China Human Rights Briefings January 30-February 5, 2010

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China Human Rights Briefing

January 30-February 5, 2010

Harassment of Activists

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Legal Rights

Arbitrary Detention

Freedom of Movement

Citizens’ Actions

Law and Policy Watch

Harassment of Activists

Beijing Dissidents Cha Jianguo and Gao Hongming Subjected to Soft Detention

Beijing dissidents Cha Jianguo (查建国) and Gao Hongming (高洪明) have been subjected to “soft detention” since January 29 and January 27, respectively. Cha and Gao have been guarded by policemen stationed at their apartment blocks. Though they are allowed to leave their homes, they are asked to travel in police vehicles. The policemen’s only explanation was that they were under orders from higher authorities. As a result, Cha and Gao were prevented from attending a meeting of fellow dissidents in Beijing. Cha and Gao helped found the China Democracy Party in 1998 and were subsequently jailed on subversion charges until 2008 and 2007, respectively. (CHRD)[i]

Forced Eviction and Demolition

Two Jiangsu Residents Seriously Injured in Forced Eviction

On January 15, two residents of Funing County, Jiangsu Province, sustained serious injuries as over 100 demolition and eviction workers forced them out of their home and connected shop and violently beat them. Chen Rong (陈荣) and his wife Liu Yufen (刘玉芬) remain hospitalized in Funing; both suffered serious injuries to their heads and faces, while Liu’s leg was broken and Chen sustained kidney damage. Chen’s 92 year-old father, Chen Birun (陈必润), was also removed from the home as part of the eviction. According to Chen, local government workers from a variety of departments, including the Public Security Bureau, the Urban Inspection Bureau, and the Department of Sanitation were responsible for the violence. The couple had not signed an agreement with developers prior to their forced eviction because they believed the compensation they were offered was too low. Liu had attempted to resolve the matter with local officials and applied for adjudication in December 2009; however, her application was never accepted. (CHRD)[ii]

Six Injured in Clash between Developer and Landholders in Guangxi

On January 27, security personnel employed by Guangxi Jiahe Development Group, a real estate developer, were approached by Huang Jianxian (黄建先), a 76-year-old man, as they were stripping away electric cables at Jiuquwan Farm, Santang Town, Xingning District, Nanning, Guangxi. After Huang questioned them about their actions, the security personnel, who were armed with clubs and shields, struck and injured him. A group of local residents rushed to his aid. Policemen from Santang Police Station were called but did not arrive until an hour later, by which time five residents were injured in the ensuing struggle. Later, about 200 Jiuquwan residents demonstrated outside of the Jiahe Group building. They were dispersed by about a hundred Santang policemen and officials who arrived at the scene, and three were taken into custody.

Huang’s family told CHRD that Huang, who is uneducated, signed a contract to sell his two acres of land to the Jiahe Group without being told the full extent of the deal. The contract will leave Huang with RMB 50,000 in compensation without arrangement for accommodation. Huang refuses to move from his land or take any compensation from Jiahe Group, which has since filed a lawsuit accusing him of not fulfilling the contract and harassed him and a number of elderly residents of similar situation. (CHRD)[iii]

Legal Rights

Appeals Hearing for Li Zhuang Concludes Following Surprising Change of Plea

After two days of hearings, the appeal of Beijing lawyer Li Zhuang (李庄) of his conviction and sentence for “fabricating evidence and obstructing testimony” concluded on the afternoon of February 3. No verdict was rendered, though the presiding judge announced that the court would select a date to announce the judgment. Unexpectedly, Li announced during testimony on February 2 that he was guilty of the crime, and followed that announcement by stating on February 3 that he would not speak to the media about his sudden confession. Despite Li’s abrupt shift, and statements he made that lawyers must “agree with the Communist Party,” his lawyer Chen Youxi (陈有西) stated that his defense team would continue to pursue Li’s original plea of not guilty. Lawyer Gao Zicheng (高子程) added that no concrete evidence has been produced to show that Li is guilty of fabricating evidence and obstructing testimony, the charge Li was given after his client Gong Gangmo (龚刚模) accused Li of instructing him to lie in court that he was tortured during interrogation by police officers. (CHRD)[iv]

