China Human Rights Briefing May 1-15, 2008Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing May 1-15, 2008
China Human Rights Briefing
Reporting human rights development from the grassroots
May 1-15, 2008
- Pollution continues to drive spontaneous demonstrations around the country. In Zhejiang, seven were injured when a thousand villagers protested against toxic gas emitted from a nearby chemical plant, while in Chengdu, four cyber-activists were arrested for “inciting” an anti-pollution protest.
- As the death toll climbs following the earthquake in Sichuan Province, survivors charge that corruption is responsible for the poor quality of the collapsed schools and hospitals. Ironically, the day after the earthquake on May 13, Shandong authorities sentenced Qi Chonghuai, a journalist with a record of exposing corruption, to four years’ imprisonment.
- Wang Guilan, a petitioner and rights activist, is to be detained in a “black jail” until the Olympics ends. Wang’s experience is illustrative of the millions of petitioners who face heightened risks of illegal detention as the government detains or restricts the movement of potential protesters and dissidents prior to the Games.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Freedom of Expression
Authorities Close China’s First HIV/AIDS Wikipedia
Freedom of Religion
Authorities Interrupt Service at Beijing House Church
Weise Reports Tension Still High in Tibetan Areas and Tibetan Deaths from Torture
Freedom of Association
Zhejiang Protest against Chemical Factory Put Down by Force
Cyber Activists Detained for “Inciting” Anti-Pollution March in Chengdu
Right to Vote
Guangdong Villagers Complain Their Village Committee Election Was Rigged
Harassment and Persecution of Activists
Nanhai Villager Detained for Resisting Land Appropriation
Journalist Who Exposed Corruption Gets Four Years
Hubei Writer Zhou Yuanzhi Detained
One AIDS Activist Released; Two More Still Detained
Court Upholds Decision to Bar Yuan Weijing from Travelling Abroad
Hu Jia Transferred to Prison; Family Worries about His Health
Persecution of Petitioners
Hubei Petitioner Wang Guilan Detained until End of Olympics
Petitioner Detained for Intercepting Premier’s Car
Workers Representative Denied Release for Medical Treatment
“Government Information Disclosure Bill” Comes into Effect on May 1; Ministry of Education Already Places Restrictions on Information Disclosed
On May 6, China’s first HIV/AIDS wikipedia, www.aidswiki.cn (or www.aidsmuseum.net), was forcibly closed down by authorities. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) of the website phoned Chang Kun (常坤), founder of the website, and notified him of the authorities’ order. (Rights Mailing Group)[i]
On May 11, police and officers from Beijing Haidian District Ethnicity and Religion Management Office stormed the church service of the Beijing Shouwang Church (北京守望教会). Participants in the service, which was held at Huajie Building near the Beijing Sanhuan Highway, were ordered to leave immediately because it was an “illegal gathering”. The officers pushed the individual leading the service and interfered with the church’s video system. When the service ended, police barred the exit and the church-goers were made to leave their names, ID card numbers, Hukou addresses and phone numbers with the authorities. (CHRD)[ii]
According to briefings by Beijing-based Tibetan writer Weise (唯色) dated May 4 and 9, tension is still high around the Tibetan areas after the incidents in mid-March.
Although the Ramoche Temple, one of the most important temples in Lhasa, was re-opened and the checkpoints at its main entrances were removed on May 1, many plainclothes police are stationed at the temple and the atmosphere is tense.
Also on May 1, more than 300 nuns at Wadha Monastery, Simo Township, Dakgo County hung a banner outside of the monastery that read “freedom of religion”.
Weise also reported deaths of Tibetans following torture while in police custody. Although the authorities have released some arrested Tibetans, families are reportedly required to pay large sums for their release. Dabe, a well-known artist from Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, was released after his family paid RMB 10,000 (US$1,430) to the authorities. (Weise)[iii]
On May 4, CHRD learned that on April 14, hundreds of anti-riot and armed police were mobilized by the local authorities to put down a protest staged by about a thousand villagers of Mao Township, Dinghai District, Zhoushan City, Zhejiang Province. Three villagers were injured. The villagers were protesting against the allegedly toxic gas emitted by the Hebang Chemical Plant. Since the plant started trial production last month, eleven villagers have been admitted to the local hospital with symptoms of poisoning. (CHRD)[iv]
On May 4, about 200 people participated in a march in Chengdu to protest the construction of a petrochemical plant in nearby Pengzhou city. Five days later, on May 9, four cyber-activists were detained for posting articles online criticizing the plant’s construction. One of the activists, Chen Daojun (陈道军), has been detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. The other three, Xin Wu (辛吴, also known as “Chengdu white handkerchief”), Shi Jianhua (施建华) and Lin Yong (林勇, also known as Li Li (李力)), were put under administrative detention. The activists are being held for posting articles that “created, spread and stirred up rumor”, “using the internet to spread harmful information” and “inciting” the “illegal” demonstration, said a police spokesperson at a press conference in Chengdu on May 10. (CHRD)[v]
On April 24, five villagers brought a joint letter signed by 159 others to the local government demanding that it declare illegal the village committee election conducted between March 16 and April 11 in Lingbei Village, Gujing Township, Xinhui District, Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province. Villagers alleged that there were irregularities and vote-buying during the election. However, the Jiangmen City Civil Affairs Bureau, which received the villagers, refused to investigate the matter claiming that the “election had no problem”. (CHRD)
On May 6, Li Hanquan (李汉权), a villager of Sanshan Township, Nanhai Prefecture, Foshan City, Guangdong Province was criminally detained for “illegal possession of firearms and ammunition” by Nanhai Prefecture Public Security Bureau (PSB). Li is currently being held at Nanhai Prefecture Detention Center.
