China Human Rights Briefing October 13-20, 2011

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 China Human Rights Briefing
October 13-20, 2011

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  • Activism, Suppression Ramp Up Around Chen Guangcheng, Dongshigu Village: More attempts to see the lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) have taken place—all blocked in similar fashion—and CHRD has provided a close-up look at the tight monitoring set up around Chen’s home village in Shandong Province. Some prominent figures, including activist Hu Jia (胡佳), have recently been warned to stay away from Dongshigu.
  • Police Keep Intimidating Independent People’s Congress Candidates: Police in Beijing have maintained a practice of systematic harassment of independent People’s Congress candidates in Beijing, with local elections coming up in November.
  • Join CHRD on Facebook for News, Images of Human Rights Defenders: Sign on to CHRD’s Facebook page to view the latest news and moving photos related to human rights defenders in China. Launched this summer, the page allows fans to get information from CHRD in a convenient, timely manner.


Arbitrary Detention

Harassment of Activists

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

Local People’s Congress Elections Watch

Special Notice

Arbitrary Detention

CHRD Details Tight Surveillance, Points of Entry Around Chen Guangcheng’s Home Village

Attempts to visit the lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) in Shandong Province have often been thwarted by the constant, stifling presence of guards blockading Dongshigu Village, where Chen lives under illegal house arrest (see reports below). The intensive operation is fortified by surveillance cameras and monitoring points set up at four village entrances and around Chen’s home. As groups of Chinese activists continue their “Operation Free Chen Guangcheng” by making repeated visits to Dongshigu Village, CHRD has released an aerial photo that charts the locations of village entrances and monitoring posts while describing these in detail.

The village’s widest concrete road—at three meters across—runs along its eastern edge and intersects China National Highway 205, which connects the provinces of Hebei and Guangdong. A small bridge lies in the middle of this road, and after crossing the bridge and turning right, Chen’s home is the first one on the north side, and is surrounded at all times by seven or eight guards.

The highway entrance near Chen’s home is guarded by 20 individuals who work in two shifts, scrutinizing each vehicle and person entering the village. At another location are two small structures that function as the guards’ work stations, with a pair of vehicles parked nearby. Thugs use one of them in case they need to chase after visitors, and the other is stationed next to a small bridge. Seven to eight individuals, also working in two shifts, man these vehicles.

Another concrete road entrance faces a neighboring village, Yazi Village, to the southeast of Dongshigu, and is located about 600 meters down the highway. A monitoring point in this area is set up about 100 meters after crossing a bridge, and guards—close to 20 people divided into two groups—reportedly stay hidden behind a pile of firewood and are able to see anyone crossing over the bridge, which leads to a trail into Dongshigu. On one side of the trail is a row of bungalows where tobacco is grown, and guards keep three vicious dogs on the other side.

A third entrance—a drainage area beneath a highway—lies along the village’s southwest edge, and is a path so narrow and rugged that it can only be undertaken on foot. There are six or seven guards stationed at this entrance, which is also equipped with a monitoring camera. Northwest of the village, there is a fourth passage off a small bridge to neighboring Xishigu Village. There are two monitoring points, one at the entrance of Xishigu Village and another after crossing a bridge and turning to the left, with close 20 guards.

In sum, there are two surveillance points in front and behind Chen’s home, and six other points set up at various locations on the four narrow roads that enter Dongshigu Village. There are a total of six surveillance cameras in the village. Two mobile phone jammers are set up at the homes of Chen’s neighbors to the west and east.

Reportedly, almost 100 hired thugs keep Chen under surveillance, and all are recruited from outside the village. They are divided into two large squads and 12 smaller groups, and maintain radio communication with each other while working around the clock. And like many extensive operations, monitoring Chen and the entire village is also wealth-generating. Given two daily meals, each person pockets 100 RMB a day—far more lucrative pay than the average villager (even the village party secretary earns just 3,000 RMB in salary per year). The guards are led by Gao Xingjian (高兴见), who comes from a nearby village. Gao was appointed as head of the guards after fighting off past visitors on many occasions, and has supposedly amassed a good deal of wealth from filling that role. (CHRD)[i]

