China Human Rights Briefing August 31-September 6, 2009

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China Human Rights Briefing

Reporting human rights development from the grassroots

August 31- September 6, 2009

Highlights:

Human Rights and Democracy Activist Xie Changfa Receives Harsh Sentence:

After over a year of detention, Xie Changfa (谢长发), a China Democracy Party organizer turned human rights activist, was convicted of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to 13 years in prison by Changsha City’s Intermediate Court on September 1. This harsh verdict echoes the original prison terms handed down to the banned Democracy Party’s founders over a decade ago, indicating that the government has not become any more tolerant of dissent or efforts by citizens to exercise their political rights or their right to defend other citizens’ rights in the intervening years.

Nation-wide Clampdown on Activists and Petitioners in Anticipation of 60th Anniversary of Founding of the People’s Republic:

As with other major events during which the eyes of the nation and world fall on Beijing, such as this past June’s anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre or last year’s Olympic Games, police and officials are sparing no effort to ensure that any “unharmonious” voices are kept silent. To that end, officials from Tianjin City, Hebei Province, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning Province, Shanxi Province and Shandong Province have agreed to work together with Beijing police to tighten up security around the capital in the buildup to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, including establishing checkpoints on all roadways leading towards the capital and working to “solve problems locally”, preventing petitioners from travelling to Beijing. On the afternoon of August 29, a group of 15 Shanghai petitioners in Beijing were seized and forcibly returned home after they travelled to Tiananmen Square to watch rehearsals for the National Day celebrations.

Activists and lawyers in Beijing have been visited by police and told to leave town, subjected to enforced “tourism” with policemen, or placed under house arrest. They are being told not to return until one week after the celebration. On August 31, Zhang Hui (张辉), the director of the Mr. Democracy Research Institute (德先生研究所) in Beijing, was forced to leave the capital and return to his hometown in Shanxi. This sort of harassment will only increase over the next few weeks as National Day draws nearer.

Contents

Freedom of Expression. 3

‘Investigation Period’ Extended for Detained Activist Intellectual Liu Xiaobo. 3

Activist Zhu Yufu Called for “Tea” with Zhejiang Police. 3

Freedom of Association and Assembly. 3

Hunan Activist Xie Changfa Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison. 3

Protestors Clash With Police Following Anti-Pollution Demonstration in Fujian Province. 3

Police, Officials Block Efforts by Anhui Veterans to Petition. 4

Persecution of Petitioners. 4

Shanghai Petitioners Detained for Viewing Rehearsals for October 1 Parade at Tiananmen Square. 4

Jiangsu Petitioner Detained in ‘Legal Education Class’ 4

Two Hangzhou Petitioners Missing, One Hospitalized Following Release from Detention. 5

Guizhou Petitioner Seized at Home by Police, Detained Indefinitely. 5

Yunnan Petitioner Li Zhongying Detained in Black Jail ahead of National Day. 5

Persecution of Activists. 5

Nanping Activist Chen Youren Once Again Sent to RTL. 5

Think Tank Director Forced to Leave Beijing. 6

Veterans’ Rights Advocate Challenges RTL Decision. 6

Torture and Other Cruel and Inhumane Treatment. 6

Health of Detained Activist Fan Yanqiong Remains Dangerously Poor. 6

Shandong Petitioner and Mother Detained, Beaten in Beijing Black Jail 6

Law and Policy Watch. 6

Provinces and Cities Surrounding Beijing Link Up to Provide National Day “Security”. 6

Sichuan Enacts Criminal Arrest Reform.. 7

Beijing Officials Meet to Discuss Implementation of Women’s Rights Law.. 7

A Note to Our Readers: The next edition of China Human Rights Briefing will be a bi-weekly update, issued the week of September 21.

Freedom of Expression

‘Investigation Period’ Extended for Detained Activist Intellectual Liu Xiaobo

On August 31, detained Beijing writer and intellectual Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) met with his lawyers Ding Xihui (丁锡奎) and Shang Baojun (尚宝军) for thirty minutes at Beijing No.1 Detention Center. Liu told his lawyers that he is being interrogated once a week. He is allowed to leave his cell for thirty minutes every day, but must remain in the corridors of the detention center and is not allowed out into the open air; he is permitted to watch TV and read a restricted selection of books. This was the third time since his detention began last December that Liu was able to meet with his lawyers. Ding and Shang revealed to CHRD that the police have extended the period of investigation of Liu’s case for an additional month, through September 23. According to Shang Baojun, “there is still hope for Liu Xiaobo’s release prior to the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC on October 1. However, once past the anniversary, the likelihood of release dims.” (CHRD)[i]