Court Rejects Suit from Housing Rights Advocate Detained 95 Days in Psychiatric Hospital

CHRD learned on February 5 that the Nantong City Intermediate People’s Court has refused to accept an administrative litigation lawsuit filed by housing rights advocate Li Zhongqi (李忠琦), who was arbitrarily detained in a psychiatric institution for 95 days by the Nantong City Government and the Gangzha District Government. His suit, which he filed with the court on December 22, 2009, asks for his detention to be declared illegal and for the government to provide him with compensation. After receiving no reply for more than one month, Li travelled to the court on January 26, 2010, where he was given a notice stating that his lawsuit did not meet the qualifications of the court and was being returned. Li notes that this response violated regulations stating that administrative litigation lawsuits must be accepted or rejected within a week, and it also did not specify what about his suit did not meet the court standards. It is believed Li was detained for his efforts to help victims of forced evictions prepare lawsuits and for petitioning together with victims of forced evictions. (CHRD)[v]

Jiangsu Court Hears Anti-Discrimination Lawsuit against Family Planning Bureau

On February 4, the administrative litigation lawsuit brought by Wang Ying (王莹) against the Quanshan District Family Planning Bureau was heard by the Quanshan District Court in Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province. The four-and-a-half-hour trial concluded without a verdict; the court announced it would fix a date to declare a judgment. According to reports, the courtroom was packed with observers, including prominent members of the provincial National People’s Congress and People’s Political Consultative Conference. There was also a heavy media presence outside the courthouse. Wang, a former lawyer, was suing because she 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. (CHRD)[vi]

Beijing’s Yitong Law Firm Remains Closed after Ten Months

Beijing’s Yitong Law Firm (北京忆通律师事务所), forced to close for six months for “re-organization” by the Beijing Haidian District Bureau of Justice on February 17, 2009, remains closed more than ten months later. The law firm is not allowed to practice again until it obtains permission from the Bureau. The Bureau has asked the firm to submit a number of items and documents, including its seal and accounting books, but the firm has refused to comply, arguing that the Bureau’s request has no legal basis. The firm is still in negotiation with the Bureau and it is unclear when it would be allowed to practice again. Yitong was punished for advocating for direct elections of the leadership of the Beijing Lawyers’ Association in 2008. The firm is also known for taking on tough rights cases, such as representing jailed activists Hu Jia and Chen Guangcheng. (CHRD)[vii]

Arbitrary Detention

Chengdu Court to Announce Verdict for Tan Zuoren Next Tuesday

CHRD has learned that the Chengdu Intermediate Court will announce a verdict at 9:30 am on February 9 in the case of writer and environmentalist Tan Zuoren (谭作人), who was tried for “inciting subversion of state power” on August 12, 2009. After the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, Tan, who is based in Chengdu, Sichuan, published a number of commentaries online which were critical of the government’s handling of the disaster. In February 2009, Tan released a proposal calling on internet volunteers to travel to Sichuan Province to compile a list of students who died in the earthquake and to investigate the quality of school buildings which collapsed as well as the treatment of parents whose children died in the earthquake. Tan had hoped to finish his investigation by the first anniversary of the earthquake. However, he was taken into police custody on March 28, 2009. It is believed that Tan is being punished for his independent investigation into the earthquake deaths. (CHRD)[viii]

Chongqing Workers’ Rights Activist Administratively Detained

CHRD learned on February 4 that Pengshui County, Chongqing activist Liang Mingyuan (梁明远) has been administratively detained by local National Security officials for 10 days. According to a friend of Liang’s, Liang called shortly after midnight on February 4 to say he was being taken to a local Detention House, where he was to be administratively detained for “disrupting the order of a public place.” Liang indicated to his friend he would go on a hunger strike to protest his detention. Liang, a former grain worker who has protested and petitioned in the past on behalf of fellow workers who lost their jobs when their work units were privatized, was also summoned by Chongqing police after a meeting with other activists on January 30. (CHRD)[ix]

