China Human Rights Briefing November 16-30, 2008Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing November 16-30, 2008
China Human Rights Briefing
Reporting human rights development from the grassroots
November 16-30, 2008
· Three large protests occurred, one in Gansu Province, the others in Beijing. In Gansu Province, thousands of demonstrators surrounded the government building in Longnan City to protest a decision to move the city government. In Beijing, two demonstrations occurred in close proximity to each other and at about the same time. Overall, about a thousand disgruntled investors and victims of forced evictions were quickly dispersed by the police. The demonstrations were amongst the largest in the capital since the crackdown on student protests in 1989.
· Three grassroots human rights defenders, Ye Guozhu, Mao Hengfeng and Zheng Dajing, have been released. CHRD welcomes their release. It also maintains that the activists should not have been incarcerated for exercising their human rights. CHRD calls on the Chinese government to investigate and hold accountable officials who subjected them to torture and to adequately compensate them for their physical and psychological suffering.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
On November 14, a protest by nearly one-hundred retired workers from five different factories in Wuhan City, Hubei Province was broken up by police. The protesters were demonstrating outside of Wuhan City government building when the police rushed out of the building and forcibly confiscated their banners. In the process, two protestors were injured. Three workers were taken into custody but were later released. (CHRD)[i]
On November 17, sixty petitioners were dispersed and taken into custody by police while they were petitioning in Dongjiang Township, Longnan City, Wudu District, Gansu Province. The next day, thousands of citizens went to the government building in Longnan City and demanded that the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of Longnan City explain the situation and release those detained. Around 10 a.m., between four- and five-hundred military and local police officers were summoned by the local government to disperse the crowd using tear gas. The police reportedly beat some of those gathered with batons and bricks, injuring about one-thousand people. The authorities allege that at least sixty policemen were injured and government property was damaged. After the Sichuan earthquake on May 12, Longnan City government declared that it was to move to Dongjiang Township. However, after the authorities flattened the township, the government decided to move elsewhere. The petitioners were amongst those in the township population who are discontent with the false move. (CHRD)[ii]
On November 20, a group of ten petitioners against forced land appropriation from Hunan Province were beaten when they applied to protest at the Beijing Municipal PSB Law and Order Corps. The police rejected the application. When the petitioners asked the police to at least give them a formal document rejecting their application, a policeman refused to do so and threw a number of objects including a metal nametag at the face of one of the petitioners. Although later a man claiming to be the official responsible at the Corps apologized to the petitioners, the petitioners’ application was not accepted nor were they given the formal written rejection they had requested. (CHRD)[iii]
Police Disperse Two Protests in Beijing
On November 19, about 1,000 investors in Yilin Wood, an investment scam, demonstrated outside of the Beijing Municipal government building. A hundred policemen were dispatched and dispersed the demonstrators. An unknown number of them were taken into police custody. Around the same time, about one-hundred petitioners against forced demolition demonstrated outside of the Ministry of Justice. Those petitioners were also dispersed by the police. (CHRD)[iv]
On November 27, Li Heping (李和平), a well-known human rights lawyer from Beijing, was prevented at the Beijing airport from leaving for Brussels where he was to receive the annual Human Rights Award of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). When Li asked the border officials at Terminal 2 of the Beijing International Airport to provide a justification for barring him from leaving, the officials responded, “We never provide any reasons or present any written materials”. (CHRD)[v]
On November 28, Hu Di (胡迪), an activist from Daze Township, Xinhui District, Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province, was summoned for about ten hours by a dozen National Security police from Xinhui, Jiangmen and Nanjing. Nanjing police interrogated Hu about Guo Quan (郭泉), a political activist detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. Hu was asked a range of questions that focused on China Ximin Party, a new party Guo established in December 2007.
Nanjing police seem to be looking for evidence to strengthen the case against Guo. On November 17 and 18, Nanjing police in Kunming City in Yunnan Province twice summoned a retired teacher and activist, Wei Wenying (魏文英), about Guo’s case. Wei, who barely knows Guo, was also asked a range of questions that focused on China Ximin Party. (CHRD)[vi]
On November 21, Chen Daojun (陈道军), a cyber activist and freelance writer based in southwestern Sichuan Province, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three years of imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for posting online articles that support the Tibetan protesters of March 2008. Chen has decided not to appeal because he believes that since China’s judiciary lacks independence, the court will not overturn the decision.
On November 5, Chen was tried for “inciting secession” by the same court. It is unclear why the court dropped the charge of “inciting secession” and instead convicted Chen of “inciting subversion.” (CHRD)[vii]
On November 21, the home of Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), a Beijing-based housing rights activist and former lawyer currently detained on suspicion of “obstructing official business”, was demolished by the Beijing authorities. A 200-strong demolition crew made up of officials from Xicheng District government, the local court, the police and staff of the property developer flattened Ni’s home at No. 19 Qianzhang Hutong, Xinjiekou, Xicheng District, Beijing. Ni’s family alleges that the developer and the government forcibly demolished their home without offering any compensation or following stipulated procedures.
