China Human Rights Briefing January 10-16, 2012

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China Human Rights Briefing
January 10-16, 2012

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  • Detainees’ Families Denied, Granted Visits: Prison authorities recently blocked the family of disappeared human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng from visiting him in a Xinjiang prison, where he is reportedly being held. Days later, convicted Sichuan activist Chen Wei was able to see his family for the first time since being detained nearly 11 months ago.
  • Prisoners Suffering Behind Bars: Two prisoners—Hunan activist Xie Fulin and Henan dissident Liu Yonggen—are reportedly being deprived of rights while serving their sentences. Xie’s health is severely declining while Liu is being forced to work more than 10 hours a day.


Arbitrary Detention

•           Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Chen Wei Granted First Family Visit After Nearly 11 Months in Detention

“Incitement” Case Against Activist Zhu Yufu Might Go to Trial in January

•           Xinjiang Prison Refuses to Let Family Visit Gao Zhisheng, Casts Doubts on Gao’s Fate

•           Henan Petitioner Held in Psychiatric Hospital for Weeks, Forced to Take Medication

•           Elderly Hunan Petitioners Held in Beijing Black Jail for Six Weeks

•           Hubei Police Detain Farmers After Protest Over Land Compensation

•           Shandong Police Criminally Detain Woman for Participating in Protest

Harassment of Activists

•           Beijing Police Search Home of Activist Hu Jia

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment

•           Hunan Activist Deprived of Medical Care As Health Declines in Prison

•           Imprisoned Henan Dissident Deprived of Communication With Family, Forced to Work Long Hours

Arbitrary Detention  

Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Chen Wei Granted First Family Visit After Nearly 11 Months in Detention

Sichuan activist Chen Wei ( ), convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” in December, has been permitted to meet with his family for the first time since he was detained nearly 11 months ago. On January 14, Chen’s wife, daughter, parents, and younger brother saw Chen at the Suining City Detention Center during a half-hour visit. Chen had recently been sent to Jintang Prison in Chengdu and underwent a physical examination, but was reportedly brought back to the detention center after the exam. According to his family, Chen is in good spirits, and he told them that he figures he will be transferred next week to a prison in Dazhu County.

Less than a week before, Chen’s wife, Wang Xiaoyan ( 晓燕), was not allowed to see Chen after court and detention center officials had promised a visit with him before he was taken to prison—a visitation provided by Chinese regulations. Authorities informed her on January 9 that Chen had already been sent to a prison, though detention center personnel claimed at the time not to know which one.

Authorities took Chen Wei into custody on February 20, 2011, and formally arrested him for “inciting subversion” on March 28. On December 23, the Suining Intermediate People’s Court convicted and sentenced Chen to nine years in prison. (CHRD)[1]

“Incitement” Case Against Activist Zhu Yufu Might Go to Trial in January

The case of “inciting subversion of state power” against Hangzhou activist Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) might go to trial later in January, according to Zhu’s wife, Jiang Hangli (姜杭莉). Jiang informed CHRD that the judge responsible for the case called her on January 11, telling her that Zhu’s case will go to trial this month but not disclosing a specific trial date. CHRD was able to contact one of Zhu’s lawyers, Li Dunyong (李敦勇), who said he has not been informed of a trial date. Details of the accusations against Zhu still remain unclear, since Jiang has not seen police or procuratorate documentation on the case, but it is possible that charges stem from poems that Zhu has written and interviews he has done.

In late December, the Shangcheng County District Public Security Bureau re-submitted the case against Zhu to the local procuratorate, two months after the Shangcheng County People’s Court had reportedly approved the procuratorate’s application to dismiss charges against Zhu. Zhu’s lawyer stated at the time that the procuratorate cited “changes in factual evidence” in seeking dismissal of the charges, a decision that stirred speculation that the activist would be released.

Zhu Yufu has been held since March 5 for “inciting subversion of state power” at the Shangcheng District Detention Center. Formally arrested on April 11, Zhu is one of 11 individuals known to have been arrested as part of the Jasmine Crackdown. He has served two prior prison sentences, totaling nine years. (CHRD)[2]  

Xinjiang Prison Refuses to Let Family Visit Gao Zhisheng, Casts Doubts on Gao’s Fate

Xinjiang prison authorities have cast further suspicions on the fate of rights defense lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) by refusing to allow his younger brother, Gao Zhiyi (高智义), and three other relatives to visit him in prison on January 10. In not allowing the visit, authorities at Shaya Prison, where Gao Zhisheng has reportedly been held after allegedly violating terms of his probation, stated that the lawyer is undergoing a “three-month education period,” and that family members will only be able to see him afterward if Gao performs well during this period. Prison officials also claimed that Gao Zhisheng does not wish to see his family members. On January 1, Gao Zhiyi received notification from Shaya Prison that his brother had been admitted there, after which time his family had made thorough preparations for the visit.

