China Human Rights Briefing Weekly July 14-19, 2010Comments Off on China Human Rights Briefing Weekly July 14-19, 2010
China Human Rights Briefing Weekly
July 14-19, 2010
To download this week’s CHRB as a .pdf file, please click here
- Authorities Order Closure of Over 100 Influential Blogs: A number of well-known and widely-read scholars, lawyers, and activists had their blogs shut down simultaneously by managers at major internet portals on July 14. While most of the affected bloggers, including He Weifang (贺卫方), Liu Junning (刘军宁), Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), Xu Zhiyong (许志永), and Zhang Zuhua (张祖桦) have had blogs of theirs closed previously, it is unusual and concerning to see so many blogs shut down at once. China’s netizens greeted the news with surprise and anger, and the action, coupled with recent problems regarding domestic microblogging services, has left many wondering whether a new internet crackdown is looming.
- Civil Society Figures in Beijing under Soft Detention as Chancellor Merkel Arrives: As has become common practice in Beijing during similar events, a number of high-profile activists and dissidents were placed under “soft detention” during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the capital on July 15. Hu Shigen (胡石根), Gao Hongming (高洪明), Cha Jianguo (査建国), Yang Jing (杨靖), Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇), Wang Debang (王德邦), and Xu Yonghai (徐永海) were among those who faced harassment from police and restrictions on their movement.
- Activist Liu Shasha Kidnapped in Beijing, Beaten by Police and Government Officials: Henan activist Liu Shasha (刘沙沙) was kidnapped from Beijing on July 16 and subjected to repeated beatings while being held overnight by men she identified as Beijing National Security officers and government officials from Tongbai County, Henan Province. Liu was driven to the outskirts of the city and held in an unknown location before being abandoned by the side of the road in rural Hebei the next day. Her kidnappers stole her cell phone and bank card as well.
Freedom of Expression.
Authorities Order Closure of Over 100 Influential Blogs.
Eviction Victim Detained in RTL Camp for Trying to Get a Glimpse of Obama.
Beijing Activist Qi Zhiyong Subjected to Soft Detention.
Hubei Doctor Held in Black Jail for Petitioning.
Hubei Family Kidnapped and Detained for Petitioning.
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Activist Liu Shasha Kidnapped in Beijing, Beaten by Police and Government Officials.
Imprisoned Democracy Activist Ren Ziyuan Subjected to Psychological Abuse.
Harassment of Activists.
Civil Society Figures in Beijing under Soft Detention as Chancellor Merkel Arrives.
Beijing Dissidents Cha Jianguo and Gao Hongming Subjected to Soft Detention.
Shanghai Activist Feng Zhenghu Roughly Handled for Petitioning.
Beijing Police Continues to Harass Activist and Former Lawyer Ni Yulan.
Right to Housing and Land.
Farmland Appropriated from Jiangsu Villagers without Proper Procedures.
Law and Policy Watch.
Ministry of Land and Resources Issues Notice Calling for Changes in Management of Land Requisition.
Supreme People’s Court Issues First Annual Report on Country’s Courts.
Freedom of Expression
Authorities Order Closure of Over 100 Influential Blogs
In an unusually sweeping move, website managers at Sohu, Sina, and other major internet portals shut down the blogs of at least one hundred prominent scholars, lawyers, and activists on July 14. Well-known bloggers including He Weifang (贺卫方), Liu Junning (刘军宁), Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), Xu Zhiyong (许志永), and Zhang Zuhua (张祖桦) were among those whose blogs were removed. Reportedly, website staff privately apologized to some of the authors affected, and stated that they were acting on the orders of higher authorities, who had provided a list of blogs they demanded be closed. However, the staffers refused to state which authorities had ordered the blogs shuttered, or give a precise reason why these blogs had been targeted. (CHRD)[i]
Eviction Victim Detained in RTL Camp for Trying to Get a Glimpse of Obama
CHRD learned on July 14 that a victim of forced eviction from Shanghai, Wu Yuping (邬玉萍), has been serving 18 months in a Re-education through Labor (RTL) camp after she was seized near the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, where US President Obama was staying during his visit to China in November 2009. Wu, who is punished for “disturbing the order of [government] agencies,” contends that she merely waited near the guesthouse to get a glimpse of the US President. Wu’s detention came to light when she recently filed an administrative litigation lawsuit against the Shanghai Municipal RTL Management Committee for its decision. Wu’s family was only notified on July 9 of the upcoming trial on July 13. With such short notice, the family nonetheless managed to find a petitioner-activist, Ma Yalian (马亚莲), to act as Wu’s “citizen representative” (公民代理人). However, the Huangpu Court in Shanghai rejected the appointment without giving any reasons. When Wu’s family then found a lawyer to represent her and requested that the court postpone the trial so the lawyer can attend the hearing, the court refused, stating that Wu “did not need a lawyer.” In the end, Wu’s sister had to represent her, as representatives of Wu’s choosing were rejected by the court. (CHRD)[ii]
