Escalating Crackdown Following Call for “Jasmine Revolution” in ChinaMarch 31, 2011 Comments Off on Escalating Crackdown Following Call for “Jasmine Revolution” in China
International Community Must Take Strong and Clear Stance Condemning Rights Violations by the Chinese Government
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, March 31, 2011) – The Chinese government has criminally detained a total of 26 individuals, disappeared more than 30, and put more than 200 under soft detention since mid-February after anonymous calls for “Jasmine Revolution” protests first appeared online. As of today, three of the criminally detained have been formally arrested while five have been released on bail to await trial, a dozen of the disappeared remain missing including a number of prominent human rights lawyers; while almost all of the soft detentions have been lifted. Authorities also chose to hand a very harsh 10-year sentence to Liu Xianbin (刘贤斌), a democracy activist, on March 25 for “inciting subversion of state power” to signal to those currently detained for similar crimes that they could be subjected to lengthy sentences. See the list below for a complete account of the arrests, detentions, and disappearances.
“After the international community rallied behind writer Liu Xiaobo, who was put behind bars for 11 years for his speech, or lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has disappeared, the Chinese government now pushes back by criminally detaining, disappearing and possibly torturing many more writers, netizens and lawyers for their peaceful expression,” says Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director, “the scope of the crackdown and the seriousness of the crimes used to detain or indict individuals have made this one of harshest since 1998 when the government imprisoned a couple dozens pro-democracy activists for organizing the China Democracy Party.”
While five of the 26 criminally detained—Cheng Wanyun (程婉芸), Mo Jiangang (莫建刚), Lan Jingyuan (兰靖远), Weng Jie (翁杰) and Zheng Chuangtian (郑创添) —have been released on bail to await trial, the rest remain in detention. Those detained have been charged with crimes including “inciting subversion of state power” and “subversion of state power,” serious crimes that could lead up to life imprisonment if convicted. The decision this week to formally arrest Ran Yunfei (冉云飞), Ding Mao (丁茅) and Chen Wei (陈卫), all based in Sichuan Province, has left many worried that others may soon face a similar fate.
While these detentions are arbitrary, and clearly politically-motivated, they at least have some basis in Chinese law. The same cannot be said for the enforced disappearances of lawyers and activists, some of which have now lasted more than one month. Given the experience of prominent lawyers such as Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), who was repeatedly disappeared and tortured while held illegally by the police, it is likely that many of those who are missing may be facing similar mistreatment. Reports have surfaced that lawyer Tang Jitian (唐吉田), who was seized by police at the same time as Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) and Teng Biao (滕彪), was tortured while he was being held incommunicado. Tang has since been sent back from Beijing to his hometown in Jilin Province, but is being held under soft detention, warned to keep quiet, and barred from contacting the outside world.
In addition to those criminally detained or disappeared, more than 200 activists and netizens were subjected to soft detention, which also has no legal basis in Chinese law, as part of the crackdown. At this time, these restrictions on activists’ movements have largely been lifted. Many more activists and netizens have been interrogated about their blogs and Tweets, which mentioned or commented on the “Jasmine revolution”, or they were questioned about their recent activities and whether they know anything about the organization of these protests.
Map showing locations of individuals detained and disappeared whose cases have been confirmed by CHRD as of March 31
The actions of the Chinese government lay bare once again its policy of zero tolerance of political dissent and its willingness to completely disregard Chinese law and international human rights standards for the sake of rooting out any potential threat to the communist party’s monopoly of power. In the context of the democratic uprisings taking place in the Middle East and North Africa, the Chinese government, fearful of its own people, is counting on getting away with staging one of the most repressive campaigns in more than a decade because of the international community’s preoccupation with events elsewhere.
CHRD urges the international community, particularly the governments of the United States and members of the European Union, to take a public stand to condemn these detentions and disappearances. At a time when the international community is so vocal in its support of citizens seeking greater freedoms, it must not turn its back on China and its people. Given the severity of the current situation, CHRD believes that strong and concrete actions by world leaders, such as issuing public statements and suspension of some diplomatic activities and visits with the Chinese government, can make a difference.
