China Human Rights Briefing September 28-October 4, 2009

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China Human Rights Briefing

Reporting human rights development from the grassroots

September 28-October 4, 2009

Editorial

The Chinese government’s deep sense of insecurity and fear of dissent was on display this past week alongside the massive military parades and floats which marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1st. As the government ordered all levels of its security forces to exert tight control over dissidents, human rights activists and petitioners, local officials across the country used all possible sticks—such as detention in “black jails”, at home or in hostels; roadblocks and checkpoints; tightened internet censorship– and a few carrots (or the promise of carrots)—such as paying petitioners to prevent them from petitioning in Beijing—to prevent anyone from voicing criticisms or grievances against the government. This issue of China Human Rights Briefing documents the detention and harassment of these individuals during the anniversary, in addition to those already reported in our September 30 Chinese Government Tightens the Screws Ahead of National Day.

Despite China’s rising economic and military power in recent years, official corruption and social injustice, combined with a lack of government accountability and the absence of true rule of law, have driven victims of rights abuses and aggrieved families to seek any possible channels through which they can voice their grievances and demands. Those who speak publicly on the behalf of victims or defend their rights – lawyers, journalists, public intellectuals, and activists, who are targets of intense official persecution – have also become visibly more aggressive and resourceful. The Chinese government must understand that genuine security cannot come from military might and repression, but from respecting basic human rights, implementing the rule of law, and establishing an accountable, participatory government.

A Note to our Readers:

In order to provide the most up-to-date information on human rights developments within China and to better keep pace with our increasing capacity for reporting, CHRD will begin issuing China Human Rights Briefing as a daily e-mail update this week. The update will retain the same features as the current weekly CHRB- a focus on original reporting, with brief English summaries and links to the reports in Chinese- and a weekly digest, updated daily, will be available on CHRD’s website. Feel free to send any questions or comments to us at networkcrd@gmail.com.

Contents

Freedom of expression. 2

Blog of Beijing Lawyer Shut Down. 2

Freedom of Association and Assembly. 3

Sichuan Writer Ran Yunfei Barred from Leaving for Meeting in Hong Kong. 3

Persecution and Harassment of Activists. 3

More Activists Found to be Detained Prior to Anniversary. 3

Persecution of Petitioners. 4

More Reports of Harassment of Petitioners in Buildup to National Day. 4

Forced Eviction Victims Intercepted and Forcibly Returned Home. 4

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. 5

Members of Farm Cooperative Beaten by Urban Inspection Officers. 5

Shanghai Petitioner Beaten for Traveling to Beijing. 5

Law and Policy Watch. 5

Central Committee: Petitioners who Make Trouble Will Not be Heard. 5

Xinjiang People’s Congress Bans Seven Forms of Internet Expression. 5

Blog of Beijing Lawyer Shut Down

On September 28, Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), a human rights lawyer based in Beijing, found that he was unable to log onto his hexun.com blog. Xie later received a notification from hexun.com, stating that his blog articles had been deleted and his blog had been shut down because its content “did not meet the requirements under China’s internet management regulations”. (CHRD)[1]

Freedom of Association and Assembly

Sichuan Writer Ran Yunfei Barred from Leaving for Meeting in Hong Kong

On October 3, Sichuan writer Ran Yunfei (冉云飞) was prevented from boarding a Hong Kong-bound plane leaving from the Chengdu airport. Ran was invited by University of Hong Kong to speak at an academic seminar on internet and civil society in China. Ran had previously been warned by Chengdu police against making the trip during the days surrounding the 60th anniversary celebrations. (CHRD)[2]

Persecution and Harassment of Activists

More Activists Found to be Detained Prior to Anniversary

On September 30, CHRD released a press release detailing the situation of dozens of activists and dissidents who had been forced to leave their homes, subjected to “soft detention” (软禁) or otherwise threatened or monitored by police to prevent them from “making trouble” during the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. Since the publication of that press release, CHRD has learned of more cases of detention across the country:

l On September 24, Yao Lifa (姚立法), an activist who monitors village elections, called his wife stating that he had been taken to the local police station. Yao assured her that “nothing will happen”. Nobody has been able to contact Yao since, and his cell phone has been switched off. Yao remains missing and it is believed that he has been detained. (CHRD)[3]

l On September 25, Chongqing petitioner-turned-activist Zhong Shengniu (钟声牛) was taken into custody near Beijing West Train Station. Zhong was seized together with another Chongqing petitioner, Bai Zhongmei (白中美), and the two were held for three days in a black jail in Beijing. On September 27, Zhong was forcibly returned to Qijiang, Chongqing, where he has been held in a holiday resort, by local officials. Zhong was told by those guarding him that he will not be released until after October 15. Reportedly, Bai escaped from detention. (CHRD)[4]

