China Human Rights Briefings February 20-25, 2010

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Citizens’ Actions

Freedom of Expression

Forced Demolition and Eviction

Arbitrary Detention

Freedom of Association

Legal Rights

Right to Education

Harassment of Petitioners

Harassment of Activists

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment

Law and Policy Watch

Citizens’ Actions

Artists March on Chang’an Avenue to Protest against Forced Eviction

On February 22, between 20 and 30 Beijing artists including Ai Weiwei (艾未未) took to Chang’an Avenue, marching down the street carrying banners protesting against forced evictions and demanding protection for citizens’ rights. The demonstration, which concluded peacefully, was widely followed on Chinese blogs and on Twitter, with some calling it the first protest on Chang’an Avenue since the spring of 1989. Though a number of police surrounded the marchers when they reached their destination, there were no reports of any of the artists being detained.

The march was sparked by a violent forced eviction in a Beijing arts district in the middle of last night. According to eyewitnesses, seven artists were beaten during the forced eviction, which was carried out by close to 200 masked thugs. The thugs fled when the police arrived, but the police took no action to arrest the men. Satoshi Iwama (岩间贤), a Japanese artist, suffered a serious head wound and received five stitches. (CHRD)[i]

Freedom of Expression

Kunming Dissident Questioned over Support for Charter 08, Liu Xiaobo

CHRD has learned that National Security officers and police in Kunming, Yunnan have questioned local dissident and Charter 08 signatory Shao Yingxi (邵英曦) twice in recent days, and have searched his computer, copying some of its contents. According to Shao and others, police questioned Shang on February 23 and 25; on both occasions, they asked him about his involvement with Charter 08 and online actions to support Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). Police warned Shao, who has written online about democratic principles and the law, to discontinue his involvement with these causes. (CHRD)[ii]

Site Devoted to Academic Exchange Blocked

CHRD learned on February 22 that the well-known academic website Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend ( has been closed. According to the website’s manager, the company responsible for operating the site’s server received a notice from relevant authorities ordering the site to be closed for “reorganization and reform” on February 16. In response, the site’s manager moved it to an overseas server, but on the evening of the 19th, that address was blocked in China. Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend, which was designed to provide a forum for academic and ideological discussion and exchange, had registered more than 1000 users since it was launched last September. (CHRD)[iii]

Forced Demolition and Eviction

Beijing Police Meet With Artists Following 2/22 Protest, Discuss Forced Evictions

On the afternoon of February 24, Beijing police held a meeting in a Chaoyang District hotel to debrief two artists who took part in a protest on February 22 after they were attacked the previous night in their studios and residences by armed thugs. Wu Yuren (吴玉仁) and Liu Yi (刘懿) spoke with officials, who claimed 19 people had already been taken into custody for their roles in the forced eviction. The police stated that, while they recognized the artists had been victims of violence, their protest was nonetheless unauthorized and violated the relevant law; they warned the artists not to take any “drastic actions” in the future. Local officials have promised increased security around the artists’ district and continued efforts to resolve the dispute over the demolition of the artists’ buildings. (CHRD)[iv]

Jiangsu Man Sentenced to Five Months in Prison for Resisting Forced Eviction

On February 24, CHRD spoke with Zhang Yurong (章玉荣), a Rugao City, Jiangsu Province resident who was arrested and sentenced to five months in prison for resisting the forced demolition of his home. According to Zhang, on the morning of August 29, 2009, without any advance notice, and without following proper procedures, an official from the City Administration and Law Enforcement Bureau (chengguan) led a group of men armed with hammers into Zhang’s home. Zhang was detained by PSB officers at the scene who claimed that he “used a hammer to strike and cause minor injuries to others” after a fight broke out between Zhang and the city official. Police declared they would detain Zhang for seven days and fine him 500 RMB; however, on September 3, Zhang was criminally detained, and later formally arrested for “intentionally injuring” the official. On January 18, 2010, Zhang was sentenced to five months in prison by the Rugao City Court and released on January 28 based on time already served. Though Zhang has appealed his conviction, the Nantong City Intermediate Court has yet to act on his appeal. Zhang’s home was demolished while he was in detention. (CHRD)[v]