Beijing Activist Qi Zhiyong Subjected to Soft Detention
Since July 13, Beijing activist Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇) has been subjected to soft detention at home. Qi cannot leave without the permission from the four policemen and security guards stationed outside of his apartment. Even if he is allowed to leave, he must travel in a police vehicle. Police refused to tell Qi the reasons for his detention. Qi believes that it is related to his activism calling for the release of detained Sichuan democracy activist Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌) as well as to the scheduled release of a fellow activist, Liu Feng (刘凤), from prison on July 15. (CHRD)[iii]
Hubei Doctor Held in Black Jail for Petitioning
Between July 2 and 7, Wang Suhua (汪素华), a doctor from Shiyan City, Hubei Province, was held in a Beijing black jail for petitioning. On July 2, Wang was intercepted by Beijing police near the Beijing South Train Station. The police forcibly brought Wang and a number of other petitioners to Ma Jia Lou, a central black jail, where she was held until officers from the Beijing Liaison Office of Shiyan City government arrived. The officers then sent her to a black jail run by the Beijing Liaison Office of the Tanghe County, Henan Province government, where Wang was held for five days. On July 7, while being forcibly returned to her hometown by a group of interceptors, Wang escaped. Wang started petitioning in 1996 after being retaliated against for reporting on corrupt activities of her superiors at the hospital where she was employed at the time. (CHRD)[iv]
Hubei Family Kidnapped and Detained for Petitioning
A family of three was kidnapped on July 12 while petitioning in Beijing. Tan Huaimin (谭怀敏) and her two children, from Enshi City in Hubei Province, had been petitioning in the capital about the Enshi City court’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for her husband’s death. Government officials from Enshi City intercepted the family in the Tiananmen Square, and then forcibly brought them to the Beijing Liaison Office of Enshi City. The three were then immediately sent back to their hometown, where Tan has been detained in the Enshi City PSB Detention Center. (CHRD)[v]
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Activist Liu Shasha Kidnapped in Beijing, Beaten by Police and Government Officials
On the evening of July 16, Henan activist Liu Shasha (刘沙沙) was kidnapped by three men outside the east gate of People’s University in Beijing. Her kidnappers, whom she identified as Beijing National Security officers and government officials from Tongbai County, Henan Province, hooded Liu and drove her to an unknown location on the outskirts of Beijing. There, she had her hands bound and was repeatedly beaten over the course of the night by her captors. Liu was then driven to Ci County, outside Handan City, Hebei Province, and abandoned the following day after her kidnappers stole her cell phone and bank card. She was able to return to Beijing on July 18, and has filed a police report regarding the incident. Fellow activists and netizens have already located witnesses, including school security guards and alumni of nearby Qinghua University, who observed Liu’s kidnapping on Friday. (CHRD)[vi]
Imprisoned Democracy Activist Ren Ziyuan Subjected to Psychological Abuse
On July 16, CHRD learned that prison officials in Shandong Province may be subjecting democracy activist Ren Ziyuan (任自元) to abuse and denying him proper medical treatment. Ren’s father Ren Rusheng (任汝生) reported to CHRD that prison officials have barred him from visiting his son since March of this year, and that officials have confiscated letters and cut off phone conversations to prevent Ren Ziyuan from contacting the outside world. Ren Rusheng believes that two police officers have been tasked with keeping Ren under 24-hour surveillance, and may be subjecting him to psychological abuse. Ren stated that his son suffers from tuberculosis, and is not being provided with adequate treatment while imprisoned. Ren Ziyuan, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “subversion of state power” in 2006, is currently being held in Shandong Provincial Prison. (CHRD)[vii]
Harassment of Activists
Civil Society Figures in Beijing under Soft Detention as Chancellor Merkel Arrives
On July 15, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reached Beijing as part of her four-day state visit to China. In the days leading up to her arrival, Beijing police began placing human rights defenders, activists, and other civil society figures in Beijing under “soft detention” at their homes to prevent them from speaking out during the Chancellor’s visit. As of July 16, CHRD had received reports that Hu Shigen (胡石根), Gao Hongming (高洪明), Cha Jianguo (査建国), Yang Jing (杨靖), Qi Zhiyong (齐志勇), and Xu Yonghai (徐永海) faced restrictions on their movement and had their homes guarded by police; police also visited Wang Debang (王德邦) at his home outside Beijing and warned him to be “quiet.” More activists have likely been affected as well. (CHRD)[viii]
Beijing Dissidents Cha Jianguo and Gao Hongming Subjected to Soft Detention
