Reply to Chinese Government Response on Xing Shiku – November 8, 2013Comments Off on Reply to Chinese Government Response on Xing Shiku – November 8, 2013
To: Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
CHRD reply to the Chinese government’s response to the communiqué submitted on behalf of Mr. Xing Shiku (邢世库)
Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) respectfully submits the following reply to the Chinese government’s response to the communiqué on Mr. XING Shiku. Upon receiving the response from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, CHRD contacted a group inside China that has been in touch with Mr. Xing’s wife. The group reached the wife and provided information to address the government’s claims.
Based on the information provided, CHRD continues to strongly believe that the allegations of human rights violations made on Mr. Xing’s behalf and addressed by the government’s response remain valid, namely that: he was forcibly sent back to his hometown after petitioning in Beijing in February 2007; authorities have committed him to a psychiatric hospital against his will for more than six years, even though Xing does not require psychiatric treatment and his family has consistently requested his release; Xing has been tortured and subjected to other forms of mistreatment inside the psychiatric institution; and Xing’s wife was illegally detained in a “black jail” (a makeshift, temporary detention facility) in retaliation for pursuing his release.
1. On the issue that Xing Shiku was forcibly sent back to his hometown when he was petitioning in Beijing in February 2007
In 2006, Xing Shiku began to file grievances with the local government in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province about corruption and problems related to the privatization of the state-owned company where he formerly worked. In February 2007, Mr. Xing went to Beijing to further file grievances to Chinese central authorities. Xing was seized in Beijing by officials Cai Jing’an (蔡景安) and Liu Yang (刘洋), among others, from the Office for Letters and Visits of the Daowai District Government in Harbin and then forcibly taken back to Harbin by them on February 16, 2007. Xing’s return to his hometown was completely against his will and represented a restriction of his personal freedom. According to Xing, no official document (such as a detention notice) was presented to legally substantiate these forcible measures. The Chinese government response also does not indicate whether the police had presented relevant documents to impose forcible measures.
The government response maintains that Mr. Xing claimed to attempt suicide while he was petitioning in Beijing, which is the reason that he was forcibly taken back to Harbin and committed to Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital. However, even though Xing had suffered from a psychiatric illness before, merely “claiming” an intention to commit suicide should not be qualified as having such an illness. According to China’s Mental Health Law (Article 28), a person with a psychiatric illness can be subjected to forcible measures only when they have committed harmful behavior and/or attacked other people. But Xing did not display such conduct when he was in Beijing, so, according to Chinese law, he should not have been forcibly controlled and sent to a psychiatric hospital.
In addition, the government response mentions that, in February 2007, Xing petitioned in Chaoyang District in Beijing—an area with a high concentration of foreign embassies—behavior for which Harbin government officials would be criticized by higher authorities. Due to this alleged activity, officials from the Office for Letters and Visits in the Daowai District Government of Harbin seized Xing and forcibly sent him back to Harbin. The facts of the case show precisely that authorities imposed forcible measures against Xing because of his petitioning, not a “psychiatric illness.”
2. On the issue that Xing Shiku has been detained in the psychiatric hospital for over six years
The Chinese government response indicates that Mr. Xing has been “treated” in the psychiatric hospital for over six years since February 2007, and that he remains institutionalized since he has not yet “recovered.” However, in a face-to-face interview conducted with Xing on November 11, 2012, CHRD sources found that Xing’s mental condition was good. The videotaped interview (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHNn-QqoeHk) strongly indicates that there is no medical need to continue “treating” Xing in the psychiatric hospital, as Xing does not represent a physical threat to others or his environment.
Regarding the need to further detain Mr. Xing in the hospital, the government provides yet another reason: authorities could not contact Xing’s wife Zhao Guirong (赵桂荣) or other family members, who could conceivably guarantee his and the public’s safety and thus secure his release. However, Zhao’s whereabouts and contact information have been publicly available, as she has consistently filed grievances on behalf of Xing, and has visited her husband in the psychiatric hospital on many occasions. When the aforementioned video interview was conducted on November 11, 2012, Zhao was also meeting Xing in the hospital. Zhao also accompanied two individuals to visit Xing as recently as April 2013, when she negotiated with the hospital regarding his release, but to no avail.
