Beating and Detention of Petitioner Latest in Series of Heilongjiang Abuses

Comments Off on Beating and Detention of Petitioner Latest in Series of Heilongjiang Abuses

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 27, 2009) – CHRD learned today the story of Chen Jinxia (陈金霞, aka Chen Qingxia [陈庆霞]), a petitioner from Dailing District, Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province, who has suffered nearly two years of arbitrary detention since she was first intercepted on April 24, 2007. Over the past 23 months, she has been separated from her son, beaten, sent to a Re-education through Labor (RTL) camp, and is now held in a “black jail”.

According to her family, Chen started petitioning after her husband developed a mental illness as a result of repeated detention by local authorities in retaliation for his persistent petitioning. When Chen left for Beijing on April 24, 2007 to petition higher authorities, she brought her then 12-year-old son, Song Jide (宋吉德). They were intercepted in Beijing and sent to Ma Jia Lou, a “black jail” in the capital. After their release, as they were boarding a local bus to return to their hostel in Beijing, interceptors from her hometown forcibly dragged her off the bus. The bus departed with Chen’s son. When Chen protested , one of the interceptors, the head of the Dailing Letters and Visits Office, Yang Haifeng (杨海峰), told her “not to bother” about Song, stating that he would “take care of the matter”. The other interceptors, including two from Dailing District Public Security Bureau (PSB), forcibly returned Chen to Dailing.

Chen waiting to petition officials in front of the building of Dailing District People's Government in May 2007

Chen waiting to petition officials in front of the building of Dailing District People's Government in May 2007

Upon her return, Chen was administratively detained for ten days. She was beaten, her spine was injured, and she was left paralyzed. On May 5, 2007, Chen was released from the detention center. On May 13, the Dailing Letters and Visits Office told Chen that the child could be found. After hearing the news, Chen spent two days crawling to various government offices pleading to speak with officials, but she was repeatedly rebuffed and dragged away. On May 15, local authorities sent Chen to Dailing Hospital for “treatment”. She was held there until June 30, when Chen evaded her monitors and attempted to take a taxi to Yichun to petition the mayor. Chen was caught by the police, and at the local police station, she broke a sheet of glass in anger.

Because of the offense, Chen was sent to Re-education through Labor (RTL) for “damaging public property” for 18 months. She served 18 months, and immediately upon her release on December 24, 2008, Chen was sent to a “black jail” at No.226 Kangan Community in Dailing District. Currently held in a windowless room, Chen is guarded by four people who will not allow her to step outside. Members of Chen’s family who have tried to advocate on her behalf have been threatened and harassed by Dailing authorities.

“This wrenching tale of a mother’s anguish and suffering offers fresh evidence of a province where officials have been particularly ruthless towards petitioners and rights activists while enjoying total impunity,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “Moreover, Heilongjiang is rich in agriculture, and land disputes have become particularly intense. The provincial leadership has given local authorities free rein to smother dissent as they wish to please the central government with this mirage of ‘harmony,’” said Xia.

In the past 18 months, CHRD has documented many cases of arbitrary detention of petitioners and human rights activists in Heilongjiang Province for exposing misconduct by local authorities. At least five of those documented involved torture and beating while in custody. One petitioner, Luo Shubo, died on August 24, 2008 after local officials repeatedly prevented her from seeking medical treatment while detained in an RTL Camp. The brazenness of the Heilongjiang authorities is also illustrated by the case of human rights activist, Yang Chunlin, who was repeatedly beaten and tortured in police custody. Once, he was beaten with electric batons by a court policeman for merely attempting to speak with his family during his sentencing hearing. CHRD wishes to draw attention to the pattern of human rights abuses in Heilongjiang Province illustrated by the cases listed below.heilongjiang-map

