China Human Rights Briefing January 17-23, 2012

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China Human Rights Briefing

January 17-23, 2012

To download this week’s CHRB as a .pdf file, please click here.


  • Trial Looms for Veteran Dissident Zhu Yufu: Detained since March of last year, the Hangzhou dissident Zhu Yufu is expected to be tried soon on charges of “inciting subversion.” Authorities have stated that Zhu’s case will be heard this month, and his lawyer visited him on January 16 in order to prepare a new criminal defense.
  • Wuhan Dissident Gets 10 Years for “Subversion”: Li Tie, a dissent from Wuhan in Hubei Province, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for “subversion” on January 18. This punishment comes just weeks after Chinese courts meted out two other lengthy sentences—to activists Chen Xi and Chen Wei—in late December.
  •  Censors Shut Down Microblog, Blog of Influential Writer: On January 21, authorities closed down both the microblog and blog of writer Yang Hengyun, who has written extensively about politics and democracy in China. A blatant violation of free expression, the move also points to government efforts to try to diminish the influence of Chinese intellectuals.


Arbitrary Detention

•           Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Lawyer Prepares New Defense for Dissident Zhu Yufu As Trial Looms

•           Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sentenced to 10 Years for “Subversion”

•           Guizhou Authorities Refuse to Disclose Whereabouts of Convicted Activist Chen Xi

•           House Arrest of Chen Guangcheng Remains Firm, Activist Unable to See Ill Mother

•           Authorities Keep Up Daily Detention Ritual With Activist Yao Lifa During New Year

•           Henan Petitioner Sent to RTL for Third Time, Punishments Date to Cultural Revolution

Freedom of Expression

•           Censors Shut Down Microblog & Blog of Writer Yang Hengyun

•           Authorities Again Shut Down Microblogs by Elderly Citizens Voicing Grievances About Evictions

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

•           Petitioner Illegally Detained in Psychiatric Institution Suffering From Declining Health

Arbitrary Detention

Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Lawyer Prepares New Defense for Dissident Zhu Yufu As Trial Looms

On January 16, Beijing lawyer Li Dunyong (李敦勇) went to visit Hangzhou dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫) in the Shangcheng District Detention Center in order to prepare a new defense for his client, whose case is expected to go to trial soon. According to Li, he has to again go through defense procedures for Zhu, detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” because the Shangcheng County People’s Procuratorate threw out the case in late October before the local Public Security Bureau then re-submitted the case for prosecution in December. The procurator of the case is apparently the same as before, but different presiding judges have been assigned. Zhu has reportedly been suffering from increased pain in his lower back during his extended detention, among other potential health issues.

Zhu’s wife, Jiang Hangli (姜杭莉), recently informed CHRD that the judge responsible for the case called her on January 11, telling her that the case will go to trial this month. Details of the accusations against Zhu still remain unclear, but it is believed that charges are tied to a poem, titled “It’s Time,” that he wrote during online calls for a “Jasmine Revolution,” other writings he has done, his calls for donations for prisoners of conscience, and interviews he has given.

Zhu Yufu has been held since March 5, 2011, for “inciting subversion of state power,” and was 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)[1]

Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sentenced to 10 Years for “Subversion”


On January 18, Li Tie (李铁), a Wuhan democracy activist and online freelance writer, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “subversion of state power” by the Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court, the third lengthy sentence handed down for a political crime in China in the past three weeks (see CHRD’s statement). (Li’s sentence also comes with three years’ subsequent deprivation of political rights.) The court in Wuhan originally heard Li’s case on April 18, 2011—his mother and daughter were the only supporters of his allowed to attend the trial—and his family had inquired ever since about a verdict. They eventually learned in late December that a decision would be forthcoming. Li’s family only found out on January 17 that the sentencing hearing would take place the very next day, and as with his trial, his mother and daughter were on hand when the court read out Li’s sentence. In waiting eight months after the trial to issue its verdict, the court violated Article 168 of the Criminal Procedure Law, which allows a court a maximum of two-and-a-half months to release a decision once it accepts a case.

Officers from the Wuhan City Public Security Bureau initially detained Li on September 15, 2010, on suspicion of “inciting subversion.” When the Wuhan City People’s Procuratorate formally authorized his arrest on October 22, the charge had been changed to “subversion of state power,” a more serious crime. (Both crimes are contained in Article 105 of China’s Criminal Law.) After Li was detained, Wuhan national security officers consistently blocked visits by an attorney appointed by his family, Jin Guanghong (金光鸿), and authorities later assigned another lawyer to the case. According to Li’s family, the “evidence” the procuratorate offered against him included: articles Li wrote criticizing the government, in particular his online article titled “Human Beings’ Heaven Is Human Dignity” (人以尊严为天); his membership in the China Social Democracy Party; his participation in discussions hosted on “reactionary” websites, and his “reactionary” comments made at gatherings with friends.

