China Human Rights Briefings November 27-December 4, 2009

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China Human Rights Briefing

November 27-December 4, 2009


Freedom of Expression

Freedom of the Press

Arbitrary Detention

Harassment of Activists

Harassment of Petitioners

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment

Citizens’ Actions

Law and Policy Watch

Freedom of Expression

Hunan Rights Activist Seized for Reporting on Official’s Death

On December 2, CRLW learned that Hunan rights activist Luo Qian (罗茜) had been seized by police in Hunan Province after reporting on the death of Yang Kuansheng (杨宽生), vice-mayor of Wugang City, Hunan. His current whereabouts are unknown. Luo originally reported that Yang’s death was a homicide; the Wugang PSB later declared it a suicide. Luo also accepted media interviews about the case. His wife is reported to be under close surveillance as well. (CRLW)[i]

Xi’an Activist Harassed after Interviews with Foreign Media

CHRD learned on November 27 that Xi’an activist Ma Xiaoming (马晓明) was harassed by local police after conducting a number of interviews with foreign journalists. Ma, a former reporter for Shaanxi Television, was asked for commentary on a Spanish court’s decision to accept a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin (江泽民) and other former high-ranking Chinese government officials alleging their complicity in genocide and torture of Falun Gong practitioners. Ma reported that police visited his home on a number of occasions, and, on November 26, twice interrupted phone calls from members of the foreign media to prevent Ma from answering questions. (CHRD)[ii]

Guangzhou Human Rights Lawyer Interrogated by Police for Lecturing on Twitter

On November 27, Guangzhou police seized Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), a Guangzhou human rights lawyer, and Ji Yuan (吉原), a friend of Tang’s, while Ji was giving a lecture on the use of Twitter at Guangdong Nationalities University. Police took Tang and Ji to the Tangxia Police Station, in Guangzhou’s Tianhe District, and questioned them for more than 12 hours before releasing them shortly after midnight. According to friends of Tang’s who inquired at the police station, the president of the university had called the police after learning of the content of Ji’s lecture. (CHRD)[iii]

Freedom of the Press

British TV Reporters Seized by Police in Wuhan Following Interview with Psychiatric Hospital Detainee

On December 2, two reporters from England’s Sky TV were seized by police after interviewing Hu Guohong (胡国红), a former psychiatric hospital detainee, and his wife Cheng Xue (程雪), in Wuhan, Hubei. According to Cheng, the two journalists were driving to Wudong Hospital, where Hu had been detained, to shoot footage following their interview with the couple when police stopped their vehicle, claiming they had struck and killed a pedestrian. The car and the driver were provided by the Wuhan City Bureau of Foreign Affairs. It is believed the reporters, who had also planned to interview other former psychiatric hospital detainees, were then taken to the Wuhan Public Secutiry Bureau. The current whereabouts of the reporters are not known. Cheng added that her home has been under surveillance since November 30, after officials learned of the reporters’ plans. (CRLW)[iv]

Arbitrary Detention

Chinese Authorities Mark “Legal Publicity Day” By Detaining Petitioners, Activists

December 4 has been designated “Legal Publicity Day (普法日)” by the Chinese government, which hopes to encourage law enforcement officials to use the opportunity to spread knowledge and awareness about China’s legal system. Petitioners in Beijing, however, have come to claim the holiday as their own, and this year marked the third annual “Seeking Redress for Injustices Day (伸冤节),” holding meetings and demonstrations in Nanyuan Park, the Temple of Heaven, and outside of the CCTV offices in the capital. (CHRD)[v]

Police responded by seizing large groups of petitioners outside of the CCTV offices and Beijing’s South Railway Station on December 4, taking them to Ma Jia Lou, a central “black jail” for petitioners, for processing. At least one of the detained petitioners, Zheng Dajing (郑大靖), of Yunxi County, Hubei Province, was among the organizers of the “Seeking Redress for Injustices Day” demonstrations. The precise number of petitioners detained and their current whereabouts are not presently known. (CHRD)[vi]

In Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, activist and Guizhou Human Rights Forum member Chen Xi (陈西) reported by phone on the morning of December 4 that National Security Officers under the Guiyang Public Security Bureau had arrived at his home and were preparing to take him away. The Guizhou Human Rights Forum had planned a meeting for this afternoon to mark “Legal Publicity Day.” Calls to Chen’s phone that afternoon could not be completed. In the past few weeks, Guizhou police have repeatedly summoned, threatened, and briefly detained Forum members in hopes of preventing them from carrying out planned activities to mark the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10. (CHRD)[vii]