Shanghai Activist Liu Yiliang Seized by Police, Held for Two Days as Warning

On the evening of February 1, Shanghai human rights activist Liu Yiliang (刘义良) was seized in the vicinity of Jiading District’s Jiangqiao Town by a National Security officer and four plainclothes policemen. He was then held in an unknown location for two days before being hooded and left by the roadside in Jiangqiao Town on the evening of February 3. The police reportedly warned Liu not to cause any trouble during the upcoming World Expo and not to write any articles critical of the local government. The officers threatened to detain Liu again if he did not comply with their instructions. At no point did the officers produce any documentation to authorize their actions. Liu, a petitioner-turned-activist, has been harassed on a number of occasions over the past year for his rights-defense activities. (CHRD)[x]

Four More Petitioners Discovered to Be Detained in Guangxi

On January 25, CHRD reported that five petitioners from Liuzhou, Guangxi—Min Jihui (民继惠), Zhong Ruihua (钟瑞华), Zeng Zhaokuang (曾昭旷), Li Chunfen (李春芬), and Huang Huiyue (黄惠月)—had been sent to one year of Re-education through labor (RTL). CHRD learned on February 2 that four more petitioners—Gao Guizhen (高桂珍), Tan Xianying (覃显英), Jin Li (金丽), and Huang Liuhong (黄柳红)—have suffered the same fate. According to reports, the petitioners were detained in Liuzhou and Beijing between December 28, 2009, and January 25, 2010, and were all sent to RTL for “improper petitioning in designated non-petitioning areas of Beijing.” With the exception of Zeng, all of the detained petitioners are women, and are currently held in the Guangxi Women’s RTL Camp in Nanning, Guangxi. Zeng is detained in Liuzhou. Additionally, Zhong is 63 years old, while Tan and Huang are both 60. 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. (CHRD)[xi]

Freedom of Movement

Author Liao Yiwu Once Again Prevented from Leaving China

Well-known Sichuan author and poet Liao Yiwu (廖亦武) was informed by local police on February 3 that he would not be allowed to leave the country in the coming days, stating that he remains on a list of individuals banned from traveling abroad. The police did not tell him when and how he would be taken off the list, which is drawn up by “higher authorities” in Beijing. Liao had recently received an invitation to attend the upcoming Cologne International Literature Festival in Cologne, Germany, as a guest of honor, and had applied for permission to leave China with the authorities. This marks the thirteenth occasion during the past decade that Liao has been prevented from leaving the country; he was last stopped in late April, 2009, while on his way to accept a prize from an Australian foundation. Liao is a vocal government critic and his recent work includes A Record of the Earthquake (大地震记事) and the Corpse Walker. (CHRD)[xii]

Citizens’ Actions

Liu Xiaobo Nominated for Peace Prize by Prominent International Figures

In recent days, a number of prominent international figures and politicians have spoken out in support of Chinese human rights advocates as potential recipients of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. A group of forty Czech and fifty Slovak members of parliament (see here) nominated Liu Xiaobo for the prize, while Former Czech president Vaclav Havel, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu and others signed a joint letter supporting his nomination (see here). A group of seven US Congressmen nominated Liu, Chen Guangcheng, and Gao Zhisheng (see here) for the award.

Law and Policy Watch

Draft of New Regulations Regarding Forced Evictions Released

On January 29, the Chinese government released a draft of the new Regulations for Expropriation and Compensation of Residential Buildings on State-owned Land (国有土地上房屋征收与 补偿条例) for public comment. These regulations are designed to replace the Urban Housing Demolition and Relocation Management Regulations, the administrative guidelines which currently stipulate the necessary procedures for demolishing urban properties and forcibly evicting residents. Among the notable inclusions in these proposed regulations are: they stress that forced evictions can only be carried out in the “public interest,” a term not used in the Demolition Regulations, and outline seven areas of “public interest.” They stipulate that homeowners should be compensated for the market value of their homes as determined by “independent” property appraisers. They also stipulate that the persons affected by the eviction, the public and experts be consulted prior to the decision to expropriate the homes. For the full text (in Chinese), please click here. Input from the public is being accepted until February 12, 2010. (Xinhua )