Hunan Police Issue Detentions to Petitioning Coal Workers

CHRD has learned that 19 coal industry workers from Hunan Province were issued administrative detentions for “gathering a crowd to disrupt the order of a public place” after expressing grievances in Mao Zedong Bronze Statue Square in Shaoshan City. Officers from the Xiangtan City Public Security Bureau (PSB) seized the petitioners on October 2, and then turned the group over to the Shaodong PSB, who took them into detention. The next day, all but one of the petitioners were given seven-day detentions, with Zhao Zuying (赵足英) issued a 10-day detention. From Shaodong County, the coal workers have been attempting to seek justice after restructuring of the mines has affected their livelihoods. In September, they had petitioned at the Hunan Provincial Government building, but did not gain any resolution. (CHRD)[ii]

Beijing Police Bring in Thugs to Black Jail to Beat Detainees

Both uniformed police and security guards in Jiujingzhuang, a black jail in Beijing, reportedly brought more than a dozen thugs into the building for the purpose of beating petitioners. Among the petitioners, who hail from Huangshi City in Anhui Province, four of them sustained various injuries during the violent episode, which took place in the early morning of October 18. The petitioners, who had been taken into custody the previous morning after petitioning at the State Bureau for Letters and Visits over corruption by local officials, called the police before and after the assaults, but officers did not come to the jail. The beatings reflect typical cooperation between Chinese government security mechanisms and underground gangs, and the efforts of both to intimidate citizens who seek justice for perceived rights offenses. (HRCC)[iii]

Petitioning Wife of Wuhan Traffic Policeman Detained

The wife of a traffic policeman has been detained in a so-called “legal education class”—a black jail—for more than a week, allegedly for persistent petitioning over the 2010 demolition of her home. From Wuhan in Hubei Province, Yu Jin (余敬) had gone with her mother-in-law to the city’s Shouyi Square on October 10, the 100-year anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution, and Yu was taken into custody by security forces. The next day, Yu was forcibly taken to the Baiquan Grain Farm near East Lake, where petitioners are often detained for extended periods. Yu’s mother-in-law has claimed that, because of Yu’s petitioning, her husband has been threatened with the loss of his police job. (CRLW)[iv]

More Recent Reports: Arbitrary Detention

“Four Fujian Villagers Criminally Detained for Blocking Illegal Mining” (福建村民阻止非 法采矿多人被刑事拘留), October 17, 2011

“Beijing Police Seize Hundreds of Petitioners from Lodgings During Party Representatives Meeting”(党代会期间吕村访民遭警方抓捕), October 15, 2011

“Petitioning Laborers in Xi’an Beaten, Held For Discussing Wages” (西安民工讨工钱 被打被关), October 15, 2011

“Rights Defense Representative Li Xiangmou’s Detention Runs Over in a Case Tied to a 2008 Maritime Accident off the Coast of Indonesia (“福远渔628”维权代表李祥谋 被超限羁押), October 14, 2011

Harassment of Activists

Beijing Security Police Threaten Activist Hu Jia

On October 14, Beijing activist Hu Jia (胡佳), who returned home on June 26 after serving three-and-a-half years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” was threatened by members of the National Security Unit of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. Police told Hu that he is prohibited from visiting Liu Xia (刘霞), wife of imprisoned activist Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), that he is barred from traveling to Shandong Province to visit activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), and that he is not allowed to grant interviews to foreign media. If he violates any of the terms of his deprivation of political rights, he would be subjected to administrative detention. (CHRD)

Dongshigu Guards Block, Expel Groups Trying to See Chen Guangcheng; Writer Harassed by Shanghai Police for Organizing Visit to Chen

A group of five disabled citizens (see photo) from Anhui Province were blocked from visiting the blind lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) on October 14, the day before International White Cane Safety Day, meant to bring attention to the challenges and achievements of the blind. The previous day, the five Hefei residents set off in a hired car for Chen’s home in Shandong Province. The group later indicated that, as they approached Dongshigu Village, where Chen lives, people in the area feigned ignorance when asked where the village was, a response in line with official warnings against directing outsiders to Dongshigu and to Chen. Once reaching the village entrance, they decided to enter on foot, but were met at the entrance by more than 10 guards—identifying themselves as “villagers”—who claimed they were stationed there to guard against thieves from entering the village. These people blocked their path, ordered them to leave, and threatened them. Eventually, the disabled group went away but was trailed by three vehicles as they departed the area.

