China Human Rights Briefings December 5-11, 2009

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China Human Rights Briefing

December 5-11, 2009

Headlines

Freedom of Expression

Arbitrary Detention

Torture or Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment

Freedom of Association and Assembly

Harassment of Activists

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Citizens’ Actions

Law and Policy Watch

Freedom of Expression

Liu Xiaobo’s Case Transferred to Procuratorate after One Year in Detention

At 2:30 pm on December 8, Shang Baojun (尚宝军), lawyer for detained activist and intellectual Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), received a notice from authorities that his client’s case had been transferred to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate. This marks the end of the “investigation period,” which began with Liu’s formal arrest on June 23, 2009. Shang plans to meet with the prosecutor tomorrow, and hopes to be able to obtain a copy of the indictment for review. According to Article 138 of the Criminal Procedural Law, “A People’s Procuratorate shall make a decision [whether to initiate prosecution] within one month on a case that a public security organ has transferred to it with a recommendation to initiate a prosecution; an extension of a half month may be allowed for major or complex cases.” Today is the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Liu’s detention for leading the signature drive for Charter 08. (CHRD)[i]

Drafting of Charter 08 Called “Criminal” in PSB’s Case against Liu Xiaobo

Today, Shang Baojun (尚宝军), lawyer for detained activist and intellectual Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), obtained a copy of documents prepared by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) recommending that the procuratorate initiate prosecution proceedings against his client. According to Shang, the documents state that Liu “engaged with others in the major criminal act of drafting Charter 08,” and also mentioned six articles Liu had published in recent years. This is the first occasion on which Chinese officials have referred to the drafting of Charter 08 as an illegal activity. According to Shang, the file presented to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate by the Beijing PSB is made up of 20 folders, some hundreds of pages thick. (CHRD)[ii]

Guangdong Professor Loses Job Because of Political Expression

CHRD learned today that Wang Qingying (王清营), a professor of economics at Guangdong University of Technology’s Huali College, has been forced to resign from his teaching post under pressure from school authorities. Wang, a Charter 08 signatory, recently joined fellow dissidents in an outing to Guangzhou’s Baiyun Mountain during which they wore t-shirts bearing the slogan “One Party Dictatorship is a Disaster.” (CHRD)[iii]

Arbitrary Detention

Beijing Court Sentences “Black Jail” Guard to Eight Years in Prison for Rape

According to Beijing activist Liu Dejun (刘德军), on December 10 the Fengtai District Court in Beijing found “black jail” guard Xu Jian (徐建) guilty of raping a young woman surnamed Li () from Anhui Province. Li, a petitioner, had been detained in the “black jail” where Xu was stationed as a guard. Xu was sentenced to eight years in prison with an additional one year’s deprivation of political rights. While the conviction affirmed that the rape took place in a room rented by the Beijing Letters and Visits Liaison Office of the Tongbai County, Henan Province government, no further criminal or civil charges were pursued against the government office or the Juyuan guesthouse, where the “black jail” was located. Xu was also ordered to compensate the victim 2,300 RMB. (China Rights Google Group)[iv]

Court Refuses to Accept Chen Yang’s Lawsuit Challenging RTL Decision Review

On December 10, Number Three Intermediate Court in Chongqing announced that it would not accept an administrative litigation lawsuit brought by Chongqing activist Chen Yang (陈杨) challenging the court’s previous decision to reject his appeal for administrative reconsideration. According to Chen’s lawyer Ma Xiaopeng (马小鹏), the court’s decision has no legal basis, as the decision notice given to Chen following his appeal for administrative reconsideration clearly states that, after receiving the decision, Chen may file an administrative litigation lawsuit with the appropriate court within fifteen days. Chen originally appealed for administrative reconsideration of the Chongqing Municipal RTL Committee’s decision to send him to one year of Re-education through Labor (RTL) for “obstructing official business” after he was detained for preparing a public display to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. His lawyers also filed another administrative litigation lawsuit on his behalf, which was heard on October 28 without Chen present. That hearing concluded without the court issuing a verdict or declaring the case closed. (CHRD)[v]

Hangzhou Court Police Detain Activist Chen Baogen Seven Days for “Obstructing Business”