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 October 15, housing rights activist, Ye Guozhu (叶国柱), was released on bail by Xuanwu District PSB in Beijing after he had signed an agreement on September 29 accepting inadequate compensation for his home and restaurant which were forcibly demolished by the authorities between 2001 and 2003.
Since his property was demolished to make way for the Olympics, Ye repeatedly petitioned authorities for adequate compensation without success and also became a vocal human rights activist. In August 2004, Ye was sentenced to four years in prison for applying to organize a protest against forced evictions. On July 22, 2008, days before his was due to be released and the Olympics opened, Ye was taken away from prison and criminally detained on suspicion of “gathering crowds to disturb the order of public places” by Xuanwu police. (CHRD)[ix]
On November 18, Zheng Dajing (郑大靖), a petitioner and human rights defender from Hubei Province, was released from an illegal “black jail” where he had been detained since September 2007. On November 17, Zheng was brought to Yuanxi County People’s Hospital by his captors, the police and staff at the local Letters and Visits Office. After Zheng was found to suffer from several illnesses, the officers deposited RMB 1,000 for his medical expenses, left the hospital and were never seen again. It is believed that Zheng contracted his illnesses due to injuries from repeated beatings during his illegal detention. Zheng is now penniless and cannot afford necessary medical treatment. (CHRD)[x]
On November 29, Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), a reproductive rights activist, was released after having served two and a half years in jail. Mao was taken into custody in late May 2006 and convicted of “damaging hotel property” on January 12, 2007. During Mao’s imprisonment in Shanghai Women’s Prison, she was repeatedly tortured and mistreated. (CHRD)
CHRD learned on November 17 that the son of Du Daobin (杜导斌), a writer imprisoned for “inciting subversion of state power”, was harassed by the police. In July, after Du’s wife refused to change her mobile phone number and stop communicating with the outside world, the police retaliated by visiting the school of Du’s son. The visit, made in the name of “looking after [the child]”, had the effect of putting psychological stress on Du’s son, whose class rank has since dramatically sunk. (CHRD)[xi]
Since November 21, the electricity of the family of Zhang Shufeng (张淑凤), a petitioner from Yinhe Township, Shunyi, Beijing, has been cut, reportedly by the local Public Security Bureau (PSB). This is the second time the family’s electricity has been shut off. When it last occurred on September 27, the electricity repairmen in the village told Zhang’s husband that their cable would be repaired if they stopped petitioning. Zhang is a veteran petitioner who was recently released on September 18 after being sent to a year of RTL for “spreading false information on the internet”. (CHRD)[xii]
At 1:30 a.m. on November 9, a group of hired thugs broke into the two homes of seven residents at No. 76, Sangyuan Road, Shigu District, Hengyang City, Hunan Province. The residents, dressed in thin pajamas, were beaten by the thugs when they attempted to put on warm clothes. The thugs forcibly removed the residents from their homes and briefly held them in custody while the homes were forcibly demolished with the residents’ belongings still inside. (CHRD)[xiii]
According to an article dated November 29, the Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress Standing Committee passed the newly revised Guangdong Population and Family Planning Regulations. The Regulations, which will come into effect on January 1, 2009, made small adjustments to the conditions under which couples could have more than one child. The revised regulations abolish the requirement that qualified couples wait for more than 4 years after their first child before they are permitted to have the second child. The revised regulations also relax the requirements for couples who are re-married and those whose children are disabled. (Sina.com)[xiv]
According to a Legal Daily article dated November 22, seven courts around the country have been testing a draft judicial interpretation, “the People’s Court Unified Regulations on Evidence” since March this year. The interpretation aims to provide guidelines to criminal judges to help them better evaluate the quality of evidence presented by the Procuratorate. (Legal Daily)[xv]
According to a Legal Daily article dated November 18, there were over 100,000 cases of citizens suing the government using the Administrative Litigation Law in 2007. About 30% of the plaintiffs won their cases. However, Jiang Mingan (姜明安), a legal scholar at Beijing University, points out that the number of administrative lawsuits is still very small compared to other types of court cases. Jiang believes that a number of provisions in the Law have placed most incidents of government misconduct outside the scope of the Administrative Litigation Law. Jiang advocates for amendments to the Law that would allow citizens to more easily sue the government for misconduct. (Legal Daily)[xvi]
