China Human Rights Briefing February 26- March 1, 2010

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China Human Rights Briefing

February 26- March 1, 2010


Freedom of Expression

Jilin Government Website Details Targeting of Political Publications during “Anti-Pornography” Campaign

On March 1, CHRD researchers discovered an article on the Jilin City Government’s Website regarding efforts by the Municipal Bureau of Press and Publications to “purify” the market for publications in Jilin. Among the achievements noted during the implementation of the 2009 anti-pornography campaign was the closure of 38 “illegal political publications.” The “illegal” publications were divided into four categories: those that attack the leaders of the Communist Party and state, those that attack Party policies, those that inflame ethnic tensions, and pirated versions of political works. (CHRD)[i]

Arbitrary Detention

Hubei Teachers’ Organizer Released from RTL, Compensated after 3 Months of Detention

Yang Huanqing (杨焕青), a community-run school teachers’ representative from Gong’an County, Hubei who was sent to one year of Re-education through Labor (RTL) on November 20, 2009, was released on February 26 by the Jingzhou RTL Committee. According to the original RTL notice received by Yang’s family, officials had sent Yang to RTL for organizing teachers to petition, meeting with other teachers’ representatives, and petitioning with other representatives on three specific occasions in 2009. After Yang’s detention began, hundreds of laid-off community school teachers gathered for a series of protests at the Hubei Province, Jingzhou City, and Gong’an County government offices. Yang had filed an administrative litigation lawsuit challenging his detention, and after a series of negotiations between officials at the Shashi District Court in Jingzhou, Yang’s lawyer, family members, and the Jingzhou RTL Committee, Yang was released. The local government gave Yang’s sister 10,000 RMB and demanded that Yang drops the lawsuit in exchange. (CHRD)[ii]

Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading, and Inhuman Treatment

Hunger Strike by Death Row Inmates Underlines Use of Torture, Failure of Courts

On February 23, three death row inmates in a Jiangxi Prison—Fang Chunping (方春平), Huang Zhiqiang (黄志强), and Cheng Fagen (程发根)—began a hunger strike to draw attention to their convictions, which have been upheld despite a lack of evidence and shocking abuses perpetrated by police assigned to their case. Fang, Huang, and Cheng, along with a fourth defendant, Cheng Lihe (程立和), are currently serving suspended death sentences for “murder, robbery, and rape” in cases which took place in 1999 and 2000. Following their arrests in 2002, the four were subjected to brutal torture during interrogation sessions by police seeking to extract confessions. Lawyers and scholars following the case have pointed out further problems, including critical pieces of evidence in the case which remain missing, in addition to the prosecution’s reliance on these confessions extracted by torture. (CHRD)[iii]

Persecution and Harassment of Activists

Officials Increase Harassment of “Sensitive” Individuals Ahead of NPC, CPPCC Sessions

As the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) approach, activists and petitioners across the country continue to be subjected to “soft detention,” put in black jails, forcibly returned to their hometowns, or otherwise monitored on a daily basis to prevent them from protesting or petitioning during the meetings. In the past few days, CHRD has learned of the following cases of harassment:

  • On February 28, Beijing activist Liu Anjun (刘安军) was taken away by National Security officials, CHRD learned from Mr. Liu’s wife. According to his wife, Liu has not been able to be contacted since. Mr. Liu is the director of Sunshine Charity, a group which advocates for homeless petitioners in Beijing.[iv]
  • Since February 26, Zhang Hua (张华), a veteran petitioner in Nantong, Jiangsu, and her family have been followed and monitored by more than 20 government officials. At one point, Zhang attempted to free herself from surveillance by getting into a taxi, but she was dragged out of the vehicle by the six officials following her. When Zhang’s brother protested the officials’ behavior, they beat him. [v]
  • On February 26, Liu Chunbao (刘纯保), a petitioner from Liaoning, was kidnapped by unidentified persons believed to be Beijing police in the Daxing District in Beijing. CHRD has since learned that Mr. Liu is detained in an unknown location along with Shang Zhongli (尚忠利), a petitioner from Inner Mongolia.[vi]
  • Jinan, Shandong-based petitioner Li Hongwei (李红卫) has been detained in Jinan’s Dongyi Hotel since February 26. Ms. Li had been under surveillance by the police and sub-district officials for two days before a sub-district official invited Ms. Li to the Dongyi Hotel to discuss her relocation plans after home demolition. When she arrived, she was forcefully brought to a room by six special security forces, who injured her head when she struggled to escape. After receiving three stitches at a local hospital, Ms. Li was again taken back to the hotel and detained.[vii]
  • On February 28, Zhu Juru (朱菊), a petitioner from Jiangxi, was taken away from her rented room in Beijing by 16 National Security officials, who then returned her to Xingyu, Jiangxi. [viii]
  • On March 1, Jin Yan (金焰), the wife of activist Xie Fulin (谢福林), was summoned to the local National Security Bureau, where officials told her she was on a list of individuals under surveillance and warned her against any petitioning activities during the two meetings.[ix][x]
  • On March 1, author Liao Yiwu (廖亦武) was taken off a plane going from Chengdu to Beijing by persons believed to be PSB officers. Liao was briefly detained at the police station in Chengdu’s Shangliu Airport and was later released. [xi]