Recently-Released Democracy Activist Zhang Lin Again Detained

On the afternoon of December 3, Bangbu City, Anhui Province police arrived at the home of democracy activist Zhang Lin (张林) with a search warrant and confiscated a computer belonging to Zhang’s wife Fang Cao (方草) as well as a cell phone before taking Zhang away. CHRD learned on December 4 that Zhang had been administratively detained for ten days, and is presently being held at the Bangbu City Detention Center. According to Fang, she was told by a person claiming to be a police officer by phone that Zhang was being detained for “violating supervision and management regulations.” Zhang, a longtime democracy activist, was released from prison on August 12, 2009, after serving more than four years for “inciting subversion of state power.” Earlier this week, on November 30, National Security officers in Bangbu City had summoned Zhang and threatened him with administrative detention or RTL if he continued to give interviews to foreign media, participate in rights-defense activities, or publish articles online. CHRD)[viii]

Henan AIDS Patient Detained in Black Jail, Placed under Surveillance

Henan AIDS patient Tian Xi (田喜) has been under constant surveillance at his home since being forcibly returned from Beijing two weeks ago. Tian, of Gulu Village, Xincai County, Zhumadian City, Henan Province, was protesting along with two other AIDS patients outside of the Ministry of Health in Beijing on the morning of November 19 when he was seized by local interceptors and detained in a black jail for three days. He was then forcibly returned to Gulu Village by local officials. Tian, who contracted AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion at Xincai hospital in 1996, has been petitioning for proper compensation and medical treatment since being diagnosed in 2004. (CHRD)[ix]

Shanghai Democracy Activist Released Following Two Months of “Soft Detention”

On December 1, Shanghai democracy activist Li Guotao (李国涛) was released following two months of “soft detention” (软禁) at his home, though police continue to follow him as he goes about his day-to-day business. Friends and fellow activists lost touch with Li in late September and were unable to contact him or verify his whereabouts until today. Police also reportedly searched Li’s house, confiscating a personal computer. Li, a student leader during the 1989 pro-democracy movement and member of the Preparatory Committee of the China Democracy Party, has been harassed, threatened, and detained on numerous occasions over the past 20 years, serving a total of seven years in jail. (CHRD)[x]

Wife of Detained Sichuan Activist Liu Zhengyou Criminally Detained

CHRD learned today that Hu Yulan (胡玉兰), the wife of detained Sichuan activist Liu Zhengyou (刘正有), has herself been criminally detained by police in Zigong City, Sichuan. Hu was criminally detained on November 27 for “fraud,” the same charge used by police to detain her husband two weeks earlier, on November 13. She is currently being held in the Zigong City Detention Center. As with her husband’s case, it is believed that the charge of “fraud” is groundless and is being used as a pretext by police seeking to retaliate against Liu and Hu for their rights-defense activities. In the past few years, the couple has helped local petitioners file complaints, turning their home into a non-governmental “letters and visits office.” (CHRD)[xi]

Heilongjiang Petitioner Detained in Psychiatric Hospital for Nearly Three Years

Xing Shiku (邢世库), a petitioner from Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, has been detained in a Harbin psychiatric hospital for almost three years, CHRD learned recently. According to his wife, Zhao Guirong (赵桂荣), Xing lost his job at a state-owned printing plant in 1992 and was detained 2 weeks in a psychiatric institution without an independent mental health appraisal, following which he began petitioning. On February 19, 2007, he was kidnapped at a guesthouse near Beijing’s South Railway Station and forcibly returned to Harbin, where he was detained in the Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital. Zhao has herself been detained in black jails and beaten on numerous occasions while in Beijing petitioning for her husband’s release. (CHRD)[xii]

Hubei Teachers’ Organizer Sent to RTL for Leading Petitions

On November 20, National Security Officers under the Gong’an County, Hubei Province Public Security Bureau (PSB) seized laid-off community-run school teachers’ representative Yang Huanqing (杨焕青) and sent him to one year of Re-education Through Labor (RTL). Yang is currently held in the Gong’an County Detention Center. The RTL notice received by Yang’s family, dated October 12, listed three specific occasions in the past four months on which Yang organized teachers to petition, met with other teachers’ representatives, and petitioned with other representatives. (CRLW)[xiii]

Harassment of Activists

Guiyang Police Summon Rights Activist Chen Xi, Step up Pressure on Guizhou Rights Forum