On November 26, CHRD released a public statement protesting against the execution of Yang Jia (杨佳), a Beijing resident sentenced to death for murdering six Shanghai policemen. CHRD believes that Yang’s speedy execution following a highly flawed trial violates international fair trial standards. Yang‘s case has received wide domestic attention, as it is believed that he murdered the policemen after he was tortured while in police custody more than a year before and his subsequent attempts to obtain compensation and hold the torturers accountable were ignored. (CHRD)[xvii]
Editor: Wang Songlian
[i] CRLW, “Demonstration by Dismissed Workers from Five Wuhan Factories Turns into Conflict <武汉市五家工厂下岗工人政府请愿发生冲突>”, November 16, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081116201452_11798.html
[ii] CHRD, “CHRD’s Statement on the Bloody Tragedy and Violent Suppression of the Masses by Longnan City Government in Gansu Province <“维权网”就甘肃陇南政府开枪镇压民众造成流血惨案的声明>”, November 20, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class4/200811/20081120111326_11885.html
[iii] CHRD, “Hunan Petitioners Beaten for Applying to Protest in Beijing; Petitioners Say They Will Immolate if Application is Rejected <湖南访民北京申请集会游行挨打 称不批准就集体自焚>”, November 20, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class71/200811/20081120222311_11899.html
[iv] CHRD, “Victims of Yilin Wood Surround Beijing Municipal Government <亿林木业受害者围堵北京市政府>”, November 19, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081119215802_11873.html
[v] CHRD, “Lawyer Li Heping Barred from Receiving the European Lawyers Human Rights Award <李和平律师被阻止前往德国领取“欧洲律师人权奖”>”, November 29, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081129145918_12064.html
[vi] CHRD, “Hu Di, from Guangdong Province, Summoned in Relation to the Case of Guo Quan <广东胡迪因郭泉案被传唤>”, November 30, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081130203247_12071.html; CHRD, “Nanjing Police Widen Investigation of Guo Quan’s Case; Visit Kunming to Investigate Xinmin Party <郭泉案扩大化，南京警方前往昆明追查新民党>”, November 18, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081118220013_11848.html
[vii] CHRD, “Cyber Activist Sentenced to 3-Years for Expressing Support to Tibetan Protesters”, November 21, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200812/20081204164426_12184.html; CHRD, “Chen Daojun Gives up the Right to Appeal Due to Despair with the Current Chinese Judiciary <陈道军基于对中国现行司法的绝望而放弃上诉>”, November 25, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/chendaojun/200811/20081125221109_11968.html
[viii] CHRD, “The Government Forcibly Demolishes Homes by Cheating; Journalists Ask Lawyers to Interfere into the Case <政府欺诈性强拆 记者找律师介入>”, November 21, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081121235855_11918.html
[ix] CHRD, “Ye Guozhu Released on Bail after He Was Forced to Sign Agreement <叶国柱被迫签订协议后获取保候审>”, November 26, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/yeguozhu/200811/20081126114429_11982.html
[x] CHRD, “Zheng Dajing Freed after Detention in Black Jail <被关在黑监狱的郑大靖获得自由>”, November 22, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081122205557_11923.html
[xi] CHRD, “Du Daobin Sent to Jail; Police Interferes with the Schooling of Du’s Child <杜导斌入狱，警方干扰孩子学习>”, November 17, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081117153336_11816.html
[xii] CHRD, “Beijing Petitioner Zhang Shufeng’s Electricity again Cut by the Police <北京访民张淑凤家再次被警方断电>”, November 24, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081124214042_11948.html
[xiii] CHRD, “Uncivil and Violent Forced Demolition Occurred in Hengyang City, Hunan Province; Residents Have No Home to Return to <湖南衡阳发生政府野蛮暴力拆迁事件 害民无家可归>”, November 17, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200811/20081117215613_11821.html
[xiv] Sina.com, “Regulations in Focus: Eight Types of People Can Have Second Child <条例焦点：8种人可生二胎>”, November 29, 2008, http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2008-11-29/080116749966.shtml
[xv] Legal Daily, “Seven Courts all over the Country Test and Perfect Regulations on Evidences for Criminal Cases <全国七家法院“试水”完善刑事证据规范>”, November 22, 2008, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/0705/2008-11/22/content_986241.htm
[xvi] Legal Daily, “Expert Suggests Amendments to Administrative Litigation Law Such that Citizens Can Sue the Government More Easily <门槛高限制多 专家建议修改行诉法 畅通“民告官”渠道>”, November 18, 2008, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/0705/2008-11/18/content_983197.htm
[xvii] CHRD, “Yang Jia’s Death Penalty Has Been Approved and Will be Rapidly Implemented; Seriously Violate the Principle of Fair Trial <杨佳被核准死刑并急促执行，严重违反司法公正原则>”, November 26, 2008, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class4/200811/20081127183333_11994.html