China Human Rights Briefings January 7-13, 2010

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China Human Rights Briefing

January 7-13, 2010


Legal Rights

Freedom of Expression

Harassment of Activists

Arbitrary Detention

Freedom of Assembly

Law and Policy Watch

Legal Rights

Lawyer Li Zhuang Sentenced to Two and Half Years in Prison for “Fabricating Evidence and Obstructing Testimony”

On the morning of January 8, the Jiangbei District People’s Court in Chongqing announced that it had found Beijing lawyer Li Zhuang (李庄) guilty of “fabricating evidence and obstructing testimony” and sentenced him to two years and six months in prison. Close to one hundred people, including family members, government officials, and members of the media attended the verdict hearing, which followed Li’s trial on December 30, 2009. Li’s conviction and sentence stem from testimony given by Li’s former client, alleged Chongqing mob boss Gong Gangmo (龚刚模), 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), Li plans to appeal the ruling. (CHRD)[i]

Freedom of Expression

Sichuan Activist Chen Wei Summoned over Online Articles, Petitions

On the morning of January 6, Suining City, Sichuan Province activist Chen Wei (陈卫) was summoned by local National Security officers as well as Suining City PSB officials and questioned for approximately one hour. Police focused their interrogation on Chen’s participation in recent petitions, articles by Chen about constitutional government and Charter 08, as well as a statement regarding the sentence of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) by dissidents in Southwest China which had been posted on the Independent Chinese PEN website. (CHRD)[ii]

Harassment of Activists

Beijing Activist Gu Chuan Prevented from Leaving China

On the afternoon of January 8, Beijing human rights defender Gu Chuan (古川, also known as Ding Fangguan [丁访关]) was stopped by border guards at Beijing’s Capital International Airport and prevented from boarding a plane bound for Bangkok, Thailand. Gu Chuan was interrogated by police at the airport about the purpose of his travels before being informed that he was not allowed to leave the country. Police did not provide any legal documentation to back up their claims. Gu Chuan changed his departure date and again attempted to board a flight to Bangkok on the afternoon of January 10, but was once again stopped. Gu Chuan believes that the actions taken against him may be a result of police confiscating his passport from friend and fellow Beijing activist Zhang Zuhua’s (张祖桦) home, which police searched in December 2008 in connection with the release of Charter 08. (CHRD)[iii]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Chronically Ill Activist and RTL Detainee Chen Yang Loses Hope in Medical Release

In a telephone conversation with a friend on January 9, Chongqing human rights activist Chen Yang (陈杨) reported that he continues to suffer from shingles and a gallbladder infection while detained in a Fuling District, Chongqing Re-education through Labor (RTL) Camp. The two maladies are causing Chen extreme pain and discomfort. It is unclear whether Chen is receiving adequate medical treatment, but Chen said officials at the camp would not grant him a release on bail for medical treatment. Chen was detained on June 3, 2009, and sent to one year of RTL for “obstructing official business” by the Chongqing Municipal RTL Committee on June 19, 2009 for preparing a public display to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. (CHRD)[iv]

Arbitrary Detention

Police Seize Shenzhen Writer Zhao Dagong, Search Home and Question Family

Zhao Dagong (赵达功), secretary-general of the Independent Chinese PEN and member of the first group of Charter 08 signatories, remains in police detention after being taken from his Shenzhen home on January 11. Ten police officers, under the direction of a National Security official known to Zhao and his family, arrived around 10 am that morning and searched Zhao’s home for more than seven hours, confiscating two computers as well as a large number of manuscripts and books. Following the search, which concluded around 5 pm, Zhao, his wife, and son were taken to the local police station for questioning; Zhao’s wife and son were released around 9 pm that evening. On the evening of January 12, Zhao’s family members were once again called in for questioning, and again released the same night. The reasons for Zhao’s detention and interrogation remain unclear. (CHRD)[v]

The Independent Chinese PEN has issued a statement expressing concern for Zhao and calling for his immediate release. It is available here, in Chinese.

