China Human Rights Briefing October 1-15, 2008Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing October 1-15, 2008
China Human Rights Briefing
Reporting human rights development from the grassroots
October 1-15, 2008
In the past two weeks, CHRD has received shocking reports of torture and arbitrary detention around China. Examining these reports, activists within CHRD’s network believe that the fact that many human rights activists and petitioners in different parts of the country have been subjected to heightened persecution is a sign of a continued systematic nationwide policy of repression.
That is particularly troubling, given that many observers expected that after the Olympics, the Chinese government would relax many of the measures restricting civil liberties that it had taken in the name of security both in the lead-up to and during the Games. Some of the cases documented in the current briefing are directly related to the Olympics, and CHRD continues to track them in the aftermath of the Games. While the Games have finished, torture, mistreatment and arbitrary detention of those detained in connection with the Games continues. Other cases appear to reflect a long-standing policy of repression of which the Olympics crackdown is but part. The pattern suggests that after the Olympics, it is back to business to usual, which is to say, routine repression, torture and arbitrary detention of the sort which has been a fixture under the current Chinese regime. Indeed, not only the systematic nature of the torture and arbitrary detention but also the brutality of many cases give little cause for optimism that either the general human rights situation or the specific situations regarding torture and arbitrary detention will improve in the near future.
The most egregious cases of torture and arbitrary detention documented in the current issue of China Human Rights Briefing include the following:
- Petitioner-turned-activist Zheng Dajing has been repeatedly beaten at a “black jail” in Hubei Province.
- Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng is believed to have been beaten and humiliated at an unknown location in Beijing.
- Reproductive rights activist Mao Hengfeng was subjected to incessant abuse at a Shanghai prison.
- Human rights defender Hu Jia was put in solitary confinement for speaking up about the rights of prisoners at a Tianjin prison.
- Petitioner Li Ailing was tortured and handcuffed at a Detention Center in Hebei Province.
- Disabled former convict Hu Jun escaped from thirteen years of arbitrary detention in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- Petitioners Yang Fengtai and Hu Guohong have been involuntarily confined to psychiatric institutions in Hunan and Hubei Provinces.
CHRD asks the U.N. Committee Against Torture, which is to review China’s report on the implementation of the Convention Against Torture in November, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to request that the Chinese government respond to these allegations.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
On September 26, Shanghai resident, Gu Xiuyu (顾秀玉), was staging a protest in front of the Shanghai Otolaryngological Hospital with her friends and family when between thirty and forty policemen violently disrupted the protest, using pepper spray to disperse the protestors. Gu’s son died following surgery on September 22, and the hospital has refused to give her an explanation. In protest, on September 26, Gu set up an altar for her son in front of the hospital and distributed leaflets to passers-by. The police also dismantled the altar. (CRLW)
On October 13, about two-hundred Shanghai petitioners were apprehended on their way to a gathering at Shanghai High Court and sent to a “black jail”. The petitioners were intercepted at various road blocks the police had set up. The “black jail” was located at No. 500 Fucun Road, Futou District in Shanghai. It is believed that all except three have been released, but the details of those detained are not yet clear. The petitioners were to gather at the Court during the trial of Yang Jia (杨佳), a Shanghai resident sentenced to death for murdering six Shanghai policemen. It is believed that Yang murdered the policemen after he was tortured while in police custody more than a year ago and when his subsequent attempts to obtain compensation and hold the torturers accountable were ignored. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 15 that Hu Jun (胡军), a Xinjiang resident, escaped on September 15 following thirteen years of arbitrary detention at Changji Prison in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In 1992, Hu was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for “fraud”. Near the end of his sentence, he was sent to Xiaba Lake Prison Mine where he was seriously injured in an accident that left him permanently disabled. Reportedly, in order to avoid responsibility for the accident, Changji Prison continued to imprison Hu beyond his sentence. Hu filed a lawsuit with Changji Court in 1994, but the court refused to accept the case. Hu had previously escaped from the Prison many times and petitioned various government offices. Not only did his petitions produce no concrete results but Hu was repeatedly intercepted, beaten and sent back to the prison. Hu made his latest escape on September 17 and is petitioning in Beijing. