China Human Rights Briefing July 1-15, 2008

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China Human Rights Briefing
Reporting human rights development from the grassroots

July 1-15, 2008

HIGHLIGHTS
Less than a month before the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government is taking security measures against activists and potential protesters on a scale unseen since the period immediately after the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. Many vocal activists such as Hu Jia and Huang Qi are already in prison, and many others have been threatened. In the past two weeks, two more individuals, Yuan Xianchen and Liu Jiangjun, were detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”, a crime frequently used to punish individuals exercising their right of freedom of expression to express views unacceptable to the government. It is believed that Yuan was arrested for assisting Yang Chunlin, an imprisoned human rights defender, for collecting signatures to the open letter, “We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics”.
Meanwhile, torture and ill-treatment of incarcerated prisoners of conscience have continued. In the past two weeks, three human rights defenders, Liu Jie, Mao Hengfeng and Lu Gengsong, were tortured and subjected to cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment. While the Chinese government defends its record of implementing the Convention against Torture at sessions of the UN Committee against Torture in May and November this year, torture and ill-treatment remain widely practiced in China’s prisons, and imprisoned human rights activists are especially targeted.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Repression and Harassment of Activists
HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B Activist Detained at Border for Hours
Zhejiang Dissident Fan Ziliang Detained; Computer Confiscated
Guizhou Activists Detained for Investigating the Death of a Teenager
Heilongjiang Legal Activist Detained for “Inciting Subversion”
Shanxi Railway Worker Detained on “Inciting Subversion”

Repression and Harassment of Petitioners
Teachers Forcibly Repatriated for Collective Petitioning

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Incarcerated Human Rights Defender Liu Jie Injured Following Torture; Denied Access to Lawyer
Imprisoned Activist Mao Hengfeng Tortured
Imprisoned Writer Lu Gengsong Forced to Have His Head Shaved

Actions in Defense of Citizens’ Rights
Activist Feng Zhenghu Sues Shanghai Immigration Bureau
Lawyers Issue Joint Letter Protesting Rigged Election at Lawyers’ Association CHRD Urges the Chinese Government to Abolish the Re-education through Labor System
An Open Letter to US/EU Leaders Who Intend to Attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony

Policy/Regulations Watch
Guangzhou Police: Those Who “Fake” Suicides Might be Detained or Sent to Re-education

Repression and Harassment of Activists

HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B Activist Detained at Border for Hours
On July 3, Lu Jun (陆军), head of “Gandan Xiangzhao”, one of China’s largest Hepatitis B online discussion forums, was detained for four hours at a border control post in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong. Lu was returning to Guangzhou from a tour of Hong Kong and the United States, where he held press conferences protesting the authorities’ forced closure of Gandan Xiangzhao in late May. At the border control post, four of Lu’s books were confiscated and he was also interrogated about a protest banner he had brought on the tour. (CHRD)i

Zhejiang Dissident Fan Ziliang Detained; Computer Confiscated
On July 10, Fan Ziliang (范子良), a dissident from Zhejiang Province, was taken away from his home by a dozen of police from the National Security Unit, Huzhou City Public Security Bureau (PSB) Nanxun Sub-division in Zhejiang. Fan was interrogated about his relationship with democracy activist, Zhang Guoting (张国亭), and about an article about Fan written by dissident, Deng Huanwu (邓焕武). Fan was released the next day, but police confiscated his computer. On June 3, Fan was also detained overnight for commemorating the Tiananmen Massacre. (CHRD)ii

Guizhou Activists Detained for Investigating the Death of a Teenager
On July 8, Chen Xi (陈西), Liao Shuangyuan (廖双元) and Wu Yuqin (吴玉琴) were detained for investigating the death of a teenage girl in Wengan County, Guizhou Province. On June 28, thousands of angry Wengan residents rioted at the local PSB, alleging that the police were covering up the real cause of the girl’s death. After the incident, Chen, Liao and Wu formed a ‘citizens’ investigation unit’ to look into the matter. The three were apprehended by the police in Wengan and were returned to Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, where they reside. They were then interrogated by the National Security police from Guiyang PSB. Police confiscated their cameras, recording equipment and notebooks, which reportedly contained information regarding the real cause of the girl’s death. They were released on June 9 but are now under residential surveillance. (CHRD)iii

Heilongjiang Legal Activist Detained for “Inciting Subversion”
On May 28, Yuan Xianchen (袁显臣), a legal activist from Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province, was arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” by police from Jixi City PSB. He is currently being held at Jixi City Detention Center. His wife, Zhang, was arrested at the same time, first on suspicion of “disturbing social order”, then “inciting subversion of state power”. On July 2, Zhang was released on bail pending trial for the crime of “covering up”.
Yuan is known for his work as a legal advisor to workers at Didao Mine, Jixi City. The workers have been seeking compensation from the local government and the mine management since the former state-owned business was re-structured and became a private enterprise. It is believed that Yuan was arrested for helping Yang Chunlin (杨春林), a Heilongjiang farmers’ representative, to collect signatures endorsing an open letter entitled “We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics”. Yang was sentenced to five years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” on March 24. (CHRD)iv

Shanxi Railway Worker Detained on “Inciting Subversion”
On July 5, Liu Jiangjun (刘建军), a railway worker in Datong City, Shanxi Province, was criminally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. On June 28, Liu was apprehended by police from the National Security Unit under Beijing PSB while he was on vacation in the capital. The next day, National Security police from Beijing and Shanxi Province searched Liu’s home in Datong. On July 4, Liu was returned to Datong by its National Security police where he was detained. Liu’s wife received a detention notice on July 5, but she has been denied access to her husband. (CHRD)v

Repression and Harassment of Petitioners

Teachers Forcibly Repatriated for Collective Petitioning
On July 8, about a hundred teachers from citizen-managed schools in Longhui County, Hunan Province, collectively petitioned the county government. They alleged that the County Communist Party Secretary and other government officials failed to fulfill their promises to the teachers regarding pensions and other benefits. Around 9 p.m., some of the petitioning teachers were forcibly returned directly to their hometowns while others were first sent to the county’s Letters and Visits Office, from which they were then repatriated.