Li is one of the Sanshan villagers who, between 2005 and 2007, exhausted all legal avenues in seeking adequate compensation following the forcible expropriation of their land. Not only were they not properly compensated, the villagers were also persecuted by local authorities. In 2005, when the land grab seemed inevitable, Li converted a piece of wasteland outside of the area designated for expropriation into farmland. However, on May 1, 2008, the authorities filled the area with concrete. Li resisted. Authorities allege that he threatened the workers with a hunting rifle. (CRLW)[vi]
On May 13, Qi Chonghuai (齐崇淮/齐崇怀), a Legal System Morning Post (fazhi zaobao) reporter known for his articles exposing local corruption, was convicted of “extortion and blackmail” and sentenced to four years in prison by Tengzhou City Court, Shandong Province. During the trial, the prosecutor’s “evidence” against Qi included documents supplied by the local Publicity Department and PSB which supposedly indicated that Qi had extorted from the government agencies. No witnesses were called, nor were any bank statements or receipts presented. (CHRD)[vii]
On May 3, Zhou Yuanzhi (周远志), Hubei-based writer and member of Chinese Independent PEN, and his wife were detained by the Ministry of State Security. His wife was released two days later. Zhou is likely to be charged with the crimes of “endangering state security” or “leaking state secrets”. It is believed that Zhou is being detained for his articles exposing human rights violations in Hubei. (CHRD)[viii]
On May 8, Miaojue Cizhi (妙觉慈智), an AIDS activist taken away by police for interrogation on May 1, was released. On May 15, CHRD learned that Li Xige (李喜阁), a fellow AIDS activist who was taken away at the same time, managed to return home in the chaotic aftermath following the May 12 Sichuan earthquake, but it is unclear whether she is still under residential surveillance. The two were held by police from Chengguan Township Public Security Bureau, Ningling County, Henan Province. (CHRD)[ix]
The recent detention of Li and Miaojue brings to mind the case of Wang Xiaoqiao (王小巧), a HIV/AIDS petitioner from Xincai County, Henan Province, who disappeared on November 27, 2007 when Xincai police took her away. Wang became a petitioner in 2003 when it was discovered that her husband, Zhang, was infected with HIV/AIDS allegedly from a blood transfusion at the No. 2 People’s Hospital in Xincai County. (Aizixing)[x]
On May 14, Beijing Chaoyang District Court upheld the decision on August 24, 2007 of immigration authorities to bar Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), wife of rights activist, Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), from leaving the country to receive a human right award on behalf of her husband. The trial was closed as the court claimed that the case involved “state secrets”.
Yuan was unable to attend the trial because she has been under house arrest since September 2005. Two shifts of eleven guards monitor her round the clock. Some have climbed on top of the wall around her house to watch her, leaving her no privacy. Yuan is barred from leaving home except to purchase basic necessities at the market where she is followed by half a dozen guards. She still has not been allowed access to medical treatment since she developed a severe toothache in October 2007. (CHRD)[xi]
On May 7, Hu Jia (胡佳), the prominent rights defender serving three-and-a-half years for “inciting subversion of state power”, was transferred to Chaobai Prison in Tianjin.