CHRD calls once again on the U.N. Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to take urgent action and send communiqués to the Chinese government regarding these cases. These are important and meaningful actions and must be continued despite the Chinese government’s continued defiance, manifested most recently in its response to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s demand that Gao Zhisheng be released.
Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 6937 or +1 240 374 8937
Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator (English and Mandarin), +852 8191 1660
David Smalls, Researcher (English) +1 347 448 5285
Information about the three individuals who have been formally arrested:
- Chen Wei (陈卫), 42, a rights activist based in Suining City, Sichuan Province, was formally arrested for “inciting subversion of state power” on March 28. Chen was criminally detained for “inciting subversion of state power” on February 20 after police in Suining called him for “tea” that same morning. Officers and security guards later searched his home, confiscating a computer, two hard drives and a USB drive. He is currently being held at the Suining City Detention Center. Chen was a 1989 Tiananmen student protester when he was studying at the Beijing Institute of Technology, majoring in mechanical engineering. He was imprisoned in Qincheng prison and released in January 1991. In May 1992, Chen was again arrested for commemorating June 4 and organizing a political party, and was sentenced to five years in prison. In the past several years, Chen has emerged as a leader in organizing human rights actions in Sichuan.
- Ding Mao (丁矛), a 45 year-old dissident, was seized from his home on February 19 and then criminally detained on the same day by police in Mianyang City, Sichuan Province, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” CHRD learned of his arrest on March 28; he is currently being held at the Mianyang City Detention Center. As a philosophy student at Lanzhou University in the late 1980s, Ding became a student leader during the 1989 pro-democracy protests. He was twice imprisoned for his activism, first in 1989 and again in 1992 when he was arrested for organizing the Social Democratic Party. He spent a total of 10 years in jail. Before his detention and arrest, he was the general manager of an investment company in Mianyang.
- Ran Yunfei (冉云飞), 46, a writer, blogger, and activist, was formally arrested on March 25 for “inciting subversion of state power” and is currently being held in the Dujiangyan Detention Center. Ran was originally criminally detained for “subversion of state power” on February 24, according to a formal detention notice received by his wife; it is not known why the charge was changed. Ran, a member of the ethnic Tu minority who studied Chinese literature at Sichuan University, is an employee of the magazine Sichuan Literature and a resident of Chengdu City, Sichuan Province. He is a prolific writer of social and political commentary. He blogs at <http://www.bullogger.com/blogs/ranyunfei/> and his Twitter account, @ranyunfei, has more than 44,000 followers. Ran has been in police detention since the morning of February 20, when he was summoned to “tea.” Officers later searched his home and confiscated his computer.
Information about the other 23 individuals under criminal detention:
- Cheng Wanyun (程婉芸), 41, is a Beijing-based netizen originally from Sichuan Province. She was summoned by Beijing police on February 26 and criminally detained for “creating a disturbance” and “obstructing public safety” the next day. Her computer was also confiscated. On March 28, Cheng was released on bail to await trial and will be subjected to one year of “public surveillance” (guanzhi). During her detention in Tongzhou District Detention Center, Cheng was interrogated seven times mainly about her writings on QQ groups about the revolutions in the Middle East, whether she has been “exploited by someone else” or been part of a wider network or organization.
- Guo Weidong (郭卫东), born in 1972, a college graduate, employee of a business corporation, and an active netizen from Haining City, Zhejiang Province, was criminally detained on March 11 for “inciting subversion of state power.” The day before, police had arrived at Guo’s home and office and confiscated his computer along with other items. Guo, whose Twitter account is @daxa, had previously been summoned twice for questioning in relation to the anonymous online calls for “Jasmine Revolution” protests.
- Hua Chunhui (华春晖), 47, is a Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province-based netizen, activist, and mid-level manager at an insurance company. He was seized by police on February 21 and criminally detained on suspicion of “endangering state security,” according to a notice issued by police at the Tanduqiao Station in Wuxi’s Nanchang District. Hua, using the Twitter account @wxhch64, tweeted messages about the “Jasmine Revolution.” Hua and his fiancée Wang Yi (王译) have been active in civil society initiatives in recent years; for example, the couple organized a forum in Beijing in May 2010 to discuss the demonstrations outside of the Fuzhou City trial of three activists. Wang Yi (whose given name is Cheng Jianping) was sent to one year of Re-education through Labor in November 2010 for a tweet she posted during violent anti-Japan demonstrations in October 2010.