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 14 that Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), an imprisoned reproductive rights activist, has again been subjected to mistreatment in Shanghai Women’s Prison. According to Mao’s family, who spoke with her on the phone on September 25, the prison authorities made a recording of fellow prisoners humiliating and scolding Mao and played the recording incessantly for days. The prison authorities also made other prisoners dress a mannequin in white, the color of mourning and death in China, and write “this is Mao’s mother” on the mannequin. The death of Mao’s mother has always been a subject of deep pain for her. Mao has been frequently denied access to her family and repeatedly tortured and ill-treated during her imprisonment. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 8 that Zheng Dajing (郑大靖), a petitioner and human rights defender from Hubei Province illegally detained since September 2007, has been repeatedly beaten and denied access to medical treatment at a “black jail” at Yancao Station, Hongtai Yuansigou Village, Hubei Province. One petitioner released in May 2008 reported having witnessed Zheng being beaten at least four times. After one of the worst beatings, Zheng, bleeding and unconscious, was placed in solitary confinement. Zheng complained of chest injuries but was given no medical attention. Other petitioners released in October said Zheng was in poor health, and that he complained of constant headaches and fatigues. On October 6, a sister of Zheng’s wife, Cao Xiangzhen (曹祥珍), was refused access to Zheng at the “black jail”. The authorities have barred Zheng’s family access to the activist. (CHRD)
On October 4, Song Maosheng (宋卯生), a villager from Xinfang Village under the jurisdiction of Caotan Street Office in Weiyang District, Xian City in Shaanxi Province, was knifed by four unidentified men and seriously injured at Chenjiabao, a nearby village. Song has lead fellow villagers in seeking compensation for land allegedly forcibly appropriated by cadres at Xinfang Village. He has been repeatedly threatened, harassed and beaten for petitioning with other villagers. It is believed that the attack was in retaliation for Song’s activism. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 4 that five villagers from Ziran Village, Chuanshanyuan, Qixing District, Guilin Province were detained on September 23 on suspicion of “interference with public function and assaulting police officers”. On September 22, about one-hundred anti-riot police accompanied private security guards and workers of Zhangtai Development Company to start construction on the contested land. The developer had bought sixty-six acres of the village land in 2006 from the Guilin government without the approval of the villagers,. The villagers were beaten by the police and the security guards when they attempted to stop the construction. Thirty-four villagers were reportedly injured and two were sent to the hospital. The day after, four- to five-hundred police officers surrounded the village and took eight villagers away. Three villagers were released after signing an agreement to sell the land, but five who refused were criminally detained. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 8 that Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), a human rights lawyer “disappeared” since September 22, 2007, is under detention with his family at an isolated location in a remote Beijing suburb where he has been subjected to cruel and humiliating treatment. CHRD received two separate reports that between June and now, Gao and family have been held by policemen from the National Security Unit (guobao) under the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the State Security Bureau (guoan) under the Ministry of State Security. The policemen have interrogated, beaten and humiliated Gao, stripping him and making him eat food off the floor, sometimes in front of his family. It is believed that Gao is being punished for speaking up about human rights and for refusing to confess to wrongdoing or to promise to stay quiet. However, CHRD is unable to independently verify this information with Gao’s close relatives or friends. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 8 that Hu Jia (胡佳), an imprisoned human rights activist, has been repeatedly punished for speaking up about the rights of prisoners in Chaobai Prison, where he is serving a three-and-a-half years’ sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. On August 13, Hu was subjected to 24-hour solitary confinement in handcuffs and leg irons. For nine days after that, Hu had to “reflect” on his “wrongdoing”. Fellow prisoners were prohibited from speaking with or lending newspapers and books to the activist. On October 8, Hu was transferred to Beijing City Prison, which is closer to his family. (CHRD)
On October 7, the lawyer and the brother of Xie Changfa (谢长发), a member of the China Democracy Party detained since June 25 for “inciting subversion of state power”, were denied access to the activist by the National Security Police under Changsha PSB. The police told Xie’s lawyer, Ma Gangquan (马纲权) and his brother, Xie Changzhen (谢长桢), that they could not meet with the activist because the permission of “higher authorities” was needed. Xie is currently held at Changqiao Detention Center in a suburb of Changsha City, Hunan Province. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 1 that petitioner Yang Fengtai (杨丰太) has been subjected to involuntary hospitalization for over a year at No.1 Psychiatric Hospital in Hengyang City, Hunan Province. On September 20, 2007, Yang was petitioning in Beijing when he was intercepted by police from Wangfujing Police Station in Beijing. Police and government officials from Hengdong County forcibly sent him back to Hunan where he was forcibly hospitalized for “paranoid psychosis” without evaluation of his mental state. The hospital has refused to release Yang unless instructed by the interceptors, who have so far refused to order Yang’s release. Yang is a villager from No.2 Committee, Ouyanghai Village, Xintang Township, Hengdong County in Hunan Province who was petitioning because his home had allegedly been forcibly appropriated by a relative with the help of the local government. (CRLW)
