China Human Rights Briefing April 27- May 3, 2009

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China Human Rights Briefing

Reporting human rights development from the grassroots

April 27- May 3, 2009


  • One month before the 20th anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, the tension continues to grow. Police in major cities are keeping rights activists under close watch, summoning dissidents and rights activists, warning them not to organize or participate in any activities related to 1989, following them, or stationing guards outside their residences.
  • The Hangzhou City People’s Congress Standing Committee passed a new threat to freedom of expression online, the “Regulations on Protection of Computer Information and Internet Safety”, effective May 1. The regulations, which include an article stipulating that internet users who write blog postings or post messages online must register with a valid identification number, have been hotly debated online as netizens fear they may be a test case for more stringent regulations nationwide.


Countdown to June 4. 2

Former Student Leader Detained for Seven Months in Shenzhen. 2

Charter 08 Watch. 3

Charter 08: The Book. 3

Persecution of Activists. 3

Xian Activist Taken from Home, Questioned by Police. 3

Shanghai Activist Interrogated for Nearly 20 Hours about Citizens’ Oversight Committee. 3

Police Summon, Confiscate Computers Belonging to Zhejiang Democratic Activist. 3

Guangdong Democratic Activist Missing in Hangzhou. 4

Farmers’ Representative Released after Five Years in Prison. 4

Torture and Other Cruel and Inhuman Treatment. 4

Shandong Petitioner Hospitalized after Beating by Officials in Beijing. 4

Freedom of Expression. 5

Shenzhen Consumer Rights Advocate Detained 15 Days for Expletive on Court Document. 5

Freedom of Association. 5

Democratic Activist Tried for “Subverting State Power” in Changsha. 5

Freedom of Assembly. 5

Four Detained as Hubei Teachers Protest. 5

Housing Rights. 6

Hangzhou Family Detained During Forced Demolition. 6

Citizens’ Actions. 6

Veterans’ Group Protests in Sichuan. 6

Henan Workers Blockade Highway. 6

Hundreds of Shaanxi Projectionists Gather to Petition. 6

Xian Workers Block Road to Protest Planned Takeover of Plant. 7

Law and Policy Watch. 7

New Hangzhou Internet Regulations Outline Further Checks on Free Expression. 7

Countdown to June 4

Former Student Leader Detained for Seven Months in Shenzhen

On April 28, CHRD learned that 1989 student leader Zhou Yongjun (周勇军) remains in detention nearly seven months after he was seized by Shenzhen police while crossing into China from Hong Kong to visit family on September 30, 2008. According to information received from an individual who was recently released after being detained alongside Zhou, Zhou was being detained in Shenzhen’s Yantian District Detention Center. However, his current whereabouts are unknown. According to the same individual, Zhou has not been formally arrested, nor have authorities brought a lawsuit against him. (CHRD)[1]

Charter 08 Watch

Charter 08: The Book

Open Books, a Hong Kong publishing house, has announced that it will publish Charter 08, a book about the text and people of Charter 08, on May 9. A press conference is scheduled for the same day in Hong Kong. Along with the original document and related materials, the book contains 3 collections of articles: signatories offering reflections on their decision to sign the Charter, discussion and debate about the text, and articles about events before and after the release of the Charter, including individual accounts of police harassment. (CHRD)[2]

Persecution of Activists

Xian Activist Taken from Home, Questioned by Police

At around 10 in the morning on April 27, Xian activist, internet writer, Deng Yongliang (邓永亮) was taken from his home by four police officers and questioned for nearly 3 hours at a nearby community police affairs office. According to Deng, officers asked him about a recent trip he took to a number of provinces and whether or not he was planning some sort of large-scale activity. The interrogation ended with the police threatening Deng and warning him not to get involved in any upcoming events. (CHRD)[3]

Shanghai Activist Interrogated for Nearly 20 Hours about Citizens’ Oversight Committee

On the evening of April 29, officers from the Shanghai PSB, as well as the Law and Order Joint Defense Corps and National Security Unit under the Shanghai PSB, arrived to search the Jiading District home of Shanghai activist Liu Yiliang (刘义良), one of the organizers of the Shanghai preparatory committee of the Citizens’ Association for Government Oversight (公民监政会). Officers presented a search warrant and searched Liu’s home for more than an hour, confiscating his computer, printer, copying machine, and personal materials. Without a warrant for summons, Liu was then taken hooded to an interrogation room in an unknown location, where he was questioned for close to 20 hours. National Security officers interrogated him about matters related to the Citizens’ Association for Government Oversight, which still exists only in the planning stages, and warned him against proceeding with plans to convene the first meeting of the planning committee in Shanghai. (CHRD)[4]