- Lan Jingyuan (兰靖远), a Beijing-based victim of forced eviction who has been petitioning the government for compensation, was detained on February 24 on suspicion of taking part in an “illegal demonstration” after participating in the “Jasmine Revolution” protest in Wangfujing, Beijing, on February 20. Lan was released on bail on February 24 and now awaiting for trial. Like others released on bail, he was warned not to speak about his case to anybody.
- Li Hai (李海), 57, a Beijing-based dissident and activist, was criminally detained on February 26 by police in Chaoyang District for “creating a disturbance.” Li is being detained in the Chaoyang District Detention Center. He was a student leader at Beijing University during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, and was expelled from school and detained for seven months after the demonstrations were suppressed. In 1995, Li was detained and eventually sentenced to nine years in prison for his pro-democracy activities and advocacy on behalf of victims of the Tiananmen Massacre. Following his release in 2004, Li continued his activism and has been repeatedly harassed, threatened, and detained by the government. His twitter account is @lihai54.
- Li Shuangde (李双德), a citizen lawyer and an activist based in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, was criminally detained on March 24 on suspicion of “credit card fraud” by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Jinjiang District of Chengdu City. Police had taken him away on March 21. Li is currently being held in the Chengdu Detention Center, which is located in Pi County. Li operates a legal aid center in Chengdu, and provides legal aid to citizens who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Li has been harassed on numerous occasions in the past by local officials.
- Li Yongsheng (李永生), 45, a Beijing-based rights activist, was criminally detained on March 7 for “creating a disturbance” by the Tongzhou District PSB. He is currently being held at the Tongzhou District Detention Center. Li has participated in a number of activities organized by NGOs in Beijing in recent years.
- Liang Haiyi (梁海怡, aka Miaoxiao [渺小]), 42, a netizen originally from Guangdong Province, was taken in for questioning on February 19 by police in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, along with her ex-husband. Her ex-husband was later released, but Liang remained in police custody. According to Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), a lawyer retained by her family, Liang Haiyi was criminally detained on suspicion of “subversion of state power” on February 21. Police accused Liang Haiyi of “posting information from foreign websites regarding ‘Jasmine Revolution’ actions on domestic websites” such as QQ, the popular Chinese social networking site. She is being held at the Harbin City No. 2 Detention Center.
- Liu Huiping (刘慧萍), a petitioner from Guangxi Province, was criminally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” after being forcibly returned to Nanning City, Guanxi, from Beijing on March 15. Liu is being held in Nanning No. 1 Detention Center. Her home was also searched by the police. Liu is a leader of a group of female village activists who have been petitioning against gender discrimination against women who were married to other villages and consequently lost their right in the management of economic affairs of villages around Nanning.
- Mo Jiangang (莫建刚), 60, a human rights and democracy activist, was seized sometime before March 6 and criminally detained. As of March 18, he had been released; however, more detailed information regarding his situation is not currently available. Mo, who was born in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, moved to Beijing and became involved in the pro-democracy movement in 1978. He was briefly detained after taking part in the 1989 demonstrations in Beijing. After 1989, Mo returned to Guiyang and continued his activism, becoming a leader among local democracy activists.
- Quan Lianzhao (全连昭), 60, a petitioner from Guangxi Province, was seized by interceptors in Beijing on February 26 and forcibly returned to Nanning City, Guangxi Province, where she was criminally detained for “subversion of state power.” Quan is currently being held in the Nanning City No. 1 Detention Center. It is believed that Quan’s detention is related to her taking part in a “Revolutionary Singing Gathering” in a Beijing park on February 3, where petitioners gathered to sing revolutionary songs and present accounts of their grievances. Quan also gathered with a number of petitioners on February 20 to present their grievances at Beijing’s Chaoyang Park; while the gathering drew the attention of police because it was the same date as the proposed “Jasmine Revolution” protests, friends said that Quan does not use the internet and would have not known of the demonstrations called for that date. Quan has been petitioning for four years in response to the forced expropriation of land in her village.
