China Human Rights Briefings February 12-19

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Arbitrary Detention

Harassment of Activists

Labor Rights

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Legal Rights

Citizens’ Actions

Law and Policy Watch

Shanghai Activist Tong Guojing Sent to RTL on Eve of Chinese New Year


CHRD has learned that Shanghai housing rights activist Tong Guojing (童国菁) was sent to one year and six months of Re-education through Labor (RTL) on February 13. Tong was taken from his home by National Security officers on the morning of February 8 for questioning, and his family received the notice that he had been sent to RTL five days later. Tong, who began petitioning following a forced eviction in 2003, has been advocating for other petitioners’ rights for years. He was criminally detained for a month during the Olympics for applying to stage a protest in Beijing with other Shanghai petitioners, and recently briefly detained in December 2009 for shouting slogans in support of Liu Xioabo (刘晓波) outside of his trial in Beijing. (CHRD)[i]


Harassment of Activists


Feng Zhenghu Returns Home


At 9:45 am on February 12, Shanghai activist Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎) boarded a plane at Tokyo’s Narita Airport bound for Shanghai. Nine days earlier, Feng had concluded his 92-day protest after Chinese officials met with him and agreed to allow him to return home. Though over 100 supporters, fellow activists, and members of the media had gathered at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport to greet Feng on his return, he was taken through a private exit and left the airport with his wife without speaking to anyone. Feng, a Chinese citizen, travelled to Japan on April 1, 2009, and first attempted to fly back to Shanghai after June 4. He was prevented from returning to China on eight occasions before he refused to re-enter Japan in early November 2009 and camped in protest outside the immigration hall at Narita. (CHRD)[ii]


Beijing Police Break up Food Distribution for Stranded Petitioners, Briefly Detain Volunteer


On February 13, the eve of Chinese New Year, Beijing police broke up a food distribution effort organized by a group of Beijing volunteers to aid petitioners stranded in the capital in the cold winter. Sunshine Charity (阳光公益) had organized for petitioners to eat at a restaurant near the South Train Station, but police forced the restaurant to cancel the event. Sunshine Charity volunteers then organized the dinner at another restaurant nearby, but the police arrived and dispersed the 200 petitioners and forced the restaurant to close. Two Sunshine Charity volunteers, Zheng Lin (正琳) and Sun Cuihua (孙翠花) were questioned by police, while another volunteer, Li Jinliang (李金良), was briefly detained. Li has since been released. Sunshine Charity director Liu Anjun (刘安军), who was not at the scene, reported that 7 or 8 National Security officers were stationed outside of his relatives’ home, where he and his family had gathered to celebrate the New Year. (CHRD)[iii]


Labor Rights


Many Workers Injured, One Critically, Following Protest over Unpaid Wages


An ongoing wage dispute at a hydroelectric plant in Chongqing’s Zhongliang Township turned violent on February 7 after a contractor responded to worker demands for back pay by dispatching hired thugs to attack the workers, CHRD has learned. Migrant workers preparing to return home for the New Year had been protesting over the failure of the contractor, Lu Jian (卢健), to pay their wages. As Lu had disappeared from the worksite, the workers repeatedly contacted management at the SinoHydro Foundation Engineering Company, a state-owned enterprise, which was responsible for the project. In response, Lu first threatened the workers, and then, as the workers continued to press for the money owed to them, Lu called in thugs, armed with knives and bats, to attack workers in their temporary housing. A number of workers were injured, and one fifty-year old man, surnamed Liu (), remains in critical condition after suffering a serious head injury. (CHRD)[iv]

UPDATE: As of February 23, Liu remained hospitalized and the workers’ problems have not yet been satisfactorily addressed. For more, see: https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100223183221_20045.html


Forced Eviction and Demolition


Guangxi Villagers Injured by Hired Criminals for Challenging Construction Project


On the afternoon of January 30, a group of villagers in Ertang Township, Guilin City, Guangxi Province were attacked by hired thugs after confronting workers beginning a construction project on village land. According to reports CHRD received from a villager at the scene, workers hired by Sunshine 100, a national real estate developer, were confronted by villagers who believed that a construction project on village land was being undertaken without proper procedures. The workers responded by summoning a group of 30 hired criminals armed with knives, who arrived and attacked the unarmed villagers. More than 10 villagers were hospitalized with serious injuries, and at the time of writing an unknown number are believed to still be hospitalized. Two local police chiefs and township cadres were reportedly present at the scene, but did nothing to stop the violence. The villagers, who plan to petition and report on the violence to government officials, have reported receiving threatening phone calls since the incident. Although CHRD has been unable to verify the report with another eyewitness, another villager reached by CHRD confirmed that s/he has heard of the incident. (CHRD)[v]


Detained Petitioner Suffers Allergic Reaction in Black Jail


On February 15, Shanghai petitioner Li Caidi (李彩娣) was seized in Beijing and forcibly returned to Shanghai. Once there, Li was transferred to a black jail, where Li suffered an allergic reaction to an unknown substance and was rushed to Huashan Hospital for emergency treatment on February 16. Li’s current condition is not known. Li, 46, has been petitioning since a 2004 forced eviction. According to Wei Qin (魏勤), who was detained along with Li in Shanghai, the black jail currently houses a total of 7 detainees, all of whom are petitioning because of forced evictions. (CHRD)[vi]