Inmates at Chaobai are reportedly required to sew balls and sort beans, the former especially taxing for the eyes. Hu is in poor health and suffers from liver cirrhosis. Although he is provided with Heptodin, a Hepatitis-B medication, it is unclear whether he has had access to liver specialists. Those suffering from liver cirrhosis must have regular check-ups with such specialists in order to be provided with an appropriate course of treatment. (CHRD)
On May 6, Wang Guilan (王桂兰), petitioner and rights activist from Enshi City, Hubei Province, was told by the Secretary of Enshi City Political and Legal Affairs Committee that she will be detained until after the Olympics. The Secretary told Wang that she is not “detained” but merely in a “law-learning education class”. Wang has been held at a “black jail”, an illegal and secret detention facility, near Wangcheng Village, Xiaoduchuan Street Office, Enshi City. She was sent there after she was intercepted by police in Beijing on April 17. (CHRD)[xii]
Petitioner, Qiu Jie (仇杰), has reportedly been criminally detained for intercepting Premier Wen Jiabao’s car on May 4 at Dongjiaomin Alley, Dongcheng District, Beijing. Qiu wanted to petition the Premier about persecution he allegedly suffered at the hands of the Dalian City authorities. However, Qiu did not manage to get the Premier’s attention. As the car pulled away, Qiu hung on the car’s wipers a USB-drive with two documents detailing his situation. Qiu was subsequently taken away by police from Dongjiaomin Police Station. (64tianwang)[xiii]
On May 5, Li Guohong (李国宏), a workers’ representative serving 18 months of Re-education Through Labor (RTL), released a letter saying that the RTL camp’s “physical punishment in disguise” has made him feel “thoroughly humiliated” and that although he suffers from severe eye illness, the authorities have denied his application for release for medical treatment. Since early May, Li has been on a hunger strike to protest his incarceration. (CRLW)[xiv]
“Government Information Disclosure Bill” Comes into Effect on May 1; Ministry of Education Already Places Restrictions on Information Disclosed
On May 1, the “Government Information Disclosure Bill” comes into effect. According to the Bill, administrative authorities should take the initiative to disclose information that 1) involves the vital interests of citizens and other legal entities, 2) needs the extensive knowledge and participation of the public, and 3) concerns the authorities’ institutions, functions and procedures. The Bill also stipulates that when citizens and other legal entities file a request for such information, the authorities should respond within 15 days of receipt. (Sina.com)[xv]
Article 14 of the Bill stipulates that government information concerning personal privacy and state and business secrets is not to be disclosed. In addition to that, on May 4, the Ministry of Education published a set of regulations which further excluded from disclosure information currently under “investigation, discussion, deliberation and processing.” This raises concerns that other government departments are to follow the example set by the Ministry and render the new Bill powerless. (the Beijing News)[xvi]
Editor: Wang Songlian
[i] Rights Mailing Group, “China AIDS Wikipedia Closed <中国艾滋病博物馆网站遭到关闭>,” May 8, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200805/20080508091306_8594.html
[v] CHRD, “Cyber Activists Detained for “Inciting” Anti-Pollution March in Chengdu”, May 12, 2008, /Article/Class9/Class15/200805/20080514220937_8679.html
[vi] Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (CRLW), “For Protecting Land, Guangdong Sanshan Villager Criminally Detained for ‘Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition’ <广东三山村民保护土地被控“非法持枪支弹药”遭刑拘>”, May 7, 2008, /Article/Class18/Class67/200805/20080507101714_8587.html
[vii] CHRD, “Journalist Who Exposed Corruption Gets Four Years,” May 14, 2008, /Article/Class9/Class15/200805/20080514221222_8680.html
[ix] CHRD, “Miaojue Came to Hefei under the ‘Secret Accompaniment” of Three Policemen from Ningling County <妙觉法师在宁陵县三位人民警察的“秘密护送”下来到合肥>”, /Article/Class53/200805/20080509102745_8613.html; CHRD, “ News Concerning Li Xige at 16:40 on May 12 and a Thank-you Letter from Miaojue <李喜阁5月12日16点40分消息及有效帮助和妙觉法师感谢信>”, /Article/Class53/200805/20080512214156_8652.html
[x]Aizhixing, “Arrested Shahe Patients Get Conditional Release and RMB 50,000 for Compensation <被拘捕沙河感染者有条件获释和各获赔5万>”, May 11, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200805/20080511112442_8634.html
[xi] CHRD, “ <Rights to Freedom of Movement and Privacy Cannot be Violated: A Statement by CHRD Concerning the Situation and Violation of Yuan Weijing’s Basic Rights <行动自由、隐私与居住权不容侵犯 —-《维权网》就袁伟静基本权利遭遇侵害的声明>”, May 14, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class4/200805/20080514232646_8682.html
[xiv] CRLW, “Li Guohong Suffers from Severe Eye Illness at RTL Camp but Authorities Deny Application for Release for Medical Treatment; Li on Hunger Strike to Protest Decision<李国宏劳教所内眼疾严重申请保外就医被拒 绝食抗争>,” May 9, 2008, /Article/Class18/liguohong/200805/20080509224447_8620.html
[xv] Sina.com, “A Group of Laws and Regulations Comes into Effect Today <一批法律法规今起实施>“, May 1, 2008,http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2008-05-01/021013816944s.shtml
[xvi] The Beijing News, “<[Government Departments] Cannot Set Their Own Restrictions over the “Government Information Disclosure Bill <对《政府信息公开条例》不能各自设限>”, May 6, 2008, http://email@example.com