Gao Zhisheng has not been seen since April of 2010. The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court this past December ordered him to prison to serve a three-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” after reportedly withdrawing his probation, which was set to expire days before the court’s decision. Gao was originally sentenced in December of 2006. While on probation, Gao was “disappeared” and repeatedly tortured. (CHRD)[3]

Henan Petitioner Held in Psychiatric Hospital for Weeks, Forced to Take Medication

Police have reportedly detained petitioner Wang Qunfeng (王群凤) in a psychiatric hospital in Henan Province for several weeks and also forced her to take medications, although she does not suffer from mental illness. While petitioning in Beijing, Wang was seized on December 14 by thugs under the direction of the Lushi County Public Security Bureau (PSB) and brought back to Henan. Local police then secretly detained her at the Luoyang City Mental Health Center, where she has been forcibly given mental illness medication. When her family finally found her at the institution, staff members said they evaluated Wang’s mental health status but the results—that reportedly show that Wang does not have a mental illness—could only be given to the PSB. Her family also noticed during their visit that Wang had not yet recovered from injuries that she likely suffered while in police custody.

Wang began petitioning when the medical expenses of her father, a former cadre, were not properly reimbursed by the government, and her actions have led to severe retaliation from local officials. For petitioning, Wang has been sent to Re-education through Labor on three occasions and been administratively detained more than 10 times, while also being frequently beaten and held in black jails. (CHRD)[4]

Elderly Hunan Petitioners Held in Beijing Black Jail for Six Weeks

Elderly petitioners from Hunan Province have been held in a black jail for more than six weeks after being seized in Beijing on December 4, which was “Legal Publicity Day” in China. That day, Beijing police seized 14 petitioners and detained them in a black jail at Jiujingzhuang. Since then, authorities from Hunan have reportedly kept Chen Bichun ( 陈碧香) and Gong Jiangbao (龚江保), who are both over 70 years old, detained in the Chenzhou City’s liaison office, which is based in the capital’s Fengtai District. Along with another petitioner, Yu Hong (于洪), the two elderly detainees are reportedly living in cold conditions and have fallen ill but not received medical treatment. (HRCC)[5]

Hubei Police Detain Farmers After Protest Over Land Compensation

Police in Hubei Province detained dozens of farmers—including five who remain in custody—after they protested recently at a provincial government building over compensation offered for requisitioned land. On January 11, more than 70 farmers from Xiantao City began carrying banners in protest to the government building. When the protest continued two days later, about 70 Xiantao police officers and government personnel interceded and took farmers away in a large vehicle, initially detaining more than 60 of them at the Ganhe Police Station. Police then demanded that the farmers admit their actions were wrong and also stop petitioning, or otherwise they would be tarnishing Xiantao’s image. Last year, local farmers refused to sign an agreement about compensation for land they had lost, desiring a larger amount. They then started to petition last September, appealing unsuccessfully for help at the provincial and city levels on several occasions. (CHRD)[6]

Shandong Police Criminally Detain Woman for Participating in Protest

Authorities in Shandong Province criminally detained a woman, Yang Meiying (杨美英), following a protest in front of a government building in Yantai City. On January 10, dozens of residents from Zhifu District returned to the former site of their homes, which were destroyed three years ago, and carried banners to the district government building to appeal for justice over compensation. A large number of police came to the scene and ordered the individuals to put down their banners. Police took away Yang on suspicion of “disrupting social order” after Yang allegedly struggled with police to protect the banner she was holding. Later that evening, a representative of the displaced residents was notified of Yang’s detention by a policeman from the Zhifu District branch of the Yantai Public Security Bureau. (CRLW)[7]

More recent news related to arbitrary detention:

“Petitioner Who Prepared to Self-Immolate at Tiananmen Square on January 1 Completes Administrative Punishment, Lands in Black Jail” (新 年天安门自杀访民拘留期满又被关黑监狱), January 10, 2012, CHRD

Harassment of Activists

Beijing Police Search Home of Activist Hu Jia

Beijing police searched the home of rights activist Hu Jia (胡佳) on January 11, confiscating property and claiming that Hu is violating the terms of his release from prison by remaining active in rights defense activities. That evening, eight officers, including some from the Zhongcang Police Station in Tongzhou District, reportedly forced their way into the home, and later took away two computers belonging to Hu and his wife, Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕). Officers did provide a search warrant and handed over a list of items they confiscated, and also indicated they would summon Hu for questioning. Police claimed that he has violated the terms of his post-release deprivation of political rights by granting interviews, expressing his opinion on public issues, and taking part in public events.