In some villages in the 1950s and 1960s, educated young people were recruited as teachers and paid by the villagers. In the 1990s, the government started to dismiss a large number of these teachers while some who were qualified could change their status from citizen-managed to state-managed (i.e. teachers employed by the state). However, in this process, many qualified teachers lost their jobs and their pensions after teaching for decades. (CRLW)

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Incarcerated Human Rights Defender Liu Jie Injured Following Torture; Denied Access to Lawyer

CHRD learned on July 2 that Liu Jie (刘杰), human rights activist and petitioner currently serving 18 months of Re-education through Labor (RTL), was injured following torture in late May. Liu’s legs were injured and cannot walk properly. Liu continues to suffer from deteriorating eye illness and has developed pain in her lower abdomen. The Rehabilitation Center promised Liu a medical examination, but the precise timing is unclear. Even if Liu is given a medical examination, she might not receive adequate treatment. At a medical examination on December 20, 2007, the doctor told Liu that she would go blind if she did not receive proper treatment immediately. The treatment is unavailable in Heilongjiang Province. Since then, her family has repeatedly requested her release for medical treatment. The RTL authorities have not responded to the requests.
On June 13, staff at the Rehabilitation Center barred Liu’s lawyer, Li Dunyong (李敦勇), from meeting her. They told Li that for the first three months of incarceration, prisoners are not allowed access to families and lawyers. (CHRD)vi

Imprisoned Activist Mao Hengfeng Tortured

On July 11, CHRD learned that Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), a reproductive rights and housing rights activist, had been tortured in a prison hospital in Shanghai. On June 3, against her will, Mao was taken to the prison hospital in Nanhui district, Shanghai. For fourteen days, Mao was stripped naked, tied tightly to a bed and forcibly injected with an unknown medication which left her in pain. Mao was also beaten, nearly suffocated and not allowed to wash. (CHRD)vii

Imprisoned Writer Lu Gengsong Forced to Have His Head Shaved
CHRD learned on July 15 that Lu Gengsong (吕耿松), a writer and activist imprisoned for “inciting subversion of state power”, was forced to have his head shaved at Hangzhou Xijiao Prison, where he is being held. Prison inmates are not required by law to have their heads shaved. Lu’s wife, Wang Xue’e (汪雪娥), said she complained to the prison authorities but has received no response. (CHRD)

Actions in Defense of Citizens’ Rights

Activist Feng Zhenghu Sues Shanghai Immigration Bureau
On July 8, Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎), a Shanghai rights activist and self-taught “citizen lawyer”, filed an administrative lawsuit with the Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People’s Court against the Shanghai Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration of the Ministry of Public Security. On May 22, Feng was barred by the Bureau’s staff from leaving the country at Shanghai Pudong Airport. Feng had previously filed an administrative lawsuit with the Shanghai Municipal Pudong People’s Court in regard to the incident, but the Court did nothing about the case. (CHRD)viii

Lawyers Issue Joint Letter Protesting Rigged Election at Lawyers’ Association
CHRD learned on July 11 that nine lawyers, including Li Fangping (李方平), Wang Liping (王利平) and Chang Boyang (常伯阳), issued a joint letter addressed to the All-China Lawyers Association which protested the rigged Ningxia Lawyers Association election on December 22, 2007. Reportedly, after casting their vote, members of the association were told to vote again because a government-favored candidate had not been elected the first time. (Yirenping Center)ix

CHRD Urges the Chinese Government to Abolish the Re-education through Labor System

On July 1, CHRD released a public letter calling for the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to abolish the RTL system. The RTL system violates the Chinese Constitution, the Legislative Law and Administrative Penal Law, and has become a tool for persecuting petitioners, human rights defenders and adherents of various religions. (CHRD)x

An Open Letter to US/EU Leaders Who Intend to Attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony
On July 11, CHRD released an open letter from Chinese citizens, which called on US and EU leaders to use the opportunity of visiting China for the opening of the Olympics to raise concerns about the seriousness of the human rights abuses taking place there. The letter expresses the dismay of Chinese human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists that the presence of the presidents of the United States and France at the opening ceremony will be used by the Chinese leadership to boost its legitimacy. It also expresses hope that the trip could be turned by these leaders into an opportunity to draw attention to China’s rampant human rights abuses. (CHRD)xi

Policy/Regulations Watch

Guangzhou Police: Those Who “Fake” Suicides Might be Detained or Sent to Re-education
According to a June 30 Legal Daily article, Guangzhou City PSB has published a new procedure for handling individuals who stage “fake” suicide attempts. Those faking suicides will be punished by administrative detention, and those caught a number of times will be sent to Re-education through Labor camps. The PSB alleges that these individuals fake suicides to draw the public’s attention to their plight and seek the government’s intervention in their problems. (Legal Daily)xii

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