Submission to UN on Chen Qingxia – July 23, 2009

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Communiqué to UN Human Rights Special Procedures from Chinese Human Rights Defenders, Alleging Torture and Cruel, Degrading, and Inhumane Treatment, and Arbitrary Detention of Chen Qingxia, citizen of People’s Republic of China


To: Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment


The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention



I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture


A. Family Name: Chen (陈)

B. First and other names: Qingxia (庆霞, also known as Jinxia [金霞])

C. Sex: Female

D. Birth date or age: April 16, 1969

E. Nationality:  The People’s Republic of China

F. Occupation: None

G. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.): Chen is a petitioner, she started petitioning after her husband developed a mental illness as a result of repeated detention by local authorities in retaliation for his persistent petitioning.

H. Residential and/or work address: Dailing District, Yichun City, Heilongjiang Province


II. Circumstances surrounding torture


A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture


Between April 24 and May 5, 2007, Chen was beaten repeatedly which left her paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk. She has been subjected to arbitrary detention since April 24, 2007 with only a short break between May 5 and 15, 2007.


On April 24, 2007, Chen and her then 12-year-old son, Song Jide (宋吉德), were petitioning in Beijing. The mother and son were boarding a local bus in Beijing, when interceptors from her hometown forcibly dragged her off the bus. The bus departed with Chen’s son. When Chen protested, one of the interceptors, told her “not to bother” about Song, stating that he would “take care of the matter”. The other interceptors forcibly returned Chen to Dailing.


Upon her return, Chen was administratively detained for ten days. On May 5, 2007, Chen was released from the Dailing Detention Center. During the detention, Chen was repeatedly beaten, her spine was injured, she became paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk. On May 13, the Dailing authorities told Chen that her 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 transferred Chen to Dailing Hospital, where she was 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. After 18 months in the camp, Chen’s situation worsened and she could not even sit up properly.


Immediately upon her release on December 24, 2008, Chen was sent to a “black jail”, an illegal and secret detention facility, at No.226 Kangan Community in Dailing District. On March 24, 2009, Chen was transferred from the black jail to Harbin University of Medical Sciences Hospital where she was briefly examined by doctors and given some form of treatment. Then on April 20, Chen was brought back to Dailing District and detained in an empty room in the mortuary of Dailing District’s Workers’ Hospital, where she has been held since.



B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)


Yang Haifeng (杨海峰), head of the Dailing Letters and Visits Office

Xia Lingfan (夏令凡), member of the Dailing Letters and Visits Office

Geng Huimin (耿会敏), member of the Dailing Public Security Bureau (PSB)

Yang Dongguang (杨东光), member of the Dailing PSB


C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

Between April 24 and May 5, 2007, when Chen was repeatedly beaten in detention, no lawyer, family or friend saw her. Chen’s family finally saw her when she was released on May 5, 2007.

During her subsequent periods of detention, her family had very limited and sporadic access to her.


D. Describe the methods of torture used

Chen was repeatedly beaten and kicked. Chen was also arbitrary detained without charge or trial.


E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Chen is paralyzed from waist down. She could no longer walk, and sitting up properly is also very difficult for her.


F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

The violence directed against Chen is part of a general pattern of abuse directed against petitioners by interceptors. Interceptors are staff from diverse government units who seize petitioners to prevent them from lodging complaints with higher authorities against local governments. (For further information please see CHRD’s report, Silencing Complaints: Human Rights Abuses Against Petitioners in China, March 11, 2008,


G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?


Chen was briefly examined by a couple of doctors when she was held in Dailing Hospital between May 15 and June 30, 2007. Although the doctors recommended further examination and treatment, the Dailing authorities holding her were unwilling to pay for her treatment. Chen was not treated.


Chen received a more thorough examination in late March 2009, nearly two years after she was first beaten to paralysis. The examination was performed by a doctor in a government hospital, Harbin University of Medical Sciences Hospital in Heilongjiang Province. The authorities brought Chen to the hospital for a more detailed examination only after her situation received wide attention when CHRD exposed her case on the internet on March 25, 2009.


H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?




When Chen was detained in Dailing Hospital between May 15 and June 30, 2007, she was not given treatment.


When she was examined by the doctor at Harbin University of Medical Sciences Hospital in late March 2009, the doctor recommended surgery. The doctor said three of her lumbar disks were dislocated. But because the injury was not treated immediately when it was first afflicted, she will not recover from it even after appropriate treatment. At most she will be able to sit up properly after a successful operation, but she will no longer be able to stand up or walk. The authorities holding her, however, did not authorize the surgery. She was given some form of medication while she was at Harbin University of Medical Sciences Hospital, but the purpose of the medication was unclear. Chen has not been receiving any medical attention after she was transferred to Dailing District’s Workers’ Hospital.


I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?


The doctor from Harbin University of Medical Sciences Hospital who examined Chen in late March 2009 said three of her lumbar disks were dislocated and that the injury was the result of external trauma. The doctor also showed Chen’s family medical records indicating external trauma. However, the doctor did not give Chen’s family any relevant medical records or certificates for fear of retaliation from the government.


J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?



III. Remedial action


Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?


Chen’s sister-in-law has complained repeatedly to various local authorities in Dailing District as well as the provincial authorities in Harbin City, capital of Heilongjiang Province. However, she has received no concrete results. Instead, she and her husband have been repeatedly threatened for advocating on Chen’s behalf.


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