Since 6pm on July 14, Beijing dissidents Cha Jianguo (查建国) and Gao Hongming (高洪明) have been subjected to “soft detention” by Beijing police. They are not allowed to leave without permission from officers of the National Security Unit of Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) stationed outside of their homes. Even if they are allowed to go out, they have to travel in police vehicles. It is believed that the police place them under soft detention to prevent them from organizing or joining the activities of “Beijing Liu Xianbin Citizens Concern Group” on July 15. (CHRD)[ix]
Shanghai Activist Feng Zhenghu Roughly Handled for Petitioning
Shanghai activist Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎) was roughly handled by three Shanghai policeman and government officials on July 14. Feng was on his way to the Shanghai Municipal government Letters and Visits Office to submit a petition about an earlier incident where his personal belongings were confiscated by the Shanghai police when the three, who had been following him, grabbed, pushed and shoved him. Feng twisted his ankle, but managed to arrive at the office and lodged his complaint. (CHRD)[x]
Beijing Police Continues to Harass Activist and Former Lawyer Ni Yulan
Beijing human rights activist Ni Yulan (倪玉兰) continues to be harassed by Beijing police three months since her release from prison in April. On July 14, three policemen from Beijing Municipal PSB Xicheng District Subdivision went to Yuxingong Hotel, where Ni and her husband have been staying in the past weeks and demanded that they move out. On July 15, the police searched Ni’s hotel room and cut off the electricity to force the couple to leave. Dozens of activists then accompanied Ni to complain at the subdivision. The policemen backed down, saying that she and her husband can stay in the hotel until the police make a decision within the next seven days. Ni, a housing rights activist and former lawyer, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for resisting the forced demolition of her home. Ni was released on April 15, 2010. Ni and her husband had been forced to live on the street because their home was forcibly demolished in November 2008, and that police repeatedly harassed owners of hostels they stayed at between April 15 and 28. With the help of fellow activists, the couple moved in Yuxingong Hotel a few weeks ago. For her rights activism, since 2001 Ni has repeatedly detained, imprisoned and tortured, which left her unable to walk and in a wheelchair. (CHRD)[xi]
Right to Housing and Land
Farmland Appropriated from Jiangsu Villagers without Proper Procedures
CHRD learned on July 15 that villagers in Pingxi Village, Pingchao Town in Jiangsu Province had about 200 mu (about 32.9 acre) of farmland confiscated from them without proper procedures. In April, Pingchao Town officials cordoned off the farmland, which the villagers had contracted, and barred them from farming the land. The villagers complain that they were not informed or consulted prior to the appropriation or compensated for the loss of their right to use the land. The villagers also allege that the town government has no right to seize the land without the State Council’s authorization. In June, the town government threatened to punish the villagers and their relatives if they did not sign agreements to move out of the land and have their homes demolished. The villagers have complained to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, but so far have received no response. (CHRD)[xii]
Law and Policy Watch
Ministry of Land and Resources Issues Notice Calling for Changes in Management of Land Requisition
According to a July 12 Legal Daily article, the Ministry of Land and Resources has recently issued a notice regarding “further improvements” to the management of land requisitions. The notice calls for a refiguring of compensation standards by the central government every two to three years, in order to keep the settlements offered to farmers in line with current economic conditions, and suggests that compensation be paid directly to individuals affected by the requisition to prevent it being “withheld or misappropriated”. The notice states that compensation amounts should be fixed during a preliminary examination of the land requisition. The notice also encourages local governments to request that the developers deposit with the government the estimated amount of funds for compensation before the requisition is approved, to ensure that the developers have enough for compensation. (Legal Daily)[xiii]
While proper compensation is at the heart of many disputes over forced evictions, an even more basic problem is the lack of protection for farmers’ right to their land. In rural China, farmers do not own the land they farm. The land is owned by “village collectives,” which give contracts out to farmers. As a result, local governments and developers are able to forcibly evict farmers at will, and this practice is accompanied by well-documented abuses. As this notice does not address this fundamental problem of farmers’ lack of long-term and secure land rights, it will likely prove ineffective in lessening the number of conflicts and “mass incidents” related to land requisitions.
