China Human Rights Briefing July 16-30, 2008Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing July 16-30, 2008
China Human Rights Briefing
Reporting human rights development from the grassroots
July 16-30, 2008
As athletes and journalists arrive in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, due to open on August 8, the Chinese government has used “Olympics security” as a pretext to curb civil liberties in the host city of the Games as well as the rest of the country.
Police, security guards and officially-recruited “Citizen Volunteers for Olympics Security” have effectively barred from Beijing potential “trouble-makers” such as petitioners, victims of forced eviction and members of persecuted faiths. They have either been prevented from traveling to the city, put under residential surveillance (house arrest), or detained and then imprisoned following perfunctory trials. Meanwhile, authorities are closely monitoring human rights, democracy and labor activists, NGO workers and independent writers and warning them against posting articles online or giving interviews to the international media. Just to appear as if one could exercise the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, three parks in Beijing have been designated as “protest zones”. However, based on past experience, acquiring the permits needed to use them will be virtually impossible. Authorities have tightened control of the World Wide Web in spite of their promises to the contrary, shutting down websites or blogs that contain “sensitive” postings.
Judging from China’s recent record, the hosting of the Olympics has resulted in very little of the promised benefits to the country’s human rights. In fact, many rights abuses are directly related to the Games.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
On July 23, Tianya, a server that hosts an internet forum, discontinued the account of Liu Yiming (刘逸明), an independent writer based in Hubei. The blogs and articles Liu had posted on the forum were deleted. Liu has not been informed of the reasons for the discontinuation of his account or the deletion of his articles. On July 20, Liu posted on the forum a press release by CHRD on the arrest of human rights defender, Huang Qi (黄琦). It is believed that Liu is being punished for having recently posted such “sensitive” articles. (CHRD)[i]
On July 16, Chen Jingchun (陈警春), Party Secretary of Wuji Township, Hengdong County, Hunan Province, told villagers of Yangziping Village, Hengdong County not to petition in Beijing. Chen was concerned that, because the villagers have been dissatisfied with the local election that was rigged and later cancelled by the local government, they would petition in the capital during the Olympics.
On May 5, fifty Communist Party members and village officials appointed members of the Village Election Committee, which was supposed to be directly elected by the villagers. Sensing that the villagers were dissatisfied with the “election”, the town’s chief cancelled it and ordered members of the current village committee to retain their posts without an election. (CHRD)[ii]
On July 19, Lu Honglai (吕洪来), a dissident and member of the banned China Democracy Party from Tianjin, was taken away by police from the National Security Unit of Tianjin Public Security Bureau (PSB). Police told Lu’s family that he is detained because “several government departments want to investigate him”. However, police did not issue any detention warrant and refused to tell Lu’s family where he is being held. Police said Lu might be released after a month’s detention. (CHRD)[iii]
Member of Pan-Blue Alliance Detained on Suspicion of “Inciting Subversion”
CHRD learned on July 30 that Wei Zhenling (魏桢凌), a member of the Pan-Blue Alliance of Chinese Nationalists from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province has been formally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. On July 25, Wei was taken away by a dozen police from the National Security Unit of Hangzhou PSB. Police also searched Wei’s home. (CHRD)[iv]
On July 25, Pang Jiaoming (庞胶明), a former reporter at China Economic Times (Zhongguo Jingji Shibao), was taken away from his home by the National Security police of Beijing PSB. Reportedly, Pang was online when the police came. He quickly left a message to his friends stating that he was being taken away by the National Security police. Pang has been held incommunicado since then. It is believed that Pang is being detained for posting banned photos on his blog.
In July 2007, Pang was dismissed from China Economic Times after the Publicity Department declared that he “fabricated news” when he published a highly-publicized report exposing the use of inadequate materials in one of China’s most important construction projects. (CHRD)[v]
Human Rights Defender Huang Qi Formally Arrested
On June 10, Huang Qi (黄琦), director of Tianwang Human Rights Center (www.64tianwang.com) and detained since June 10, was formally arrested for “illegal possession of state secrets”. Huang‘s family received the formal arrest warrant when they went to inquire about Huang‘s situation at Chengdu PSB Wuhou Sub-division. When asked why Huang had not yet been released after the legal limit of 37 days, the police immediately issued the warrant in the presence of his family. Huang is currently held at Chengdu City Detention Center and he is still being denied access to legal counsel. (CHRD)[vi]
Xie Changfa (谢长发), a member of the banned China Democracy Party and detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” since June 25, has not yet been released. Xie, from Changsha, Hunan Province was taken into detention in late June. Xie’s detention is believed to be related to his activities associated with the China Democracy Party, as police searched his home and confiscated copies of the bylaws and publicity materials of the China Democracy Party. (CHRD)[vii]
CHRD learned on July 30 that the trial of Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), a Beijing-based housing rights activist and former lawyer, has been postponed. Ni was scheduled to be tried on August 4 for “obstructing official business” by the Beijing Xicheng Court. It is unclear why her trial has been postponed.