On June 26, 2011, Hu Jia was released after serving three-and-a-half years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” and began a one-year period of court-ordered deprivation of political rights. He was taken into custody in December 2007 and convicted in April 2008. (CHRD)[8]

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment

Hunan Activist Deprived of Medical Care As Health Declines in Prison

Prison authorities in Hunan Province have repeatedly rejected applications by the family of imprisoned rights activist Xie Fulin (谢福林) to take him to a hospital for medical treatment even as Xie’s health has severely declined. Last month, Xie’s wife, Jin Yan (金焰), went to see him in Changsha Prison and found Xie in a poor emotional state. She then learned that some of Xie’s health problems—heart disease, high blood pressure, and intestinal problems—have developed and worsened while in prison. Jin also observed that his nutrition is poor since Xie can only eat noodles due to the intestinal issues. Officials have refused to take Xie to a hospital outside the prison, claiming that “higher authorities have not approved.” Jin used to bring medicine to her husband once a month, but was told by a prison doctor that Xie must see a doctor in order for his health to get better. Besides neglecting his failing health, prison authorities have also deprived Xie of reading material, and authorities closely monitor his visits with family members and his phone calls, reportedly stopping discussions that touch on political or other sensitive subjects.

This past fall, prison authorities rejected an application for medical parole for Xie. At that time, authorities were reportedly pressuring him to admit his guilt, after which time it is possible they would reduce his sentence, but Xie had refused to do so. Earlier in 2011, a prison guard reportedly had beaten Xie, and guards had also threatened to lock him in solitary confinement.

In March of 2010, Xie was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by Changsha’s Furong District People’s Court for “larceny”—for allegedly stealing electricity—in a case believed to be brought in retaliation against Xie for his activism. He is also a signatory to “Charter 08” and has participated in activities involving the China Pan-Blue Alliance. (CHRD)[9]

Imprisoned Henan Dissident Deprived of Communication With Family, Forced to Work Long Hours

CHRD has learned that Henan dissident Liu Yonggen (刘永根), serving a prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power,” is being deprived of communication rights with his family, and is also being forced to work at a workshop more than 10 hours a day. During a recent visit to the Henan Province No. 1 Prison, Liu indicated that he has written several letters to his family, but they have never received any of them. In addition, authorities have reportedly made various excuses in not allowing Liu access to reading materials that his family has sent to him. Liu is apparently in good spirits, but he has grown very thin during his incarceration.

In September 2009, authorities took Liu Yonggen into custody for publishing political essays on overseas websites that allegedly “affected the interests of the Chinese Communist Party and government.” The following month, he was formally arrested on charges of “inciting subversion,” and he was convicted in June of 2010 and sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence is due to expire in September of 2012. Prior to his imprisonment, Liu had served as a county official in Henan. (CHRD)[10]
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

