Submission to UN on Wang Hanfei – August 29, 2013Comments Off on Submission to UN on Wang Hanfei – August 29, 2013
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
on behalf of WANG Hanfei, citizen of the People’s Republic of China
Alleging Arbitrary Detention, Torture & Reprisal Against a Human Rights Defender
1. Family name: WANG (王)
2. First name: Hanfei (寒非)
3. Sex: Male
4. Birth date or age (at the time of detention): December 10, 1966
5. Nationality/Nationalities: People’s Republic of China
6. Identity document (if any): ID Card, No. 432826196612102152
7. Profession and/or activity (if believed to be relevant to the arrest/detention): Edited the Hong Kong-based journal “China Special Report” (中国观察) and published articles that authorities deemed to be politically sensitive
8. Address of usual residence: Shanshuxia Village, Longtan Town, Jiahe County, Chenzhou City
1. Date of arrest: July 15, 2012
2. Place of arrest (as detailed as possible): Jiahe County in Chenzhou City, Hunan Province
3. Forces who carried out the arrest or are believed to have carried it out: Chenzhou City Public Security Bureau (“Chenzhou PSB”)
4. Did they show a warrant or other decision by a public authority? No
1.Date of detention: July 15, 2012
2. Duration of detention: From July 15, 2012 through the present (i.e., his detention is ongoing). According to the court’s decision, his 4-year sentence expires on July 14, 2016.
3. Forces holding the detainee under custody: The Chenzhou PSB seized Mr. Wang on July 15, 2012 and held him under criminal detention until May 7, 2013, the day that Wang was transferred to Chenzhou No.1 Prison, which is run by the Chenzhou Prison Management Bureau.
4. Places of detention (indicate any transfer and present place of detention): Mr. Wang was initially detained at Chenzhou Municipal Detention Center, and then transferred to Chenzhou No. 1 Prison. He is currently incarcerated in Chenzhou No. 1 Prison.
5. Authorities that ordered the detention: Beihu District People’s Court, Chenzhou City, Hunan Province (first-instance trial court); and Chenzhou Intermediate People’s Court, Chenzhou City, Hunan Province (second-instance trial court), which upheld the verdict of the first-instance trial.
6. Reasons for the detention imputed by the authorities: Illegal business activity, since Mr. Wang had printed around 6,000 copies of his Hong Kong-based journal “China Special Report” in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province; and fraud, through allegedly asking every employee in charge of China Special Report’s reporting stations in China to pay 20,000 yuan (approximately $US 3,264) as deposit to him.
7. Relevant legislation applied (if known): Mr. Wang’s 4-year prison sentence for two crimes was ordered pursuant to the following provisions of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China (CL):
- Article 225, which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years to those who, in violation of State regulations, commits any of the following illegal acts in business operation and thus disrupts market order, and if the circumstances are serious (“illegal business activity”):
(1) without permission, dealing in goods that are designated by laws or administrative rules and regulations as goods to be dealt in or sold in a monopoly way or other goods that are restricted in trading;
(2) buying or selling import or export licenses, import or export certificates of origin or other business licenses or approval papers required by laws or administrative rules and regulations; or
(3) without approval of the competent State department, illegally engaging in securities, futures or insurance business;” and the original third sub-paragraph is changed to be the fourth;
(4) other illegal operations that seriously disrupt market order.
- Article 266, which stipulates fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years to those who swindle public or private money or property, and if the amount is relatively large (“fraud”)
IV. Describe the circumstances of the arrest and/or the detention and indicate precise reasons why you consider the arrest or detention to the arbitrary
Wang Hanfei was sentenced on April 20, 2013, to four years in prison on charges of “illegal business activity” and “fraud” by the Chenzhou City People’s Court in Hunan Province. The sentence is believed to be in retaliation for publishing articles that authorities deemed to be politically sensitive. Wang had registered his publication, “China Special Report,” in 2009. In it, he subsequently published articles that disclosed official corruption, criticized Chinese authorities, and reported on the experiences of human rights activists in China. He was taken into custody in July 2012 after publishing articles exposing corruption by the Chenzhou Communist Party secretary and praising Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波).
At a first-instance trial held on December 13, 2012, the Chenzhou City People’s Court convicted Mr. Wang, and an intermediate court held a second-instance hearing on March 4, 2013, upholding the original verdict. Activists were blocked from observing the second-instance trial in March, and authorities have warned Wang’s wife to keep silent about the case and also have prevented her from visiting Wang.
Under the Working Group’s criteria for determining when a deprivation of liberty is arbitrary, the circumstances of Mr. Wang’s detention satisfy both Category II (i.e., when the deprivation of liberty results from the exercise of the rights or freedoms guaranteed by articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)) and Category III (i.e., when the total or partial non-observance of the international norms relating to the right to a fair trial, spelled out in the UDHR and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned, is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty an arbitrary character).
Mr. Wang has been convicted of multiple crimes and given a harsh sentence solely on the basis of the peaceful exercise of his rights guaranteed under the UDHR. Accordingly, his detention is arbitrary under Category II.
V. Indicate internal steps, including domestic remedies, taken especially with the legal and administrative authorities, particularly for the purpose of establishing the detention and, asappropriate, their results or the reasons why such steps or remedies were ineffective or why they were not taken.
Li Xuehong (李雪红), Wang Hanfei’s wife, has posted information about the case and Mr. Wang’s situation online.
Background and additional information relating to previous arbitrary detentions as well as violation of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression:
Mr. Wang has been seriously injured as a result of beatings in prison and has reportedly been forced to work very long hours while incarcerated, according to his wife, Li Xuehong. On May 19, 2013, Li went to Chenzhou Prison to see Wang, and he had stitches on his face, and Wang’s left ear had been beaten so badly that his hearing had become impaired. Wang told her that prisoners have been forced to work more than 15 hours a day, and that he had been beaten frequently since he could not complete the heavy load of work tasks.
Date Submitted: August 29, 2013