Jiangsu Woman Convicted in First “Anti- Forced Eviction” Murder Case

On February 20, the Suqian Intermediate Court in Jiangsu Province convicted Wu Manlin (吴曼琳, alias) of murder and sentenced her to eight years in prison for killing a forced eviction worker. She has also been ordered to compensate the family of the victim 270,000 RMB. The victim, a man surnamed Yuan (), had led a team of workers from a demolition and eviction company in Suqian to abuse, threaten, and intimidate Wu’s mother at her home and, after she left, at Wu’s home. On the morning of May 30, 2009, the workers damaged Wu’s property and threatened her in an attempt to compel her to come out for a “discussion;” Wu’s two younger brothers, upon learning of the situation, hurried to Wu’s home to confront the workers. An argument broke out, and Wu, fearing for her brothers’ safety, emerged from her home and stabbed Yuan, killing him instantly. In court, Wu did not dispute that she killed Yuan, but argued that she was acting in self-defense. While the court agreed that Wu’s rights had been infringed by the illegal acts of the eviction company, it ruled that her response went beyond a reasonable defense and could be considered a criminal act. As the first “anti-forced eviction” murder case tried in China, Wu’s case is receiving a great deal of attention domestically. (CHRD)[vi]

Arbitrary Detention

Hunan Activist Sent to Two Years of RTL for Investigating Death of Official

CHRD has learned that Wugang City, Hunan Province activist Luo Qian (罗茜) was sent to two years of Re-education through Labor (RTL) on January 8, 2010 for “disrupting social order” for his efforts to investigate the suspicious death of Yang Kuansheng (杨宽生), the former vice-mayor of Wugang City. According to Luo’s wife, Dai Mingliang (戴明亮), Luo is still detained at Xinning County Detention Center and has yet to be sent to an RTL camp. Further information about his condition is not available, as detention center officials have repeatedly refused Dai’s attempts to visit her husband. Yang Kuansheng died under mysterious circumstances on November 26, 2009, and though local officials declared his death a “suicide,” the injuries Yang sustained before his death have led many to believe that he was in fact murdered. Luo was detained in Beijing along with Lü Kaihua (吕开化) and Liu Yuehong (刘月红), relatives of Yang, as the three prepared to hold a press conference on Yang’s case. The whereabouts of Lü and Liu are currently unknown. (CHRD)[vii]

Sichuan Democracy Activist to Be Released after Lengthy Prison Terms

According to Wei Xinyu (魏心玉), wife of imprisoned democracy activist Wang Sen (王森), Wang is scheduled to be released from prison in July following more than 9 years of incarceration. Wei visited her husband, who is also imprisoned in Chuanzhong Prison in Nanchong City, during the Chinese New Year and was informed of his release date. Wang, a leader of the China Democracy Party in Sichuan, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in 2002 for “subversion of state power.” (CHRD)[viii]

Officials Transfer Activist Huang Qi to Prison without Notifying Family

CHRD has learned that Sichuan human rights activist and director of the Tianwang Human Rights Center Huang Qi (黄琦) was transferred to Chuandong Prison in Dazhu County, Dazhou City, Sichuan on February 10 to begin serving his three-year sentence for “illegal possession of state secrets.” According to Huang’s wife, Zeng Li (曾丽), Huang’s family has yet to receive a written verdict from the court, in defiance of relevant regulations. Zeng believes PSB officials purposefully moved her husband without informing the family of his whereabouts to prevent family visits; she has only learned of his current location through the assistance of friends. Huang, who is believed to have been imprisoned for reporting and giving interviews to foreign journalists about protests staged by families of schoolchildren killed in the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008, had his sentence upheld on February 8 following an appeal. (CHRD)[ix]

