[CHRB] Activist Sentenced for Exposing Land Rights Abuses; Human Rights Day Characterized by Activism, Suppression (12/14-12/20, 2012)Comments Off on [CHRB] Activist Sentenced for Exposing Land Rights Abuses; Human Rights Day Characterized by Activism, Suppression (12/14-12/20, 2012)
China Human Rights Briefing
December 14-20, 2012
- Inner Mongolia Activist Sentenced for Revealing Government’s Illegal Land Grabs
Harassment of Activists
- Police Take Action Against Citizens Appealing for Justice on Human Rights Day
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association
- Authorities Pressured Hotel to Cancel NGO’s Room Reservations, Group Files Suit
- Uyghur Student Demands Explanation After Passport Denied
Inner Mongolia Activist Sentenced for Revealing Government’s Illegal Land Grabs
An Inner Mongolia activist, Song Yunfei (宋云飞), was given a two-year sentence on December 7—a punishment suspended for three years—on an alleged charge of “intentionally leaking state secrets” for revealing information about land grabs and reserves held by the local government. In late 2011, Song began posting reports online to expose the illegal takeover of land in Ordos City, and he also gave many media interviews. Looking to hinder Song’s efforts, officials in Shanghaimiao Township enlisted thugs to harass him and his family. Despite this pressure, Song, who himself has lost land without being compensated, kept up his reporting but was eventually detained in late July.
Harassment of Activists
Police Take Action Against Citizens Appealing for Justice on Human Rights Day
Chinese citizens marked Human Rights Day on December 10 by protesting rights violations and calling for social justice in multiple locations in the country. Several thousand petitioners who tried to lodge grievances in Beijing, particularly around the UN Development Programme Office and other international agencies, were swept up and held in the temporary detention facility at Jiujingzhuang. The facility became so overcrowded that some seized petitioners were refused entry. At Zhongnanhai, the compound for central Party leaders, petitioners were dragged away after calling for public disclosure of information about the implementation of China’s second “Human Rights Action Plan.”
In Zhejiang Province, dozens of Wuxi City petitioners rallied, carrying banners that described illegal home demolitions as well as violations that befell the victims. Shenzhen activists gathered to call for better rights protections, while petitioners in Shanghai protested the arbitrary detention and persecution of local human rights defenders. In one of the largest reported incidents, more than 100 petitioners in the Fuzhou City square protested black jail detentions and called for abolition of Re-education through Labor, but the gathering was broken up by police and thugs. Online, activists pushed for the country’s new leaders to protect human rights and release political prisoners—sentiments echoed by CHRD in its statement issued in conjunction with Human Rights Day.
Visit CHRD’s website to view a gallery of images of citizens who expressed grievances and appealed for better rights protections on Human Rights Day.
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly & Association
Authorities Pressured Hotel to Cancel NGO’s Room Reservations, Group Files Suit
In yet another act of suppressing civil society groups often resorted to by Chinese authorities, Jiangsu officials reportedly pressured a hotel to cancel rooms booked by the NGO Justice for All, effectively forcing the anti-discrimination group to call off an event in April. The Nanjing-based organization has filed a civil lawsuit against the Suzhou Motai Hotel Company. The NGO had reserved guest rooms and a conference room at a hotel for an event intended to bring together lawyers to discuss issues tied to public interest law. However, two days before the event was to begin, the hotel in Suzhou told the NGO that their reservations had been cancelled, and that the space would instead be used by the local government, a claim that the NGO later found was untrue. On December 19, a court heard a lawsuit filed by Justice for All, which is seeking compensation for funds lost due to the cancellations.
Uyghur Student Demands Explanation After Passport Denied
A Uyghur student recently posted a message on her microblog about being denied a passport and demanding that authorities provide an explanation, according to Uyghur Online, a website tracking news about ethnic Uyghers in China. The student (screen name: uyghuray, or 维吾尔丫), who attends university in Beijing, said on December 10 that authorities had rejected her passport application without providing any reason. Suggesting that Han Chinese can very quickly obtain a passport, she noted that authorities had send her application to Xinjiang for review—even though her legal residence is Beijing—and that her family had been questioned by officials about her plan to go abroad. The student said that she went to the Beijing Exit-Entry Administration Bureau on December 13 with a copy of China’s “Passport Law” and demanded a written explanation for the rejection. An official promised to review the application again.
Edited by Victor Clemens and Ann Song
 “On Human Rights Day, Petitioners Seized in Front of UN Agencies, Elementary School Student Writes Protest Poem” (人权日访民在联合国机构前被抓，小学生写诗抗争), December 11, 2012, WQW; “Some Shanghai Petitioners Gather to Mark International Human Rights Day” (上海部分维权人士聚会纪念世界人权日), December 11, 2012, WQW; “On Human Rights Day, Wuxi City Petitioners Who Have Lost Land Carry Banners of Protest to City Government” (世界人权日，无锡失地农民到市政府拉横幅抗议), December 11, 2012, HRCC; “Shenzhen Democracy Figures Carry Banners at Luo Hu Control Point, Go Out of Contact” (深圳民主人士人权日罗湖口岸拉横幅后失去联系), December 11, 2012, CRLW; “On Human Rights Day, Wuxi City Petitioners Go to Black Jail to Protest, Make Police Reports” (人权日,无锡上访维权者到黑监狱抗议并报警), December 10, 2012, WQW; “On Human Rights Day, One Hundred Wronged Petitioners Carry Banners, Party Secretary Dispatches Personnel to Violently Break Up Rally” (人权日福州百名冤民拉横幅，纪委书记带人施暴), December 10, 2012, WQW; “On Human Rights Day, Chengdu Petitioners Refused at Jiujingzhuang Due to ‘Overcrowding’” (成都访民人权日被久敬庄以“人满为患”拒收), December 10, 2012, WQW; “Seventh Group of Signatories Call on Newly Appointed Chinese Communist Leaders to Release Political Prisoners (in Chinese, English, Japanese, French)” (第七批联署呼吁新任中共领导人释放政治犯（中、英、日、法文版）), December 10, 2012, WQW; “On Human Rights Day, Dozens of Wuxi Petitioners Express Grievances at Letters and Visits Office”(组图：人权日无锡数十访民群访信访局), December 10, 2012, CRLW; “On International Human Rights Day, Petitioners From Around China Swarm Diplomatic District, Zhongnanhai” (世界人权日，各地访民蜂拥使馆区和中南海), December 10, 2012, HRCC