On November 30, Hangzhou activist Chen Baogen (陈宝根) traveled to the Hangzhou Intermediate Court, where a judge gave Chen a copy of the trial records for a closed trial involving the Hangzhou Municipal Development and Reform Committee, which Chen and six others had accused of violating the law. However, when Chen tried to leave, a group of court police seized him, accusing him of stealing the trial records. Police roughly handled Chen and then detained him in an iron cage at a courthouse holding cell overnight without food or water. The next day, Chen was sent to administrative detention for seven days for “obstructing business.” (CHRD)[vi]

Sichuan Democracy Activist Chen Yunfei Taken Away by Police

On the morning of December 9, Chengdu democracy activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞) reported by text message that police had instructed him not to travel for the next three days, and to be prepared to be called into court as needed. According to Chen, officials did not provide a reason for their request, nor had they provided any legal documentation to justify their demands. Shortly after noon, Chen called a friend to say police had already arrived at his home to take him away, and the friend reported hearing a police officer say, “Chen Yunfei, turn off your phone,” before the call was ended. It is not currently known why Chen was seized, or how long he will be held. (CHRD)[vii]

Dalian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

On November 27, human rights lawyer Wang Yonghang was sentenced to seven years in prison for “using a cult to damage the implementation of the law” by the Shahekou District Court in Dalian City, Shandong Province. The verdict states that Wang was convicted for publishing articles on foreign websites. According to Wang’s lawyer, Lan Zhixue (兰志学), Wang was tried on October 16 in a closed court without a lawyer present. Lan reported that no lawyers were ever permitted to meet with Wang during his detention. When Wang was taken into police custody on July 4, 2009, he was severely beaten, causing fractures in his right ankle which later became seriously infected as he was denied medical attention. Wang had previously been harassed and subjected to police surveillance for his work defending Falun Gong practitioners. (CHRD)[viii]

Hubei Activist Denied Medication in Black Jail

Zheng Dajing (郑大靖), the Yunxi County, Hubei petitioner-turned-activist detained in a “black jail” since December 4, is being prevented from taking important medication, CHRD has learned. Zheng, who has high blood pressure, has been prevented from meeting with his wife Cao Xiangzhen (曹祥珍) and has no access to medication. When Cao and Zheng’s son, Zheng Zhinan (郑志楠), went to the Beijing Liaison Office of the Shiyan City Government on December 5 to protest Zheng’s illegal detention, officials confiscated Cao’s cell phone and camera and briefly detained Zheng Zhinan. (CHRD)[ix]

Five Veterans’ Representatives Detained in Hubei

On November 30, a group of 25 demobilized soldiers from Xishui County, Hubei Province were seized while petitioning in Beijing and taken to Majialou, a central “black jail” for petitioners. Officials from the Xishui County government along with Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers arrived at Majialou and asked the group to select five representatives, taking away these five while the remaining 20 veterans were forcibly returned to Xishui County. On December 2, members of the group learned from officials at the County Bureau of Civil Affairs that the five representatives had been detained; no further information about their whereabouts or the length of their detention are currently known. The veterans have been petitioning for back pay and social security benefits since May of this year. (CHRD)[x]

Hangzhou Police Place Dissident Zhu Yufu under Residential Surveillance

On the afternoon of December 7, officials from the National Security Unit under the Hangzhou PSB arrived at the home of dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) and announced he was being placed under residential surveillance. Officers did not provide any reason for their arrival or produce any legal documents authorizing their actions. We believe that Zhu’s residential surveillance is part of a nation-wide police action to prevent any gatherings by activists to mark the one-year anniversary of the public release of Charter 08. Police are keeping Zhu’s home under 24-hour watch at present, and Zhu is only allowed to leave his home if escorted by police. (CHRD)[xi]

Hangzhou Resident Detained For Refusing to Sign Demolition Agreement

Hangzhou resident Xu Guizhu (徐桂珠) has been detained for “disrupting work unit order” after refusing to sign an agreement which would allow officials to relocate her and her husband and demolish their home, CHRD learned today. On December 2, Xu was summoned by a police officer from the Jianqiao Town police station and threatened with seven days’ detention if she did not consent to the demolition. Xu is currently detained in the Hangzhou City Detention Center. (CHRD)[xii]