Legal Rights


Jiangsu Woman Loses Suit against Family Planning Bureau


On February 12, the Quanshan District Court in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province announced that it had found in favor of the Quanshan District Family Planning Bureau in a lawsuit brought by Wang Ying (王莹), a 30 year-old former lawyer who 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. During the period of 13 months between Wang’s wedding and when she and her husband were able to obtain a marriage registration, Wang had a baby, and the suit was to determine whether the Quanshan District Family Planning Bureau acted properly in decreeing that Wang’s baby was born out of wedlock. Her case, which touched on issues of discrimination, right to privacy, and the right to work, was closely watched domestically. (CHRD)[vii]


Citizens’ Actions


As Chinese New Year Arrives, Send a Postcard to an Imprisoned Human Rights Defender


CHRD has launched a Facebook campaign, called “One Person, One Card,” calling on members of the domestic and international community to send New Year’s cards to imprisoned human rights defenders. Supporters are encouraged to send cards to demonstrate their concern for the imprisoned activists as well as their dedication to the important causes to which these activists have sacrificed their freedom; more information, including a list of imprisoned activists and relevant addresses, can be found here (in Chinese).


Netizens Create Postcards to Send to Imprisoned Activists for Chinese New Year


Similar to the CHRD-sponsored action, on February 16 a group of netizens launched a postcard drive, calling on citizens to send postcards adorned with yellow ribbons to imprisoned human rights defenders during the New Year holiday. For printable images of the cards, including addresses, please click here. (CHRD)[viii]


Law and Policy Watch


Government Announces End to Hepatitis B Testing


On February 10, three government ministries, including the Ministry of Health, announced that health examinations required to attend school or begin a job will no longer test for Hepatitis B. The decision is the latest effort by officials to combat systemic discrimination against Hepatitis B carriers in China. It is estimated that 100 million Chinese citizens are Hepatitis B carriers, and many have faced cases of health-based discrimination. (Beijing News)[ix]

This latest step by the government to combat discrimination against Hepatitis B carriers is a testament to the efforts that have been made in recent years by individuals and organizations like Beijing’s Yirenping Center. However, deeply-rooted bias at the local level will not be easily overcome, and independent judicial oversight is critical to ensuring that citizens’ rights will be protected should anyone disregard this latest edict.


New Eviction Regulations Receive over Ten Thousand Comments


According to a February 13 Beijing News report, the State Council Legal Office received over thirteen thousand comments from the public on the draft of the Regulations for Expropriation and Compensation of Houses on State-Owned Land. The draft regulations, which were made public on January 29, were open to comment until February 12. The report stated that the majority of comments were related to provisions in the new regulations which would still permit the expropriation of private housing for real estate development, as opposed to projects which benefit the “public good.” (Beijing News)[x]

Though the regulations did address some of the problems which exist under the current regulations governing forced evictions, it was clear from the outset that protecting citizens’ rights was not their primary concern. For CHRD’s recommendations to the Chinese government, which we submitted via email (but was bounced back) and mail, please see our most recent report on forced evictions, Thrown Out: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development.

Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang


[i] “Shanghai Human Rights Defender Tong Guojing Sent to RTL on New Year’s Eve” (上海维权人士童国菁大年三 十被劳教), February 14, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100214003803_19935.html

[ii] “Feng Zhenghu Arrives in Shanghai” (冯正虎抵达上海), February 12, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100212143555_19914.html

[iii] “Beijing Petitoners’ New Year Dinner Spoiled by Police” (北京访民年夜饭被警察搅局), February 13, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100213190044_19932.html

[iv] “Rural Workers Seriously Beaten, Injured Following Wage Dispute” (农民工讨工资被打至生命垂 ), February 12, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100212134350_19913.html

[v] “Guilin Real Estate Business Leads to Attack on Villagers by Criminals” (桂林房地产商指使黑势力血 洗村民), February 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100216191139_19963.html

[vi] “Shanghai Petitioner Li Caidi Detained in Black Jail, Becomes Critically Ill” (上海访民李彩娣被囚黑监狱病危), February 17, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100217001950_19967.html

[vii] “Xuzhou Female Lawyer Wang Ying Loses ‘Babygate’ Suit” (徐州女律师王莹“婚育门”一审败诉), February 12, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201002/20100212131953_19912.html

[viii] “Netizens Launch ‘Yellow Ribbon New Year’s Postcard Courier Action'” (网友发起“黄丝带贺年卡明信片信使在行动”), February 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class71/201002/20100216085726_19955.html

[ix] “Beijing Eliminates Hepatitis B Testing” (京高招体检取消乙肝检测), February 12, 2010, http://epaper.bjnews.com.cn/html/2010-02/12/content_66062.htm?div=-1

[x] “Housing Expropriation Regulations Receive Over 10,000 Comments (房屋征收条例获万余意见), February 13, 2010, http://epaper.bjnews.com.cn/html/2010-02/13/content_66273.htm?div=-1

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