Activist Duan Chunfang Still Denied Visits from Family Six Months into Detention

Family members of Shanghai activist Duan Chunfang (段春芳) reported on January 13 that they have been unable to visit her since her detention began in July 2009. Duan’s relatives stated they applied for visits on multiple occasions since the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate Court upheld her sentence on December 15, 2009, but were refused access by prison officials. Her family is concerned that she may be in poor health, given her medical history and reports of poor conditions inside the Shanghai Municipal Detention Center, where Duan is being held. Other activists are also concerned that she might be at risk of torture. Duan was sentenced to a year and a half in prison on October 23, 2009, for “obstructing official business” after police alleged she attacked a police officer. It is believed that Duan’s conviction and sentence stems from efforts by officials to punish her for persistent petitioning and organizing other petitioners to defend their rights. (CHRD)[vi]

Guizhou Police Detain Petitioner for Over Four Months on Trumped-Up Charge

On September 4, 2009, petitioner Liu Junchun (刘俊春) was seized at his home in Guizhou Province’s Bijie City by local police and criminally detained in the Bijie City Detention Center on suspicion of “illegal mining.” Liu, who has been petitioning for years after local officials set fire to his coal mine, remains in detention as of January 7, 2010. It is believed that the charges against Liu are being used as a pretext to prevent him from petitioning about the mine, which was legally registered at the time of its destruction. (CHRD)[vii]

Heilongjiang Petitioner Seized in Beijing, Detained Ten Days

On December 24, 2009, Qiqihaer City, Heilongjiang Province petitioner Xu Yajun (徐雅君) was seized by police at the Beijing Liaison Office of the Qiqihaer government after preparing to petition outside of the United Nations’ Beijing offices. Qiqihaer police returned her to Heilongjiang, where she was detained for ten days for “disturbing the order of a public place.” Xu, who has been petitioning since 2005 for justice after an attack left her handicapped, has since been released. (CHRD)[viii]

Jiangsu Petitioner Detained in Psychiatric Hospital

CHRD has learned that Jiangsu petitioner Chen Cuilin (陈翠琳) has been detained for more than two months, and for a number of weeks has been held in Xiqiao Psychiatric Hospital in Taixing City. Chen, who was seized in Beijing by three unidentified individuals on November 2, 2009 after petitioning at the State Bureau for Letters and Visits and the National People’s Congress, was forcibly returned to her hometown in Jiangsu’s Sheyang County and detained in a series of black jails before being transferred to the Xiqiao hospital in December 2009. (CHRD)[ix]

Freedom of Assembly

Trial Upcoming for Petitioners and Activists Detained Following February Courthouse Protest

Ten protestors and activists arrested in Chengdu following a February 23 protest outside of the Chengdu Intermediate Court are to be tried in the coming weeks, CHRD has learned. According to family members and lawyers, a judge from the Leshan City Zhong District Court, where the case will be heard, has informed them that the trial will take place on February 1. The ten defendants—Bao Junsheng (鲍俊生), Huang Xiaomin (黄晓敏), Xing Qingxian (幸清贤), Lu Daqun (陆大椿), Yan Wenhan (严文汉), Zeng Rongkang (曾荣康), and four others—have been charged with “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order” for chaining themselves together to protest what they believed to be unfair rulings handed down by the court over the years. The protest drew widespread media attention at the time, and led the Party Central Discipline Committee and the Supreme Court to dispatch work teams to Chengdu to investigate local officials’ handling of the incident. (CHRD)[x]

At least one of the defendants, Lu Daqun (陆大椿), has reported being abused while detained, CHRD has learned. Lu told his lawyer Ran Tong (冉彤) that he had been beaten by the police following his detention and that he had been denied a release on bail for medical treatment despite being hospitalized on three occasions since his detention began. Lu, a veteran petitioner and activist, plans to plead not guilty. (CHRD)[xi]