Torture or Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment

Poor Conditions in Prison Lead to Health Problems for Imprisoned Activist Lü Gengsong

On December 10, Wang Xue’e (汪雪娥), wife of imprisoned writer and activist Lü Gengsong (吕耿松), visited her husband in Hangzhou’s Xijiao Prison. During their meeting, Lü reported that his main “job” in recent months has been to keep watch over the prison bathrooms during the night; because of poor sanitation and the thin cloth shoes inmates are issued, Lü’s feet have become infected and inflamed as he is forced to walk on wastewater-soaked floors in the harsh cold of winter. Lü also reported that prison officials have repeatedly attempted to coerce him into signing a statement admitting guilt with the promise of a reduced sentence, something he steadfastly refuses to do. (CHRD)[xiii]

Freedom of Association and Assembly

Dismissed Civilian Policemen in Hubei Placed under House Arrest

Authorities in Qianjiang City have begun placing members of a group of roughly 80 former civilian police officers (民警) under surveillance and house arrest in recent days, CHRD has learned. On December 7, the group of dismissed officers gathered to organize and plan collective actions to defend their rights to fair compensation, selecting representatives to be dispatched to nearby areas to conduct investigations. Five members of the group are currently missing, and it is assumed they are being detained by Qianjiang police. Some of the former civilian police officers worked for the government for close to 20 years before being dismissed, and members of the group also participated in a mass protest outside of Qianjiang City government offices to protest their lack of proper treatment since being fired from their jobs. (CHRD)[xiv]

Guiyang Police Continue to Harass Members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum

On December 6, members of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum planned to gather in Guiyang’s Qianlingshan Park as part of activities planned to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10. However, officers from the National Security Unit under the Guiyang PSB stationed at the gate to the park prevented the Forum members from entering. While some activists were able to reach the agreed-upon meeting place, police quickly arrived on the scene, announcing that the government had declared the group’s activities “illegal” and threatening severe punishments if they continued to meet. At least three Forum members were forcibly removed from the park by police, and activist Chen Xi (陈西), who was stopped by police and returned to his home on December 6, reported by text message on December 7 that he had been taken away by National Security officers. (CHRD)[xv]

Harassment of Activists

Xi’an Debarred Lawyer Zhang Jiankang Interrogated for Organizing Charter 08 Anniversary Gathering

On December 9, the one-year anniversary of the launch of Charter 08, Xi’an human rights lawyer Zhang Jiankang (张鉴康), a Charter signatory, was summoned by National Security police and interrogated for three hours. Zhang, whose license to practice law was revoked in 2007 after he defended a group of detained farmers in a high-profile land-rights case, was taken to the Lianhu Police Station in Xi’an by three officers from the National Security Unit under the Xi’an PSB and the Lianhu National Security Unit. Police questioned Zhang about an event he helped organize on December 6 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Charter 08. (CHRD)[xvi]

Zhejiang Lawyer Prevented from Traveling to Hong Kong

On the afternoon of December 5, Zhejiang human rights lawyer Zhuang Daohe (庄道鹤) was barred from leaving the mainland for Hong Kong by border guards at Shenzhen’s Luohu border crossing. Officials did not give Zhuang a reason for the action. Zhuang’s luggage was searched and officials confiscated a number of books he was carrying. (CHRD)[xvii]

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Pregnant Woman Beaten in Jinan Forced Eviction

On the afternoon of December 4, a group of around 100 hired thugs under the supervision of an official from the Tianqiao District Demolition and Relocation Office in Jinan City, Shandong Province arrived at the home of Liu Yude (刘玉德) to carry out a forced eviction. The group began attacking family members in the home, and savagely beat Liu’s 30 year-old daughter, who was two months pregnant. Ms. Liu sustained injuries to her right index finger and hip, and suffered a miscarriage the next day as a result of the beating. Though police called by the family arrived and stopped the demolition on December 4, a smaller group returned on the morning of December 6 and tore down Liu’s house. (CHRD)[xviii]

Citizens’ Actions

Charter 08 Signatories Issue Public Letter in Support of Liu Xiaobo

On December 10, a group of Charter 08 signatories issued a public letter entitled “We Are Willing to Share Responsibility with Liu Xiaobo,” reiterating their support for the ideals behind Charter 08 as well as detained activist and intellectual Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), whose case was transferred from the Beijing Public Security Bureau to the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate on December 8. The letter, which has been signed by 201 Charter 08 signatories (165 of whom live in mainland China), can be viewed here (in Chinese).

