[CHRB] Chinese Court Set to Put Anti-Corruption Activists on Trial (7/5-11, 2013)Comments Off on [CHRB] Chinese Court Set to Put Anti-Corruption Activists on Trial (7/5-11, 2013)
China Human Rights Briefing
July 5-11, 2013
- First Trial Set To Open for Anti-Corruption Activists; One More Criminally Detained
- Advocate for Demolition Victims Arrested in Hunan Province
Freedom of Religion
- Tibetans Attacked, Injured While Celebrating Dalai Lama’s Birthday, Government “Policy Shift” on Religious Leader Open to Question
First Trial Set To Open for Anti-Corruption Activists; One More Criminally Detained
The trial of three activists from Jiangxi Province is scheduled to open on July 18, the first cases to be heard of those detained in the crackdown on anti-corruption campaigners.The activists—Liu Ping (刘萍), Li Sihua (李思华), and Wei Zhongping (魏忠平)—were formally arrested on June 4 on charges of “illegal assembly.” They were initially detained for “inciting subversion of state power” in late April. Seven other Xinyu activists taken into custody around the same time were later released. Liu and Wei are being held at Xinyu City Detention Center, and Li is detained at Fenyi County Detention Center.
Including activists in Beijing and Hubei Province, the three in Jiangxi are among 15 activists who have been arrested in the past two months after calling for disclosure of top Chinese officials’ assets. At least three more individuals have been criminal detained, including most recently Zhang Xiangzhong (张向忠) of Shandong Province, who was seized on July 2 in Beijing. National security officers took Zhang and two others into custody that day after they had left money for arrested anti-corruption activists at Beijing No. 3 Detention Center. Zhang fell out of contact after being questioned. On July 8, family members who went to look for him learned that Zhang had been criminally detained. He is being held at the Beijing No. 3 Detention Center. Police have said that his case has been “secretly handled,” and Zhang’s family has not received any notification of his detention, and the charge he faces is unconfirmed.Like the activists whom he tried to assist, Zhang had joined in the drive for transparency over officials’ wealth.i
Huan Tiejun (浣铁军) of Hunan Province was arrested on July 9 on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order” and “extortion” in likely reprisal for advocating for the rights of victims of forced demolitions. From Changsha, Huan was taken into custody on June 1, and initially faced only an “extortion” charge. Lawyer Zhu Xiaoding (朱孝顶), who has met with Huan at Changsha City No. 1 Detention Center, said that the “evidence” of alleged extortion against Huan consists of a text message he sent to the Party secretary of Yuelu District, asking when he would be compensated for the demolition of his home while also alluding to a rumor that the official owns a luxury vehicle. The other criminal charge apparently stems from a gathering that demolition victims held on the traditional Lantern Festival in February. From that instance, authorities accused Zhu of organizing a class to spread knowledge about law. In the past, Huan was detained for nine days as punishment for presenting a banner with the mocking words “Vanguard Unit in Intercepting Petitioners” to Changsha officials.ii
Freedom of Religion
Tibetans Attacked, Injured While Celebrating Dalai Lama’s Birthday, Government “Policy Shift” on Religious Leader Open to Question
Armed police in Sichuan Province seriously injured several Tibetans who had gathered on July 6 to celebrate the 78th birthday of the Dalai Lama, with at least nine Tibetans sustaining gunshot wounds in the attack, according to TCHRD. Tibetans in Tawu County in Ganzi (Tibetan: Kardze) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture were burning incense, hanging prayer flags, and making offerings in front of the Dalai Lama’s portrait when armed police arrived and surrounded the group. The crowd reportedly tried to negotiate with the police to avert a violent confrontation. Police eventually opened fire on the crowd, and also tossed teargas shells to disperse the celebrants and beat some of the Tibetans, injuring many monks, nuns, and lay people.
Armed police stop a vehicle driven by Tibetans from reaching a celebration held for the Dalai Lama’s birthday in Sichuan Province. (Photo: TCHRD)
The violence raises questions about the Chinese government’s supposed policy change regarding the Dalai Lama, which has received a great deal of media attention. According to verbal orders issued by authorities in Sichuan and Qinghai, monks and nuns in some monasteries are now said to be allowed to display the Dalai Lama’s portrait and worship him as a religious figure. But such a change has not been distributed in written form, and on June 28, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, which regulates recognized religions in the country, denied any reversal of its longstanding policy on the Dalai Lama.
In September 2012, a public notice issued in Huangnan (Malho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province called for a strict ban on the sale of Dalai Lama’s photos. And since December 2012, the Chinese government has implemented a regulation in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and all other Tibetan areas that gives Communist Party organs and authorities the power to appoint Buddhist religious instructors. The instructor candidates should meet credentials that would only continue to oppress Tibetans, such as supporting the leadership of the Party, “safeguarding national unity,” and “upholding religious and social harmony.” According to TCHRD, this policy will ultimately decrease the number of qualified Buddhist teachers and further diminish the transmission of Tibetan Buddhist culture and language.iii
i“Zhang Xianghong Criminally Detained After Bringing Money to Arrested Activists” (为良心犯存钱的民主人士张向忠已被刑事拘留), July 8, 2013, WQW; “Several Activists Suppressed” (多名维权人士遭打压), July 8, 2013, RFA; “Activist Liu Ping Trial to Open on July 18 on Charge of ‘Illegal Assembly’” (特别关注：维权人士刘萍“非法集会罪”一案将于本月18日开庭), July 5, 2013, WQW