China Human Rights Briefings January 14-22, 2010

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China Human Rights Briefing

January 14-22, 2010


Arbitrary Detention

Legal Rights

Freedom of Expression

Harassment of Activists

Citizens’ Actions

Arbitrary Detention

Imprisoned Lawyer and Torture Victim Wang Yonghang Meets with Lawyers for First Time

According to Yu Xiaoyan (于晓燕), the wife of imprisoned human rights lawyer Wang Yonghang (王永航), Wang was able to meet with lawyers Lan Zhixue (兰志学) and Zhang Chuanli (张传利) on January 14, 2010. The meeting, which took place at the Dalian City Detention Center, is the first meeting between Wang and his lawyers since he was kidnapped by Dalian City National Security officers on July 4, 2009. During the hour and a half meeting, Wang’s lawyers verified reports that Wang had been violently beaten on three occasions following his kidnapping, and that he had suffered a severe ankle injury, which required surgery on August 11, 2009. Lan and Zhang have submitted an appeal on behalf of their client to the Dalian Intermediate Court, asking in particular that the appeals trial be held in an open court. Wang, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for “using a cult to damage the implementation of the law” on November 27, 2009, was tried on October 16, 2009 in a closed court without a lawyer present. Wang is a former lawyer and outspoken advocate for the rights of Falun Gong practitioners; he was convicted for accepting interviews and publishing articles on foreign websites in addition to defending Falun Gong practitioners in court. (CHRD)[i]

Longtime Petitioner Guo Qinghua Detained

Beijing petitioners Guo Qinghua (郭清华) and Zhang Xiuhua (张秀华) were seized by police on January 20 while petitioning outside of the United States Embassy in Beijing. The two were taken to the Maizidian Police Station in Beijng’s Chaoyang District; Zhang was released the same evening but Guo remains detained at the time of writing. Guo, a former sanitation worker at the Beijing People’s Congress building, has been petitioning since 2002 after her wages were embezzled. She has been beaten and detained on numerous occasions over the past eight years for petitioning. (CRLW)[ii]

Case Against Sichuan Activist Liu Zhengyou Transferred to Procuratorate

Lawyers for Sichuan activist Liu Zhengyou (刘正有) have told CHRD that his case was transferred to the Ziliujing District Procuratorate in Zigong City, Sichuan, on January 19, 2010. The procuratorate is tasked with reviewing the information submitted by the police and determining whether or not to proceed with prosecution. Liu was seized on November 11, 2009, and formally arrested along with his wife, Hu Yulan (胡玉兰), on suspicion of “fraud” on December 7, 2009. It is believed that the charges against the two are groundless, and are 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)[iii]

Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng “Missing,” Say Beijing Authorities

According to lawyers with knowledge of the case, Beijing National Security officials have told the brother of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) that Gao is “missing” and they do not know where he is. Concerned about Gao, his brother went to Beijing to seek information about his detention from officials. When he spoke with a National Security officer responsible for detaining Gao, he was told that Gao had “walked out” of the police station and “became lost” on September 25, 2009. This statement has raised fears that Gao is possibly being subjected to mistreatment, or worse. Gao has previously been kidnapped, arbitrarily detained, and tortured on at least three previous occasions for his defense of sensitive clients and his outspoken support for human rights.

Gao has been missing since February 4, 2009. On that day, Gao’s relatives saw at least seven policemen take him from his hometown in Shaanxi Province. Before this recent admission, officials had refused to confirm that Gao was in police custody. Gao’s wife and children fled China in January 2009, arriving in the United States as refugees. Gao was last heard from in July 2009, when he called his brother in his home village, saying simply “I’m doing OK, don’t worry!” (CHRD)