While the abolition of the Demolition Regulations has been urgently needed, and that certain aspects of the draft regulations are encouraging, the new regulations have many flaws. For example, the seven areas of public interest are vague and broad, and could still potentially encompass commercial real estate development. The new regulations also do not give people being forced to relocate the option of stopping the process while disputes are resolved, keeping them in a position of limited bargaining power with developers. CHRD also believes that administrative reform alone will not solve the problems stemming from forced evictions. For details about the practice and problems of forced evictions, please see CHRD’s upcoming report, Thrown Out: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development, to be released on February 9.

Revision of Administrative Reconsideration Law to be on State Council’s Legislative Agenda this Year

According to Legal Daily, a revision of Administrative Reconsideration Law will be on the State Council’s legislative agenda this year. The current law still has the following problems: first, the relationship between administrative reconsideration and other systems of remedies, that is, administrative litigation lawsuits and Letters and Visits, is unclear Second, on the municipal and county level, where many cases of administrative reconsideration are focused, the handling of such cases have not been satisfactory. Third, some leaders at the local level are not familiar with the issue of administrative reconsideration and they have not devoted adequate time to this area. Fourth, agencies in charge of administrative reconsideration remain negative, often rejecting cases crucial to the people’s welfare, such as cases regarding land expropriation, compensation, etc. (Legal Daily)[xiii]

As the organs responsible for administrative reconsideration are also administrative agencies and therefore tend to take orders from leaders in the local government, there is little hope that revision to the law will bring about substantive change. Currently, administrative reconsideration is no more than a formality and does not rein in the power of the local government nor protect the people’s rights.

Editors: Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang

[i] “Beijing Dissidents Cha Jianguo and Gao Hongming’s Movement Restricted” (北京异议人士查建 国、高洪明被限制自由), January 31, 2010,

[ii] “Jiangsu Violent Forced Eviction Leads to Serious Injuries, Hospitalizations “(江苏暴力拆迁致人重伤入院), February 3, 2010,

[iii] “Conflict between Developer and Landholders in Nanning, Guangxi, Led to Injuries” (广西南宁开发商与 钉子户冲突数人受伤), January 30, 2010,

[iv] “Court Adjourns After Li Zhuang’s Appeal; Date to Announce Judgment Forthcoming” (李庄案二审休庭,将择期 宣判), February 4, 2010,

[v] “Nantong, Jiangsu Resident Sues Government, Court Does Not Accept Case” (江苏省南通市民起诉市政府,法院不予 立案), February 5, 2010,

[vi] “Female Lawyer Wang Ying’s ‘Babygate’ Lawsuit Heard in Xuzhou” (女律师王莹婚育门诉讼在徐州开庭), February 4, 2010,

[vii] “When does Suspension for Re-organization end for Beijing Yitong Law Firm? (北京忆通律师事务所“停业整顿”何时 ),” February 2, 2010,

[viii] “Special Alert: Verdict for Tan Zuoren to Be Announced on February 9” (特别关注:谭作人案将于29日宣判), February 5, 2010,

[ix] “Chongqing Human Rights Defender Liang Mingyuan Administratively Detained” (重庆维权人士 梁明远被行政拘留), February 4, 2010,

[x] “Shanghai Activist Liu Yiliang Illegally Taken into Custody” (上海维权人士刘义良被非法拘禁), February 4, 2010,

[xi] “Number of Liuzhou, Guangxi Petitioners Sent to RTL Now Nine” (广西柳州被劳教访民增至九人), February 2, 2010,

[xii] “Sichuan Author Liao Yiwu Prevented from Leaving Country for 13th Time” (四川作家廖亦武第十三次被限制出境), February 3, 2010,

[xiii] “Revision of Administrative Reconsideration Law to be on State Council’s Legislative Agenda this Year” (行政复议法修订列入今年国务院立法计划), January 27, 2010,

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