China Human Rights Briefing June 1-7, 2010Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing June 1-7, 2010
China Human Rights Briefing Weekly
June 1-7, 2010
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- 21st Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre Marked by Harassment, Detentions, Silence: This year, the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, the Chinese government once again refused to openly and truthfully address the events of June 4, 1989, and persisted in its efforts to silence Chinese citizens who seek to commemorate the Massacre. While police across China harassed and intimidated activists to prevent them from speaking out during this “sensitive” period, at least four Beijing-based individuals remained in prison for their participation in the 1989 protests. In addition, at least three activists sent to Re-education through Labor camps last year for their efforts to mark the 20th anniversary of the Massacre remained in detention during this year’s anniversary.
- Husband and Wife Liu Zhengyou and Hu Yulan Ill in Detention: Liu Zhengyou (刘正有) and Hu Yulan (胡玉兰), activists from Sichuan awaiting trial on charges of “fraud,” are reportedly both ill in detention. Following a meeting with Liu this week, his lawyer Zheng Jianwei (郑建伟) reported that Liu, who began a hunger strike on May 31, was “extremely weak” and had to be physically supported by police officers during their meeting. Liu is protesting his detention, which is being illegally prolonged as the procuratorate decides how to handle the couple’s case.
- Sichuan Activist Liu Zhengyou on Hunger Strike to Protest Illegally Prolonged Detention
- Liu Xia Visits Liu Xiaobo for the First Time since Transfer to Liaoning Prison
- Anhui Couple Detained Seven Days for Petitioning
Harassment of Activists
- Updated List of Cases of Police Harassment Related to 21st Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre
- Supporters Harassed, Missing as Activist Chen Yang is Released Following Year of RTL
- Seeking Higher Wages, Thousands Strike in Shenzhen Factory
Law and Policy Watch
- Central Government to Move Forward with Establishment of National Residence Permit System
- Government to Implement Real-Name Registration for Online Merchants Starting in July
Sichuan Activist Liu Zhengyou on Hunger Strike to Protest Illegally Prolonged Detention
On the afternoon of June 3, lawyer Zheng Jianwei (郑建伟) visited detained human rights activist Liu Zhengyou (刘正有) in Sichuan Province’s Zigong City Detention Center. Zheng reports that Liu, 58, is currently on a hunger strike and has also stopped drinking water to protest his illegally prolonged detention. Zheng reports that Liu was “extremely weak” and had to be supported by two policemen. Liu was originally detained in November 2009, and later formally arrested on suspicion of “fraud” along with his wife, Hu Yulan (胡玉兰). The procuratorate has twice sent the case against the couple back to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) for supplementary investigation; as the procuratorate most recently received the case from the PSB on April 15, May 30 was the final deadline—on that date, the procuratorate had to decide whether or not to initiate a prosecution. The procuratorate reportedly leaked that it was planning to release Liu; however, when Liu’s sister and a fellow activist from Sichuan went to the Zigong Detention Center on May 30, they were told that Liu could not be released because he would ‘cause great harm to society” and that the procuratorate needed to perform “further research.” Liu began his hunger strike the next day.
