Sichuan Activist Detained for Reporting on Protests and Clashes

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Sichuan Activist Detained for Reporting on Protests and Clashes
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 3, 2009) – CHRD learned today that Xing Qingxian (幸清贤), a rights activist based in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, has been criminally detained on suspicion of “disturbing social order” by the National Security police under Chengdu Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB).

At around 10 p.m. on February 28, when Xing and fellow activist Li Yu (李宇) returned to Xing’s home after an event at a local book club, they found about twenty policemen waiting. The two were taken to Yunmenkou Police Station under Chengdu PSB. The police also confiscated Xing’s computer and some documents. After being held for four hours by Chengdu PSB, Li was forcibly sent back to Deyang City, the place of his residential registration (hukou), also in Sichuan, where he was released.

Xing remains in police custody. It is believed that the authorities detain Xing for having released information to “hostile” foreign media. The information concerned two recent clashes between the police and Chengdu citizens. In one, a victim of forced demolition, Yuan Xinggen (袁行根), injured six policemen when he resisted the eviction with kerosene and firecrackers on February 20. In another, about thirty Chengdu citizens chained themselves together outside of Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court on February 23 and 24 to protest what they believe to be unfair rulings handed down by the court over the years.

Xing, 46, was a worker at China Railway No.2 Engineering Group Co. In 2004, Xing was fired after he joined other workers in seeking overtime pay. Xing then self-studied law and began providing legal advice to workers defending their rights. Most recently, Xing is a volunteer at Rights Defense in Action (维权在行动), a small volunteer-based human rights group based in Chengdu.

“The group Rights Defense in Action is barely two weeks old! The arrest is clearly targeted at these human rights defenders, who have tried to exercise their rights to information and expression to report on local rights stories. The authorities seem to be desperately trying to ensure ‘stability’ at the time of economic crisis and the approach of sensitive anniversaries, such as the Tibetan Uprising and June Fourth. Stability in Sichuan is particularly essential due to its adjacency to the Tibet Autonomous Region”, said Renee Xia, CHRD’s international director.


CHRD calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Xing Qingxian.

CHRD believes that Xing has been detained solely for the peaceful activities of documenting and reporting on human rights violations. The authorities have abused Xing’s rights to freedom of expression guaranteed in Articles 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution. Article 6 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders also guarantees this right, it states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (a) To know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

For more information, please see:

“News: Chengdu Rights Activist Xing Qingxian Taken away by National Security Police ”, March 1, 2009,

“Dozens of Protestors Holding Signs with the Charter ‘Injustice’ Taken away from Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court ”, February 24, 2009,

“Protestors Chained Themselves Together outside of Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court, Calling for Justice ”, February 23, 2009,

“Owner of Property Forcibly Demolished by Government Poured Oil, Burning Policemen ”, February 21, 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): +852 8191 1660

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