Police Raid Home of Beijing Activist Gu Chuan as Pressure on Human Rights Defenders Increases

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Police Raid Home of Beijing Activist Gu Chuan as Pressure on Human Rights Defenders Increases

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- April 9, 2010) Plainclothes police officers seized writer and human rights activist Gu Chuan (古川) as he left his Beijing home this morning, taking him in for seven hours of interrogation. While Gu was being questioned, a dozen officers entered his apartment and confiscated computers, notebooks, and personal items over the course of a two-hour search. At no point during the day did officers produce any legal document authorizing either Gu Chuan’s interrogation or the search of his home.

“Police are increasing their efforts to harass and intimidate human rights activists,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director. “These latest actions targeting activists in the network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders closely follow a government crackdown on NGOs in recent months. Chinese leaders have apparently adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards human rights activism!”

Gu Chuan and his wife Li Xinai (李昕艾), along with the couple’s 10-month-old son, were on their way to the market when Gu was forced into an unmarked car by three policemen around 10:30 a.m. local time. Li returned to their apartment, and around noon a group of more than a dozen uniformed and plainclothes police officers arrived at Gu and Li’s home and started searching the apartment. The officers refused to produce a search warrant. When Li demanded the officers identify themselves, one policewoman replied, “Can’t you see we’re wearing police uniforms? We didn’t bring our ID cards!”

The police seized two notebook computers, a flash drive and removable hard drive, business cards, magazines, dozens of notebooks containing Gu and Li’s notes, and both Gu and Li’s passports. Police also recorded information from the couple’s bank card and bankbook.

Gu has since been released from questioning and returned home, but was warned not to talk to anyone about his experience. While the nature of his interrogation is not presently known, it is believed in part to be an attempt to prevent Gu from participating in a public forum tomorrow on environmental protection co-organized by CHRD and other groups in Beijing. Organizers of the forum and invited speakers have been questioned by police, warned not to participate, or put under residential surveillance in recent days. The hotel scheduled to host the event has been forced to cancel the organizers’ conference hall reservation.

The raid on Gu Chuan’s home comes a little over one month after a similar action against Beijing human rights defender and writer Xie Qiang (谢强). In both cases, police confiscated similar kinds of materials and items in order to cripple these writers’ abilities to continue their work and to retaliate against them for their activism. CHRD is also concerned that Beijing police may be collecting information in order to crack down on exchanges between human rights defenders in the capital and across the country.

CHRD demands that officials responsible for the illegal search of Gu Chuan’s home be held legally responsible for their actions. All of Gu Chuan’s confiscated property must be immediately returned.

CHRD protests the Chinese government’s infringement upon its citizens’ right to have their homes protected from unlawful searches, as established by Article 39 of the Chinese Constitution. The government must put an end to the practice of raiding human rights activists’ homes and confiscating their belongings in retaliation for their nonviolent, constitutionally-protected actions.

Furthermore, CHRD condemns the Chinese government’s efforts to prevent a citizen forum on environmental concerns from taking place. This is a clear violation of citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly and expression.


Mr. Gu Chuan was an editor of the website “Blog China” (www.blogchina.com) between 2005 and 2008. He has written editorials for Southern Metropolitan newspaper, and since 2008 has contributed to various print and online magazines, including Democratic China, an online dissident journal. A signatory of Charter 08, Mr. Gu has also participated in CHRD-organized activities and an international human rights training program in Geneva.

For More Information:

“Police Raid Home of Human Rights Defender and Charter 08 Signatory Xie Qiang,” March 11, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/index.php/2010/03/11/police-raid-home-of-human-rights-defender-and-charter-08-signatory-xie-qiang/

Media Contacts:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 301 547 9286
Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin), +852 8170 0237

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