Zheng further reported that Hu Yulan is also ill in detention. CHRD believes that the two are being held on groundless charges, which are being used as a pretext by police to retaliate against Liu and Hu for their rights-defense activities. In the past few years, the couple has helped victims of forced evictions defend their rights. (CHRD)[i]
Liu Xia Visits Liu Xiaobo for the First Time since Transfer to Liaoning Prison
On June 3, Liu Xia (刘霞), wife of imprisoned writer and activist Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), visited Liu Xiaobo for the first time since he was transferred to Jinzhou Prison (tel: 04165179191) in Liaoning Province on May 26. The visit, which lasted an hour, was monitored by the policemen standing by. Liu Xia reported that the activist is allowed outside of his cell twice a day, is allowed to write and is given access to books brought by his family as long as they are approved by the authorities. Liu Xiaobo is also not required to perform labor. However, he complains of stomach problems but it is unclear whether he has been given any medical attention. (CHRD)
Anhui Couple Detained Seven Days for Petitioning
CHRD learned on June 5 that Anhui Province petitioner Liang Maorong (梁茂荣) and his wife have been sent to seven days of administrative detention. The couple were seized in Beijing on June 3 and forcibly returned to their hometown in Anhui’s Lingbi County, where police detained them for “disrupting official business.” According to the couple’s daughter, local police would not specify how her parents’ petitioning had “disrupted” official business. Liang and his wife have been detained on at least 10 occasions for petitioning, and have previously been sent to Re-education through Labor. (CHRD)[ii]
Harassment of Activists
Updated List of Cases of Police Harassment Related to 21st Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre
Updating the cases of harassment chronicled in our press release on the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre (available online here), CHRD has documented the following cases of individuals threatened, harassed, or placed under police surveillance during the period surrounding June Fourth:
- Yang Miao (阳淼), an editor at the Beijing News, was summoned for a couple of hours by Beijing National Security police in the early morning hours of June 4. Yang had posted a message on Twitter the previous evening stating that he planned to wear a commemorative t-shirt to mark the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre.[iii]
- Since May 23, activist Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇) was placed under soft detention at his home;
- Since May 30, police have been stationed outside the homes of writers Yu Jie (余杰) and Liu Di (刘荻), as well as dissidents Cha Jianguo (查建国), Gao Hongming (高洪明), and Xu Yonghai (徐永海), and have followed them whenever they leave their homes;
- On June 1, activists Gu Chuan (古川) and Li Xin’ai (李昕艾) were called in for “chats” with National Security officers in Changping District and warned against participating in commemorative activities on June 4; and
- Extra police have been stationed outside of the home of constitutional scholar Zhang Zuhua (张祖桦).
- Internet and phone services were cut to the homes of dissidents Zhang Lin (张林) and Shen Liangqing (沈良庆).
- Since June 2, police have placed 1989 student leader Chen Wei (陈卫) under soft detention.
Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province:
- On June 3, activist Ma Xiaoming (马晓明) and human rights lawyer Zhang Jiankang (张鉴康) were taken on a “trip” outside of the city
- Since June 1, dissidents Chen Xi (陈西), Huang Yanming (黄燕明), and Li Renke (李任科) have been forced to travel outside of the city;
- Wu Yuqin (吴玉琴), Shen Youlian (申有连), and others have been placed under soft detention. (CHRD)[iv]
- Shanghai activist Ma Yalian (马亚莲) was put under soft detention at a hotel in Shanghai on June 4. Family members contacted by CHRD did not know the exact location where she was being held.[v]
Supporters Harassed, Missing as Activist Chen Yang is Released Following Year of RTL
On June 1, internet writer Chen Yang (陈杨) was released following 12 months of Re-education through Labor. Chen was sent to RTL in June 2009 after writing an online post asking if netizens would join him in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. Chen was taken directly to his hometown in Jiangsu Province following his release. A group of netizens calling themselves the “Chen Yang Citizens’ Concern Group” (陈杨公民关注团) were prevented from greeting Chen upon his release. Some were taken in by local police for questioning, while others were stopped en route and prevented from traveling to Chongqing, where Chen was being detained. Three members of the group – Li Jincheng (李金成), Zhang Yongpan (张永攀) and Gao Jian (高健) – have gone missing, and their current whereabouts are unknown. (CHRD)[vi]
Seeking Higher Wages, Thousands Strike in Shenzhen Factory
On the afternoon of June 5, thousands of workers at a factory belonging to Meilu Electronics went on strike, blocking a road in Shenzhen’s Baoan District to protest low wages. According to a worker at the factory, the strike began on the weekend because many workers were not permitted to take any time off. The worker added that management had promised to raise base salaries for the employees in April, but had yet to make good on their word. Workers were encouraged by the news that employees at factories operated by Honda and Foxconn had won wage increases in recent weeks. In addition to complaints over wages, workers at the factory were striking over the fact that they were required to work on Sundays without overtime pay. While police and security guards hired by the town government who arrived on the scene reportedly injured some of the workers while dispersing the crowd, management from the factory and some workers’ representatives did engage in talks coordinated by local government officials. According to reports, the management would not concede to all of the workers’ demands, but did promise to raise salaries to 1050 RMB per month and ensure that workers were given one day off a week starting in July. Workers are currently earning around 900 RMB per month, and are seeking at least a 30% salary increase. (CHRD)[vii]
Law and Policy Watch
Central Government to Move Forward with Establishment of National Residence Permit System
On May 27, the State Council approved of a document issued by the National Development and Reform Commission that revealed, for the first time, the government’s plan to pursue reform to China’s household registration (hukou) system and to gradually establish a country-wide residence permit system. The document also indicated that the government would move forward with plans to relax the household registration policies in small and mid-sized cities across China. (Beijing News)[viii]
As it is currently stands, China’s household registration system is an extremely discriminatory and restrictive barrier to upward mobility and better social services for millions of Chinese citizens. It is not clear whether a national residence permit system, as opposed to a household registration system, would address these serious problems or simply give a new name to a similar policy. The Chinese government must allow all Chinese citizens to freely choose their place of residence.