Legal Rights

Court Rejects Request for an Appeal Hearing for Liu Xiaobo

According to lawyers for imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), the Beijing Upper Court has refused to grant his request for an appeal hearing. The court has requested that his lawyers submit a written document in Liu’s defense, to be used for a second instance decision of his case based on written submissions only (without an oral appeal hearing). Liu was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment on December 29, 2009. Beijing lawyer Mo Shaoping (莫少平), who was barred from representing Liu by officials because he was a fellow signatory of Charter 08, noted that he was not surprised by the court’s decision. He added that Liu and Liu’s lawyers will continue to argue his innocence and seek his immediate release. (CHRD)[iv]

Imprisoned Lawyer Li Zhuang Submits Appeal

On January 18, Beijing lawyer Li Zhuang (李庄) submitted an appeal to the Chongqing Number One Intermediate Court, challenging his conviction for “fabricating evidence and obstructing testimony.” Li, a lawyer for alleged Chongqing mob boss Gong Gangmo (龚刚模), was sentenced to two years and six months in prison by the Jiangbei District People’s Court in Chongqing on January 8, 2010, after Gong stated that Li had instructed him to lie in court that he was tortured during interrogation by police officers. According to Li’s lawyer, Gao Zicheng (高子程), he is seeking to convince the court to call a number of witnesses—including Gong and police officers allegedly involved in torturing Gong—who did not appear during Li’s first trial. (CHRD)[v]

Xie Fulin’s Trial Begins in Changsha, Judge Consents to Reevaluation of Evidence

On the morning of January 14, activist Xie Fulin (谢福林) and his brother Xie Shulin (谢树林) were tried in Changsha’s Furong District People’s Court for stealing electricity. Over fifty supporters were present at the court, though only 23 were allowed to attend the trial. The Xie brothers pleaded not guilty. At the end of the day, the judge accepted the lawyers’ request to reevaluate the evidence and resume trial on a later date. Xie is a member of the Pan-Blue Alliance of Chinese Nationalists, a political group that supports Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party and whose members have been persecuted in recent years.

CHRD volunteers who attended the trial noted that while prosecutors produced a large number of written statements from witnesses, none of the witnesses were present at the trial. Xie Fulin also complained that a statement presented by police was an incomplete account of the verbal statement he gave during questioning. (CHRD)[vi]

Update: At Least Eight Human Rights Lawyers Remain Without Licenses

CHRD has learned from speaking with Beijing lawyers that at least eight lawyers in the capital remain without their licenses after “failing” the annual review necessary for their renewal last May. It is believed that judicial authorities in Beijing are using the denial of these licenses as a means of retaliating against the lawyers, who have handled politically sensitive cases and defended activists and dissidents against charges brought by the government. The lawyers who have yet to regain their licenses are: Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Yang Huiwen (杨慧文), Wen Haibo (温海波), Liu Wei (刘巍), Zhang Lihui (张立辉), Li Jingsong (李劲松), and Tong Chaoping (童朝平). (CHRD)

Freedom of Expression

Guangxi Police Harass, Search Journalist Reporting on January 12 Violence

On the evening of January 19, police burst into a Yangshuo County, Guangxi Province hotel room occupied by journalist Zhou Fancai (周范才) from the Xinhua News Agency publication Oriental Outlook (瞭望东方周刊), producing a warrant for taking him in for questioning (拘传证) and searching his belongings. Zhou, who was interviewing villagers about a January 12 clash between police and citizens in Lipu County, Guangxi, stated that he was earlier followed by an unidentified individual while conducting interviews in Lipu. The police in Yangshuo confiscated Zhou’s notes as well as personal items, and then forced Zhou into a car and drove him to Lipu, where an official from the local propaganda department told him they had “arranged” lodging. Zhou refused, and was allowed to return to Yangshou later that night. (CHRD)[vii]

Xinjiang Residents Able to Receive Long-Distance Calls for First Time in Six Months