Since 2007, the Daowai District Government has paid 82.3 thousand yuan (approx. US$13,400) for “treating” Mr. Xing at Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital. According to Xing and Zhao, the factory where Xing once worked and the government department in charge of the factory have in fact provided these funds. In addition, Zhou Liming (周立明), head of the Office for Letters and Visits in Daowai District in Harbin has maintained contact with the Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital. CHRD strongly feels that Daowei officials in charge of petitioning (Letters and Visits) have played such a central role in Xing’s case since their actual aim in forcibly committing Xing is to stop him from pursuing his personal grievances, and not to “treat” Xing for any psychiatric illness.
3. On the “treatment” Xing Shiku has received and the circumstances of his being tied up in the psychiatric hospital
The government’s response claims that the psychiatric hospital has provided good “treatment” to Mr. Xing, and that, contrary to allegations submitted by CHRD, the hospital staff have not used any instruments of torture such as “chains” and “electric pricks” on Xing, and that no abuse of Xing, such as “being tied up in chains” or “being struck with electric pricks,” has ever taken place. Nevertheless, Xing said explicitly in the interview conducted at Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital in November 2012 that he had been subjected to abuses and tortured in the hospital. He also had tried to escape but was seized and then tied up for several days and struck with electric pricks. In an investigative video, iron chains placed on Xing’s beside are visible (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgLF6jivBVo&feature=youtu.be).
4. On the issue that Zhao Guirong was detained in a “black jail” when petitioning
Since early 2010, official Chinese media have reported on a “black jail” located at Anyuanding in Beijing, and a report published on October 18, 2010 on Caijing.com about that “black jail” reported that Zhao Guirong was detained there (see: http://www.caijing.com.cn/2010-10-18/110546252.html). Zhao said on many occasions that, in retaliation against her petitioning over her husband’s case, she has been detained in several “black jails,” which has also been reported by many media outlets, including Fenghuang.net and Southern Metropolis Daily.
5. On the issue of releasing Xing Shiku
In its response, the government concedes that the Daowai District Government is principally in charge of Mr. Xing’s “treatment” in the Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital. Daowai District Government has claimed that Xing’s “illness” was “not stable” so they cannot yet release him, but the aforementioned information provided to CHRD has shown that this is actually not the case.
The Daowai District Government also said that the decision on whether Xing should leave the hospital must strictly comply with legal standards and procedures, and is not subject to any interference or order from an outside party. However, Xing and Zhao have clearly expressed their urgent desire to have him released from the hospital, and have written letters of appeal to this end, but to no avail. For years, Zhao Guirong’s objective in her petitioning has been precisely over the issue of her husband’s continued and illegal forcible psychiatric commitment. These above facts reveal that Xing’s ongoing commitment is against his and his family’s will.
In April 2013, when Zhao Guirong and others visited Mr. Xing in the Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital and approached the director of the hospital asking for Xing’s release, the director asked Zhao to talk to Zhou Liming, head of the Office for Letters and Visits in the Daowai District Government, and for them to “recognize their mistake” for requesting Xing’s release. This incident further shows that the hospital does not dare release Xing without the government’s permission.
CHRD requests WGAD enter the above reply into the relevant records of the United Nations. Please let us know if you have further questions or comments on the case of Mr. Xing Shiku.
Submitted on: November 8, 2013
Opinion No. 8/2014 (China) on Mr Xing Shiku, in Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its sixty-ninth session, 22 April – 1 May 2014, UN Human Rights Council (English version)
Opinion No. 8/2014 (China) on Mr Xing Shiku, in Opinions adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its sixty-ninth session, 22 April – 1 May 2014, UN Human Rights Council (Chinese version)