- Sun Desheng (孙德胜), a young Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province resident, was criminally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” some time before March 9. Reportedly, Sun’s detention stemmed from a friend’s dinner party, where Sun wrote anti-corruption and anti-dictatorship slogans and then posed with friends for a picture. The dinner, which took place on February 15, was also attended by lawyers Liu Shihui (刘士辉) and Li Fangping (李方平); Liu’s home was searched on February 24, and police discovered the photograph on his computer. Further details about Sun’s detention are not currently available.
- Tan Lanying (谈兰英), a 67 year-old Shanghai-based petitioner-activist, was criminally detained for “assembling a crowd to disrupt the order of a public place” on February 21. Tan is being held in Shanghai’s Putuo Detention Center. Tan has been petitioning for 17 years, seeking redress for grievances related to the forced demolition of her home.
- Wang Lihong (王荔蕻), 55, a Beijing-based human rights defender and democracy activist, was criminally detained for “creating a disturbance” at some point before March 26. She is currently being held at the Chaoyang District Detention Center. However, her family has yet to receive any formal documentation regarding her detention. In 1989, Ms. Wang joined the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing, an experience which led her to resign from her government job in 1991. Ms. Wang, a former doctor, then became a dedicated democracy activist and human rights defender. She has worked on projects such as relief efforts for the “Tiananmen homeless” and advocated on behalf of three imprisoned Fujian netizens and citizens fighting land seizures in Beihai City, Guangxi Province.
- Wei Qiang (魏强), a human rights activist, was criminally detained in Beijing on suspicion of taking part in an “illegal demonstration;” his family was notified on March 2 by the Beijing PSB. He is being held in the Haidian District Detention Center. Wei, originally from Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, moved to Beijing in 2010. On February 20, he used his Twitter account (@Watchmen725) to report from the scene in front of the Wangfujing McDonald’s, one of the locations identified in the call for “Jasmine Revolution” protests.
- Wei Shuishan (魏水山), a Zhejiang Province-based dissident and democracy activist, was criminally detained on March 5. However, as of the time of writing, Wei’s family has yet to receive a formal detention notice so no further details are currently available. Wei is a member of the banned China Democracy Party.
- Weng Jie (翁杰), a Beijing resident, was criminally detained for “creating a disturbance” on March 2. Weng had been present at the Beijing site picked for “Jasmine Revolution” protests on February 20 and was later seized by police. Weng was detained in the Chaoyang District Detention Center until March 25, when he was released on bail to await trial.
- Xue Mingkai (薛明凯), 22, an activist from Shandong Province’s Qufu City, was seized on February 18 in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province and forcibly returned to his hometown. He was later criminally detained; however, CHRD has been unable to contact his family to learn further details. Xue served 18 months in prison between May 2009 and November2010 for “subversion of state power.” A migrant worker living in Shenzhen at the time, Xue was charged with “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.
- Yang Lamei (杨腊梅), a Shanghai-based activist, has been missing since February 20 and is believed to be criminally detained. An eyewitness has reported that Yang was seized by police at the same time as activist Tan Lanying (谈兰英), whose family received a formal detention notice on February 22. However, CHRD has so far been unable to contact Yang’s family for further details.
- Yang Qiuyu (杨秋雨), a Beijing-based dissident, was criminally detained on March 7 for “creating a disturbance.”. Yang was taken away on March 6, and on March 9 police returned to search his home, confiscating a computer, name cards, and other items. Yang is currently held in Xicheng District Detention Center.
- Zhang Jiannan (张健男), better known by his online name, Secretary Zhang (张书记), was seized at his home in Beijing on March 2 and criminally detained for taking part in an “illegal demonstration.” Zhang was the founder of the website 1984 BBS (http://1984bbs.com), an online discussion forum dedicated to discussion of current events and the publication of censored news, which was shut down by the government on October 12, 2010. His twitter account is @SecretaryZhang.
- Zheng Chuangtian (郑创添), a human rights activist, was criminally detained for “inciting subversion of state power” by police in Huilai County, Jieyang City, Guangdong Province on February 26. Officers also searched Zheng’s home; it is not known what, if anything, they confiscated. On March 28, Zheng was released on bail to await trial and returned home to Huilai County.
- Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), 58, a Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province-based democracy activist, was taken away by police on March 5. Officers also searched his home and confiscated two computers and other items. Zhu was later criminally detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.” Formerly a property manager at the Hangzhou City Shangcheng District Urban Housing Bureau, Zhu was convicted of “subversion of state power” in 1999 and served seven years in prison for founding the Opposition Party magazine, which carried articles about the China Democratic Party. After his release in 2006, he spoke out against the torture he suffered in prison and continued to promote democratization. He was detained again in 2007 after a confrontation with a police officer who was questioning his son, and sentenced to two years in prison for “beating police and hindering public duty.”
Information about the 12 individuals who are still missing as of the time of writing; they are at high risk of torture or other mistreatment while held illegally incommunicado:
- Ceng Renguang (曾仁广), a Beijing-based human rights activist, has been missing since February 22.
- Gu Chuan (古川), a Beijing-based author and human rights activist, has been missing since February 19. On February 19, about twenty Beijing policemen searched Gu’s home without presenting their police IDs or a search warrant. They confiscated two computers, two cell phones and some books. Gu’s wife has repeatedly asked Beijing policemen the whereabouts of her husband, but was told they “do not know.” She has not received any formal detention documents from the police. When Gu’s home was searched, the policemen said the search was related to Gu using Twitter to repost messages about the “Jasmine Revolution.”
- Hu Di (胡荻), a Beijing-based netizen and writer, has been missing since March 13.
- Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), a Beijing-based human rights lawyer, has been missing since February 19. On the afternoon of February 19, Jiang was seized from his brother’s home and driven away by men identified by his family as Beijing policemen. Police returned that evening and confiscated Jiang’s computer. The police never presented any police IDs, search or detention warrants at any point during the proceedings. Beijing police have refused to tell Jiang’s family his whereabouts.
- Ma He (马贺, aka Kucun Jiasha [库存袈裟]), a Chengdu-based netizen, has been missing since March 3. Ma was a technician for the website 1984 BBS (http://1984bbs.com), whose founder, Zhang Jiannan (张健男), has been criminally detained.
- Lan Ruoyu (蓝若宇), a Chongqing-based graduate student, has been missing since February 27. Police also confiscated a computer belonging to Lan, a student at Communication University of China.
- Li Tiantian (李天天), a Shanghai-based human rights lawyer, has been missing since February 19.Li was taken away from her home by police. She maintains a blog (http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1896094822) and her Twitter account is @litiantian.
- Liu Anjun (刘安军), a Beijing-based human rights activist, exact date of disappearance unknown. Among other activities, Liu is the organizer of the group Sunshine Charity, which is dedicated to supporting petitioners in Beijing. He has been subjected to police harassment and enforced disappearances on a number of occasions in the past.
- Liu Dejun (刘德军), a Beijing-based netizen, has been missing since February 27. Since Liu went missing, police have gone to the home of Liu’s sister, in Wuhan City, on three occasions to search her computer as well as items left by Liu after a recent visit. Officers did not provide any legal notification regarding Liu’s disappearance on any of these occasions, and officers in Beijing and Wuhan contacted by the family have refused to provide any information about Liu’s whereabouts.
- Liu Shihui (刘士辉), a Guangzhou-based human rights lawyer, has been missing since February 20. Before he disappeared, Liu was brutally beaten by a group of unidentified individuals while waiting at a bus stop to participate in the February 20 “Jasmine Revolution” protests in Guangzhou.
- Teng Biao (滕彪), a Beijing-based human rights lawyer, has been missing since February 19. Teng disappeared after leaving his home to meet with friends. Reportedly, policemen from the Beijing Public Security Bureau’s National Security Unit searched Teng’s home the following day, confiscating two computers, a printer, articles, books, DVDs and photos of Chen Guangcheng.
- Zhou Li (周莉), a Beijing-based activist, has been missing since March 27. Last year, Zhou was convicted of “creating a disturbance” and sentenced to one year in prison after participating in 2009 protests against Sun Dongdong (孙东东), the Beijing University professor who created an uproar in the activist community when he claimed that “99% of petitioners suffer from mental illness.”