More groups have attempted to visit Chen since then. A group of five, including well-known figures such as writers Murong Xuecun (慕容雪村) and Wang Xiaoshan (王小山), went to Linyi on October 15, and they were roughly handled and prevented from entering the village. Then, on October 16, Shanghai police visited the home of writer Xia Shang (夏商) and warned him not to visit Chen after he had posted messages online calling for others to join him for a trip to Dongshigu. (CHRD)[v]

More Recent Reports: Harassment of Activists

“Chengdu Petitioner Chen Qian Forcibly Taken Away From Beijing Train Station” (成都访民陈茜被 强行从北京站带走), October 17, 2011

“Hefei Petitioner Ma Hailing Suspected of Being Intercepted, Disappeared by Local Government” (合肥访民马海玲 疑遭当地政府截访而失踪), October 16, 2011

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

Changsha Petitioners Protest Over Home Demolitions, Requisitioned Land

Since October 10, more than 100 farmers from Hunan Province whose homes were razed and land requisitioned by the local government have protested at the Furong District government building in Changsha. The farmers have sat peacefully and carried banners expressing their grievances, appealing to officials to investigate and punish the corrupt officials involved in the land deal. With more than 9,000 Furong residents affected, local farmers have petitioned for years since their homes were demolished in 2000—reportedly by cadres and public security personnel—and their land taken over without sufficient compensation. Protesters have presented their demands to local and national agencies but without any positive result. Some farmers have faced threats and restrictions on their movement; a protester in August was beaten by a government worker and remains hospitalized, and three others were given 10-day administrative detentions in September. (CHRD)[vi]

Jiangsu Woman Commits Suicide Over Home Demolition

A forced home demolition in Jiangsu Province led an affected resident, Gu Zuping (顾箤萍), to drown herself in a local river on October 17 after the situation drove her to despair. The home of the 49-year-old Gu was slated for demolition in 2007, along with others in her village in Nantong City. Gu had petitioned unsuccessfully against relocation and demolition plans and other measures taken, including the cutting of her home’s water and electricity, with officials eventually becoming indifferent to her grievance. The day after her suicide, about 20 grieving family members and friends of Gu rallied in protest over her death, and went to the city government building to express their outrage over what had happened. Reportedly, webpages in China that had reported Gu’s suicide have been deleted. (CHRD)[vii]

Local People’s Congress Elections Watch

Beijing Police Keep Up Systematic Intimidation, Suppression of Independent Candidates

Blatant harassment of independent candidates in Beijing has continued, with authorities intimidating and suppressing candidates as local elections approach in November. Recent police actions that have disrupted pre-election events and deprived individuals of their rights include:

  • On October 12, men claimed to be officials from the local election affairs office grabbed independent candidate Han Ying (韩颖) and prevented her from entering her home. Han fled by car to the home of fellow candidate Ye Jingchun (野靖春), and the officers gave up pursuit after onlookers saw them trying to abduct Han. Han then called the police, who said upon arrival at the scene that they would not investigate what had occurred. The two candidates then went to the Zhanlan Road Police Station to fill out an incident report. Han, whose arms had swelled up from being grabbed by the officers, figured that she had been harassed since she had not cooperated the previous evening when Haidian District plainclothes police wanted to talk to her. On September 29, police had restricted the movements of other candidates who planned to take part in an election event for Han.
  • On October 11, independent candidate Xu Xiangyu (徐香玉), a land rights activist from Daxing District, had her electoral rights stripped one day after she registered to vote. Xu was notified by an official with the Yinmajing Village Party Committee that she could not participate in the election even though Xu permanently resides in the village and her hukou is also registered in Yinmajing. In September, Xu was issued a 10-day detention by the Daxing District Public Security Bureau after she tried to complain to the government that the Daxing District People’s Court refused to accept a case the villagers filed against the Yinmajing Village Committee over land that had been taken away from her and fellow villagers.
  • On October 8, Beijing police disrupted an election publicity event hosted by candidate Liu Xiuzhen (刘秀贞). That morning, police converged around Liu’s home, where seven participating candidates and a foreign journalist had gathered. Three others were stopped before reaching Liu’s home, and police sealed off the entrance leading to the residence, which is located in a hutong (narrow alley). The night before, banners publicizing the election at the nearby subdistrict office had been surreptitiously taken down. Police eventually allowed the event to be held, but only inside Liu’s home, ensuring it would be less noticeable, and not in the adjacent courtyard.
  • Local candidates learned on October 8 that Dongcheng District authorities would not conduct an administrative review of the detention and questioning of candidates and others who had met for an event at the home of candidate Zheng Wei (郑威) on September 16. The individuals had been held at a police station for much of that day before being released, and they were reportedly told by an officer that they were detained explicitly in order to disrupt the election activity. A government worker, stating the review application would not be accepted, further pointed out that the candidates would be unable to present evidence of what took place that day in September. (CHRD)[viii]

