempted escape. Sun was one of many petitioners reportedly intercepted while petitioning in Beijing during the “Two Meetings”[xiv] in March. (CRLW)[xv]

Henan Petitioner/Village Representative Feared Detained

CHRD learned on April 10 that Liu Xueli (刘学立), a petitioner from Gaocheng, Henan Province, disappeared. It is feared he is detained by police. On March 9, Liu phoned fellow petitioner, Hu Shuzhen (胡淑珍), and told her that he was intercepted in Beijing and “under the control of Henan police interceptors.” Nobody has been able to contact Liu since. Liu had been petitioning on behalf of villagers in Gaocheng whose land had been forcibly expropriated by the local government. For his petitioning activities, Liu was sent to one year of Re-education through Labor for “disturbing social order” in 2004. Upon release, Liu continued to petition. (CHRD)[xvi]

Eleven AIDS Patients Detained for Petitioning

On April 5, eleven AIDS patients went to the government building in Shahe City, Hebei Province, and demanded to meet Premier Wen Jiabao, who was visiting the city. They were beaten by police, and an unknown liquid was sprayed on their faces, after which they fainted. They were then arrested and detained without proper legal procedures. At least three of the patients was freed by April 8. On April 14, four lawyers representing two of the detainees visited the Shahe City Public Security Bureau (PSB), but they were barred from seeing the two because their cases involved “state secrets”.

The patients, who contracted the disease after a blood transfusion at a local hospital, have been seeking treatment and compensation through petitioning and legal means, so far to no avail. (Aizhixing)[xvii]

Family of Seriously Ill Petitioner Barred from Wiring Money to Pay for Treatment

On April 9, Hu Shuzhen (胡淑珍), a petitioner from Ningxia Province who has become seriously ill while petitioning in Beijing, learned that her son was unable to wire RMB 1,000 to her for treatment, allegedly because of police interference at the local bank. Hu has been petitioning to expose local corruption, pollution and forced land expropriation by the local government. As a result of her petitioning activities, she was sent to one year of RTL in 2006. (CHRD)[xviii]

Reproductive Rights

More Family Planning Violence in Home of Jailed Reproductive Rights Activist Chen Guangcheng

Between March 20 and April 4, Cha, sister of a village woman eight months pregnant with her second child– thus violating the “one-child” policy–, was detained by the local Family Planning Committee in Jiaolikeng Village, Linyi City, Shandong Province. Cha was held hostage by the Committee in order to force her sister to undergo an abortion. Cha’s is one of a dozen families who have reportedly been subjected to detention and beating by the Family Planning Committee in the village. Linyi City is home to Chen Guangcheng, jailed activist known for exposing extensive violence in the implementation of the population policy in the area. (CHRD)[xix]

Housing Rights

Homes Demolished by Stealth

On April 10, the homes of Liu Dingming (刘定明) and Tang Yulan (唐玉兰) of Hanpoling Village, Wanan Township, Sichuan Province were demolished by two hundred Public Security police and by-law enforcement officers and others dispatched by the township authorities. Liu and Tang are dissatisfied with a resettlement plan they have been offered and have therefore refused to sign the agreement authorizing the demolition. Reportedly, the authorities demolished the homes while the two were “out”. Tang, for example, was summoned to the office of the demolition authorities for “a discussion of the problem”, only to return to find her home demolished. (CRLW)[xx]

Citizens Rights Actions

AIDS Activists Collect Signatures to Support Hu Jia

On April 4, a group of 29 AIDS activists including Wan Yanhai (万延海), Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明) and Li Xige (李喜阁) initiated a campaign to collect signatures to demand that authorities release recently imprisoned human rights defender, Hu Jia (胡佳). (CHRD, Aizhixing)[xxi]

Imprisoned Reproductive Rights Activist Chen Guangcheng Sues Shandong Officials

On April 3, Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), an imprisoned reproductive rights activist from Linyi City, Shandong Province, filed a lawsuit against Linyi officials, Li Qun (李群) and Liu Jie (刘杰), for “framing and retaliation”. (CHRD)[xxii]

Sichuan Villager Sues Township Government for Forcible Demolitions

On April 7, Wenjiang District Court heard the case of Wang Binru (王彬如), a villager suing the Yongning Township government in Wenjiang District, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province for forcible demolition of her home. About a hundred local people attended the trial, many of whom were victims of forcible demolitions by the local government. (64tianwang)[xxiii]