Government officials in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region may have lifted restrictions on international long-distance telephone calls as of January 20. According to reports by Xinjiang netizens, residents in Xinjiang are currently able to place long-distance calls, but are not able to receive any incoming international calls yet. Some restrictions on the internet and cell phone text messaging remain in place. It has been more than six months since internet, cell phone, and long-distance telephone services in the province were cut off following riots in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi on July 5, 2009. (CHRD)[viii]

Gansu Province to Build a Team of 650 “Internet Commentators”

According to a January 19 article on Xibu Shangbao, a newspaper based in Gansu Province, the head of the province’s Propaganda Department announced that the province is recruiting members for a team of 650 internet commentators. These commentators need to “take an active interest in popular social issues and the changing dynamics of public opinion, have a broad knowledge base…have a high level of writing skills…are strongly persuasive and can influence others.” The commentators would “correctly guide public opinion” by publishing articles supportive of the government on websites, BBS and blogs. (Gansu Daily Online)[ix]

Harassment of Activists

Illegal Restriction of Shanghai Lawyer Zheng Enchong’s Movement Resumed

President Hu Jintao (胡锦涛) visited Shanghai on an inspection tour from January 14 to January 17, and during that time Shanghai police stationed outside the home of housing activist Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠) prevented him from leaving on at least one occasion. On the evening of January 15, Shanghai police and National Security officers stopped Zheng at the gate of his residential quarter and told him he could not leave the premises until the afternoon of January 18. Zheng, who provided legal assistance to victims of forced evictions and housing activists in Shanghai, was imprisoned for three years for “leaking state secrets” in 2003. He has been unable to practice law following his release because Chinese law bans individuals convicted of any crime from acting as lawyers. However, Zheng continues to provide legal consultation to victims of property rights abuses, which has earned him the ire of local officials. (CHRD)[x]

Beijing Police Continue Harassment of House Church Activist Chen Tianshi

For the second consecutive day, police arrived at the office of Beijing house church activist and former 1989 student leader Chen Tianshi (陈天石) on January 22 to question him. As was the case on January 21, the officers refused to produce any documents authorizing their actions and would not give the reason for their presence at the Beijing school where Chen is employed. After Chen voiced his objection to their intrusion on his work and life without a legitimate cause, officers asked him a few basic questions about his family and job and left after approximately one hour. (CHRD)[xi]

Local Officials Question Relatives of Organizer Zou Chuanshun

CHRD has learned that family members of Zou Chuanshun (邹传舜), one of the leaders of the National Chinese Farmers’ Association, have been interrogated by local government officials seeking to learn Zou’s whereabouts and contact information. On January 20, officials in Loujialou Village, Jingzhou City, Hubei Province, questioned Zou’s father, and officials in Puqi Town, Hubei, questioned his cousin. Zou’s family is worried that officials may be preparing to take action against Zou. In August 2009, Zou was summoned by National Security officers in Jiangsu’s Yixing City and questioned about his involvement with the Farmers’ Association, and lost his job as a result. Other leaders of the Farmers’ Associations have been similarly summoned and harassed by officials, who have warned them against continuing any activities associated with the group, which the authorities said is “unregistered” and therefore “illegal.” (CHRD)[xii]

Shaanxi Activist’s “Legal Worker” Certificate Withheld

Local Bureau of Justice has withheld a “legal worker” certificate that is supposed to be granted to Shaanxi activist Yang Bo (杨博) because he is an “unstable element connected with overseas media”. Others who attended the same legal training program as Yang have all received their certificates. It is believed that Yang, an activist based in Fengxiang County, Baoji City, Shaanxi Province, is punished for advising six Fengxiang villagers facing land appropriation in August 2008. Yang was also one of the organizers of China Human Rights Forum in 2007. (CHRD)[xiii]

Police Summons and Warns over 30 Hunan Activists for Supporting Xie Fulin

CHRD learned on January 20 that over 30 Hunan activists have been summoned, questioned and warned for attempting to attend the trial of Xie Fulin (谢福林), an activist based in Changsha City, Hunan Province. Reportedly, police have targeted all the activists who gathered outside of the court to show solidarity with Xie. According to those summoned, the police were irritated with the media reports on the trial and warned these activists against accepting interviews or providing further information to the media. Some of those summoned, who do not wish to be named, have since been closely followed by the police. (CHRD)[xiv]