On the morning of December 1, National Security officers under the Guiyang Public Security Bureau (PSB) summoned Guizhou human rights defender Chen Xi (陈西) for questioning. Chen was interrogated for eight hours before being released that evening. Chen Xi is a member of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, a loose circle of local activists who meet often to discuss human rights and distribute educational materials. In the past few weeks, Guizhou police have repeatedly summoned, threatened, and briefly detained Forum members in hopes of preventing them from carrying out planned activities to mark the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10. (CHRD)[xiv]

Recently-Released Activist Zhang Lin Summoned, Threatened by Police

On the afternoon of November 30, National Security officers in Bangbu City, Anhui Province summoned democracy activist Zhang Lin (张林) and questioned him for approximately three hours. Zhang, who was released from prison on August 12 after serving more than four years for “inciting subversion of state power,” has been subjected to continuous surveillance and harassment from local police. During his interrogation on November 30, officers threatened Zhang with administrative detention or RTL if he continued t give interviews to foreign media, participate in rights-defense activities, or publish articles online. Zhang is currently deprived of his political rights for a period of four years since his release. (CHRD)[xv]

Harassment of Petitioners

Hundreds of Shanghai Petitioners Seized in Beijing, Forcibly Returned

On the evening of November 26, a group of close to 150 petitioners from Shanghai were rounded up in Beijing and forcibly returned home. According to one female petitioner, surnamed Jin (), the petitioners had been following proper petitioning procedures and interceptors had no reason to seize and return them. The petitioners were allowed to return to their homes upon arriving in Shanghai. The following day, staff from the Beijing Liaison Office of the Shanghai Government seized members of a 300-400 person group of petitioners outside of the National Letters and Visits Office and forcibly returned them to Shanghai on an overnight train. (CHRD)[xvi]

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Guiyang Residents Kidnapped, Threatened as Homes are Demolished in the Middle of the Night

In the early morning hours of November 27, a group of small businesses and homes along South Guiwu Rouad in Guiyang, Guizhou were forcibly demolished as hundreds of hired thugs kidnapped and threatened residents, preventing them from contacting the police. Ten residents were forced into cars and taken to the outskirts of the city while their homes were demolished and property destroyed. (CHRD)[xvii]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment

Qi Chonghuai, Imprisoned Reporter, Victim of Repeated Beatings and Mistreatment

CHRD has learned that Qi Chonghuai (齐崇淮), the former Fazhi Morning Post reporter imprisoned for “extortion and blackmail,” has been repeatedly beaten and mistreated in prison. In letters obtained by CHRD, Qi writes that he has been violently beaten on seven occasions since his incarceration began, and has been forced to perform hard labor in a coal mine. Qi, a reporter known for his articles exposing local corruption, social injustice and human rights violations, was sentenced to four years in prison on May 13, 2007 by the Tengzhou City Court in Shandong Province. He is currently incarcerated in Tengzhou City Prison. His wife, Jiao Xia (焦霞), has been unable to visit with him for more than ten months. (CHRD)[xviii]

Citizens’ Actions

CHRD Issues Statement Protesting Recent Actions against House Churches

CHRD has issued a statement (available here, in Chinese) protesting the recent actions taken by local officials against house churches in Beijing, Shanghai, and Linfen, Shanxi Province. Noting the brazen violation of internationally and constitutionally-guaranteed rights to freedom of religion and association, the statement calls on the Chinese government to:

1. Immediately cease the crackdown on house churches, and establish an independent commission to investigate the actions taken against Beijing’s Shouwang House Church, Shanghai’s Wanbang House Church, and house church leaders in Linfen, Shanxi;

2. Hold legally accountable those officials responsible for violating citizens’ right to freedom of religion;

3. Provide an official apology and compensation, if legally applicable, to individuals affected by the recent crackdown; and

4. Take steps to ensure that articles guaranteeing freedom of religion in the Chinese Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are enforced in practice, and ensure the protection of citizens’ right to freedom of religion.

