[CHRB] Political Repression Envelopes China as People’s Congress Opens (3/1-8, 2013)

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China Human Rights Briefing

March 1-8, 2013


Reprisals Against Activists

Political Repression Envelopes China as People’s Congress Opens

Police are rounding up and restricting the movement of Chinese activists as the annual “Two Meetings”—the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference—convene this week in Beijing. The legislative sessions, during which authorities heavily deploy “stability maintenance” resources, are seen this spring as especially “sensitive” and significant to the Chinese Communist Party, with the country’s new top leaders formally taking their positions.

Since late February, many Beijing residents who regularly live under surveillance have faced closer monitoring and greater restrictions, including the artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未), activists Hu Jia (胡佳), He Depu (何德普), and Xu Zhiyong (许志永), as well as lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇). In addition, dissidents Gao Hongming (高洪明) and Zha Jianguo (查建国) have been among those forcibly taken out of the capital to “travel.”

Elsewhere in the country, activists and dissidents have also been under house arrest or otherwise harassed. Such individuals include Shanghai activist Feng Zhenghu (冯正虎), who has been recently allowed some movement after being under house arrest for almost an entire year. Police in Shanghai also seized activist Yang Qinheng (杨勤恒), who was beaten at a police station, and summoned for questioning democracy rights activist Li Huaping (李化平). Several political activists from Hangzhou, including writers Lü Gengsong (吕耿松) and Chen Shuqing (陈树庆) and environmental activist Tan Kai (谭凯), are being closely monitored. In Hubei Province, activist Yao Lifa (姚立法) has been subjected to even tighter house arrest than usual, and Liu Feiyue (刘飞跃), founder of the human rights organization Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, was taken away by police. Activists who tried to run in local People’s Congress elections also have been restricted in their movements, such as Sun Wenguang (孙文广) of Shandong as well as Li Sihua (李思华) and Liu Ping (刘萍) in Jiangxi.

Countless petitioners who had gone to Beijing to air their grievances have been searched, physically assaulted, and detained in police stations and temporary detention facilities, particularly those at Jiujingzhuang and Majialou. An eyewitness reported that, on March 5 alone, police around Tiananmen Square dragged away thousands of petitioners. Officials or hired thugs from various parts of China have intercepted and forcibly returned many of these individuals to their hometowns. These include hundreds of Shanghai petitioners, who went to Beijing only to be sent back home and placed under soft detention.

Under the tense political environment, petitioners have also been issued formal punishments. Zhao Yude (赵玉德) of Liaoning Province, who was taken from his home by police on February 27, was later sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention for posting on his weibo account about his past experience in a Re-education through Labor camp. In another case, Li Tinghui (李廷惠), a petitioner from Chengdu, was fined and given a 10-day detention—a period of “residential surveillance” during which she cannot leave her home—in apparent retaliation for approaching an official about a grievance.[1]

Edited by Victor Clemens & Ann Song

[1] “’Human Rights Network’ Statement: Abolish ‘Stability Maintenance’ System Creating Human Rights Disaster” (“维权网”声明: 废除制造人权灾难的“维稳”体制), March 6, 2013, WQW; “In Jinjiang, Chengdu, Chenglong Police Station Chief Concocts Crimes, Li Tinghui Again Sent to 10-Day Detention” (成都锦江成龙派出所所长编造罪名构陷李廷惠再被拘留十天), March 6, 2013, WQW

“Many Beijing Dissidents Subjected to Restricted Freedoms During ‘Two Meetings’” (两会期间北京大批异见人士被限制人身自由), March 5, 2013, WQW; “Large Number of Petitioners in Beijing Held in ‘Black Jails’ As ‘Two Meetings’ Open” (两会召开大批在京访民被关“黑监狱”), March 5, 2013, WQW;

“Shenyang Petitioner Zhao Yude Sentenced to 10-day Administrative Detention for Posting on Weibo” (沈阳访民赵玉德因微博发贴被拘留10天), March 1, 2013, WQW

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