Ni was detained on April 15 for resisting the forcible demolition of her home. Police alleged that Ni, who is disabled due to a previous beating by police, beat a member of the demolition crew. (CHRD)[viii]
On July 21, Du Daobin (杜导斌), a writer on probation for “inciting subversion of state power”, was taken away by police. According to his family, police said Du will have to serve the rest of his term in prison for violating the conditions of his probation. Du was convicted in 2004 and was immediately, upon sentencing, placed on probation. Du’s probationary period was about to expire when he was taken away by police. The police did not present any court documents when they took Du away, nor have police notified Du’s family of where he is being held or how he can be contacted. (CHRD)[ix]
On July 23, Feng Qiusheng (冯秋盛), a village leader from Taishi Village, Panyu District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, was released following a month’s detention on suspicion of “disturbing social order”. On June 27, Feng was taken away by police from Yuwotou Police Station, Panyu. Feng was reportedly interrogated about the “Human Rights Torch Relay”—an international event to raise awareness of China’s human rights situation—in which the police suspected him of participating. (CHRD)[x]
On July 26, “Olympics Prisoner” and housing rights activist, Ye Guozhu (叶国柱), was formally detained on suspicion of “gathering crowds to disturb the order of public places”. At the time of his formal detention, Ye was actually in prison, raising the question of how he could have been “gathering crowds to disturb the order of public places” while in prison. He was scheduled to be released on July 26 after serving four years for “provoking and making trouble”. It is believed that the formal detention was a means of keeping Ye Guozhu detained during the Olympics, in order to prevent him from speaking out or organizing public protests. (CHRD)[xi]
On July 27, Yao Lifa (姚立法), an activist promoting local democratic elections in Hubei Province, was placed under tightened residential surveillance (house arrest). Yao has been monitored and followed by the local police since March, during the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)). Police warned Yao that he would be subjected to monitoring until after the Olympics. Since July 27, more guards—half a dozen– have been dispatched to monitor him around the clock. (CHRD)[xii]
On July 20, Fu Jingjiang (付景江), husband of detained human rights defender, Liu Jie (刘杰), was barred from visiting her by authorities at Harbin Drug Rehabilitation Center, where Liu is being held. The Rehabilitation Center allows families of the detainees four visits a month, and July 20 was a day scheduled for family visits. It is unclear why Liu was denied access to her family.
Liu was sent to 18 months of RTL for “instigating trouble and disturbing social order” on November 12, 2007. (CHRD)[xiii]
On July 22, Wen Kejian (温克坚), a member of Independent Chinese PEN, was barred from travelling to the United States via Hong Kong. Wen was stopped and detained for two hours by immigration officers at the border between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. He was forced to cancel his trip. Wen is a well-known cyber-writer who has written many articles critical of the Communist Party. (CHRD)
On July 30, Xi Guozhen (奚国珍) and Ma Yalian (马亚莲), two petitioners from Shanghai, were beaten by security guards at the Shanghai Municipal Letters and Visits Office. Xi was confronting one of the security guards, Wang Feng (王峰), about an earlier beating when she was dragged by dozens of security guards into a room. Ma was also dragged away when she tried to hold Xi back. Ma and Xi were kicked and beaten by eight security guards. Following the beating, police brought Xi and Ma to Renmin Guangchang Police Station, where they were investigated. When Xi and Ma asked the police to investigate the beatings and hold the guards accountable, police refused to accept the case. (CHRD)[xiv]
On July 26, 150,000 dismissed teachers from Hubei, Henan, Shandong, Hunan and Shaanxi Provinces issued a public letter, calling on the authorities to give them appropriate compensation and benefits following dismissal. The signatories also complained that their representatives have been monitored, detained and sent to Re-education through Labor camps for defending their rights.