Police Summon, Confiscate Computers Belonging to Zhejiang Democratic Activist

Around 1 am on April 30, officers from the National Security Unit under the Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province PSB arrived to search the home of democratic activist Fan Ziliang (范子良), confiscating two computers. Fan himself was not at home at the time, nor did he have any knowledge that his home was being searched, as he had been summoned at 7 o’clock the previous evening by National Security officers. Fan was questioned for six hours before being released, primarily about political commentaries he had recently written. It is believed that Fan’s computers were confiscated as a preemptive measure to prevent him from writing articles or organizing other activities related to the 20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. Fan, a veteran activist and author, was summoned and had his home searched twice during last year’s Olympic Games. (CHRD)[5]

Guangdong Democratic Activist Missing in Hangzhou

On May 2, CHRD confirmed that Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province democratic activist Luo Yongquan (罗勇泉), who was summoned six times by police during the month of April, is missing after being seized by National Security officers under the Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province PSB. According to Luo’s mother, she has not had any contact with her son since he left home on April 30. Activists in Hangzhou report that Luo was taken to the Wangjian PSB station by police, and since then his whereabouts and present condition are unknown. While the reasons for Luo’s detention remain unknown, police who questioned him during his most recent summons brought up the issue of a number of poems Luo had written which were broadcast by New Tang Dynasty Television, a Chinese-language broadcasting service based in New York City which is frequently critical of the Chinese government. Luo, a Charter 08 signatory and member of the China Democratic Party, previously served three years in prison and after being released from prison has had his working rights deprived on numerous occasions for continuing to advocate for a democratic constitutional government. (CHRD)[6]

Farmers’ Representative Released after Five Years in Prison

Farmers’ representative Lin Zhengxu (林正栩), of Shishan Village, Cangshanchengmen Town, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, was released from prison on April 20 after serving a term of five and a half years for “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order.” Lin, a veteran petitioner and representative of Fuzhou villagers fighting for land rights and against corruption, was detained by Fujian police in Beijing in May of 2004 and formally arrested on October 23 before being tried and convicted on March 2, 2005. According to officials, Lin was responsible for organizing villagers to protest outside the Fuzhou City government, and, along with Wu Zhongkai (吴忠凯) and New York Times researcher Zhao Yan (赵岩), of planning the drafting of “A Motion to Recall Officials”. (CHRD)[7]

Torture and Other Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

Shandong Petitioner Hospitalized after Beating by Officials in Beijing

CHRD learned on May 3 that Pingyi County, Linyi City, Shandong Province petitioner Yao Jing (姚晶) was seriously beaten by officials from the Beijing Liaison Office of the Linyi City government on April 27, and is currently hospitalized in Chongwen District’s Tongren Hospital in Beijing. Yao, who had traveled to Beijing to petition because of a judgment in a 2006 civil dispute, was seized off the street by a Beijing police officer on the afternoon of April 27 and taken to Ma Jia Lou, a centralized “black jail”. Yao was then picked up by officials from the Beijing Liaison Office of the Linyi City government, and was beaten severely during the 20-minute drive to their office. Yao is being treated for a bruised spleen and neck injuries, and forced to pay her own medical expenses, which have already approached 10,000 RMB. She was previously attacked by officials from the Beijing Liaison Office of the Linyi City government on October 11, 2008, though she was not seriously injured. (CHRD)[8]

Freedom of Expression

Shenzhen Consumer Rights Advocate Detained 15 Days for Expletive on Court Document

On April 30, CHRD learned that consumer rights advocate Chen Shuwei (陈书伟) is being detained for 15 days on the order of Shenzhen’s Futian Court. Chen and others brought a lawsuit against China Mobile in November and December 2008 before Futian Court, which ultimately ruled against Chen on February 16 and 25, 2009. Chen appealed the case, but expressed his dissatisfaction with the ruling by writing an expletive in the section marked “facts and reasoning” on the appeal application, leading to his detention. (CRLW) [9]

Freedom of Association

Democratic Activist Tried for “Subverting State Power” in Changsha

On April 28, the trial of Hunan democratic activist Xie Changfa (谢长发) was held before the public in Changsha City’s Intermediate Court. Xie, who was criminally detained by the Changsha PSB on June 26, 2008, and formally arrested for “subverting state power” on July 31, was represented by Ma Gangquan (马纲权), of Beijing’s Mo Shaoping Law Firm. The procuratorate alleged that Xie planned to organize the first national meeting for all members of the China Democratic Party, and also submitted as evidence articles on democracy written by Xie that police had confiscated from his home. Ma countered that all of Xie’s actions, both real and planned, were protected by Constitutional guarantees to freedom of association and freedom of speech. The trial, which lasted from 9 am until 12 pm, ended without a verdict being issued. Xie, a democratic activist since the Democracy Wall movement in 1978, has been involved with the China Democratic Party for years, including participating in the 1998 preparatory committee meetings. (CHRD)[10]