  • Liu Jie (刘杰), a petitioner-turned-activist from Xunke County, is serving eighteen months of RTL for collecting signatures for the petition, “Constitutional Democracy: the Foundation for Addressing Social Grievances”, signed by 12,150 petitioners. Liu has been repeatedly tortured and beaten during incarceration. Liu has been petitioning for compensation after local authorities broke a contract and took back the contracted farm which Liu had turned into a profitable enterprise.
  • Yuan Xianchen (袁显臣), an activist and “barefoot lawyer” from Jixi City, is serving four years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”. Yuan is best known for acting as a legal advisor for workers at the Didao Mine in Jixi City who have been seeking compensation from the local government since the former state-owned business was re-structured and became a private enterprise. Yuan has been tortured in detention.
  • Yang Chunlin (杨春林), a worker and activist from Jiamusi City, is serving five years of imprisonment for collecting signatures for the open letter, “We Want Human Rights, not the Olympics”, signed by more than 10,000 people, mostly Heilongjiang farmers fighting forced eviction. Yang has been repeatedly tortured during incarceration.
  • Ren Shangyan (任尚燕) and Kong Qiang (孔强), researchers at China Justice Advocacy Web, are serving three years of imprisonment for investigating accusations of nepotism against a Shuangyashan official.
  • Li Yuzhen (李玉珍), a petitioner from Muling City, was barred by Muling City police from leaving Harbin Women’s RTL Camp on March11 after having completed her one-year term there. The police threatened to send her back to the camp if she did not go with them. Li was finally allowed to leave after she signed a guarantee that she would not petition during the “Two Meetings” of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee in March. Li was sent to one year of RTL for petitioning about the death of her brother, whom she suspected of having died as a result of torture while in police custody.
  • Li Shuchun (李淑春), from Yilan County, was detained between January 14, 2008 and February 27, 2009 for leading a group of 100 workers in seeking government action against corrupt management at Hongqi Racecourse in Yilan County. The local government did not accede to the request but instead has collaborated with the racecourse management to intercept the workers.
  • Luo Shubo (罗淑波), a petitioner from Anda City, died on August 24, 2008 after she was repeatedly barred from accessing medical treatment at the Qiqihaer RTL camp. Luo had been petitioning after having won a court case but not having received the compensation to which she was entitled. Luo was sent to two years of RTL on October 30, 2007 despite her many illnesses, including heart disease.
  • Du Fengqin (杜凤芹), a petitioner from Qiqihar City, had been petitioning against the local government that appropriated her land without legal procedures and adequate compensation. To pre-empt her from petitioning during the 17th Party Congress in October 2007, Du was detained prior to the Congress. Then on October 16, the authorities sent her to one year of RTL claiming that she had “disrupted normal petitioning procedures” while petitioning in Beijing.
  • Jiang Yongwen (姜永文) went to Beijing to petition on September 22, 2007, in order expose the concealment of the number of deaths reported by the local government in a mine accident in Baoqing County. Jiang was intercepted and sent to RTL.
  • Sun Chongping (孙崇平), from Mudanjiang City, was detained in a black jail at Mudanjiang Assistance Station Children’s Relief Center to prevent her from petitioning during the “Two Meetings” in March 2008. Sun attempted escape on March 12, but she was caught, sent back to the same jail and beaten by police officers. Sun was told that she would be detained until after the Olympics. It is unclear whether she has been released. Sun has been petitioning about misconduct of the local family planning authorities.
  • Wang Fucheng (王福成) was intercepted in Beijing on March 7, 2008 while petitioning about fair compensation. Wang, a 76-year-old discharged soldier from Mudanjiang City, was detained in a black jail holding twenty other petitioners at Mudanjiang City Assistance Station Children’s Relief Center. On March 14, Wang’s daughter met the same fate when she went to Beijing to petition about her father’s detention. It is unclear whether Wang and his daughter have been released.
  • Wang Xinglai (王兴来), a farmer from Beian City, was intercepted by Beian officials while petitioning in Beijing on November 18, 2007. Wang was forcibly returned to Beian, where he was criminally detained for over a month before being sent to two years of RTL. Wang started petitioning after the Beian City government broke a 25-year land lease signed in 1997.
  • Yang Guihua (杨桂华), a petitioner, was sent to RTL for a year after she was intercepted on November 5, 2007 in front of the United Nations Development Program offices in Beijing. Yang had been petitioning because the local court in Qiqihaer delayed processing her case concerning money disputes.
  • Yu Changwu (于长武) and Wang Guilin (王桂林), village representatives, were detained in December 2007 by the Fujin City PSB in Jiamusi City. They were sent to, respectively, two and one-and-a-half years of RTL. Days prior to their detention, 40,000 villagers from 72 Fujin villages released a public notice declaring their right to 100,000 hectares of land in their villages, which the villagers claimed had been forcibly appropriated without adequate compensation by local officials.

For more information, please contact:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937
Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +852 8191 1660

  • Back to Top