Beijing Activists Prevented from Commemorating Death of Zhao Zhiyang

On January 17, the fifth anniversary of former Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang’s (赵紫阳) death, activists and members of the human rights group Tiananmen Mothers (天安门母亲) were put under house arrest or given warning by the police not to visit the Zhao family and pay their respects. For example, Xu Yu (徐珏), a member of Tiananmen Mothers, was told by the police not to visit the Zhao family on the 17th, while Zhang Xianling (张先玲), also a member of the group, reported that authorities have been standing guard outside of her home since the 15th. Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇), a Beijing activist who has been disabled since being shot during the Tiananmen protests, and Wang Jinping (王金平), a former police officer who has publicly called for the rehabilitation of Zhao, have also been put under house arrest. (CHRD)[xv]

Shandong Activist Summoned, Questioned about Investigation of Land Expropriation

At 9 a.m. on January 15, Zhou Mengxin (周孟新), a human rights defender from Heze, Shandong, was released after 24 hours of detention and interrogation by the local State Security Bureau. Zhou was seized on January 14 while investigating the government’s plans to expropriate over a thousand acres of village land in Heze’s Dayudian Village. According to Zhou, the government planned to offer residents between 20,000 and 30,000 RMB per mu (approximately 1/6 of an acre), far below the market value. (CHRD)[xvi]

Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Illegally-Detained Elderly Petitioner Released from RTL Camp on Bail for Medical Treatment

CHRD has learned that Liu Shuoxiang (刘硕祥), a 70 year-old petitioner, was granted a release on bail from a Re-education through Labor (RTL) Camp for medical treatment on January 11. Liu, who suffers from high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, had been detained in Hebei’s Number One RTL camp since September 23, 2009, in violation of RTL Regulations. According to Article 11 of the 2002 “Guidelines for the Handling of Re-education through Labor Cases by Public Security Organs”, no individual who is over the age of 60 or seriously ill may be sent to an RTL camp. Liu, of Liuguangtun Village, Tangshan City, Hebei Province, has petitioned on numerous occasions about the complicity of local officials in illegal logging of village trees. His wife, Liu Fengqin (刘凤芹), died in an RTL camp after she was sent there in August 2009. (CHRD)[xvii]

Imprisoned Democracy Activist Xie Changfa Kept In Solitary Confinement

According to the brother of imprisoned dissident Xie Changfa (谢长发), Xie has been in solitary confinement for more than one month and denied visits from family. Xie Changzhen (谢长祯) reported on January 21 that he had been instructed by prison staff to visit his brother on January 20, but when he arrived at the prison, he was told that the visit could not take place because Xie Changfa was in solitary confinement. Xie Changzhen stated that when he last attempted to visit his brother, on December 16, 2009, he encountered the same situation. A member of the banned China Democracy Party (CDP) and an organizer of CDP’s Hunan Branch, Xie Changfa is currently serving a 13-year prison term for “subversion of state power”. (CRLW)[xviii]

Victims of Forced Eviction Beaten by Housing Demolition Office Officials

On January 11, two residents of the Tianqiao District of Jinan, Shandong, were beaten by officials at the local Demolition and Eviction Office. The son and wife of Liu Yude (刘玉德) were summoned to the Baohua Street Office in Tianqiao District to discuss issues related to the demolition of their home in December, 2009. When Liu’s son refused to sign a demolition and relocation agreement and to pay 300 RMB to an official named Sun Shangbo (孙尚波) from the Tianqiao District Demolition and Eviction Office, Sun locked the mother and son in the office and, along with two other staff members, beat the two with shovels. Liu suffered injuries to his hand, lips, and ear, while his mother suffered a concussion. During the demolition of Liu’s home on December 4 and 6, 2009, around 100 hired thugs attacked family members, beating Liu’s pregnant daughter Liu Xinxin (刘鑫鑫) and causing her to suffer a miscarriage. (CHRD)[xix]