Freedom of Assembly

Four Detained as Hubei Teachers Protest

A group of 50 laid-off community-run (minban) teachers gathered outside the Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province government offices on the morning of April 27 and protested throughout the day, demanding that officials provide them with social security. After they were ignored for an entire day, teachers Deng Yihua (邓怡华), Liu Hong (刘红), and two others walked up to the top of the office building around 5 pm and sat in protest. By 9 pm, village and town officials had arrived by the hundreds to persuade the teachers to disperse, and around 11 pm a brigade of armed police and firefighters arrived. Police scaled a ladder to bring down the teachers on top of the building, and they were taken to a nearby police station. The four have been administratively detained in Zhongxiang City’s Yingzhong PSB station; Deng for 10 days and the other three for seven days. (CHRD)[11]

Housing Rights

Hangzhou Family Detained During Forced Demolition

Around 7 in the morning on April 30, between 300 and 400 people arrived to demolish the home of Zhang Jinhuo (章金火) in Shuixiang Community, Sijiqing Neighborhood, Jianggan District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province. Zhang began filming the assembled group of Jianggan District PSB officers, Urban Inspection officers (chengguan), government officials, and others, and as a result police took him and his family away from the scene, detaining them in a guesthouse and deleting the pictures and video Zhang had taken of the forced demolition. Zhang and his family were released around noon, after their home had been demolished. Zhang and his family had refused to agree to the demolition because of inadequate compensation and a failure of officials to follow proper procedures. (CRLW)[12]

Citizens’ Actions

Veterans’ Group Protests in Sichuan

Around 8:30 in the morning on April 29, a group of close to 400 veterans gathered in front of the city government offices in Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, demanding that officials address their concerns over employment and compensation. Of the protestors, roughly 40% were unemployed. This group asked for government assistance in securing jobs, as well as basic monthly payments to cover living expenses now that they are no longer in active military service. The remaining 60% demanded that the government provide social security and medical insurance, and raise their salaries to a more reasonable level. (CHRD)[13]

Henan Workers Blockade Highway

On April 27 and 28, between 200 and 300 workers in Anyang City, Henan Province gathered to block roads, including National Highway 107, as part of a protest against the management of Ancaigaoke Company, their employer. Two main groups, veterans who had been transferred to civilian work and workers who contributed to a factory fundraising effort but have yet to be fully repaid, were responsible for the action. The veterans, who were treated as “temporary workers” between 1999 and 2006, are seeking compensation for the lower wages and inadequate benefits they suffered during that time period. The regular workers are protesting to force company management to repay them the balance of money they are due.

Protests continued on the 30th after a group of workers’ representatives were prevented from traveling to Beijing to petition on April 29 by local police. (CRLW)[14]

Hundreds of Shaanxi Projectionists Gather to Petition

On April 27, a group of between 200 and 300 individuals representing more than 2,000 projectionists from all over Shaanxi Province gathered outside of the Provincial Government offices to petition the officials within to provide them with proper treatment and compensation. The projectionists, who worked without pay in rural areas from the 1970s to the 1990s, relied on rural party organizations for food and shelter as they traveled around showing movies. During the 1990s, their services no longer became needed and, as many projectionists were quite old and had no other training at that point in their lives, they have since struggled to make ends meet. (CHRD)[15]

Xian Workers Block Road to Protest Planned Takeover of Plant

On the morning of April 17, between 500 and 600 workers from the Xian Agricultural Machinery plant gathered to block traffic on Xian’s Changying Road to protest the annexation of the plant. The workers completely stopped traffic from 9 am until noon, when police intervened and were able to clear the road. The plant had announced in the middle of April that it would be taken over by another company, a plan that the nearly 1000 workers vehemently opposed, as they felt they were not properly consulted in advance and suspected that the “takeover” was merely a ploy to make more money out of the factory. (CHRD)[16]

Law and Policy Watch

New Hangzhou Internet Regulations Outline Further Checks on Free Expression

According to a May 1 Guangzhou Daily report, Hangzhou City People’s Congress Standing Committee has issued a new set of regulations, effective May 1, regulating “internet safety and security”. According to Article 19 of the regulations, internet service providers based in Hangzhou will be required to set up censorship systems with staff to delete content found to be in violation of the regulations (including content that “subverts state power, endangers national security, disrupts social order, etc.) and report violations to the local PSB near the IP address responsible. The same article stipulates that users seeking service, that is, registering a blog or opening an account on a forum, from the ISP will be required to provide a valid identification number.