Organizer of Card-writing Campaign Summoned

On March 1, Wang Yi (), an activist in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, was summoned for questioning at the local police station for eight hours. The police also confiscated her computer and other belongings without a proper warrant. Ms. Wang, who was released at around 11pm on the same day, said the police questioned her about a card-writing campaign for imprisoned activists that she initiated online. She was ordered to return to the police station on March 2.[xii]

Labor Rights

Hundreds Strike over Low Pay in Guangdong Factory

On February 24, over 300 female assembly line workers went on strike at a Huizhou City, Guangdong factory, seeking higher wages and better working conditions. According to one of the workers, the plant, which produces on/off switches for electrical products, pays the women 550 RMB (about 80 USD) per month, with an additional 2 RMB per hour of overtime. After paying living expenses, she said, the women are barely able to save any money. Local government officials and police arrived on the scene and asked the strikers to choose representatives to present their demands. The women choose about two dozen workers to draw up a list of ten concerns, which local officials promised to respond to within a week. The strike ended peacefully and without incident, and by the morning of the 25th most of the women had returned to work. (CHRD)[xiii]

Freedom of Assembly

Police in Chengdu Detain Organizer, Block Meeting on Government’s Alleged Earthquake Misconduct

A seminar planned for March 1 by citizens who believe the Department of Seismology should be held legally responsible for misconduct ahead of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake was prevented from taking place by police, who ransacked the group’s meeting room in Chengdu, Sichuan on Saturday. One organizer, Zhang Xiaohui (张晓辉), was forcibly taken to Beijing, while a volunteer, Wang Xiaodong (王笑冬), remains missing as of the time of writing. Police also confiscated a computer, camera, and documents belonging to the organizers. Zhang had organized the conference to highlight the case of Zhang Deliang (张得亮), an amateur seismologist who claims to have predicted the 2008 earthquake and later filed three lawsuits against the Department of Seismology for not taking appropriate steps to act on his prediction or suggestions for their work. None of Zhang Deliang’s lawsuits were accepted. Before police disrupted their plans, Zhang Xiaohui had planned to hold the conference to discuss the actions of the Department of Seismology, and to prepare a fourth lawsuit to file on behalf of Zhang Deliang. (CHRD)[xiv]

Citizens’ Actions

CHRD Releases Report on Freedom of Religion in China

On February 26, CHRD released its latest report, documenting the persecution faced by Christian house churches in China and analyzing the current restrictions on the free practice of religion (宗教信仰在中国:桎梏 与出路—基督教家庭教会信仰自由现状分析及改进建议). The report includes a concrete set of recommendations for realizing freedom of religion, calling for constitutional and legal amendments to better protect this critical right of Chinese citizens and an end to the government management of religious practice in China. For the full text, in Chinese, please click here.

Thirteen Chinese Newspapers Publish Editorial Demanding Reform of Household Registration System

On March 1, only a few days before the beginning of the annual meetings of the NPC and CPPCC, a group of 13 domestic newspapers from 11 provinces and cities, including Southern Metropolis Daily, Chongqing Times, and the Economic Observer, published a group editorial calling on delegates to the two meetings to reform the current household registration system with the ultimate goal of abolishing it altogether. The editorial was met with widespread acclaim online, with netizens praising the newspapers’ efforts to contribute a forceful push to a long-simmering debate. It was a bold act—it was probably the first high-profile initiative taken by China’s newspapers to put pressure on the government during the Two Meetings. Analysts believe that it was a breakthrough for the Chinese press, as the editorial uses the language of rights and advocates for the perspective of the civil society, instead of that of the government.[xv] For the full text, in Chinese, please click here.