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News updates from CHRD

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[1] “Rights Activist Chen Wei Allowed to Meet Family Members” (人权捍卫者陈卫获准与家人会见), January 14, 2012, CHRD; “Rights Activist Chen Wei Transferred to Prison, Family Not Told Location” (人权捍卫者陈卫被转往监狱,家人不知关押地点), January 9, 2012, CHRD; “Alert: Chen Wei Gets Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison” (紧急关注:陈卫案当庭宣判,获刑九年), December 22, 2011, CHRD; “Ouyang Yi Taken Away by Police as Activist Chen Wei’s Trial Nears” (维权人士陈卫案开庭在即,欧阳懿被警方带走), December 21, 2011, CHRD; “Court Hears the Case of Chen Wei, Charged with ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’ on December 23” (特别关 注:陈卫“煽动颠覆 国家政权案”本月23日开庭), December 23, 2011, CHRD; “Lawyer Zheng Jianwei Finally Allowed to View Documents for Chen Wei’s “Incitement” Case, But Again Blocked From Seeing Chen” (陈卫“煽动颠覆国家政权案”律师开始阅卷,会见再次遇阻), December 15, 2011, CHRD; “Trial of Chen Wei Imminent, Suining Court Notifies Lawyer to Get Copy of Indictment” (陈卫案开庭在即,遂宁法院通知律师取起诉 副本), December 9, 2011; “Chen Wei’s Attorney Set to Examine Case Documents, But Unable to Contact Judge” (陈卫案代理律师欲到法院阅案卷无法联系到 法官), December 6, 2011, CHRD; “Lawyer Again Blocked From Meeting Chen Wei, Dissident Charged With ‘Incitement’” (陈卫“煽动颠覆国家政权”案律师会见再次受阻), November 30, 2011, CHRD
[2] “Trial to Open in January for ‘Inciting Subversion’ Case Against Zhu Yufu” (特 别关注:朱虞夫“涉 嫌煽动颠覆国家政权案”将 于本月开庭), January 13, 2012, CHRD; “Wu Yilong Held After Home Searched, Zhu Yufu Case Sent Again to Procuratorate” (吴义龙被抄家后无处安身,朱虞夫案重新送检), December 28, 2011, CHRD; “Zhejiang Dissident Wu Yilong Questioned, Has House Searched, Is Forcibly Returned to Hometown” (浙江异议人士吴义龙被传唤抄家送回老家), December 27, 2011, CHRD; “Shangcheng Court in Hangzhou Approves Procuratorate’s Application to Dismiss ‘Incitement’ Charges Against Zhu Yufu” (上城法院批准检察院撤销对朱虞夫“煽动颠覆国家政权罪”的起诉), October 27, 2011, CHRD
[3] “Gao Zhisheng’s Brother Travels Long Distance, Prison Refuses Visitation” (高智晟的家人千里迢迢到监狱会见被拒), January 19, 2012, CHRD; “Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Sent Back to Prison, Family Unaware of Details” (特别关注:高智晟被重新关进监狱,亲属称毫不知情), December 16, 2011, CHRD; “Gao Zhisheng Missing for 15 Months, Elder Brother’s Multiple Inquiries Yield No Results” (高智晟失踪15个月,其兄多方找询无果), June 9, 2011, CHRD
[4] “Henan Petitioner Wang Qunfeng Detained in Psychiatric Hospital, Forcibly Given Treatment Even After Evaluation Reveals No Illness” (河南访民王群凤被关精神病院,鉴定正常仍被强制治疗), January 12, 2012, CHRD; “Henan Petitioner Wang Qunfeng Secretly Held by Police in Psychiatric Institution” (河南访民王群凤被警方秘密关精神病院), January 8, 2012, CHRD; “Henan Petitioner Wang Qunfeng Held in Jiujingzhuang After Being Seized, Missing” (河南访民王群凤在久敬庄遭绑架后失踪), December 14, 2011, CHRD; “Henan Petitioner Wang Qunfeng Sent Back Home, Illegally Detained,” (河南访民王群 凤 被押回地方非法关押), August 30, 2011, CHRD; “Henan Petitioner Wang Qunfeng Missing After Being Held in Jiujingzhuang,” (河 南访民王群 凤 关久敬庄后失踪), August 28, 2011, CHRD
[5] “Petitioners Held for 40 Days in Chenzhou, Hunan Office Based in Beijing” (夜探:湖南郴州驻京办被囚访 民已达40天), January 13, 2012, HRCC
[6] “Farmers Who Lost Land in Xiantao, Hubei Protest at Provincial Government, More Than 60 Initially Detained” (湖北仙桃失地农民到省政府抗议,60余人被抓), January 13, 2012, CHRD
[7] “Yang Meiying, Whose Home Was Demolished in Yantai, Shandong, Is Criminally Detained After Petitioning Local Government” (山东烟台拆迁户杨美英政府上访被刑事拘留), January 11, 2011, CRLW; “Dozens of Displaced Residents of Shenglipian in Yantai, Shandong Appeal to Government” (山东烟台胜利片数十回迁户政府请愿), January 10, 2012, CRLW
[8] “Beijing Rights Activist Hu Jia Has Home Searched” (快 讯:北京维权人士胡佳被抄家), January 11, 2012, CHRD; “Hu Jia Released From Prison Overnight, Several Dissidents Have Freedom Limited,” (胡佳深夜出狱,多位异议人士被限制自由), June 26, 2011, CHRD
[9] “Xie Fulin’s Health Worsening in Prison, Authorities Refuse Family’s Appeals for Medical Treatment” (谢福林狱中病情加重,家属申请治疗遭拒), January 10, 2012, CHRD;  “Changsha Rights Activist Xie Fulin Seriously Ill, Medical Parole Application Rejected” (长沙维权人士谢福林病重,保外就医不获批准), September 7, 2011, CHRD; “Drunk Prison Guards Beat Xie Fulin, Threaten to Shut Him in Solitary Confinement” (狱警酒后殴打谢福林,威胁关其禁闭), May 31, 2011, CHRD; “Activists Xie Fulin and Brother Sentenced to Six Years” (人权捍卫者谢福林被判刑案质疑), March 31, 2010, Peace Hall
[10] “Henan Dissident Liu Yonggen Deprived of Communication Rights in Prison” (河南异议人士刘永根在狱中被剥夺通信权), January 14, 2012, CHRD

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