These regulations, rather than protecting “safety and security”, only serve to bolster official efforts to crack down on freedom of expression, by making it easier for local authorities to target individuals who post articles and messages online. This new regulations have been hotly debated by Chinese netizens, as they are reportedly the most repressive provincial regulations yet against free expression. However, there are also questions about its effectiveness, as netizens in Hangzhou can easily register anonymously with ISPs based in other provinces and have their postings available in Hangzhou. (Legal Daily)[17]

Editors: Wang Songlian and David Smalls

Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) is a non-political, non-governmental network of grassroots and international activists promoting human rights and empowering grassroots activism in China. CHRD’s objective is to support human rights activists in China, monitor human rights developments, and assist victims of human rights abuses. CHRD advocates approaches that are non-violent and based on rule of law. CHRD conducts research, provides information, organizes training, supports a program of small grants to human rights activists and researchers, and offers legal assistance.

Chinese Human Rights Briefing (CHRB) is a weekly newsletter that gives up-to-date information on China‘s human rights developments. Our information originates from Chinese human rights defenders and groups at the grassroots. CHRD is responsible for all information published in CHRB. CHRB does not report news first appearing in the media, but refers to media sources in the endnotes for readers interested in more information.

Please feel free to use CHRD information, and please attribute it to CHRD when you do so.

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[1] “6.4 Leader Zhou Yongjun Still Secretly, Illegally Detained (六四领袖周勇军被秘密非法超期关押——续)”, April 28, 2009,

[2] “New Book Announcement: ‘Charter 08’ (Open Books) (新书预告:《零八宪章》(开放出版社))”, April 30, 2009,

[3] “Deng Yongliang Taken from Home, Questioned (邓永亮被从家中带走问话)”, April 28, 2009,

[4] “Police Summon, Search Home of Citizens’ Committee for Government Oversight (Plan) Shanghai Organizer Liu Yiliang (公民监政会(筹)上海召集人刘义良被抄家、传唤)”, May 2, 2009,

[5] “Zhejiang Veteran Democratic Activist Fan Ziliang Summoned, Home Searched (浙江老民运斗士范子良先生被传唤抄家)”, April 30, 2009

[6] “‘Charter 08’ Signatory Luo Yongquan Still Missing (《零八宪章》签署人罗勇泉至今仍然下落不明)”, May 2, 2009,

[7] “Lin Zhengxu, Farmers’ Representative and Sponsor of ‘Motion to Recall Officials’ Signed by Ten Thousand, Released after Serving Five and a Half Years in Prison (福建发起万人联名《罢免动议书》被判56个月的农民代表林正栩刑满出狱)”, May 3, 2009,

[8] “Shandong Petitioner Hospitalized After Beating at Beijing Liaison Office (山东访民上访被驻京办打坏脾住院)”, May 3, 2009,

[9] “Report on Rights Activist Chen Shuwei’s Detention; Home of Shanghai’s Liu Yiliang Searched (通讯维权人士陈书伟被拘留 上海刘义良被抄家)”, April 30, 2009,

[10] “Hunan Democratic Activist Xie Changfa Enters Plea in Trial for ‘Subverting State Power’ (湖南民主人士谢长发被控“颠覆国家政权罪”一审辩护词)”, April 30, 2009,

[11] “Zhongxiang, Hubei Laid-off Teachers March on City Government; Many Detained (湖北省钟祥市被辞退教师到市政府抗议 多人被拘留)”, April 30, 2009,

[12] “Hangzhou, Zhejiang; Loudi, Hunan Forced Demolition Incidents (浙江杭州、湖南娄底分别发生强制拆迁事件)”, April 30, 2009,

[13] “Nanchong City, Sichuan Province Veterans’ Group Blockades City Government Gate (四川省南充市退伍兵集体封堵市政府大门)”, April 29, 2009,

[14] “Henan Ancaigaoke Joint-stock Company Workers Blockade Highway (河南安彩高科股份公司多批职工堵国道)”, April 29, 2009, and “Hundreds of Workers from Henan’s Ancaigaoke Company Continue Protest (河南安彩高科公司数百职工继续维权抗争)”, April 30, 2009,

[15] “Shaanxi Projectionists Demand Proper Treatment (陕西老放映员要求落实编制待遇)”, April 27, 2009,

[16] “Xian Agricultural Machinery Plant Workers Blockade Road to Protest Annexation (西安农械厂职工堵路抗议兼并方案)”, April 30, 2009,

[17] “New Hangzhou Internet Regulations Go into Effect May 1: Authors of Articles and Blogs Required to Register IDs (杭州市互联网新规五一开始实施:发帖写博要登记身份)”, May 1, 2009,

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