Guizhou Petitioner Detained, Local Activists Worry Detention Could Be Extended

Lu Yanfei (路言飞), a petitioner from Bijie City, Guizhou, was seized outside of the city government offices in Bijie on February 22 by local police officers, and concerned citizens following her case were informed later that evening that she had been detained in Bijie City Detention Center. Because Lu, who has been petitioning since her home and land were seized by the government, had previously been successful in circumventing efforts by local officials to prevent her from petitioning, local activists in Guizhou are now concerned that she may face an extended detention. They point to the case of fellow Bijie petitioner Liu Junchun (刘俊春), who has been detained since September 2009, as an example of local officials’ harsh measures in dealing with long-term petitioners. (CHRD)[x]

Chongqing Petitioner-Turned-Activist Zhong Shengniu Detained in Beijing, Forcibly Returned

On February 12, Chongqing petitioner-turned-activist Zhong Shengniu (钟声牛) was seized by Beijing police while petitioning in the capital and held for five days at Majialou, a central black jail for petitioners in Beijing. On February 17, he was forcibly returned to Chongqing, where local police warned him against further petitioning and threatened to send him to Re-education through Labor (RTL) if he was caught in Beijing again. Zhong reported that more than 100 petitioners were being held at Majialou during the days he was detained there. (CHRD)[xi]

Freedom of Association

Government Memo Asks Universities to Block Student Participation in Oxfam Trainings

On February 11, Beijing’s Central University for Nationalities’ Student Career Services Network website carried an announcement purportedly from the Ministry of Education urging school officials to prevent students from taking part in training programs organized by Oxfam’s Hong Kong-based China office. According to the memo, Oxfam has collaborated with Chinese rights-defense organizations since 2005 to hold training programs for student volunteers in mainland China; it has planned a set of trainings around the country for March 3-6, 2010, and is using the internet to actively seek volunteers. The memo accuses Oxfam of trying to “infiltrate” China, and calls its leader a “backbone of the opposition faction.” The memo was deleted from the university’s website two days after it was posted. (CHRD)[xii]

Legal Rights

Beijing Lawyer Li Zhuang, Imprisoned for Fabricating Evidence, Has License Revoked

Beijing lawyer Li Zhuang (李庄), who was sentenced to one year and six months in prison for “fabricating evidence and obstructing testimony” after a series of widely-followed trials in recent weeks, had his lawyers’ license revoked by the Beijing Bureau of Justice on February 20. Li will not be able to regain his license in the future. According to Article 49(2) of the Lawyers Law, lawyers lose their licenses to practice law after they have been convicted of a crime. Li becomes the second Beijing lawyer to lose his license after being convicted of violating Article 306 of the Chinese Criminal Law. Another lawyer, Ms Xue (), was stripped of her license in 2008 after she was convicted of the same crime and sentenced to 1.5 years for defending a client charged with rape. (Jinghua Daily)[xiii]

Right to Education

Dozens of Schools for Children of Migrant Laborers Demolished in Beijing

On February 23, elementary and secondary school students in Beijing returned to their classrooms for the spring semester. However, more than 10,000 students in Chaoyang, Changping, and Daxing Districts, the children of migrant laborers, could not; dozens of schools established to serve the migrant worker community had been forcibly demolished over the New Year’s holiday. Despite critical media coverage and opposition from public interest groups, the government carried out the demolitions without making any provisions for the students affected by the destruction of their schools. It is extremely difficult for children of migrant laborers to enter state-run schools for a variety of reasons: problems with residency certifications, language barriers, and supplemental costs are only some of the factors which prevent them from receiving an education alongside other children their age. (CHRD)[xiv]

Harassment of Petitioners

Ahead of the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee, set to begin on March 5 and March 3, respectively, police and authorities around the country have begun their annual efforts to prevent petitioners from travelling to Beijing. CHRD continues to receive reports of petitioners being harassed, threatened, and detained, including:

  • Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province petitioner Sun Wenyuan (孙文远) reported that local government officials detained him and his 67-year old mother from February 12 to February 20 after forcibly returning them Beijing, where they were being held in a black jail. After Sun and his mother were released, police arrived at their home and warned Sun that if he traveled to Beijing to petition during the legislative meetings, he would be sent to RTL. (CHRD)[xv]
  • On February 22, Shangqiu City, Henan Province police stationed additional guards outside of the home of former PSB officer Sun Ming (孙明) to prevent Sun from petitioning during the upcoming meetings. According to Sun, he has been under residential surveillance for more than one year. Sun, who was dismissed from the PSB after trying to fight internal corruption in 2002, has been petitioning for eight years since local officials refused to implement a court decision overturning his dismissal. (CHRD)[xvi]
  • On the evening of February 22, Xiangxi, Hunan petitioner Long Xiuxiang (龙秀祥) was kidnapped shortly after registering at a guesthouse in the capital by two uniformed police officers and three unidentified men, believed to be interceptors from Xiangxi. Long was taken to a black jail at a building in Daxing District marked as a “reception center” for petitioners from Xiangxi. (CHRD)[xvii]
  • Shanghai petitioner Chen Jianfang (陈建芳) has been missing since February 13, CHRD has learned. Calls made to her phone return no sound: neither a busy signal nor a notification that the phone has been turned off. Chen has been petitioning since 2004, when her field and housing were seized without compensation, and has suffered repeated detentions, beatings and threats for petitioning. Days prior to her disappearance, Chen told fellow petitioners that if she disappears, she is most likely to have been detained by the Shanghai government. (CHRD)[xviii]

Harassment of Activists

Police Summon Hangzhou Activist, Confiscate Computer

On the evening of February 24, Wei Zhenling (魏桢凌), member of the Pan-Blue Alliance of Chinese Nationalists, was summoned from his home in Hangzhou by two police officers and taken to the local police station for questioning. At the same time, his home was searched by police, who confiscated a computer and flash drive. Wei was questioned for four hours about a couple of articles he had recently posted on the internet and allowed to return home. Last month, Wei was released following one year and nine months in RTL in retaliation for his years of democracy and human rights work. (CHRD)[xix]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment

Shenzhen Detention Center Repeatedly Denies Visits for Xue Mingkai, Imprisoned for “Subversion”

The mother of twenty year-old Shandong worker Xue Mingkai (薛明凯) has attempted to visit her son in Shenzhen’s Number Two Detention Center on three occasions since his conviction for “subversion of state power” on February 10, but has been denied each time, CHRD learned on February 25. One person who has been able to visit Xue is his lawyer, who met with Xue on the afternoon of February 24 and reports that he intends to appeal his conviction. Xue, who has been detained since May 9, 2009, was convicted of “subversion” after allegedly planning to organize a political party called the “China Democratic Workers’ Party” with online friends in the summer of 2006 and then contacting and joining an overseas democracy organization in early 2009. (CHRD)[xx]

Law and Policy Watch

Beijing Judge Recommends Two Critical Reforms to New Eviction Regulations

According to a Xinhua report, Liu Xing (刘行), a Beijing judge, delivered a proposal before the New Year to the State Council regarding changes to be made to the draft Regulations for the Expropriation and Compensation for Buildings on State-owned Land, which will replace the current Urban Housing Demolition and Relocation Management Regulations if passed. The proposal calls for two main reforms to the regulations: first, it suggests that a distinction be drawn between land use rights and buildings on land set to be demolished, and argues that there should be separate compensation for the land use right and the buildings. Second, Judge Liu recommends that the regulations include a stipulation that evictees can sue to stop the process of demolition and eviction, a power they are not currently afforded under the draft regulations. (Xinhua)[xxi]

The proposals put forward by this Judge Liu address two of the most critical problems present in the new regulations: the inability of residents to stop demolition once permits have been granted and the difficult nature of securing adequate compensation for residents whose homes are seized by the state. Seeing these sorts of suggestions publicized by the mainstream media is encouraging, though even if they are adopted by the State Council much more must be done to adequately protect the rights of citizens. For additional recommendations CHRD has compiled regarding the issue of forced evictions, please see our latest report, Thrown Out: Human Rights Abuses in China’s Breakneck Real Estate Development.