Supreme People’s Court Issues First Annual Report on Country’s Courts
On July 13, the Supreme People’s Court issued its first annual report on the work of China’s courts. The report, which includes both figures for cases handled by different levels of courts as well as analysis of important cases over the past year, is being described by officials as part of a plan to promote greater transparency for the courts. It is available in its entirety here (in Chinese). (Xinhua)[xiv]
The creation of this report is undoubtedly a step forward as far as openness for the Chinese judicial system, but much work remains to be done before the courts can truly claim to be transparent. The courts must ensure that individual cases are handled with openness, without interference or intimidation from government officials, and the trials are able to be observed by members of the public and the media.
Editors: David Smalls and Lin Sang
News updates from CHRD
[i] “Close to One Hundred Blogs by Famous Authors Closed In a Single Day” (一日之内近百知名博客遭封杀), July 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100716105216_22240.html
[ii] CHRD, “Ma Yalian: Shanghai Court Refuses Wu Yuping’s Requests for Entrusting [a Legal Representative] and for Postponing the Trial (马亚莲：上海法院拒绝邬玉萍案延期审理和委托申请),” July 14, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/dzlx/201007/20100714020013_22199.html; CHRD, “Strange Scene in Shanghai: Police Sits in the Area for Plaintiff and Forces Wu Yuping to Attend the Trial (上海法院奇景：警察坐原告席强押邬玉萍开庭),” July 14, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100714090501_22201.html
[iii] CHRD, “Qi Zhiyong, Disabled during June Fourth, Has Had His Freedom Restricted (六四伤残者齐志勇被限制人身自由),” July 14, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100714123404_22205.html
[iv] CHRD, “Hubei Doctor Wang Suhua Framed after Exposing Corruption, Detained
for Petitioning (湖北医生汪素华揭腐遭陷害，上访被关押),” July 12, 2010,
[v] CHRD, “Hubei Petitioner Tan Huaimin Kidnapped in Beijing and Detained (湖北访民谭怀敏在北京被绑架关押),” July 15, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/fmzj/201007/20100715183601_22224.html
[vi] “Liu Shasha Recounts Kidnapping and Beating by Beijing National Security Police; Netizens Lend their Support” (刘沙沙讲述被北京国保绑架殴打过程 网友声援), July 19, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100719031758_22282.html
[vii] “Imprisoned Shandong Democracy Activist Ren Ziyuan Subjected to Psychological Abuse” (山东民运人士任自元狱中遭精神虐待), July 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/Class46/201007/20100716100101_22234.html
[viii] “Merkel Arrives for Visit, Many Civil Beijing Civil Society Figures under Soft Detention” (默克尔来访，北京多位民间人士被软禁), July 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100716100457_22235.html
[ix] CHRD, “Beijing Dissidents Cha Jianguo and Gao Hongming Subjected to Restrictions of Personal Liberty (北京异议人士查建国、高洪明被限制人身自由),” July 15, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100715160556_22220.html
[x] CHRD, “Feng Zhenghu: Using One’s Life to Defend Freedom and Human Dignity (冯正虎：用生命捍卫自由权利与做人尊严),” July 15, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100715103558_22214.html
[xi] CHRD, “Beijing Xicheng Police Demands that Ni Yulan Moves out of Hotel (北京西城警方要求倪玉兰搬出宾馆),” July 15, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/niyulan/201007/20100715160613_22221.html; CHRD, “Beijing Citizens Accompany Lawyer Ni Yulan to Beijing PSB Xicheng District Subdivision to Complain (北京公民陪同倪玉兰律师到西城公安分局投诉),” July 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class18/niyulan/201007/20100716000806_22229.html
[xii] CHRD, “A large amount of Good Farmland is Left Uncultivated, Farmers are Desperate (南通大批良田荒废，农民走投无路),” July 16, 2010, https://www.nchrd.org/Article/Class53/201007/20100716002523_22231.html
[xiii] “Ministry of Land and Resources: Compensation Standard for Land Requisitions to Be Raised Yearly” (国土部:征地补偿标准将逐年提高), July 12, 2010, http://epaper.legaldaily.com.cn/fzrb/content/20100712/Articel06002GN.htm
[xiv] “People’s Courts Annual Work Report (2009)” (人民法院工作年度报告（2009年）), July 14, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2010-07/14/c_12330549.htm