Submission to UN on Zheng Dajing – October 22, 2008

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Communiqué to UN Human Rights Special Procedures, Alleging Torture and Cruel, Degrading, and Inhumane Treatment, Persecution of Human Rights Defender, and Arbitrary Detention, on behalf of Zheng Dajing, citizen of People’s Republic of China


To: Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders


Working Group on Arbitrary Detention



I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture


A. Family Name: Zheng (郑)


B. First and other names: Dajing (大靖, a.k.a. Ruifeng (瑞峰))


C. Sex: Male


D. Birth date or age: March 9, 1962


E. Nationality:  People’s Republic of China


F. Occupation: Human rights activist and former staff at Bank of China


F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.):


Since 2004, Zheng had been petitioning in Beijing to seek redress for persecution he suffered after he exposed gross misconduct at his work unit—the Bank of China branch in Yuanxi County, Hubei Province. Because of his petitioning, he and his family have been repeatedly detained, threatened and beaten by interceptors. For example, in July 2006, his seven-year-old daughter and his wife were detained for sixty-five days for petitioning.


Zheng is also a vocal human rights activist. While his family petitioned in Beijing, Zheng actively helped hundreds of petitioners and spoke out against human rights violations directed at fellow petitioners by interceptors.


II. Circumstances surrounding torture


A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

On September 7, 2007, Zheng was kidnapped in Beijing by Yuanxi interceptors and forcibly returned to his hometown. On September 5, Zheng published a letter addressing leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on September 8 and 9, about the deteriorating human rights situation in China.

On September 9, 2007, Zheng was detained by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Shiyan City, Yunxi County in Hubei Province for the crime of “petitioning leading to disturbance of social order.” Zheng was briefly held at the Yunxi Detention Centre, before being transferred to Yancao Station, Hongtai Yuansigou Village, Yuanxi County. Yancao Station is an illegal, secret and extrajudicial “black jail” established to detain petitioners. The black jail was established by Lu Fuchang (卢富昌), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary in Yuanxi County and managed by the Yuanxi County Political-Legal Committee (zhengfawei). Zheng has been detained in this black jail for over a year without charge, trial or access to legal counsel.


B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)


On September 7, 2007, Zheng was kidnapped by Yuanxi interceptors in Beijing. Between September 9, 2007 and when he was sent to the black jail, Zheng was held by the PSB of Shiyan City, Yunxi County in Hubei Province. Since he was sent to the black jail at Yancao Station in mid-September 2007, Zheng has been held by the Yuanxi County Political-Legal Committee (zhengfawei), which managed the black jail. The head of Yuanxi County Political-Legal Committee is Wang Chuanwen (汪川文). The jail was established by Lu Fuchang (卢富昌), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary in Yuanxi County. Zheng allege that both Wang and Lu are responsible for his torture.


C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?


One relative of Zheng visited him in January 2008. However, Zheng’s close family and friends have been barred from accessing the activist.


D. Describe the methods of torture used


Because Zheng has been held incommunicado, it is difficult to get a full picture of the torture he suffered in the black jail. However, from the limited information provided by released detainees, Zheng is believed to have been repeatedly beaten in the black jail.


One petitioner detained at Yancao Station between October 2007 and May 2008 reported having witnessed Zheng being beaten at least four times. During one of the worst beatings on March 21, 2008, Zheng was beaten by four security guards. After the beating, Zheng, who was bleeding and had fallen unconscious, was placed in solitary confinement. When the petitioner saw him a few days afterwards, Zheng complained of chest injuries so severe that even drinking water was too painful. However, Zheng was given no medical attention following the beating.


Other petitioners released in October 2008 said Zheng was in poor health, and that he complained of constant headaches and fatigues due to beatings.


Zheng also complained of vomiting, bloating and stomachaches. Zheng believes that the poor diet (left-over food from the jail’s guards) and the plastic utensils used in the black jail (which are reportedly made of toxic industrial plastic) contribute to his abdominal problems. Because Zheng has been unable to ingest properly, the authorities at the black jail finally allowed him access to medical attention on October 8, 2008.


E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?


Zheng is believed to have sustained chest, head and abdominal injuries/illnesses as a result of persistent beatings, poor diet and toxic utensils.


F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?


Zheng is tortured and detained in retaliation for complaining to higher authorities about the misconduct at his former work unit, Bank of China Yuanxi Branch, which is closely tied to the local government. Zheng is also believed to be tortured for his activities defending the human rights of fellow petitioners in Beijing.


G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?


Zheng was not examined immediately after his torture but he was allowed access to medical examination on October 8, 2008. Zheng’s examination was performed at Yuanxi County People’s Hospital in Hubei Province, a government hospital.


H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?


No, so far Zheng has not received any treatment for injuries he sustains due to torture.


I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?


Zheng’s physical examination on October 8 was done at his expense. He was only able to have his digestive system checked and was diagnosed with a plethora of medical illnesses—swelling of the stomach, esophagitis due to acid reflux and duodenal ulcer.


However, Zheng was unable to afford a thorough check-up that would enable the doctor to detect all the evidences of injuries, especially head and chest injuries that were sustained due to torture.


J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?



III. Remedial action


Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?


Zheng’s wife and children are in Beijing and hiding from interceptors from Yuanxi County. They are therefore unable to confront the local government about Zheng’s torture.


Since black jails are illegal detention facilities outside of the jurisdiction of any government authorities, it is almost impossible for individuals detained in these facilities to seek redress. One of Zheng’s friends had planned to visit Yuanxi County with a lawyer, but they abandoned the plan after realizing they are unable to seek responsibility for torture in detention facilities which exist entirely outside of the judicial system.

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