Activist Zhu Yufu Called for “Tea” with Zhejiang Police

At 3 in the afternoon on August 31, Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), a human rights activist and member of the China Democracy Party from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, was invited to “tea” with officers from the National Security unit under the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB). Zhu believes he called for tea this time because he was wearing a T-shirt related to the June 4th Massacre; while he was being questioned, police stated that they would confiscate the shirt. Before releasing Zhu, police warned him against going out during the upcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, warning him that doing so would cause “trouble”. Zhu, a longtime democracy activist and founder of the China Democracy party magazine, has been imprisoned for 9 of the past 10 years and has been repeatedly harassed by police since being released most recently in April, 2009. (CHRD)[ii]

Freedom of Association and Assembly

Hunan Activist Xie Changfa Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison

On the afternoon of September 1, human rights and democracy activist Xie Changfa (谢长发), of Changsha City, Hunan Province, was convicted of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to 13 years in prison by Changsha’s Intermediate Court. The trial was attended by fellow activists and Xie’s brother, who protested the decision and vowed to appeal. Xie, who was seized in late June 2008, is a veteran democracy activist and has been repeatedly detained and incarcerated in the past for nonviolent political activities associated with the banned China Democracy Party. (CHRD)[iii]

Protestors Clash With Police Following Anti-Pollution Demonstration in Fujian Province

On the afternoon of August 31, twenty thousand residents of Fengwei Town, Quangang District, Quanzhou City, Fujian Province gathered to protest a local chemical plant they claimed was polluting local water sources with improperly treated wastewater. A town official present at the scene attacked a female protestor who was speaking about the pollution, at which point the townspeople encircled and restrained him along with another official who tried to flee the scene in an automobile. The government responded by dispatching close to two thousand riot police and armed police to disperse the crowd. In the confrontation between police and protestors a number of townspeople were injured, two seriously. The protestors released the two officials on September 2, though the issues at the heart of their protest have yet to be resolved. (CHRD)[iv]

Police, Officials Block Efforts by Anhui Veterans to Petition

On the morning of August 31, a group of more than 300 Korean War veterans gathered to petition at the Provincial Government Offices in Hefei City, Anhui Province. However, government officials had learned of the plan in advance, and many veterans were prevented from leaving their homes by police dispatched to keep them from petitioning. Outside of the government offices, uniformed and plainclothes policemen, as well as local officials, were on hand to disperse the petitioners and prevent them from assembling to bring their complaints to provincial leaders. The veterans are seeking an increase in their pensions. (CHRD)[v]

Persecution of Petitioners

Shanghai Petitioners Detained for Viewing Rehearsals for October 1 Parade at Tiananmen Square

On the afternoon of August 29, a group of 15 Shanghai petitioners in Beijing travelled to Tiananmen Square to watch rehearsals for the National Day celebrations planned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. However, when they arrived at the square they were seized by police from the Tianamen PSB station and taken to Majia House before being forcibly returned to Shanghai the next day. When they arrived in Shanghai, two petitioners, Ding Juying (丁菊英) and Qiu Meili (裘美丽), were detained for longer periods: Ding for 10 days and Qiu for an unknown length of time. The other thirteen petitioners were released. (CHRD)[vi]

Jiangsu Petitioner Detained in ‘Legal Education Class’

On August 22, Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province petitioner Wu Haiying (吴海英) was kidnapped from his home by six unidentified men in what friends believe was an attempt to prevent her from continuing to petition about the forced demolition of her home. CHRD learned from family members who had received a notice from their neighborhood work committee that Wu had “seriously violated State Council and Jiangsu Provincial petitioning regulations”, and had been sent to a legal education class, a kind of black jail. It is not known where Wu is being held or how long officials plan to detain her. Wu has been petitioning for proper compensation since her family’s Changzhou home was demolished in January. (CHRD)[vii]

Two Hangzhou Petitioners Missing, One Hospitalized Following Release from Detention

In late August, three Hangzhou petitioners- Liu Xunlian (刘训连), Xu Jie (许杰), and Wang Limin (王利民)- were seized in Beijing and detained in a black jail after applying to demonstrate in the capital. The three staged a hunger strike in protest, and were forcibly returned to Hangzhou, where they were placed under administrative detention for ten days for “illegally intercepting the vehicles of an important leader at an important location.” Xu and Wang were released on August 31 following the completion of the 10 days, but disappeared after travelling to the Hangzhou PSB Letters and Visits Office, where a family member of Wang’s reported they were planning on filing for administrative redress. Their current whereabouts are unknown. Liu was hospitalized after going on a second hunger strike and being violently beaten while in detention; he remains under constant police surveillance while convalescing. (CHRD)[viii]