[i] “Beijing Artists March on Chang’an Avenue to Protest Forced Eviction and Beating of Residents” (北京艺术家长安街游行 抗议拆迁打人), February 22, 2010,, see also: “Report from Forced Eviction and Demolition in Beijing’s Chuanyizhengyang Arts District” ( 京创意正阳艺术区强拆纪实), February 22, 2010,

[ii] “Yunnan Dissident Shao Yingxi Summoned Because of ‘Charter 08′” (云南异议人士邵英曦因《零八宪章》被传唤), February 25, 2010,

[iii] “Chinese Academic Thought Website “Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend” Blocked” (中国学术 思想网站百家争鸣被封), February 22, 2010,

[iv] “Beijing Police Debrief Residents of Demolished Beijing Arts District” (北京警方就正阳艺术区强拆事件邀当事人听取汇报), February 25, 2010,

[v] “Rugao, Jiangsu Homeowner Detained, Home Forcibly Demolished” (江苏如皋强拆民房,房主被拘役), February 24, 2010,

[vi] “First Anti-Violent Forced Eviction Case Ends in Eight-Year Sentence for Jiangsu Woman” (首例反暴力 拆迁的江苏女子获刑8), February 22, 2010,

[vii] “Hunan Activist Luo Qian Sent to Re-education through Labor” (湖南维权人士罗茜被劳教), February 24, 2010,

[viii] “Wang Sen to Be Released in July” (王森今年七月将被释放), February 24, 2010,

[ix] “Huang Qi Already Transferred to Chuandong Prison to Serve Sentence” (黄琦已被转到川东监狱服刑), February 24, 2010,

[x] “Bijie, Guizhou Petitioner Lu Yanfei Taken Away, Detained by Police” (贵州毕节访民路言飞被公安强行抓走关押), February 24, 2010,

[xi] “Activist Zhong Shengniu Returned to Chongqing” (维权人士钟声牛被押解回重庆), February 19, 2010,

[xii] “CCP Ministry of Education Orders University Student Not to Join Oxfam Hong Kong” (中共教育部勒令大学生不 得参与香港乐施会), February 23, 2010,

[xiii] Jinghua Daily, Li Zhuang’s Lawyer’s License Cancelled by the Bureau of Justice (李庄律师执照被司法局吊销), February 23, 2010; Jinghua Daily, Eight Lawyers were Stripped of Lawyers’ Licenses in the Past Five Years (58律师被吊销执业资格), February 23, 2010.

[xiv] “New Semester Begins in Beijing, More than 10,000 Children of Migrant Laborers Have No School” ( 京新学期开学 上万农民工子女没学上), February 24, 2010,

[xv] “Sun Wenyuan Warned by Police Not to Petition in Beijing During ‘Two Meetings'” (孙文远被警告不得在两会期间到北京上访), February 21, 2010,

[xvi] “Security Officials and Police Place Petitioner Henan Petitioner Sun Ming under House Arrest Before ‘Two Meetings'” (“两会前河南上访干警孙明遭软禁), February 22, 2010,

[xvii] “Hunan Petitioner Long Xiuxiang Kidnapped in Beijing (湖南进京访民龙秀祥昨晚遭绑架), February 23, 2010,

[xviii] “Shanghai Petitioner Chen Jianfang Missing for 10 Days” (上海访民陈建芳失踪10), February 23, 2010,

[xix] “Hangzhou Person of Conscience Wei Zhenling Summoned, Has Home Searched and Computer Confiscated” (杭州良心人士魏桢凌被传唤并查抄电脑), February 24, 2010,

[xx] “Shenzhen police Repeatedly Refuse Family Visits for Xue Mingkai” (深圳警方多次拒绝家属会见薛明凯), February 25, 2010,

[xxi] “Judge Recommends State Council Legal Office Perform ‘Two Major Operations’ on New Eviction Regulations” (一法官建议国务院法制办对征收条例动两大手术”), February 21, 2010,

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