Beijing NGO Aizhixing Announces Free Legal Aid for Uyghurs

Aizhixing (爱知行), a Beijing-based NGO working on HIV/AIDS-related issues, has issued an announcement offering free legal aid to Uyghur migrant workers living and working outside of Xinjiang. The announcement, timed to coincide with “Legal Publicity Day” on December 4, states that the aid is designed to help Uyghurs protect their social, economic, and cultural rights, and combat bias and discrimination often faced by Uyghurs. (China Rights Google Group)[xix]

CHRD Issues Statement in Support of Feng Zhenghu’s Airport Protest

CHRD has issued a statement in support of Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎), scholar and longtime rights activist, who has been camped out in Tokyo’s Narita airport for close to one month in protest of the Chinese government’s refusal to allow him to return to China. Feng, a Chinese citizen, travelled to Japan on April 1, 2009, and first attempted to fly back to Shanghai after June 4. The statement, which calls on the Chinese government to unconditionally respect Feng’s right of return and hold accountable those officials responsible for violating the law in preventing his return, can be viewed in its entirety here (in Chinese).

Charter 08 Signatories Pass Ten Thousand, Public Letter Issued as Anniversary Approaches

As the one-year anniversary of the launch of Charter 08 approaches, the organizers have released the names of the latest group of signatories, adding 309 members to the list which now totals more than 10,000 individuals, about 85% of them residing in Mainland China. Some signatories have released an open letter calling for a renewed focus on the Charter and the release of detained intellectual Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), as the one-year anniversary of the Charter’s release and Liu’s detention near. For the full text of the letter, as well as other news related to Charter 08, please see

Law and Policy Watch

China Daily Editorial Advocates Stronger Legal Oversight of Religion in China

On December 3, China Daily published an opinion piece entitled “Rule of Law Best Help to Freedom of Faith,” an interview with religious scholar Liu Peng (刘澎). In the piece, Liu suggests, “Now it is time that the system be developed in such a way as to let more religious affairs be governed by law, instead of through administrative means, as the practice up to now, and in order to do so, all religious groups be provided with equal and standard access for legal registration.” He continues, “Things are confusing now when administrative officials, unaided by adequate laws, have to deal with both legally registered religious groups and an increasing number of religious groups that are flourishing in the extra-legal territory.” (China Daily)

Coming on the heels of crackdowns against the Wanbang House Church in Shanghai and the Shouwang House Church in Beijing, as well as the sentencing of five house church leaders in Linfen, Shanxi, this article seems to reinforce the idea that the Chinese government is turning a corner in its persecution of religious freedom and “illegal” religious groups. The full text of the article is available here (in English).

Minister of Public Security Threatens Increased Internet Control in Opinion Article

In an article published in the December 1 edition of Qiushi, a magazine run by the CCP Party School, Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu (孟建柱) wrote aggressively about the continued efforts of netizens to push for freedom of expression online, calling the internet “a significant means of amplifying the destructive capabilities of anti-China forces.” While his remarks demonstrate the aggravation of Public Security officials at the inability of internet censors to control the spread of information and curb a growing tide of online activism, there is concern that these remarks may presage a push to further restrict the use of the internet by Chinese citizens, perhaps including developing or updating technological tools for surveillance and control of online activities. (Qiushi)[xx]

Jiangsu People’s Congress Mandates Use of Video Surveillance in Guesthouses, Other Businesses

According to a November 23 report in the Yangtze Evening News, the Standing Committee of the Jiangsu Provincial People’s Congress has issued a draft of revised regulations governing the public security management of certain industries. Included in these regulations is a provision stating that guesthouses, pawn shops, bathhouses, and other business will be required to install surveillance cameras. According to the regulations, surveillance equipment shall be used to monitor entries and exits, main places of business, parking lots, and other areas around the businesses, and recordings shall be kept for at least two months. (Yangtze Evening News)[xxi]

While the use of surveillance cameras to monitor places of business is already widespread, and regulations governing the use of such equipment already on the books, the efforts by the Jiangsu People’s Congress to expand the mandatory use of video surveillance is nonetheless troubling. As police often use mandatory hotel registration as a means to locate frequent travelers, such as petitioners, whom they seek to detain, increased surveillance will offer the authorities yet another means of keeping tabs on those whose freedom of movement they seek to restrict. The intrusion on privacy associated with installing surveillance equipment in bathhouses is another serious concern.