Citizens’ Actions

Jiangsu Court to Hear Female Lawyer’s Lawsuit against Family Planning Bureau

CHRD has learned that the Quanshan District Court in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province will hear an administrative litigation lawsuit brought by Wang Ying (王莹) against the Quanshan District Family Planning Bureau next week. Wang, a 30 year-old former lawyer, was barred from obtaining a civil service position by the Tongshan County government on the grounds that she had violated family planning regulations by having a child before marriage; the decision by Tongshan County officials was based on documentation provided to them by the Quanshan District Family Planning Bureau. Her case, which touches on issues of discrimination, right to privacy, and the right to work, has already drawn a great deal of attention domestically. (CHRD)[xx]

Thousands Protest Outside of Guangzhou Garbage Incinerator over Health Concerns

Thousands of local residents gathered outside the Likeng Garbage Incinerator Plant in Yongxing Village, Baiyun District, Guangzhou, on January 19 and 20, protesting for two consecutive days over plans to continue with new construction and expand operations of the plant. Neighbors say that the incinerator, which is responsible for handling 1/12 of Guangzhou’s trash, is causing dangerous pollution which has led to an increase in cancer rates and incidences of lead poisoning among residents living nearby. According to reports, over 100 policemen were present at the scene but allowed the protest to continue peacefully; the case has drawn considerable attention domestically as officials from the Chinese Environmental Research Institute have reportedly questioned local officials’ findings that the plant’s operations are safe. (CRLW)[xxi]

Thousands of Workers Strike at Taiwanese Company in Suzhou

On the morning of January 15, thousands of workers at United Win Technology (联建科技), a Taiwanese company in Suzhou’s Industrial Park, went on strike after learning that they would not be paid year-end bonuses. Armed police were brought in to contain the strikers. According to striking workers, in the past year United Win Technology, which has 15,000 employees, violated labor laws by forcing factory workers to work overtime, neglected to pay overtime rates, and used illegal toxic chemicals, including ethylene, in the assembly line, causing brain damage and even death in several employees. These concerns have been growing in recent months and workers have gone on strike on previous occasions in 2009. (CHRD)[xxii]

Netizens React to News of Google’s Potential Withdrawal from China

After news broke on January 13 that Google was considering closing its China offices and shutting down its Chinese website,, following attacks directed at the email accounts of human rights activists and in protest of the government’s internet censorship efforts, netizens have spoken out strongly in opposition to Google’s departure and the government’s attitude towards freedom of expression online. In posts on bulletin boards, blogs, and Twitter, some of Google’s users—mainly younger Chinese, including many university students—have expressed their dismay both at the loss of Google’s services and what Google’s departure may signify for the future of the internet development in China. Other supporters of Google’s vocalness have laid flowers outside Google’s offices in Beijing and Shanghai, acts that were declared “illegal” by the authorities.

According to the most recent reports, Google’s Chinese employees have already been placed on paid leave and training for incoming employees has been halted, leading observers to believe that the closing of its China office is imminent. (CHRD)[xxiii]

Editors: Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang

[i] “Lawyers Meet with Wang Yonghang; Family Calls for End to Persecution (律师会见王永航 家属吁停止迫害),” January 18, 2010,

[ii] “Beijing People’s Congress Sanitation Worker Detained for Petitioning at American Embassy (北京市人大保洁女工郭清华美国大使馆上访被拘留),”

[iii] “Liu Zhengyou Case Transferred to Procuratorate for Investigation and Indictment (刘正有案 件已经移送检察院审查起诉),” January 19, 2010,

[iv] “Beijing Upper Court Refuses to Hold Appeal Hearing for Liu Xiaobo in Open Court (北京市高级法院拒绝开庭审理刘晓波上诉案),” January 21, 2010,