l Since September 30, Wang Chengming (枉成明), an activist from Luzhou, Sichuan Province has been detained. Wang called his wife at 3pm on September 30, stating that he has been taken into custody by the local authorities. Wang remains missing. (CHRD)[5]

l Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠), a former lawyer living in Shanghai, has been barred from receiving visitors at his home since August 31. Since April 2008, Zheng has been under house arrest. Although he is not allowed out of his apartment, petitioners and fellow activists have been visiting him and consulting him on legal matters. However, since August 31, Zheng has been subjected to tightened control. An increased number, perhaps dozens, of policemen and security guards now guard the entrance to his home. Zheng lost his license and was imprisoned for providing legal assistance to victims of forced evictions and housing activists in Shanghai. (CHRD)[6]

l Between September 28 and October 3, Dan Chun (单春), a representative of dismissed soldiers in Daxing District, Beijing, was taken to a small hotel and detained by a group of policemen from Yinghai Police Station and Beijing PSB Daqing District Sub-division. (CRLW)[7]

l Between September 26 and October 4, Sichuan democracy activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞) was kidnapped and detained in an unknown location by four unidentified men believed to be government officials. Recently, Chen was detained for 12 days around the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. (CHRD)[8]

Persecution of Petitioners

More Reports of Harassment of Petitioners in Buildup to National Day

In addition to the cases reported in our September 30 press release, Chinese Government Tightens the Screws Ahead of National Day, CHRD has learned of the following cases of petitioners who were detained, forcibly returned, threatened, or otherwise harassed by the authorities in the past week to prevent them from petitioning during 60th Anniversary celebrations in Beijing. Furthermore, CHRD has also received information that veteran petitioners in Shanghai were offered daily subsidies—between 150 and 200 RMB—in exchange for a promise that they not petition before October 15.

l On September 27, Zou Guilan (邹桂兰), from Wuhan City, Hubei Province, was kidnapped while petitioning at the Jiangan District Letters and Visits Office in Wuhan. Zou was then sent to a “law education class”—a euphemism for a black jail—by members of the Erqi Road Sub-district Office in Jiangan District. Zou started petitioning because she believed that her husband’s death was a result of a conflict he had had with Jianghan University, where he had worked. (CRLW)[9]

l Since September 21, veteran Beijing petitioner Zhang Shufeng (张淑凤) and her husband have been under house arrest, guarded by a dozen policemen from the Renhe Police Station, under the Beijing PSB Shunyi District Sub-division, as well as hired guards. (CHRD)[10]

l On September 15, Shanghai petitioner Xi Rendi (奚仁娣) was kidnapped in Tianjin and forcibly sent back to Shanghai, where she has been held in Longtian Hostel, Baoshan Road Subdistrict Office, Zhabei District, Shanghai. Xi reported that three other petitioners were also held in Longtian Hostel during the anniversary. (CHRD)[11]

Forced Eviction Victims Intercepted and Forcibly Returned Home

On September 28, six victims of forced eviction from Shuangliu District, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province were intercepted while petitioning in Beijing. The six were petitioning at the State Bureau of Letters and Visits, hoping to expose local government misconduct, such as forcing residents to accept the demolition of their homes under unfair terms. (CHRD)[12]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Members of Farm Cooperative Beaten by Urban Inspection Officers

On September 21, members of a vegetable cooperative in Dong’a County, Shandong Province were beaten by a group of Urban Inspection Officers (chengguan). The young people were promoting a new breed of pears at a market fair and were filming themselves when officers started shouting at them and tearing down their banners. The officers also seized the group’s video camera, and beat and kicked a number of men and women who are members of the cooperative. The police were called, but when they arrived, they not only did not stop the officers, but joined them in seizing the camera. (CHRD)[13]

Shanghai Petitioner Beaten for Traveling to Beijing

On September 28, eight Shanghai petitioners reached Nanjing, where planned to board a train bound for Beijing. However, at the Nanjing train station, they were met by a group of interceptors made up of plainclothes policemen and members of the Shanghai Letters and Visits Office. One petitioner who resisted the interception, Zhang Yuming (张玉明), was beaten. He suffered injuries to his liver. Zhang reported the beating to the Nanjing police, who did not take any action except to detain him at the Nanjing Train Station police station. It is unclear whether Zhang has been released. The whereabouts of the rest of the petitioners, who became separated from Zhang, are also unclear. (CHRD)[14]

Law and Policy Watch

Central Committee: Petitioners who Make Trouble Will Not be Heard

According to an article dated September 29 on Xinhua Net, the CCP Central Committee Political-Legal Committee has issued a list of 19 “frequently-asked questions”, intended to clarify its views on the handling of petitions that involve complaints about the courts and the Procuratorate. This set of FAQs was issued following a formal document the Committee published on the same topic in mid-August. (Xinhua)[15] CHRD notes that FAQ number 17 not only stresses harsh punishment, such as Re-education through Labor, for petitioners who “make trouble while petitioning”, it also states that complaints from petitioners protesting against these punishments will be rejected by the Letters and Visits system. FAQ number 17 essentially gives local authorities the ability to brand any petitioner’s behavior as “troublemaking”, then to punish the petitioner and finally to bar them from complaining about such arbitrary punishment.