Government to Implement Real-Name Registration for Online Merchants Starting in July
According to a June 2 Beijing News article, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce has published the Interim Measures for Management of Network Commodity Trade and Related Services, set to take effect on July 1. As part of these new regulations, individuals who wish to sell goods online must submit applications to e-commerce sites including their full name and address. They will not, however, need to acquire a business license. (Beijing News)[ix]
While this measure will undoubtedly provide better protection to China’s increasing number of online consumers, there is some concern that requiring all online merchants to register with their real names may be a harbinger of similar regulations directed at all internet users. Despite strong resistance from netizens, local governments in regions across the country continue to try to implement such schemes to increase their control over the internet. To ensure that netizens’ rights are properly protected, this new registration system must be carefully managed to ensure that users’ information is only required where it relates to internet commerce.
Editors: 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 email@example.com. ***
[i] “Sichuan Activist Liu Zhengyou on Hunger Strike, in Critical Condition in Detention Center” (四川维权人士刘正有在看守所绝食生命垂危), June 3, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/liuzhengyou/201006/20100603171701_21543.html; see also “Zheng Jianwei: Zigong Trip to Defend Zigong People’s Leader Liu Zhengyou” (郑建伟：自贡行——为自贡人民领袖刘正有辩护), June 3, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/liuzhengyou/201006/20100603213533_21551.html
[ii] “Anhui Petitioner Liang Maorong and Wife Detained for Petitioning in Beijing (安徽访民梁茂荣夫妇进京上访被拘留), June 5, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/201006/20100605174728_21586.html
[iii] “Beijing Times Editor Yang Miao Detained for Planning to Wear Mourning Clothing to Commemorate June 4” (新京报编辑阳淼因准备穿白衣纪念“六四”被抓), June 4, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100604234303_21572.html
[iv] “During June 4, Dissidents from All Over Have Liberty Restricted” (六四之际，各地异议人士被限制人身自由), June 4, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100604005211_21554.html
[v] “Shanghai Activist Ma Yalian (马亚莲) Again Placed under Soft Detention” (上海维权人士马亚莲再次被软禁), June 5, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100605094550_21577.html
[vi] “Chen Yang Released Early, Citizens’ Concern Group Forcibly Dispersed” (陈杨提前获释，公民关注团被强行驱散), June 1, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/chengy/201006/20100601210145_21513.html
[vii] “Shenzhen Electronics Factory Workers Strike over Low Wages” (深圳龙华万人电子厂员工不满薪资过低罢工堵路), June 7, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201006/20100607092353_21608.html
[viii] “State Council Approves Forward Movement on Housing Tax Reform” (国务院批准推进房产税改革), June 1, 2010, http://epaper.bjnews.com.cn/html/2010-06/01/content_106939.htm?div=-1
[ix] “Real-Name Registration for Online Merchants to Take Effect in July” (个人网店实名制7月实行), June 2, 2010, http://epaper.bjnews.com.cn/html/2010-06/02/content_107383.htm?div=-1