China Human Rights Briefing February 7-13, 2012

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China Human Rights Briefing
February 7-13, 2012

To read this issue as a PDF, please go here.

Top News

  • Dissident’s Sentence Adds to String of Recent Harsh Punishments: On February 10, Hangzhou dissident Zhu Yufu was issued a seven-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power.” Zhu’s punishment is the fourth reported lengthy sentence for a political crime in China since late December. He is also the fourth person known to have been convicted of a crime as part of the Jasmine Crackdown, which began one year ago.
  • Severely Ill Detainees Still Deprived of Medical Care: CHRD provides the latest news on seriously ill detainees—petitioners Ma Lijun and Bai Zhongmei, both being held in RTL facilities, and imprisoned activist Xie Fulin. These individuals have all been suffering from worsening health problems while authorities have refused to give them adequate medical treatment.


Arbitrary Detention

•           Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Dissident Zhu Yufu Sentenced to Seven Years for “Inciting Subversion” As Heavy Punishments Continue

•           Police Detain Activist Qin Yongmin, Details Remain Murky

Harassment of Activists

•           Hangzhou Authorities Seize, Forcibly Drive Away Dissident at “Sensitive Time”

Freedom of Expression

•           Authorities Close Down Pro-Chen Guangcheng Microblog Dozens of Times

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

•           Hebei Petitioner in RTL Suffering From Severe Illness, Needs Urgent Medical Care

•           Growing Sicker in Prison, Hunan Activist Xie Fulin Hopes for Medical Parole

•           Chongqing Authorities Prevent Visits to Ailing Petitioner in RTL

Local People’s Congress Elections Watch

•           Chengdu Authorities Obstruct Candidacy Registration; Independent Candidate Beaten, Hospitalized

Special Notice

•           CHRD Statement Critiques Timing of Xi Jinping’s US Visit, Calls for Greater Accountability for Human Rights in China

Arbitrary Detention

Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Dissident Zhu Yufu Sentenced to Seven Years for “Inciting Subversion” As Heavy Punishments Continue

Veteran dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), tried on January 31 for “inciting subversion of state power,” was sentenced on February 10 to seven years in prison by the Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s Court in Zhejiang Province. Zhu’s harsh sentence, which includes an additional three years of deprivation of political rights, follows other severe punishments imposed by Chinese courts in political cases since late December, adding to those meted out to Sichuan activist Chen Wei (陈卫), Guizhou activist Chen Xi (陈西), and Wuhan dissident Li Tie (李铁). Further darkening the human rights landscape in China, the string of sentences comes at a particularly crucial time, with Zhu being sent to prison less than a week before the visit to Washington, DC by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (习近平) (see CHRD statement).

In its verdict, the court stated it had convicted Zhu for, among other alleged offenses, his collecting of funds for prisoners who “endanger state security,” inciting people to overthrow China’s socialist system, and expressing views that identified him as part of the illegal China Democracy Party. It also cited a poem, “It’s Time,” that Zhu wrote and shared during online calls for “Jasmine Rallies” a year ago, and interviews that he had given. At Zhu’s trial in January, which lasted just two-and-a-half hours, his lawyers, Li Baiguang (李柏光) and Li Dunyong (李敦勇), defended their client’s innocence. When given the opportunity to speak in court, Zhu argued that his activities were exercises of protected freedoms, and that none constituted “incitement.”

Zhu, 59, was detained on March 5, 2011, during the “Jasmine Crackdown,” and formally arrested on April 11. Zhu is one of four individuals criminally detained in the crackdown known to have been sentenced to prison. (See more information compiled by CHRD about individuals detained during the crackdown.)

On October 25, 2011, the Shangcheng County People’s Court notified Zhu’s lawyer, Li Dunyong, that it had approved the local procuratorate’s application to dismiss charges against Zhu, a decision which spurred speculation that Zhu may be released. However, the Shangcheng County Public Security Bureau re-submitted the case for prosecution in December.

A veteran Democracy Wall activist in the 1970s, Zhu Yufu is being imprisoned for the third time. He was convicted of “subversion” in 1999 and served seven years in prison for founding the Opposition Party (在野党) magazine, which published articles about the China Democracy 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.” (CHRD)[1]

Police Detain Activist Qin Yongmin, Details Remain Murky

CHRD recently learned that Qin Yongmin (秦永敏), a prominent democracy activist and human rights defender from Hubei Province, has been in police custody in Wuhan since last week, though details of his detention were still unknown at the time of writing. A friend of Qin’s had scheduled to see him on February 8, but that day Qin did not answer his cell phone, which was later shut off, and no one answered the phone at his home. The next day, some of Qin’s friends went to the police to file a report about his “disappearance.” On February 11, police with jurisdiction over Qin’s area of residence indicated that Qin had been detained (zhi’an juliu), but did not provide any further information.