Law and Policy Watch

National People’s Congress Debates Draft Amendment to State Secrets Law

According to a February 24 Xinhua report, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress began deliberations on a draft amendment to the State Secrets Law. The report stated that the amendment would clearly define what constitutes a “state secret,” as well as setting a fixed time limit on state secrets. Three levels of secrecy were identified, with the most secret rating to expire after 30 years, and the lowest-level of secrecy to expire after 10 years. However, it is not clear how these levels would be defined. (Xinhua)[xvi]

Reforms to the state secrets law have been long overdue, as it has been used on countless occasions to prosecute citizens for speaking out, limit detainees’ access to lawyers, and hold trials in secret. For reforms to have a real effect, they must clearly and explicitly define state secrets in a manner which respects citizens’ right to freedom of expression and right to a fair trial. In August 2009, CHRD issued a statement which pointed out many serious shortcomings with the current draft amendment and outlined a number of concrete recommendations. For the full text, in Chinese, please click here.

Party Officials Issue New Ethics Code for Cadres

Xinhua reported on February 24 that the Chinese Communist Party has issued a new set of ethics regulations for Party cadres. According to the report, the code includes 52 banned activities, including exploiting one’s position for personal gain, engaging in business secretly or without permission, and using public funds for personal interest. The new ethics regulations are a replacement for the existing set of regulations, created in 1997. (Xinhua)[xvii]

While fighting corruption in any form is a worthwhile endeavor, CHRD is concerned that the new ethics code is not being proposed as a law. If the Chinese government were serious about implementing the rule of law, why not use the law to govern cadres, who are citizens first and Party members second? Tasking Party discipline organs, rather than the courts, with handling issues of government corruption prevents the judicial system from performing one of its most important tasks.

Editors: Jenn Ling, David Smalls and Lin Sang

*** CHRD’s Human Rights Yearbook 2009 is now available. For a free copy, please contact us with your mailing address at ***

News updates from CHRD

Thrown Out: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development

[i] “China’s ‘Anti-Pornography’ Campaign Focuses on Closing 38 Political Publications?” (中国“打黄扫非”就是重点封堵38种政治性出版物?!), March 1, 2010,

[ii] “Community-Run School Teachers’ Representative Yang Huanqing, Sent to RTL, Found Not Guilty and Released with Compensation” (被劳教的民师代表杨焕青无罪释放并获国家赔偿), February 26, 2010,

[iii]Hunger Strike by Death Row Inmates Underlines Use of Torture, Failure of Courts,” February 26, 2010,

[iv] “At the Eve of the Two Meetings, Petitioner Advocate Liu Anjun Taken away” (两会在即阳光公益发起人刘安军被), March 1, 2010,

[v] “Nantong Officials Tighten Control of Petitioners at the Eve of the Two Meetings; Activist Zhang Hua under House Arrest” (两会前南通加紧监控访民,维权人士张华遭软), February 27, 2010,

[vi] “Petitioner Liu Chunbao Kidnapped on the Eve of the Two Meetings” (两会前夕,访民春晚策划人刘纯保被绑), February 26, 2010,

[vii] “At the Eve of the Two Meetings, Jinan petitioner LI Hongwei Held in Soft Detention” (两会前济南访民李红卫被非法软), March 1, 2010,

[viii] “Jiangxi Petitioner Zhu Juru Taken away by Police at the Eve of the Two Meetings” (兩會前江西訪民朱菊如被國保帶), February 28, 2010,

[ix] “At the Eve of the Two Meetings, Xie Fulin’s Wife under Surveillance” (“两会前夕谢福林的妻子遭监控), February 28, 2010,

[x] “At the Eve of the Two Meetings, Xie Fulin’s Wife on the Official’s List of Individuals under Surveillance” (两会前夕谢福林妻子上稳控名单被监), March 1, 2010,

[xi] “Writer Liao Yiwu Detained by the Police on his Way to Beijing” (著名作家廖亦武進京途中被扣派出), March 1, 2010,

[xii]“Activist Wang Yi Summoned for Questioning; Belongings Confiscated” (著名维权人士王译遭传), March 1, 2010,

[xiii] “Monthly Wages Less than 1000 Yuan, 300 Female Workers Strike in Huizhou, Guangdong” (月工资不到千元,广东 惠州300名女工 罢工), February 26, 2010,

[xiv] “‘Civil Society Seminar Seeking Responsibility from Chinese Department of Seismology’ Broken Up” (“民间问责中国地震局研讨会”被破坏), March 1, 2010,

[xv] CHRD, Thirteen domestic media call for the end of “the rigid hukou system” (国内13家媒体呼吁终结“僵化的户籍制度”), March 1, 2010,

[xvi] “Revised Draft of State Secrets Law Sets Time Limits on Secrets; Top-Level Secrets Not to Exceed 30 Years” (保密法修订草案规定保密期限 绝密级不超过30), February 24, 2010,

[xvii] “CCP Issues 52-Point Ethics Code for Cadres” (中共颁布廉政准则 52“不准”规范党员干部行为), February 24, 2010,

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