Beijing NGO Yirenping Issues Anti-Discrimination Handbook

Yirenping, a Beijing-based NGO focusing on the rights and equal treatment of people with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, has published the sixth edition of their handbook for job seekers, entitled “A Handbook for Using the Law to Defend Your Rights against Employment Bias (就业歧视法律维权手册).” Drawing from cases of discrimination against Hepatitis B carriers as an example, the handbook introduces laws and regulations designed to protect job seekers from discrimination based on age, sex, health, and other factors. The handbook is available here (in Chinese).

CHRD Issues Statement Marking Human Rights Day

CHRD has released a statement on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Day, celebrated on December 10 each year. The statement, which includes ten proposals for steps the Chinese government can take to better protect human rights, is available here (in Chinese).

Law and Policy Watch

Peking University Legal Scholars Call Eviction Regulations “Unconstitutional”

Five scholars at Peking University’s Law School have sent a memo to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in which they argue that the current regulations governing forced demolition and evictions in cities violate the Chinese Constitution and propose a series of revisions to bring the regulations in line with constitutional and other legal protections of citizens’ rights and interests. The proposal has attracted a great deal of attention, particularly since the State Council had previously announced plans to revise the regulations. For the full text of the proposal (in Chinese), please click here. (People’s Daily Online)[xix]

While the revision of these regulations to bring them in line with the Constitution and protect citizens’ property rights would be a welcome development, there are still a host of other problems associated with forced demolitions and evictions—most notably collusion between local officials and developers and the use of violence in carrying out evictions with impunity—that violate even the current regulations and must be addressed as well before any progress can be made in stemming the growing tide of petitions, protests, and mass incidents arising from demolition and eviction disputes.

State Council Proposes “Public Hearing System” for Citizen Feedback on Draft Laws

According to a December 3 article in Fazhi Daily, Cao Kangtai (曹康泰), director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, has proposed creating a “public hearing system” to encourage and utilize citizen participation in the legislative process. According to Cao, the system will increase the scope of current efforts designed to solicit input from citizens on draft laws and regulations. Under Cao’s plan, media outlets would be responsible for publicizing drafts of legislation, while the State Council would collect and process input from the public. (Fazhi Daily)[xx]

While the government currently makes a show of “soliciting opinions” and claims to act on input from society during the process of reviewing draft laws and regulations, any significant matters—such as repeated calls for the abolition of Re-education through Labor by a wide range of independent experts and scholars—are routinely ignored. There is little hope that a new system of administration for “soliciting opinions” will lead to any concrete change in the attitude of China’s lawmakers.

Eighty Percent of Local Regulations Drafted by Officials Responsible for Enforcement

On October 2, People’s Daily ran a story commenting on the endemic problem of “drafters enforcing the law”—local government departments drafting regulations whose enforcement they themselves are then charged with overseeing. According to the author, 80% of local regulations fall into this category. Local authorities have long used this double role to draft regulations designed to benefit officials at the expense of citizens, and regulations drafted by these departments are consistently used to minimize the government’s responsibilities or duties to the public. (People’s Daily)[xxi]

Studies such as this lay bare the deeply-rooted problems with the system of government in China which makes possible the myriad abuses of citizens’ social, economic, cultural, civil and political rights. To even begin to address these issues, the government must allow for meaningful oversight of government affairs by civil society.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang

News updates from CHRD: https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class10/Index.html

Reining in Civil Society: The Chinese government’s use of laws and regulations to persecute freedom of association

https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200908/20090810214902_16733.html

CHRD Yearbook:

https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200808/20080807093200_9888.html


[i] “Liu Xiaobo’s Case Transferred to Procuratorate (刘晓波案已移交到检察院),” December 8, 2009,

https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/lxb/200912/20091208180729_18756.html

[ii] “Lawyer for Liu Xiaobo Begins Examination of Indictment at Procuratorate (刘晓波的代理律师开始到检察院阅卷),” December 9, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/lxb/200912/20091209190323_18777.html