Law and Policy Watch

Xinjiang Officials Continue Crackdown on “Three Forces” of Extremism, Separatism, Terrorism

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will implement an amended public security provision in order to strengthen and further regulate public security in the region and crack down on the “three forces” – terrorism, separatism, and extremism – which, according to the provision, are the top concerns in public security. The provisions further regulate that public security should be a factor in local government’s plans for economic and social development. The results of the provisions’ implementation will also be part of the evaluation criteria for officials in leadership roles. (Xinhua)[xii]

These concepts—extremism, terrorism, and separatism—need to be clearly defined to prevent political concerns from taking priority over the law. Moreover, the fight on the “three forces” should not be at the expense of the citizens’ basic human rights, and the government should be careful not to use the fight as an excuse for political control and suppression of dissenting voices.

Liaoning to Publicize Administrative Law Enforcement Information

Beginning January 10, Liaoning Province will implement a set of regulations that will disclose various aspects of administrative law enforcement. The regulations require the provincial government to make a range of information about administrative law enforcement agencies, including the limits of each agency’s authority as well as specific procedures, timelines, and criteria for administrative law enforcement, available to the public. (Xinhua)[xiii]

While disclosing details of administrative law enforcement is undoubtedly important—it is one of the basic requirements for a transparent government—press freedom and an independent judicial system are also necessary for the effective oversight of the government by civil society.

Editors: Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang

News updates from CHRD:

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

CHRD Yearbook 2007-2008:

[i] “Beijing Lawyer Li Zhuang Sentenced to Two Years and Six Months Fixed-Term Imprisonment in First Trial (北京律师李庄一审被法院判处有期徒刑26个月),” January 8, 2010,

[ii] “Sichuan Human Rights Activist Chen Wei Summoned (四川维权人士陈卫被传唤),” January 8, 2010,

[iii] “Beijing Human Rights Defender Gu Chuan Prevented from Leaving Country on Planned Trip (北京人权捍卫者古川出国旅行 却被禁止出境),” January 11, 2010,

[iv] “Chen Yang, Suffering from Chronic Illness in Prison, Calls Release on Bail for Medical Treatment ‘Hopeless’ (陈杨狱中病魔缠身,称保外就医无望),” January 11, 2010,

[v] “Zhao Dahong Detained Two Days, Family Members Once Again Summoned (赵达功被抓两天 家人再被传唤),” January 13, 2010, and “Zhao Dagong Still Being Interrogated (赵达功仍在被审讯中),” January 13, 2010,

[vi] “Family of Shanghai Activist Duan Chunfang Still Denied Visits Following Appeal (上海维权人士段春芳二审后仍被拒绝亲人探视),” January 13, 2010,

[vii] “Liu Junchun, of Bijie City, Guizhou Province, Detained for Petitioning (贵州毕节刘俊春因上访被关押),” January 8, 2010,

[viii] “Qiqihaer Petitioner Detained after Being Kidnapped (齐齐哈尔访民遭绑架后被拘留),” January 7, 2010,

[ix] “Jiangsu Petitioner Chen Cuilin Detained in Psychiatric Hospital (江苏访民陈翠琳被关精神病院),” January 9, 2010,

[x] “Chengdu ‘Chain Gate’ Trial of Huang Xiaomin and Others to Begin (成都“链子门”案黄晓敏等人即将开庭), Jan 12, 2010,

[xi] “Sichuan Activist Lu Dachun Accuses Police of Beating Him in Detention Center Meeting with Lawyer (四川维权人士陆大椿在看守所会见律师时指控曾遭警察殴打),” January 13, 2010,

[xii] ‘Xinjiang to Strengthen Public Security Measures and Crack down on “the Three Forces” 新疆立法加强社会治安综合治理 依法严打三股势,’ January 6, 2009,

[xiii] “Liaoning to Implement Public Announcement System on Administrative Law Enforcement 辽宁行政执法公示制度即将正式施,” January 8, 2009,

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