China Formally Detains Olympics Prisoner Ye Guozhu to Prevent ProtestsComments Off on China Formally Detains Olympics Prisoner Ye Guozhu to Prevent Protests
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, July 27, 2008) – On July 26, “Olympics Prisoner” Ye Guozhu (叶国柱) was formally detained on suspicion of “gathering crowds to disturb the order of public places”. Ye was supposed to be released yesterday after serving four years in prison for “provoking and making trouble”.
“My brother has spent the last four years in prison, he has certainly not been out in the public, how could he possibly be ‘disturbing the order of public places’?” said his brother, Ye Guoqiang (叶国强).
Yesterday afternoon, police from Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) Xuanwu Sub-division summoned Ye Guoqiang to the police station and gave him Ye Guozhu’s criminal detention order. Ye Guoqiang said he will hire a lawyer for his brother.
It is believed that Ye Guozhu was detained to prevent him from speaking out against, or organizing public protests during, the Olympics. Ye had just finished a 4-year prison term for attempting to organize a protest in Beijing against forced eviction. Although China has designated areas for public protests during the Games, it has systematically imprisoned, detained or put under residential surveillance (house arrest) potential protestors such as Ye Guozhu and many others.
Between 2001 and 2003, to clear land for a facility to be used in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the government forcibly demolished the homes and restaurant of Ye Guozhu and Ye Guoqiang without sufficient compensation. The two have repeatedly petitioned authorities for compensation without success. Ye Guozhu began helping petitioners who come to Beijing to file complaints with the central government. In August 2004, he applied for permission to organize the ‘September 18 10,000 People March’ to protest against forced evictions. He was promptly detained and on December 18, 2004, was sentenced to four years in prison for ‘provoking and making trouble.’
On July 22, four days before his was due to be released, Ye Guozhu was taken away from Chaobai Prison by Xuanwu police. Police initially denied knowledge of Ye Guozhu’s whereabouts, but later admitted that they had taken him away from prison.
Ye Guozhu, together with Yang Chunlin (杨春林) and Hu Jia (胡佳) are called the “Olympics Prisoners”. The three activists have been imprisoned for speaking out against human rights violations related to the Olympics.
For more information, please see:
Ye Guozhu, m, Beijing housing activist, “Olympic Prisoner” (May 31, 2007)
Free Olympics Prisoners! (March 26, 2008)