New Shanxi Petitioning Regulations Detail Prohibited Actions, Punishment for Petitioners

The Standing Committee of the Shanxi Provincial People’s Congress has released a revised draft of the Shanxi Provincial Petitioning Regulations, enumerating eight categories of prohibited actions which may lead to administrative or criminal punishment, the Shanxi Evening News reports. Some of the prohibited acts are specific– distributing leaflets or unfurling horizontal scrolls– while others remain vague, such as “causing trouble” or “gathering.” Police are given discretion in handling cases of unlawful petitioning: “trivial” incidents may result in a warning, while “serious” transgressions can be dealt with either administratively or through the criminal justice system. (Shanxi Evening News)

These regulations are the latest in a growing list of guidelines issued by local governments seeking to restrict the rights of citizens to complain about official misconduct. Not only do these local regulations frequently contradict national legislation governing the petitioning system, they also increase the power of local officials to arbitrarily detain and punish petitioners because of their often vague wording.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang

[i] “Rights Activist Luo Qian Seized for Revelaing Death of Vice-Mayor in Hunan (披露湖南副市长被杀的维权人士罗茜被带走),” December 2, 2009,

[ii] “Xi’an Activist Ma Xiaoming Warned by Police After Accepting Interviews with Foreign Media (西安维权人士马晓明接受外媒采访被警告),” November 27, 2009,

[iii] “Guangzhou Human Rights Lawyer Taken Away by Police (广州维权律师唐荆陵被警方带走),” November 28, 2009,

[iv] “Reporters from England, US Interview Wuhan Psychiatric Hospital Detainee; Sky TV Reporter Taken Away (武汉精神病院受难群体获英、美电视采访 天空电视记者被带走),” December 2, 2009,

[v] “Petitioners Celebrate Third Annual ‘Seeking Redress of Injustices Day’ in Beijing (访民在京过第三届“伸冤节”),” December 5, 2009,

[vi] “Activist Zheng Dajing Still Detained in ‘Black Jail’ Run by Beijing Liaison Office of Shiyan City Government (维权人士郑大靖仍被关押于十堰驻京办的“黑监狱”),” December 5, 2009,

[vii] “News Flash: Guizhou Activist Chen Xi Under Surveillance on Legal Publicity Day (快讯:法制宣传日贵州陈西被控制),” December 5, 2009,

[viii] “News Flash: Anhui Democracy Activist Zhang Lin Taken Away By Police, House Searched (快讯:安徽民主人士张林被警方抓走并抄家),” December 5, 2009,; see also

[ix] “AIDS Patient Tian Xi Has Personal Freedom Restricted (爱滋病患者田喜被限制人身自由),” December 2, 2009,

[x] “Shanghai Democracy Activist Li Guotao Released From Soft Detention(上海民主人士李国涛今日被解除软禁),” December 1, 2009,

[xi] “The True Facts Regarding the Arrest of Liu Zhengyou’s Wife for ‘Fraud’ (刘正有妻子被以诈骗罪刑拘的真相),” December 1, 2009,

[xii] “Heilongjiang Local Officials Flout Law, Petitioners are Left Without Rights (黑龙江地方目无法纪 访民毫无人权),” November 30, 2009,

[xiii] “Gong’an County, Hubei Oranizer Yang Huanqing Sent to RTL for Leading Teachers to Petition (湖北省公安县杨焕青被以组织民师上访劳教),” November 28, 2009,

[xiv] “Human Rights Organizer Chen Xi Summoned (人权活动人士陈西被传唤),” December 2, 2009,

[xv] “Anhui Democracty Activist Zhang Lin Summoned by National Security Officers (安徽民主人士张林被国保传唤),” November 30, 2009,

[xvi] “150 Petitioners Returned to Shanghai (150余名访民被押送回上海),” November 27, See also: “Shanghai Citizens’ Collective Gathers Outside National Letters and Visits Office to Petition About Corruption, Are Rejected (上海市民集体到国家信访办控告上海政府遭拒),” November 28, 2009,

[xvii] “Terrible Violent Forced Demolition once again Takes Place in Guiyang (恶劣的暴力强拆事件在贵阳再次发生),” November 28, 2009,

[xviii] “Shandong Watchdog Journalist Qi Chonghuai Abused in Prison (山东维权记者齐崇淮在狱中遭虐待),” December 5, 2009,

[xix] “Beijing’s Aizhixing Research Center to Provide Free Legal Aid Services to Uyghur Migrant Workers (北京爱知行研究所为维吾尔人民工提供免费法律援助服务),” December 4, 2009,

[xx] “Meng Jianzhu: Strive to Strenghten the Building of Five Abilities, Go All-Out to Promote the Defense of the Standard of Stability (孟建柱:着力强化五个能力建设 全面提升维稳水平),” December 1, 2009,

[xxi] “Daily Rentals, Bathouses Mandated to Install Surveillance Equipment (日租房洗浴场所拟强装摄像头),” November 23, 2009,

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