A signatory to “Charter 08,” Li Tie has written a large number of online articles promoting democracy, constitutional government, and direct local elections. He has also organized or participated in many “sensitive” political activities, such as some honoring the memory of Lin Zhao (林昭), the Beijing University student jailed in the 1950s and executed by the government in 1968 for her views and writings. (CHRD)[2]

Guizhou Authorities Refuse to Disclose Whereabouts of Convicted Activist Chen Xi


The whereabouts of Guizhou activist Chen Xi (陈西) have remained unknown since he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” on December 26, as authorities have not disclosed where he is being held. On January 18, Chen’s wife, Zhang Qunxuan (张群选), reportedly went to the Guiyang City No. 1 Detention Center, where Chen was detained prior to trial, to inquire about where he is. According to Zhang, detention center personnel claimed that Chen had already been sent to a triage center that morning. After Zhang traveled over four hours to that location, however, staff claimed that Chen was not there, and said that individuals convicted of “endangering state security” crimes—as Chen was—are not taken to that center. The next day, Zhang went to the Guiyang Intermediate People’s Court to ask again about Chen while also demanding back items that had been confiscated when authorities searched their home on October 19. The Guiyang City Public Security Bureau later called Zhang to come to their office, but after she arrived the relevant leaders reportedly avoided meeting her.

Arrested for “inciting subversion” on November 29 of last year, Chen Xi is a member of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, which was declared by Guizhou authorities as an “illegal organization” on December 5 of last year. Chen had been previously imprisoned in 1989 for three years for participating in the pro-democracy movement. He was imprisoned again in 1996 for 10 years for “organizing and leading counter-revolutionary group,” and then released in 2005. (CHRD)[3]

House Arrest of Chen Guangcheng Remains Firm, Activist Unable to See Ill Mother


Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), the activist and lawyer, has remained under house arrest in Shandong Province during the Chinese New Year holiday, and he was not allowed to see his ailing mother or his son, who is staying with grandparents. Chen’s mother, who is 80 years old, recently became ill with severe bronchitis, and guards have been taking her to a hospital for injections while preventing relatives from visiting her. Chen’s son, 11-year-old Chen Kerui (陈克睿), who is under the care of the parents of Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), Chen Guangcheng’s wife, was prevented from going to his home in Dongshigu Village to celebrate the New Year with his parents.

Chen Kerui has lived with relatives who have helped take care of him since September of 2008. After Chen Guangcheng was released from prison in September 2010, authorities have denied all of his requests to see the child. Last October, Chen Kerui reportedly cut himself on purpose with a fruit knife so that he could be sent to a hospital, where he hoped his parents would be able to visit him. Upon hearing about her son’s injury, Yuan Weijing tried to leave their home to see him numerous times, but guards beat her and kept her confined to the residence. (CHRD)[4]

Authorities Keep Up Daily Detention Ritual With Activist Yao Lifa During New Year


Hubei police, as has become routine, took away democracy activist Yao Lifa (姚立法) from his home in Qianjiang City on January 22, the eve of the Chinese New Year, and returned him to his home at dusk. Beginning in February of 2011, local police and authorities from the school where Yao has worked have subjected him to constant harassment, including assaults and around-the-clock monitoring. In June of last year, Yao was disappeared and was only allowed to return home in September. From that time, monitors had taken him from home at 7 am and brought him back home at 10 pm everyday; since November, he has reportedly been returned home earlier, at 6 pm. It is believed that authorities have long been concerned about the effects of Yao’s efforts to educate voters and monitor elections in village elections and local People’s Congress elections that have taken place across China since last year. (CHRD)[5]

Henan Petitioner Sent to RTL for Third Time, Punishments Date to Cultural Revolution


On January 17, the Shaoyang City RTL Management Committee sent Hunan petitioner Li Huiyin (李辉银) to Re-education through Labor (RTL) for one year for “disrupting public order” after he had petitioned in Beijing. Currently detained at the Shaoyang RTL, Li is serving his third RTL stint. He has a history of punishments that dates back to the Cultural Revolution, when he reportedly was sent to a Reform through Labor camp for five years for allegedly praising Liu Shaoqi (刘少奇), the one-time Chinese chairman who was stripped of power in 1968. During this punishment, Li’s right leg became disabled in a mine accident. After his release, Li was harassed for pursuing justice over what had happened to him and then began petitioning. In retaliation, authorities beat and detained Li on several occasions, eventually issuing him a two-year RTL punishment.