Wuhan Petitioner Sent to Psychiatric Institution, Force-fed Medication and Given Electric Shock Treatment
CHRD learned on October 2 that Hu Guohong (胡国红), a worker from Xincun Street Office, Jiangan District in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, has been subjected to involuntary hospitalization since late July. Hu, a worker at Wuhan Jiangan Car Factory, was severely beaten in 1989 in retaliation for a dispute at the factory. Hu and his wife, Cheng Xue, started to petition after repeated requests that the assailants be held accountable and that Hu be compensated for the beating were rejected by the relevant authorities. It is believed that Hu was sent to Wuhan City No. 2 Psychiatric Hospital by officials from Xincun Street Office, police officers from Wuhan City PSB and staff at Wuhan Jiangan Car Factory. According to Hu’s wife, Cheng Xue (程雪) who visited him twice, Hu has been force-fed medication, subjected to electric shock treatment and tied to a chair. The hospital told Cheng that Hu cannot be released without instruction by those who sent him there. Officials at Xincun Street Office, which showed a letter of judicial expertise certifying that Hu is mentally ill, told Cheng that Hu can be released after the couple guarantee that they will not petition again. (CRLW)
Since September 28, at least three petitioners against forced demolition from Nantong City in Jiangsu Province have been released. During the Olympics, they had been detained in local “black jails”, Beige Inn, Ruyi Inn and Zhonghuayuan Restaurant, as well as Nantong City Psychiatric Hospital. The released petitioners are Zhu Guiying (朱桂英), Xi Meijuan (奚美娟) and Zhang Hua (张华). Zhang said that before she was released, she was held incommunicado in the black jail and was made to write a letter of repentance promising never to petition again. (CHRD)
On September 24, Liu Xueli (刘学立), a petitioner and activist against forcible land appropriation from Henan Province, was sent to 21 months of Re-education through Labor (RTL) for “abnormal petitioning in Beijing,” “sending a public letter to the 17th Party Congress signed by over 10,000 petitioners,” “distorting the facts and attacking national policy,” and “being in possession of illegal leaflets.” Just a day earlier, Liu had been sent to 18 months of RTL for “endangering public safety”. Luoyang RTL Management Committee, which sent Liu to RTL, appears to have swiftly changed its mind regarding the reasons and the terms of Liu’s punishment without giving any explanation. Liu had been under residential surveillance (house arrest) after he submitted an application in early August to protest at the “Protest Zones” in Beijing during the Olympics. (CHRD)
On October 10, the husband of Yang Peiqun (杨培群), a representative of earthquake victims from Guilin Village, Xujia Township, Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province who was taken into custody on September 22, was told by a member of the Dujiangyan City Political-Legal Committee (zhengfawei) that Yang could only be released if they pay the cadres RMB 5,000.
On September 22, Yang was taken into custody while petitioning in Beijing. Yang wanted to expose the use of falsified accounts to misappropriate relief funds and materials by the local cadres in the village. Yang was first detained in a “black jail” at the Sichuan Provincial Liaison Office in Beijing before being forcibly sent back to Sichuan where she is now detained at Pi County Gaoxin District Detention Center in Chengdu City. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on October 15 that Li Ailing (李爱玲), a petitioner from Yuanshi County, Shijiazhuang City in Hebei Province, was detained in “black jails” and tortured for petitioning in Beijing. On July 15, Li was waiting for a friend at Beijing South Station when she was seized by a handful of policemen and sent to Ma Jia House, a “black jail” in Beijing. Li was then forcibly escorted back to Yuanshi County where she was held at the County Letters and Visits Office. Guards at the Office refused Li’s requests to use the toilet. Out of desperation, Li urinated on the floor. For that, she was sent to Luquan Detention Center in Luquan City, Hebei Province, where she was administratively detained for ten days. At Luquan Detention Center, Li was handcuffed, gagged and forced to sit for an evening on a “tiger bench”, a common form of torture in China. Li was then sent to another “black jail”, the Yuanshi County Xincheng Hostel, where she was held for two months. Li escaped on September 29. (CHRD)
According to a Legal Daily article dated October 5, the People’s Congress Standing Committee in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is deliberating a draft regulation on the prevention and prohibition of domestic violence. If the regulation is passed, cases of domestic violence would be treated like other criminal and civil cases, and emergency services would be obligated to handle such cases. Currently, the emergency services do not accept and handle reported cases of domestic violence. Instead, police officers dispatched only mediate, and perpetrators are not held legally accountable. (Legal Daily)