Special Notice

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Editors of this issue: Victor Clemens and Songlian Wang

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News updates from CHRD


[i] “Situation of Chen Guangcheng’s Detention, Routes Into Dongshigu Village” (陈光诚被看守情况及进入东师古村路线), October 14, 2011
[ii] “19 Petitioners Expressing Injustice Detained at Same Time in Shaodong County, Hunan Province on October 1” (湖南邵东 县同时拘留19名“十一”上访喊冤 者), October 13, 2011
[iii] “Violent Episode This Morning at Petitioners Trading Center at Jiujingzhuang” (访民交易中心久敬庄今晨发生暴力事件), October 18, 2011
[iv] “Wife of Wuhan Traffic Policeman Held in ‘Legal Education Class’ For Defending Rights Over Demolition, Eviction” (武汉交警之妻因拆迁维权被关“’法教班’”), October 14, 2011
[v] “Hefei Disabled Persons Group Blocked, Tailed When Trying to Visit Chen Guangcheng” (合肥残疾人团队探访陈光诚被阻拦跟踪), October 17, 2011; “On World Blind Day, Celebrities Murong Xuecun, Wang Xiaoshan Among Five People Going to See Chen Guangcheng in Linyi” (快讯:世 界盲人日慕容雪村、王小山等五人前往临沂看望陈光诚), October 15, 2011; Shanghai Writer Xia Shang Prepares to Take Entourage to Linyi, Faces Police Threats, Obstruction” (上海作家 夏商欲组团赴临沂 遭警方威 胁阻挠), October 17, 2011; “Several Groups En Route to Going to Chen Guangcheng’s Despite Suppression” (数队人马 前仆后继不顾打压在探访陈光诚的途中), October 16, 2011.
[vi] “More Than 100 Changsha Farmers Continue 3-Day Protest in Front of Government Building” (长沙百余位农民连续三天到政府门前抗议), October 12, 2011
[vii] “Brutal Eviction and Relocation in Nantong Leads to Suicide, Relatives Don Outfits With Protest Slogans, Seek Explanation” (南通野蛮拆迁致人自杀,亲属穿状衣讨说法), October 18, 2011
[viii] “Beijing People’s Congress Representative Candidate Han Ying Abducted, Harassed” (北京人大代表参选者韩颖遭遇绑架骚扰), October 11, 2011; “Administrative Review Application of Illegal Personal Restrictions of 13 Beijing Citizen Candidates Is Not Accepted” (北京13名公民参选人申请行政复议非法限制人身自由不予受理), October 11, 2011; “Village Party Committee Strips Electoral Rights of Land Rights Activist Xu Xiangyu” (北京土地维权村民徐香玉被村委会剥夺选举权), October 11, 2011; “Police Put Into Effect Tight Blockages At Seventh Station of Election Publicity for 13 Citizen Candidates,” (北京13名公民参选人选举宣传第七站 警方严看死守进行阻挠), October 7, 2011; “Beijing Police Begin to Suppress Candidates for People’s Congress Elections” (北京警方对北京市公民参选人开始打压), September 16, 2011; “Part III: Beijing Citizen Candidate News [Extra Edition]” (北京市公民参选人参选新闻《号外》之三), September 16, 2011

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