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 as unqualified. Some who are qualified have been able to have their status changed from citizen-managed to state-managed (i.e. teachers employed by the state). However, in this process, many qualified teachers have lost their jobs and their pensions after teaching for decades. (CHRD)[xv]
According to a Legal Daily article dated July 17, since the implementation of “Methods of Rapid Processing of Minor Criminal Cases”[xvi] by the Lowu Sub-division of Shenzhen PSB, Procuratorate and Courts, processing time for the investigation, indictment and trial of minor criminal cases has been dramatically reduced. Between April 2007, when the Methods was implemented, to May 2008, the Lowu PSB spent on average twenty days to process a case; the Procuratorate ten days and the Court thirteen days. (Legal Daily)[xvii]
[i] CHRD, “Liu Yiming: I Strongly Protest the Violation of My Right to Free Expression by Tanya <刘逸明：强烈抗议天涯社区封杀我的发言权>”, July 23, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080723134800_9562.html
[ii] CHRD, “Hengdong Villagers in Hunan Province Do Not in Practice Have the Right to Choose Their Village Officials <湖南衡东农民没有真实的选村官权利>”, July 17, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class55/200807/20080717211648_9464.html
[iii] CHRD, “Tianjin Democracy Activist Lu Honglai Put under House Arrest by National Security Police <天津民运人士吕洪来遭国保软禁>”, July 19, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080719115727_9497.html
[iv] CHRD, “Wei Zhenling, Member of Pan-Blue Alliance of Chinese Nationalists, Charged with ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’ <中国泛蓝联盟成员魏桢凌被控“煽动颠覆国家政权”>”, July 30, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080730100741_9711.html
[v] CHRD, “Pang Jiaoming, Reporter, Has Not Been Seen Since Taken Away by National Security Police on July 25 <记者庞胶明7月25日晚上被国保带走至今下落不明>”, July 27, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080727084424_9650.html
[vi] CHRD, “Human Rights Defender Huang Qi Formally Arrested”, July 19, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200807/20080719105359_9496.html
[vii] CHRD, “Xie Changfa, Member of Democracy Party in Hunan Province, Criminally Detained on Suspicion of ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’” <湖南民主党成员谢长发被以“涉嫌颠覆国家政权罪”刑拘>”, July 20, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080720000803_9504.html; CHRD, “A List of Goods Confiscated from Xie Changfa, Member of Democracy Party in Hunan Province <湖南民主党负责人谢长发被查抄物品清单>”, July 20, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080720210853_9515.html
[viii] CHRD, “Detained for Resisting Forced Eviction, Beijing Activist Ni Yulan Goes on Trial”, July 28, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200807/20080729095907_9687.html; CHRD “Trial of Rights Defender Ni Yulan Postponed <维权人士倪玉兰涉嫌“妨碍公务案”被延期开庭>”, July 30, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080730223324_9724.html
[ix] CHRD, “Writer on Probation for “Inciting Subversion” Taken Away by Police”, July 22, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200807/20080722180553_9546.html
[x] CHRD, “Feng Qiusheng, Villager in Taishi Village in Guangdong Province, Detained for Nearly a Month by Police <广东太石村冯秋盛被警方刑拘近一个月>”, July 23, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class55/200807/20080723213538_9570.html
[xi] CHRD, “China Formally Detains Olympics Prisoner Ye Guozhu to Prevent Protests”, July 27, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200807/20080727102216_9652.html
[xii] CHRD, “Rights Activist Yao Lifa Under House Arrest <维权人士姚立法被软禁>”, July 29, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200807/20080729212324_9695.html
[xiii] CHRD, “Harbin Re-education through Labor Camp Denies Liu Jie Access to Her Family <哈尔滨劳教所今天不批准家属探望刘杰>”, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/liujie/200807/20080720210405_9514.html
[xiv] CHRD, “Ma Yalian: How Come the Shanghai ‘People’s’ Government is Worse than the Triads? <马亚莲：怎有如此比“黑社会”还黑的上海市“人民”政府！>”, July 31, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/shanghaiqiangpochai/200807/20080731205651_9744.html
[xv] CHRD, “An Olympics Appeal by 150,000 Dismissed Teachers’ <15万下岗教师的奥运呼吁>”, July 26, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class71/200807/20080726080225_9634.html
[xvii] Legal Daily, “Rapid Processing of Minor Criminal Cases Ends [the Practice of] ‘One’s Time in Pre-trial Detention Equals One’s Sentence’ <轻微刑案快速办理 终结“关多久判多久”>”, July 17, 2008, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/0705/2008-07/17/content_902333.htm