A participant in the Democracy Wall movement in 1979 and co-founder of the China Democracy Party, Qin has spent a total of over two decades incarcerated, and was most recently released from prison in November of 2010 after serving 12 years for “subversion of state power.” (CHRD)[2]

Harassment of Activists

Hangzhou Authorities Seize, Forcibly Drive Away Dissident at “Sensitive Time”

On February 7, national security officers seized Zhejiang dissident Wu Yilong (吴义龙) at the Hangzhou South Railway Station, and Wu was forcibly driven to Anhui Province the next day as officers explained their actions by saying that it was a “sensitive” time in Hangzhou. After taking Wu into custody, five officers took him to the Xiaoshan Police Station, where police showed him a blank summons form—saying that they would fill out the grounds for questioning later—and Wu refused to sign it. He was reportedly questioned about donations made to families of prisoners of conscience as well as online articles that he had written. Wu was kept at the station overnight, and officers drove Wu to Anhui Province on February 8, dropping him off at his brother’s home in Zongyang County.

The officers claimed the reason they took Wu to Anhui was that “Hangzhou recently had become quite sensitive,” which may be in reference to the verdict hearing of Hangzhou dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫), who was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to seven years in prison on February 10. An organizer for the banned China Democracy Party, Wu Yilong has served an 11-year sentence for “subversion of state power” and was released in September of 2010. Since his release, police have subjected Wu to tight monitoring and also frequent questioning and home searches. (CHRD)[3]

Freedom of Expression

Authorities Close Down Pro-Chen Guangcheng Microblog Dozens of Times

Censors have shut down dozens of times a microblog supportive of the activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), just another instance of the cat-and-mouse game that has come to characterize Chinese netizens’ fervent advocacy and authorities’ relentless suppression focused on Chen. Within two months, an individual who uses the screen name “Lanzhou Yu Nan” (兰州余男) has launched—nearly 40 times—a microblog highlighting Chen’s plight, and authorities have shut it down each time, once closing it down as quickly as 30 minutes after it went live. In its various iterations, the microblog has featured images of Chen and his family while expressing words of encouragement for efforts in support of their freedom from house arrest in Shandong Province. (CHRD)[4]

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

Hebei Petitioner in RTL Suffering From Severe Illness, Needs Urgent Medical Care

Petitioner Ma Lijun (马丽君), serving a Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment in Hebei Province, is in urgent need of medical care, according to her husband, Jin Qi (金琪), who visited her on February 7 at the Hebei Provincial Women’s RTL facility in Shijiazhuang City. Ma’s husband informed CHRD that she is suffering from chronic edema, which has caused fluid retention and tissue swelling in her lower limbs, and that Ma is unable to bear doing any labor while detained in the RTL facility. Jin noted that his wife’s medical condition should make it prohibitive for her to work, even according to RTL regulations.

On August 9, 2011, police officers from the Fuyou Street Police Station in Xicheng District in Beijing took Ma Lijun into custody as she was petitioning near Zhongnanhai, the central compound for top government and Party leadership. She first served a 10-day administrative detention for “disrupting order of a public place” before the RTL Management Committee in Shijiazhuang issued her an RTL punishment of 18 months for that same alleged offense. Police officers in Beijing beat Ma Lijun after they seized her, and Ma suffered injuries to her chest, abdomen, and arms. Prior to sending her to RTL, Shijiazhuang police took her to a local hospital, which advised that Ma be hospitalized. However, the police refused to follow that advice and sent Ma to the RTL facility instead. Due to Ma’s medical condition, the facility in Shijiazhuang refused to accept her three times, but the police finally compelled it to admit her. (CHRD)[5]

Growing Sicker in Prison, Hunan Activist Xie Fulin Hopes for Medical Parole

CHRD has learned that the poor health of imprisoned Hunan activist Xie Fulin (谢福林), 62, is further deteriorating in Changsha Prison and he remains in dire need of medical care, according to his wife, Jin Yan (金焰). Jin, who visited Xie on February 7, noted that Xie is so weak that three individuals were needed to carry him out of his cell to visit with her. Xie told her that his illnesses, including high blood pressure and heart disease, are getting worse, but that prison authorities refuse to provide him effective medical care. During the couple’s visit, Xie said that he hopes authorities will grant him medical parole, which would allow him to seek out medical treatment; prison authorities last fall rejected an application for medical parole for Xie. Jin used to bring medicine to her husband once a month, but a prison doctor then told her that Xie must be under care of a doctor and not simply self-medicate. With Xie’s health problems going untreated, both Jin and Xie fear that he may not live through his six-year prison term, which is set to expire in the summer of 2015.