Guizhou Petitioner Seized at Home by Police, Detained Indefinitely

In the early morning hours of September 4, Bijie City, Guizhou Province petitioner Liu Junchun (刘俊春) was taken from his home by officers from the Bijie City PSB. Police did not produce any official documents authorizing their actions, and family members did not know where Liu had been taken until police notified them by phone that Liu was being detained in the Criminal Investigation branch of the Bijie City PSB offices. Liu has been petitioning since 2003 for compensation he was awarded in a court judgment, but never paid, after he lost his home and job in a coal mine fire allegedly set by a local official. It is not clear why police detained Liu on this date or how long his detention will last. (CHRD)[ix]

Yunnan Petitioner Li Zhongying Detained in Black Jail ahead of National Day

On September 1, petitioner Li Zhongying (李忠英), of Gaozhai Village, Qinfeng Town, Lufeng County, Yunnan Province, was seized by local police and detained in a black jail. According to Li, she is being detained by local officials to prevent her from travelling to Beijing to petition during the buildup to National Day on October 1. Li has been petitioning since complications from sterilization surgery in 1994 left her with serious medical, social and personal problems. She has been repeatedly detained for petitioning, and was most recently detained by Beijing and local officials for nearly two months following a protest in May 2009. (CHRD)[x]

Persecution of Activists

Nanping Activist Chen Youren Once Again Sent to RTL

CHRD learned on September 6 that Nanping City, Fujian Province anti-corruption activist Chen Youren has been sent to one year and six months of Re-education through Labor (RTL) for “making up facts to disturb public order”. The exact circumstances surrounding Chen’s detention remain unclear. Chen has been fighting local government corruption since 1998, and has been beaten and detained by local police on numerous occasions for his work. He was previously sent to RTL in 2007 for a period of six months. (CHRD)[xi]

Think Tank Director Forced to Leave Beijing

Zhang Hui (张辉), the director of the Mr. Democracy Research Institute (德先生研究所) in Beijing, was forced to leave the capital and return to his hometown in Shanxi on August 31. The move is part of efforts by the Beijing police to remove activists and other individuals who they believe may cause trouble during the National Day celebration on October 1. (CHRD)[xii]

Veterans’ Rights Advocate Challenges RTL Decision

On August 30, Tongliao City, Inner Mongolia veterans’ rights defender Jin Youfa (金有发) filed for administrative redress, challenging the decision of the Tongliao RTL Committee to send him to RTL. Jin was sent to RTL in August 2009 for publishing articles about rights of veterans on his personal website and for organizing a group of more than 100 veterans to travel to Beijing to petition the central government in February 2009. (CHRD)[xiii]

Torture and Other Cruel and Inhumane Treatment

Health of Detained Activist Fan Yanqiong Remains Dangerously Poor

Fujian activist Fan Yanqiong (范燕琼), detained on suspicion of “making false charges” since late June in association with articles she wrote about the death of Yan Xiaoling (严晓玲), continues to be in poor health. Fan has been receiving treatment since early August; however, her lawyer, Lin Zhong (林忠) was told when he went to visit her on August 12 that she could not meet with him because she was too weak. Lin finally succeeded in meeting with Yan on the morning of August 25, but found her still hospitalized and in poor health as she continues to suffer from serious kidney and heart diseases. On the morning of August 31, Lin Zhong submitted an application for her release on bail for medical treatment. The authorities have yet to respond. (CHRD)[xiv]

Shandong Petitioner and Mother Detained, Beaten in Beijing Black Jail

Yao Jing (姚晶), a petitioner from Linyi City, Shandong Province, travelled to Beijing with her mother to protest an earlier incident in which she was beaten and injured outside of Ma Jia House, a central black jail for petitioners in Beijing, while attempting to petition. However, on September 1, when the two arrived at the Beijing PSB they were both immediately seized and taken to Ma Jia House, where both Yao and her mother were violently beaten by thugs in retaliation for their efforts to expose earlier violence. The pair were then forcibly returned to Linyi. (CHRD)[xv]

Law and Policy Watch

Provinces and Cities Surrounding Beijing Link Up to Provide National Day “Security”

According to a September 6 Xinhua report, top government officials from Beijing, Tianjin City, Hebei Province, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning Province, Shanxi Province and Shandong Province have agreed to unify their efforts to provide increased security around the capital in the buildup to 60th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1. The seven provinces and cities will share information, set up checkpoints on all roadways leading towards the capital, and work “solve problems locally”, preventing petitioners from travelling to Beijing. (Xinhua)[xvi]

While acting in the name of “security”, it is clear that this plan is designed to restrict the freedoms and rights of Chinese citizens. CHRD has already reported on a number of activists and petitioners being forced to leave Beijing or prevented from travelling to the capital, as the government once again focuses its efforts on removing any possible sources of trouble ahead of major events. It is clear from this story that there will be more to come in the next few weeks.