[v] “Beijing Lawyer Li Zhuang Appeals Conviction (北京律师李庄不服一审判决提起上诉),” January 19, 2010,

[vi] “Xie Fulin’s Trial Begins in Changsha (长沙谢福林案旁听侧记),” Jan 14, 2010,

[vii] “Lipu, Guangxi police Rush into Guesthouse, Summon Journalist (广西荔浦警察冲进宾馆拘传记者),” January 21, 2010,

[viii] CHRD, “Xinjiang Lifts Ban on International Long-Distance Calls (新疆开放国际长途电话业务),” January 20, 2010,

[ix] Xibao Shangbao, “Recruiting experts, our province is to build a 650-member internet commentator team (网罗高手 我省 将建650人网评 ),” January 19, 2010,

[x] “Zheng Enchong: Hu Jintao Visits Shanghai, I Cannot Leave Home to Visit the Bathhouse (郑恩宠:胡锦涛到沪我出门洗澡被拒),” January 22, 2010,

[xi] “June 4th Student Leader Chen Tianshi Continues to Be Harassed and Threatened by Police (六四学生领袖陈天石连续遭到警察威 胁骚扰),” January 22, 2010,, see also: “June 4th Student Leader Chen Tianshi Threatened and Harassed by Police (六四学生领袖陈天石遭受警察威胁骚 扰),” January 21, 2010,

[xii] “Family of National Chinese Farmers’ Association Leader Threatened (中华全国农民协会负责人亲属受到威胁),” January 21, 2010,

[xiii] CHRD, “Shaanxi Baoji Judicial Bureau Detain Yang Bo’s Legal Worker License (陕西宝鸡司法局扣押杨博法律工作者证)”, January 20, 2010,

[xiv] CHRD, “A group of human rights activists warned in Hunan Province (湖南一批维权人士受到警告)”, January 20, 2010,

[xv] “‘Tiananmen Mothers’ and Activists Prevented from Commemorating Zhao Zhiyang (“天安门母 与一批维权人士被阻止纪念赵紫阳),” January 17, 2010,

[xvi] “Shangdong Activist Zhou Mengxin Summoned by Police; Questioned about his Investigation of Land Expropriation Case(山东维权人士周孟新因调查土地案被传唤),” January 16, 2010,

[xvii] “70 Year-old Hebei Petitioner Liu Shuoxiang Obtains Release on Bail for Medical Treatment (河北70岁访民刘硕祥获保外就医),” January 21, 2010,

[xviii] “Xie Changfa in Solitary Confinement; Family Again Refused Visit (谢长发狱中被关禁闭 家人探视再次遭拒),” January 21, 2010,

[xix] “Homeowners in Jinan Beaten by Housing Demolition Office Officials (济南拆迁办暴力拆迁打伤房主),” January 14, 2010,

[xx] “Jiangsu lawyer Wang Ying’s Suit Against Family-Planning Bureau to Be Heard Next Week (江苏女律师王莹诉计生局案下周开庭),”

[xxi] CRLW, “Over One Thousand Residents Protest Outsude of Guangzhou’s Likeng Garbage Incinerator (逾千人静座抗议广州李坑垃圾发电厂),” January 20, 2010,

[xxii] “Thousands of Workers Go on Strike at Taiwanese Company in Suzhou (苏州台企上万工人大罢工),” January 15, 2010,

[xxiii] “As Google Leaves China, Netizens Feel Sorry but Do Not Abandon It (谷歌退出中国,网民惋惜不舍),” January 15, 2010, See also “Google to Leave China; Strong Reaction from People from All Walks of Life (谷歌要退出中国 界反应强烈),” January 14, 2010, and “‘Illegal’ Flower Presentation at Google’s Shanghai Branch As Well (谷歌上海分部也被非法献花),” January 15, 2010,

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