[iii] “University Professor Dismissed for Signing ‘Charter 08’ (大学教师因签署《零八宪章》遭解职),” December 8, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/lingbaxianzhang/200912/20091208183825_18757.html

[iv] “Black Jail Guard Sentenced Today for Raping Female Petitioner (黑监狱看守强奸处女访民案今日已宣判()),” December 10, 2009, http://chinarights2.blogspot.com/2009/12/2920.html

[v] “Court Refuses to Accept Chen Yang’s RTL Case (陈杨劳教案不被立案),” December 11, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/chengy/200912/20091211140041_18815.html

[vi] “Hangzhou Court Abuses Authority, Illegally Detains Citizens (杭州法院滥用职权非法羁押公民),” December 9, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091209005240_18762.html

[vii] “Chengdu Action Artist Chen Yunfei Taken Away by Police (成都行为艺术家陈云飞被警察带走),” December 9, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091209132706_18774.html

[viii] “Dalian Human Rights Lawer Wang Yonghang Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison (大连维权律师王永航被判刑七年),” December 5, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091205231359_18689.html

[ix] “Zheng Dajing Mistreated while Detained in ‘Black Jail’ (郑大靖被关进“黑监狱”遭受虐待),” December 7, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/zhengdajing/200912/20091207160740_18716.html. See also https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/zhengdajing/200912/20091205230933_18687.html

[x] “Hubei Demobilized Soldiers Protest Illegal Detention (湖北复员志愿兵集体抗议非法关押),” December 3, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091203102638_18670.html

[xi] “Hangzhou Dissident Zhu Yufu Placed under Residential Surveillance (杭州异议人士朱虞夫先生被限制自由),” December 7, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/Class40/200912/20091207223410_18728.html

[xii] “Hangzhou Citizen Refuses to Sign Demolition Agreement, is Detained (杭州市民拒签拆迁协议被拘留),” Decmber 7, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/200912/20091207222423_18727.html

[xiii] “Recent Developments Regarding Imprisoned Zhejiang Rights Defender Lü Gengsong (浙江人权捍卫者吕耿松狱中近况),” December 11, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/lvgengsong/200912/20091211104842_18812.html

[xiv] “Hubei Police Detained, Placed under Surveillance for Organizing to Protect Rights (湖北警察因集体维权被关押监控),” https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091210180843_18797.html

[xv] “Guiyang Human Rights Activists Meet Resistance to Announced Activities to Commemorate ‘Human Rights Day’ (贵阳维权人士举办纪念“世界人权日”活动遭阻拦),” December 7, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091207165211_18718.html; see also https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091208000809_18736.html.

[xvi] “For Sponsoring ‘Charter 08’ One-Year Anniversary Activities, Xi’an Signatory Zhang Jiankang Summoned (因发起《08宪章》一周年纪念活动西安签署人张鉴康被谈话),” December 9, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/lingbaxianzhang/200912/20091209161527_18775.html

[xvii] “Zhejiang Human Rights Lawyer Zhuang Daohe Prevented from Leaving for Hong Kong (浙江律师庄道鹤前往香港时受阻),” December 6, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/200912/20091206013010_18695.html

[xviii] “Forced Eviction in Tianqiao District, Jinan Province: Pregnant Woman Suffers Miscarriage After Being Kicked in Stomach (济南天桥区拆迁:暴徒狠心踹腹,孕妇次日流产),” December 12, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/qzcq/200912/20091210094544_18783.html

[xix] “Five BeiDa Scholars Send Proposal Regarding Demolition and Relocation Guidelines to National People’s Congress (北大五学者就拆迁条例向全国人大建议书全文公布),” December 10, 2009, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/bzsf/200912/20091210164805_18795.html

[xx] “China Will Establish a Public Hearing System for Government Legislation, Guarantee to Normalize the Hearing of Citizens’ Opinions (我国将建立政府立法听证制度 保证听取民意常态化),” December 3, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2009-12/03/content_12580458.htm

[xxi] “Drafters Enforcing the Law; Relationship Between Regulations and Enforcement Becomes ‘Guardian Angel’ for Government Departments (谁执法,谁起草,相关法规竟成部门利益的“保护神”),” December 2, 2009, http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2009-12/02/content_395427.htm

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