Sichuan Enacts Criminal Arrest Reform

According to a September 4 news conference held by officials from the Sichuan Provincial Procuratorate, city and county prosecutors in Sichuan must wait for a decision from a higher-level office before making a formal arrest in a criminal investigation. The new regulation is designed to improve oversight of officials’ work and protect the rights of individuals accused of a crime. Under the regulations, lower-level prosecutors will have a maximum of seven days following the detention of a suspect to prepare materials and decide whether or not to send a request for arrest approval to higher-level officials. (Sichuan Daily)[xvii]

While this regulation does indeed provide an extra level of protection for an individuals’ right to freedom by making the process of formally arresting a suspect more difficult, it only addresses one aspect of China’s deeply flawed legal system. Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether the process of seeking approval from higher authorities will result in meaningful review of the case in question or whether it will simply become a rubber-stamp formality.

Beijing Officials Meet to Discuss Implementation of Women’s Rights Law

On September 3, the Standing Committee of the Beijing People’s Congress met to discuss the revised draft of the Beijing City government’s plan to implement the Women’s Rights Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China. The draft includes explicit provisions for strengthening the protection of women’s rights in rural areas, defining and prohibiting sexual harassment, and regulations for aid to victims of domestic violence to be provided by various levels and departments of the government. (Xinhua)[xviii]

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang


[i] “‘Investigation Period’ Extended for Detained Activist Intellectual Liu Xiaobo”, September 1, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/200909/20090901233002_17123.html

[ii] “Zhejiang Democracy Party Member Zhu Yufu Invited to ‘Tea’ by National Security Officers (浙江民主党人朱虞夫被国保“请喝茶”)”, September 1, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/Class40/200909/20090901141257_17119.html

[iii] “Judgment Against Hunan Democracy Party Leader Xie Changfa (湖南民主党负责人谢长发宣判记实)”, September 1, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090901195109_17122.html

[iv] “Pollution in Quangang, Fujian Causes Large-scale Clash Between Protestors and Police (福建泉港因污染发生大规模警民冲突)”, September 2, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090902223242_17136.html

[v] “More than 300 Anhui Veterans Petition Provincial Government (安徽300多援朝退伍老兵到省政府上访)”, August 31, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class71/200908/20090831205227_17104.html

[vi] “Shanghai Petitoners Ding Juying, Qiu Meili Detained for Viewing Tiananmen Dress Rehearsal (上海访民丁菊英、裘美丽因到天安门看彩排被拘留)”, August 31, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200908/20090831100830_17093.html

[vii] “Changzhou Petitioner Wu Haiying Detained in Legal Education Class (常州访民吴海英被办学习班)”, September 1, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090901095225_17110.html

[viii] “Hangzhou Petitioners Xu Jie, Wang Limin Missing After Completion of Detention (杭州访民许杰、王利民在被解除拘留后失踪)”, September 2, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090902130936_17127.html

[ix] “Bijie, Guizhou Peitioner Liu Junchun Forcibly Taken Away by Police (贵州毕节访民刘俊春被公安强行带走)”, September 4, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/200909/20090904162958_17155.html

[x] “Yunnan Petitioner Li Zhongying Detained in ‘Black Jail’ ahead of National Day (云南访民李忠英“10.1”前被关“黑监狱”)”, September 4, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090904193143_17157.html

[xi] Nanping, Fujian Activist Chen Youren Sent to RTL Again (福建南平维权人士陈友仁被再次劳教)”, September 6, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/chenyouren/200909/20090906104329_17193.html

[xii] “Mr. Democracy Research Institute Director Zhang Hui Forced to Return to Shanxi (德先生研究所负责人张辉被迫回到山西老家)”, September 1, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090901192952_17121.html

[xiii] “Demobilized Soldiers’ Advocate Jin Youfa Files For Administrative Redress (复转维权人士金有发提出行政复议)”, August 31, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200908/20090831234055_17106.html

[xiv] “Lawyer For Fan Yanqiong Applies for Release on Bail for Medical Treatment (代理律师为范燕琼申请“保外就医”)”, August 31, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/yanxiaoling/200908/20090831171540_17101.html

[xv] “Yao Jing Forcibly Returned to Shandong, Beaten and Injured at Ma Jia House (姚晶已被抓回山东老家,在马家楼又被打伤)”, September 3, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090903213939_17146.html

[xvi] “Seven Provinces and Cities to Begin “Moat Construction” Around Capital to Provide National Day Security (七省区市将启动首都国庆安保工作“护城河工程”)”, September 6, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2009-09/06/content_12004403.htm

[xvii] “Sichuan Puts Comprehensive Criminal Arrest Procedural Reform in Effect (四川全面实施职务犯罪案件上提一级批捕改革)”, September 5, 2009, http://www.scol.com.cn/nsichuan/dwzw/20090905/20099581037.htm

[xviii] “Beijing Takes Measures to Explicitly Define and Prohibit Sexual Harassment (北京明确对性骚扰行为的界定和预防禁止措施)”, September 4, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2009-09/04/content_11993101.htm

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