Olympics Prisoner Ye Guozhu Taken Away from Jail; His Whereabouts Unknown

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(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, July 23, 2008) – On July 22, Ye Guozhu (叶国柱), one of the “Olympics Prisoners”, was taken away from Chaobai Prison by Beijing police. Ye is due to be released on July 26 after having served his full prison term.

“We believe that the police took him away to silence him during the Games, and that he will not be released until after the Olympics when most foreign journalists will have left Beijing”, said Ye Guoqiang (叶国强), brother of Ye Guozhu.

At around 4 p.m. on July 22, Ye Guoqiang received a call from Chaobai Prison in Tianjin. The prison authorities told Ye Guoqiang that it would not be necessary for him to come and pick up his brother on July 26, because police from Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) Xuanwu Sub-division had already taken him away. Ye Guoqiang immediately called Xuanwu police, who denied any knowledge of Ye Guozhu’s whereabouts. Xuanwu police later admitted that they had taken Ye Guozhu from Chaobai Prison, but did not tell his family where he is being held or how long he will be held.

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, thus depriving them of their livelihood and rendering homeless the two brothers and their families including their aged parents. 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.’ He has reportedly been tortured during his detention and imprisonment.

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)

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