In June of 2010, Li was administratively detained and again sent to RTL—for one year—after Hunan authorities forcibly brought him back from Beijing. While Li was in RTL that time, authorities locked him in solitary confinement and beat him after he voiced opposition to long hours that detainees were being forced to work. Due to a beating, he was unable to get out of bed for a week in March of 2011. (CHRD)[6]


More recent news related to arbitrary detention:

“Changsha Victim of Eviction, Demolition Detained After Being Duped Into Coming to Court” (长沙拆迁受害人被骗至法院后遭拘留), January 17, 2012, CHRD

“Li  Xudong, Migrant Worker from Wuhan’s Jiangxia District, Fruitlessly Seeks Salary, Detained by Police” (武汉江夏区农民工李旭东讨薪无果反遭警方抓捕), January 18, 2012, CHRD

“Shiyan, Hubei Officials Based in Beijing Dispatch People to Beat, Detain Petitioner” (湖北十堰市政府驻京办雇人毒打押送访民), January 19, 2012, CHRD

Freedom of Expression

Censors Shut Down Microblog & Blog of Writer Yang Hengyun


On January 21, authorities closed down both the microblog and blog of writer Yang Hengyun (杨恒均) in an apparent attempt to suppress his widely consumed writings about democracy in China. The Hubei-born Yang, a citizen of Australia who divides his time between that country and Guangzhou in southern China, has written extensively about political issues and has millions of online readers. The microblog and blog have been hosted on Last March, Yang had reportedly disappeared for a brief period during the crackdown on the “Jasmine Revolution,” but maintained soon after that he had simply been ill and was also out of cell phone contact.


The shutdown of Yang’s blogs follows a statement released on January 18 by Yu Jie (余杰), the Chinese writer and former vice-president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center who left China this month for the United States. Detailing “inhumane treatment” by the state security police in December 2010, Yu indicated that officers warned him that central authorities can capture and “bury alive” influential intellectuals in China who pose a crisis to Communist Party rule—a threat that has sparked vast speculation about how the government may target such individuals. (CHRD)[7]

Authorities Again Shut Down Microblogs by Elderly Citizens Voicing Grievances About Evictions


For the third time in two weeks, Shandong authorities have shut down a microblog created by four elderly individuals who have tried to expose tactics used by the Linyi City government in its efforts to demolish homes and intimidate residents. Authorities had shut down the original microblog, named “Yizhou Refugees” (沂州难民), by January 7, and closed down another blog days later after the bloggers launched it under a slightly different name. By January 17, authorities had shut down yet another microblog created by the elderly individuals.

The four elderly microbloggers took nearly a half-year to learn to use the Internet before creating their first microblog, which was meant to help affected residents seek justice following violent demolitions that took place in 2007. At that time, Linyi officials had forced more than 2,700 residents to “voluntarily” sign eviction and demolition agreements, leading to the violent destruction of homes, including those of the elderly microbloggers. Local officials have detained those petitioning over the demolitions, holding some in black jails. In addition, the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court has not held hearings or taken any action on over 100 complaints lodged by residents. (CHRD)[8]

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

Petitioner Illegally Detained in Psychiatric Institution Suffering From Declining Health

Wang Qunfeng (王群凤), illegally detained in a psychiatric hospital in Henan Province since mid-December in retaliation for petitioning, is reportedly suffering from poor nutrition and her health is deteriorating. The Lushi County Public Security Bureau (PSB), which has ordered her detention, has not allowed the hospital or her family to provide her with more nutritious food. Wang’s detention has continued even though she does not have mental health problems.

While Wang was petitioning in Beijing on December 14, thugs under the direction of the Lushi County PSB seized her and brought her back to Henan. Local police then secretly detained her at the Luoyang City Mental Health Center, where she was forcibly given mental illness medication. At the center, an evaluation of Wang’s mental health status has reportedly shown that she is not suffering from any mental illness. Wang began petitioning when the medical expenses of her father, a former cadre, were not properly reimbursed by the government. For her efforts in seeking justice, 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)[9]


Editors of this issue: Victor Clemens and Renee Xia

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News updates from CHRD

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[1] “Lawyer Li Dunyong Goes to Detention Center, Goes Through Defense Procedures Again for Zhu Yufu”  (李敦勇律师到看守所重新为朱虞夫办理辩护手续), January 17, 2012, CHRD; “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


[2] “Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sentenced (continued)” (武汉异议人士李铁被重判(续)), January 18, 2012, CHRD; “Chinese Democracy Activist Li Tie Jailed for Ten Years for “Subversion,” January 18, 2012, CHRD; “Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison” (特别关注:武汉异议人士李铁被判处10年重刑), January 18, 2012, CHRD; “Subversion Charge against Little-Known Activist Indicates Heightened Crackdown on Dissent in China,” November 22, 2010, CHRD; “Trial of Li Tie Begins, Procuratorate Recommends 10-Year Sentence” (李铁案开庭,检控方建议判刑10年), April 17, 2011, CHRD