State Administration of Work Safety to Issue Blacklist to Punish Companies for Unsafe Working Conditions
According to a Legal Daily article on October 8, the State Administration of Work Safety is to issue a blacklist of companies with unsafe working conditions. Various government administrative departments will sanction companies blacklisted for any large-scale accident that has killed more than 10 people. The first blacklist has not been released yet but 74 enterprises are believed to be listed. (Legal Daily)
According to a Legal Daily article on October 5, Shaanxi Province has recently released three documents outlining measures to implement the Information Disclosure Bill which came into effect on May 1, 2008. According to the documents, all levels of government of Shaanxi Province should actively disclose public information. The timeliness and accuracy of the information will be used to evaluate government departments and officials. (Legal Daily)
 Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch (CRLW), “Shanghai Police Used Pepper Spray against Family of 10-year-old Who Died during Surgery <上海十岁儿童手术台上死亡 家 人讨说法遭警方以“辣椒水“对待>”, October 7, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081007005942_10961.html
 CHRD, “Shanghai Petitioners Taken into Custody for Supporting Yang Jia <声援杨佳的上海访民被抓>”, October 13, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/200810/20081013222725_11079.html
 CHRD, “Xinjiang Petitioner Hu Jun Calls on the International Community for Assistance and Concern <新疆访民胡军向国际社会呼吁救援>”, October 15, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081015162217_11133.html
 CHRD, “Petitioner Representative and Activist Zheng Dajing Tortured in ‘Black Jail’ <上访维权代表郑大靖在“黑监 狱“遭酷刑>”, October 8, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081008114342_10994.html
 CHRD, “For Defending Villagers’ Interests, Song Maosheng Seriously Injured Following Knife Attacks<宋卯生为维护 村民利益被砍成重伤>”, October 10, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081010171856_11036.html
 CHRD, “Five Village Representatives from Qixing District in Guilin City Detained for Protecting Their Land from Forcible Appropriation <桂林市七星区5名护地维权村民代表被刑拘>”, October 4, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081004162956_10933.html
 CHRD, “China: Release and End Ill-Treatment of Detained Activists Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia,” October 13, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200810/20081013090602_11062.html
 CHRD, “Hu Jia Transferred to Beijing City Prison <胡佳被转移到北京市监狱>”, October 15, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/hujia/200810/20081015133553_11131.html; CHRD, “China: Release and End Ill-Treatment of Detained Activists Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia”, October 13, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200810/20081013090602_11062.html
 CHRD, “Changsha City National Security Police Bar Lawyers from Meeting Xie Changfa <长沙市国保阻止律师会见 谢长发>”, October 7, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081007213528_10984.html
 CRLW, “Yang Fengtai, a Villager from Hengdong County in Hunan Province, Has Been Incarcerated in a Psychiatric Institution for over a Year <湖南省衡东县村民杨丰太被关精神病院已逾一年>”, October 1, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081001215325_10880.html
 CRLW, “Wuhan Worker Hu Guohong Force-Fed and Subjected to Electric Shock Treatment in Psychiatric Institution; Call for Attention to His Situation <武汉工人胡国红精神 病院内遭电击灌药呼吁外界关注>”, October 2, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081002213221_10901.html
 CHRD, “Illegal Detention: Zhang Hua Persecuted and Subjected to Inhuman Treatment while Detained in Nantong Inn <非法拘禁：张华被关押南通宾馆遭遇非人的迫害>”, October, 13, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081013090050_11060.html; CHRD, “Zhang Hua, Forcible Evictee in Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, Continues to be Detained <江苏南通 被拆迁人张华仍被关押>”, October 7, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081007210909_10983.html
 CHRD, “Lengthened RTL Decision for Petitioner and Rights Activist Liu Xueli <上访维权代表刘学立被加重三个月劳教>”, October 13, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/liuxueli/200810/20081013092151_11064.html
 CHRD, “Sichuan Earthquake Victim Representative Yang Peiqun Forcibly Sent Back to Sichuan; Held in “Black Jail” for Ransom <四川地震灾民代表杨培群被抓回当地关押在“黑监狱“要拿钱赎 人>”, October 13, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081013231704_11059.html
 CHRD, “Petitioner Li Ailing Escapes from Illegal Detention and Continues to Petition in Beijing <被 非法关押的访民李爱玲已经逃到北京继续上访>”,https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200810/20081015182250_11134.html
 Legal Daily, “Xinjiang to Include Domestic Violence Within the Scope of its Emergency Service <新疆全区范围内家庭暴力有望纳入“110″接处警范围>”, October 5, 2008, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/0705/2008-10/05/content_954698.htm
 Legal Daily, “74 Enterprises Blacklisted by State Administration of Work Safety <安监总局启动生产安全“企业黑名单“制度 74家企业入榜>”, October 5, 2008, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/0705/2008-10/08/content_956994.htm
 Legal Daily, “Shaanxi Releases a Support System to the Government Information Disclosure Bill; Officials Can be Punished for Failing to Release Information in a Timely Manner <陕西公布政府信息公开配套制度 信 息公开不及时将受处分>”, October 5, 2008, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/0705/2008-10/05/content_954697.htm