Xinjiang People’s Congress Bans Seven Forms of Internet Expression

According to a report dated September 27 on Xinhua Net, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region People’s Congress Standing Committee has passed the “Autonomous Region Information Promotion Regulations”. These regulations explicitly prohibit the use of the internet to “endanger national security, and harm national and public interests”, “damage unity between ethnic groups and incite ethnic divisions” and “provide, produce, publish or disseminate false information”. (Xinhua)[16] It is believed that this regulation will serve to further restrict the space for freedom of expression in the Autonomous Region.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang



[1] CHRD, “Beijing Rights Lawyer Xie Yanyi’s Hexun.com Blog was Blocked <北京维权律师谢燕益的和讯博客遭屏蔽>”, September 28, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090928221449_17474.html

[2] CHRD, “Breaking News: Sichuan Writer Ran Yunfei Barred from Preparing to Leave for Hong Kong for a Meeting <快讯:四川作家冉云飞准备赴港开会被阻>”, October 3, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200910/20091003122537_17546.html; Ran Yunfei, “Ran Yunfei: A Documentary of the Way Chengdu PSB Barred Me from Going to Hong Kong<冉云飞:成都公安阻扰我到港过程纪实>”, October 4, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/bzsf/200910/20091004234038_17563.html

[3] CHRD, “Election Expert Yao Lifa Lost Contact with Family Three Days Ago <选举专家姚立法3天前与家人失去联系>”, September 27, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090927212053_17461.html

[4] CHRD, “Chongqing Rights Activist Zhong Shengniu Detained As a Result of October 1 <重庆维权人士钟声牛因十一被关押>”, September 29, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090929140008_17484.html

[5] CHRD, “Sichuan Rights Activist Wang Chengming Detained before the National Celebrations <国庆前夕四川维权人士枉成明被扣押>”, September 30, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090930201341_17503.html

[6] CHRD, “Rights Lawyer Zheng Enchong Unable to Walk out of his Door for 1.5 Years <维权律师郑恩宠1年半无法走出家门>”, October 1, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/Class43/200910/20091001170345_17517.html

[7] CRLW, “Xiao Qingshan Staged Days of Protest Activities, Dan Chun Continues to Protest and Go on Hunger Strike <肖青山连日进行抗议活动 单春继续绝食抗议>”, October 5, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/bzsf/200910/20091005144320_17578.html

[8] CHRD, “Sichuan Rights Activist Chen Yunfei Kidnapped during October 1 <四川维权人士陈云飞十一期间被绑架>”, October 4, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200910/20091004101653_17550.html

[9] CRLW, “Wuhan Zou Guilan Sent to ‘Open Education Class’; Six including Zhang Yan, have been intercepted while petitioning “” <武汉邹桂兰送“开放式学习班” 成都张燕等六人上访遭截>”, September 28, 2009,

[10] CHRD, “Beijing Shunyi Petitioner Zhang Shufeng Has Been Held at Home and Not Allowed out the Door <北京顺义访民张淑凤一直被看守在家中不准出门>”, October 2, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200910/20091002093008_17530.html

[11] CHRD, “To Protect the National Celebrations, Shanghai Zhaibei District Illegally Soft Detains Petitioners <为保国庆,上海闸北区非法软禁访民>”, October 2, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200910/20091002103252_17534.html

[12] CHRD, “武汉邹桂兰送“开放式学习班” 成都张燕等六人上访遭截”, September 28, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/200909/20090928103051_17469.html

[13] CHRD, “Shandong Donga County Urban Inspection Officers Beat Members of Cooperative <山东东阿县城管殴打合作社社员>”, September 29, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090929000854_17477.html

[14] CHRD, “There is once again the incident of Petitioners beaten in Shanghai <上海再次发生访民被殴打事件>”, September 29, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200909/20090929235654_17490.html

[15] Xinhua Net, “FAQs on petitioners about the courts and the Procuratorate <涉法涉诉信访问答>”, September 29, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2009-09/29/content_12123946.htm

[16] Xinhua, “Xinjiang People’s Congress Legislates to Prohibit Seven Kinds of Information Network Behavior to Stop ‘Toxins’ <新疆人大立法禁七类信息网络行为制止“毒素”>”, September 27, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2009-09/27/content_12116824.htm

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