[3] “Whereabouts of Activist Chen Xi Unknown Since 10-Year Sentencing” (人权捍卫者陈西获刑十年后下落不明), January 19, 2012, CHRD; “Guizhou Human Rights Defender Chen Xi Sentenced to 10 Years, 3 Years’ Rights Deprivation” (贵州人权捍卫者陈西被判处有期徒 刑10年,剥权3年), December 25, 2011, CHRD; “Guizhou’s Chen Xi’s Case of ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’ Already Sent to Court” (贵州陈西涉嫌“煽动颠覆国家政权”案已被神速移交法院), December 17, 2011, CHRD; “CHRD: Strongly Protest Guizhou Authorities for Suppression of Human Rights Defenders” (“维权网”:强烈抗议贵州当局打压人 权捍卫者), December 13, 2011, CHRD; “Chen Xi Arrested, Key Member of Banned Guizhou Human Rights Forum” (贵州人权研讨会被取缔重要成员陈西被逮捕), December 13, 2012, RFA; “Guizhou Civil Affairs Department Decides to Ban ‘Guizhou Human Rights Forum”” (贵州省民政厅取缔“贵州公民人权研讨会”的决定), December 12, 2011, CHRD; “Chen Defu, Guizhou Human Rights Forum Member, Returns Home After Being Detained for Several Days” (贵州人权研讨会成员陈德富获 释回家), December 4, 2011, CHRD; “Guizhou Human Rights Defenders Freed in Succession after End of Elections” (选举结束,贵州人权捍卫者陆续获自由), November 9, 2011, CHRD; “Guizhou Rights Defender Chen Xi Held for One Week, Released Only After Deadline Passes for People’s Congress Nominations” (贵州 人权捍卫者陈西被关押一周错过参选后回到家中), October 25, 2011; “Guizhou Rights Defender Chen Xi Has Home Searched, Is Taken Away by Police” (贵州 人权捍卫者陈西被警方抄家带走), October 19, 2011
[4] “Chen Guangcheng’s Seriously Ill Mother, Foster Son Prevented From Going Home to Reunite With Parents” (陈光诚母亲病重儿子被禁止回家和父母团圆), January 21, 2012, CHRD


[5] “Activist Yao Lifa Again Taken Into Custody by Police Day on Eve of New Year” (选举专家姚立法除夕再被警方带走), January 22, 2012, CHRD; “Adventures of Elections Expert Yao Lifa, Part II” (秦永敏:选举专家姚立法历险记之二), September 6, 2011, HRCC; “Elections Expert Yao Lifa Ill, Again Disappeared” (选举专家姚立法病痛中被带走再次失踪), September 5, 2011, CHRD; “Elections Expert, Missing for Many Days, Is Released With Severe Illnesses” (失踪多日的选举专家姚立法病重获释), September 4, 2011, CHRD; “Details of Surveillance of Elections Expert Yao Lifa,” (选举专家姚立法被监禁期间详情), September 4, 2011, CHRD; “Feng Ling Uncovers Nothing at Police Station, Yao Lifa’s Whereabouts Still Unknown” (秦永敏:冯玲找派出所无果 姚立法仍无下落), August 8, 2011, CHRD; “Yao Lifa’s Lower Back Severely Injured, No Information for Over 50 Hours Since Being Taken Away” (姚立法腰部严重受伤,被带走逾50个小时没消息), August 7, 2011, CHRD; “Urgent Attention: Elections Expert Yao Lifa Seized in Beijing” (紧急关注:选举专家姚立法在北京被抓), August 6, 2011, CHRD


[6] “Li Huiyin, Petitioner From Dongkou County, Shaoyang City, Hunan, Sent to RTL” (湖南省邵阳市洞口县访民李辉银被劳教), January 17, 2012, CHRD


[7] “Famous Writer Yang Hengyun’s Microblog & Blog Closed Down”(著名作家杨恒均微博、博客被关闭), January 21, 2012, CHRD


[8] “Victims of Violent Demolitions in Linyi, Shandong Have Microblog Closed for Third Time” (山东临沂暴力强拆受害人微博三次遭封杀), January 19, 2012, CHRD; “Yizhou, Linyi Refugees’ Blog Exposing Violent and Forced Home Evictions Shut Down” (揭露临沂野蛮暴力强拆沂州难民微博遭封杀) , January 7, 2012, CHRD; “Elderly Studying Computers in Linyi, Shandong Use Microblogs to Expose Violent Forced Demolitions by Government” (山东临沂古稀老人学电脑微博揭露政府野蛮暴力强拆), January 5, 2012, CHRD


[9] “Petitioner Wang Qunfeng Tormented While Secretly Held by Public Security in Psychiatric Institution” (被公安秘密关精神病院的访民王群凤受折磨), January 21, 2012, CHRD; “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

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