Petitioner Detained and Beaten for Attempting to Appeal to Clinton

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Petitioner Detained and Beaten for Attempting to Appeal to Clinton

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, February 27, 2009) – CHRD learned today that Wang Shixiang (王士祥), a petitioner and former business owner from Tongcheng City, Anhui Province, was beaten and detained for attempting to appeal to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to China.

On February 22, Wang was on his way to Beijing’s Haidian Christian Church to voice his grievances to Clinton. But before he even got close to the building, Wang was intercepted by the Beijing police and sent to Ma Jia House, a centralized black jail where petitioners intercepted by the police are often sent. Officials at Ma Jia House later sent Wang to Juyuan Inn, a black jail operated by the Beijing Liaison Office of Henan Province. There, Wang was beaten by the guards, resulting in injuries to his chest and abdomen. Wang was able to contact the Beijing police; however, the policemen that responded to his call left as soon as they learned Wang was a petitioner.

We could “make you disappear at any time!” the guards, hired by officials, threatened Wang.

They told him that it was useless to call the police. On February 23, Wang was handed over to members of the Beijing Liaison Office of Anhui Province and taken to yet another black jail, in the back of a restaurant building near Hangtian Bridge in Haidian District, Beijing. Wang was released on February 25.

Wang has not yet received any medical attention. Guards at the last black jail ignored Wang’s repeated requests to send him to a doctor. Wang, who is still in Beijing, cannot afford treatment.

On the same day Wang was beaten and detained for attempting to appeal to her, Secretary of State Clinton told the Chinese government that the US would not prioritize human rights in its relationship with China.

“The authorities used illegal detention facilities to lock up and torture people like Wang, who simply wanted to voice their grievances on the occasion of the US Secretary of State’s visit. We fear that, by stating that human rights are separate from, and less important than, the economy, climate change and security, the US is sending exactly the wrong signal to the Chinese government, that it may continue its blatant abuses of human rights as illustrated by the case of Mr. Wang”, said Wang Songlian, CHRD’s research coordinator.

CHRD condemns the use of torture and arbitrary detention of Wang by members of the Beijing Municipal and Anhui Provincial governments. They have violated Wang’s right to be protected against cruel and inhuman punishment, guaranteed by Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Wang’s illegal detention also violated his rights to liberty and security of person, as guaranteed by Article 37 of the Chinese Constitution and Article 9 of the ICCPR.

CHRD demands the Chinese authorities conduct an independent investigation into this incident and, if they find evidence that Wang has been tortured, bring those responsible to justice in accordance with the law. The authorities should arrange for the medical treatment of Wang immediately.


Wang used to own a small business in Wuchang City, Heilongjiang Province. In 2001, Wang reported to Heilongjiang Legal System Daily (黑龙江法制日报) about an extortion racket operated by members of the Wuchang City Public Security Bureau (PSB). After the paper printed the story, Wuchang police retaliated against Wang.

Between October 10, 2001 and February 18, 2003, Wang was criminally detained on suspicion of “extortion and blackmail”. However, Wang was never presented with the relevant legal documents, informed of the details of his charges, or given a trial. The Wuchang authorities told Wang that they could charge him “anything they wanted”. During his 17 months in Wuchang City Detention Center, he was beaten by the guards and developed liver cirrhosis and peritonitis.

While he was detained, Wang’s wife returned to Tongcheng City. According to Wang, Wuchang City police told Tongcheng City authorities that Wang was a “criminal” and encouraged the latter to persecute his wife. Wang’s wife, who has two children, was forcibly sterilized by the local family planning authorities. Following her sterilization procedures, Wang’s wife developed complications and has since suffered from poor health.

Since Wang’s release, he has been petitioning higher authorities about the persecution he and his wife suffered. In 2004, because of his petitioning, Wuchang City police offered Wang RMB 24,000 in compensation. However, Wang wanted justice—he wanted the authorities to hold accountable the policemen involved in persecuting him and his wife. He keeps petitioning.

On August 15, 2008, he submitted by post to the Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) Law and Order Corps an application to protest in the designated “Protest Zones” during the Olympics. The Beijing PSB did not process Wang’s application, but apprehended him. On August 19, Wang was interrogated and handed over to Tongcheng PSB. The next day, Wang was forcibly returned to Tongcheng, where he was put under residential surveillance for a month until the end of the Paralympics.

For more information on Wang’s case, please see:

“After Being Locked Up in Retaliation by PSB for 17 Months, 6 Years of Petitioning Without Result” (被公安报复关押17个月,上访6年无果), February 27, 2009.

“Anhui Petitioner and Human Rights Activist Wang Shixiang Held in ‘Black Jail’” (安徽上访维权人士王士祥被关黑监狱), February 26, 2009.

Media contacts for this press release:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937

Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +85281911660

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