Taken into custody in June of 2009, Xie was sentenced in March of 2010 to six years’ imprisonment by the Furong District People’s Court in Changsha for “larceny”—for allegedly stealing electricity for a business he was running—in a case believed to be brought in retaliation against Xie for his activism. Xie is a signatory to “Charter 08,” has participated in activities involving the banned China Pan-Blue Alliance and has for many years organized and advocated fellow petitioners to defend their rights. Xie started his activism in petitioning over family property that was confiscated by the government back in the 1950s. (CHRD)[6]

Chongqing Authorities Prevent Visits to Ailing Petitioner in RTL

For more than the past seven months, authorities in Chongqing have refused to allow family members and friends to visit petitioner Bai Zhongmei (白中美), who is seriously ill while being held in the Chongqing Women’s No. 2 Re-education through Labor (RTL) facility. Bai, who is reportedly not receiving adequate medical care, is suffering from constipation, heart disease, high blood pressure, gynecological problems, and also has issues with her spleen and stomach. Family and friends have gone to the RTL facility several times to try to visit Bai but have been prevented from seeing her every time. Authorities have also never provided her family with an RTL decision regarding her two-year punishment, so her alleged offenses remain unclear.

Bai Zhongmei was sent to RTL after being seized in Beijing on June 30, 2011, by Chongqing national security personnel and Beijing public security officers, who abducted Bai from lodging she had been renting in the capital. Bai has been petitioning since her Chongqing residence was demolished and also on behalf of her parents, who both eventually passed away after pursuing a grievance over wages they had not been paid. (CHRD)[7]

Local People’s Congress Elections Watch

Chengdu Authorities Obstruct Candidacy Registration; Independent Candidate Beaten, Hospitalized

Authorities in Chengdu, where People’s Congress elections will take place this month, have blocked independent candidates from registering their candidacies (see below for more information). In addition, one of the candidates was severely beaten and injured when the spurned candidates appealed to local officials to help protect their electoral rights. On February 8, candidates from different election districts went to gather recommendation forms to support their candidacies for primary elections, but an election office demanded the recommenders themselves show identification and proof of residency, and said the forms had to be filled out in-person in their respective jurisdictions. Upset over this requirement—which the candidates believed to be illegal—candidates went to appeal to the Chengdu City government as well as local Party committee offices, but no officials would take action on the issue.

The candidates then went to a local People’s Congress office to seek a solution to the problem, but after a long wait, more than 50 security maintenance personnel arrived to disperse them. One of the candidates—Gan Xingyan (干兴艳)—was beaten and had her head stomped on, and finally fainted. Fellow candidates called police about the incident, but no report was filed. The injured Gan was taken to the Chengdu No. 3 People’s Hospital, where she reportedly spat out blood and was suffering from urinary incontinence, among other conditions. (CHRD)[8]

More recent news:

“Jinniu District, Chengdu Independent Candidate Luo Keyin Illegally Removed From Primary Candidates List” (成都金牛区独立候选人罗克银被非法排除于初步候选人名单外), February 15, 2012, CHRD

Special Notice

CHRD Statement Critiques Timing of Xi Jinping’s US Visit, Calls for Greater Accountability for Human Rights in China

On February 9, a statement by CHRD prior to the visit to Washington of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (习近平), the presumptive next president of China, critiqued the official welcoming of a Chinese leader during a period of such escalating suppression of dissent in China. The visit follows the harsh sentence given to Hangzhou dissident Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫)—the fourth severe punishment in a political case in China over the past seven weeks—and is taking place soon after China’s veto of the UN Security Council resolution condemning the ongoing killing of civilians by the Syrian government. CHRD’s statement calls on the US government to hold Xi and other Chinese leaders to account for their government’s human rights violations, and to create a set of benchmarks in line with China’s commitments under international human rights law and China’s own constitution. CHRD also has encouraged an open dialogue between US officials and Chinese citizens on the deteriorating human rights conditions in China. (CHRD)[9]
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