38 Guizhou Coalmine Owners Stage Protest

On April 10, owners of 38 coalmines forcibly closed by a Guiyang City government order dated September 30, 2007 demonstrated in front of the government building of Guiyang City, capital of Guizhou Province. The owners demanded compensation from the authorities in accordance with the relevant national and local regulations. (CHRD)[xxiv]

Policy Watch

Shanxi Court Replaces Bullets with Lethal Injections for Executions

Starting from the beginning of April, Taiyuan Intermediate People’s Court in Shanxi Province will replace bullets with lethal injections to carry out executions, the first court to do so in Shanxi Province. (Legal Daily)[xxv]

Editor: Wang Songlian

[i] Citizen’s Rights and Livelihood Watch, “Jilin Oilfield Dismissed Workers Obstructed for Organizing Union,” April 2, 2008, available in Chinese here:

[ii] CHRD, “Protest Against Guangdong Nanhai Zhongqu Election a Success,” April 2, 2008, available in Chinese here:

[iii] CHRD, “Yao Lifa: Ridiculous Election, Fake Democracy,” April 12, 2008, available in Chinese here:

[iv] CHRD, “Hu Jia, Found Guilty for Criticizing Pre-Olympics Abuses, Sentenced to 3 Years & 6 Months,” April 3, 2008, available in English here:

[v] CHRD, “Lawyers Again Barred from Meeting Hu Jia,” April 15, 2008, available here in Chinese: /Article/Class18/hujia/200804/20080415175408_8393.html

[vi] CHRD, “Hu Di Summoned for Commemorating Lin Zhao, Lost His Job Again,” April 1, 2008, available in Chinese here:

[vii] CRLW, “Hunan Human Rights Defender Zhou Zhirong Released After Serving His Terms,” March 31, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[viii] CHRD, “First Telecommunications Consumer Rights Advocate Chen Shuguang Sentenced,” April 4, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[ix] CRLW, “Li Jinping Again Detained for Re-constructing Altar for Zhao Ziyang,” April 6, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[x] CHRD, “Liu Jie Nearly Blind in Re-education through Labor camp,” April 11, 2008, available here in Chinese: /Article/Class18/liujie/200804/20080411234148_8361.html

[xi] CHRD, “Democracy Activist Zhu Yufu Given Harsher Sentence after Re-trial,” April 10, 2008, available here in English:

[xii] CHRD, “CHRD Launches the ‘Free Olympic Prisoners’ Campaign,” April 8, 2008, available in English here:

[xiii] RFA, “Haerbin Petitioner Intercepted in Beijing”, April 3, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xiv] The “Two Meetings” refer to the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in March.

[xv] Citizen’s Rights and Livelihood Watch, “Large Number of Petitioners Intercepted During Two Meetings Continued to be Detained,” April 7, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xvi] CHRD, “Petitioner Liu Xueli under Police Control,” April 10, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xvii] Aizhixing, “Suspicious Substance Used to Prevent AIDS Patients from Petitioning, 11 People Detained,” April 11, 2008, available here in Chinese: /Article/fmzj/200804/20080411160935_8356.html

[xviii] CHRD, “Petitioner Hu Shuzhen Seriously Ill; Police Interfered when Family Wired Money,” April 9, 2008, available here in Chinese: /Article/fmzj/200804/20080409225923_8341.html

[xix] CHRD, “Crazy Family Planning Tragedy Occurs in Shandong Linyi Again,” April 7, 2008, available here in Chinese: /Article/Class53/200804/20080407223608_8319.html

[xx] CRLW, “Homes of Sichuan Province Shuangliu County Residents Forcibly Demolished,” April 10, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xxi] CHRD, “AIDS Workers and Patients Initiated a Campaign to Collect Signatures to free Hu Jia,” April 4, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xxii] CHRD, “Chen Guangcheng Sues Li Quan and Liu Jie For Retaliation and Framing,” April 5, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xxiii] 64tianwang, “Victim of Forcible Demolition Sues Township Government in Sichuan Province,” April 9, 2008, available here in Chinese:

[xxiv] CHRD, “38 Guiyang Coalmine Owners Demonstrated and Defended their Rights at the Provincial Government Building,” April 12, 2008, available here in Chinese: /Article/Class71/200804/20080412223118_8365.html

[xxv] Legal Daily, “Taiyuan Intermediate People’s Court Ceases the Use of Bullets in Executions; Implements the Use of Injections in Executions,” April 4, 2008, available here in Chinese:

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