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News updates from CHRD

[1] “Zhu Yufu Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for ‘Inciting Subversion’” (特别关注:朱虞夫因“煽动颠覆国家政权罪”获刑七年), February 10, CHRD; “Verdict for Zhu Yufu ‘Incitement’ Case to Be Announced Tomorrow” (特别关注:朱虞夫“煽动颠覆国家政权”案明日宣判), February 9, 2012, CHRD; “Zhu Yufu Case Heard, Court to Announce Verdict at Later Date” (朱 虞夫案开庭,法院择日宣判 ), January 30, 2012, CHRD; “With Zhu Yufu Trial Imminent, Several Hangzhou Activists Face Limits to Freedom” (朱 虞夫案开庭在即,杭州多位异见人士被限制自由), January 29, 2012, CHRD; “Zhu Yufu Trial for “Incitement” to Open on January 31”(特 别关注:朱虞夫“煽 动颠覆国家政权”案 于本月31日 开庭), January 28, 2012, CHRD; “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; “Family Submits Bail Application for Zhu Yufu, Case Under Review for Prosecution” (陈 树庆:传朱虞夫被审 查 起诉,家属提出取保候审申请), July 12, 2011, CHRD; “Hangzhou Democracy Activist Zhu Yufu Formally Arrested” (杭 州民主党人朱 虞 夫被批准逮捕), April 12, 2011, CHRD
[2] “Hubei Rights Defense Activist Qin Yongmin Detained” (湖北民主维权人士秦永敏被治安拘留), February 11, CHRD; “Democracy Activist Qin Yongmin Released from Prison; Written Verdict, Manuscripts, and Other Documents Confiscated” (民主维权人士秦永敏出狱,判决书、手稿等全部被抢走), November 29, 2010, Peace Hall
[3] “Dissident Wu Yilong Summoned in Hangzhou, Then Forcibly Taken to Anhui” (异见人士吴义龙在杭州被传唤一夜后强制送回安徽), February 8, 2012, CHRD
[4] “Blog Supporting Chen Guangcheng Shut Down for 39th Time,”(关注陈光诚网友“兰州余男”微博第39次遭封杀), February 7, 2012, CHRD


[5] “Petitioner-Activist Ma Lijun, From Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Urgently Needs Medical Parole” (河北石家庄回民上访维权者马丽君急需保外就医), February 8, 2012, CHRD; “Court Accepts Administrative Appeal Case for Shijiazhuang Petitioner Ma Lijun” (法院受理石家庄回民马丽君劳教提起行政诉讼案), December 17, 2011, CHRD; “Hebei Petitioner Ma Lijun, Ill in RTL, Submits Administrative Appeal” (河北上访维权者马丽君劳教所病中提起行政复议), September 28, 2011, CHRD; “Shijiazhuang, Hebei Petioner Ma Lijun Sent to RTL, Family Not Notified,” (河北石家庄访民马丽君被劳教,劳教地址没通知家属), August 22, 2011, CHRD


[6] “Changsha, Hunan Rights Activist Xie Fulin Severely Ill in Prison” (湖南长沙维权人士谢福林狱中病重), February 8, 2012, CHRD; “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
[7] “Chongqing RTL Facility Refuses Family Visitations for Petitioner Bai Zhongmei” (重庆劳教所拒绝亲友探视被劳教的访民白中美), February 12, 2012, CHRD; “Chongqing Petitioner Bai Zhongmei Again Sent Secretly to RTL After Abduction in Beijing” (重庆访民白中美在京被绑架后又遭秘密劳教), September 24, 2011, CHRD; “No Further News After Chongqing Petitioner Bai Zhongmei Seized” (重庆访民白中美被抓后失去音信), July 14, 2011, CHRD
[8] “Chengdu Independent Candidate Beaten, Group of Candidates Call for Serious Punishment” (成都独立候选人被打,众人连夜省委投诉要求严惩凶手), February 9, 2012, CHRD; “Chengdu Citizens Deprived of Right to List Candidates, Gan Xingyan Beaten and Hospitalized” (成都剥夺公民提名权,干兴艳被打伤住院), February 8, 2012, CHRD; “Many Chengdu Independent Candidates Can’t Obtain ‘Primary Election Candidate Recommendation Forms’” (成都多位独立候选人要不到“初步候选人推荐表”), February 8, 2012, CHRD


[9] “Xi Jinping’s US Visit During Escalating Crackdown on Dissent in China Sends Wrong Signal,” February 9, 2012, CHRD

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