CHRD Sends Letter to International Olympic Committee Regarding Rights Violations Around Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics

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The Honorable Thomas Bach
International Olympic Committee

September 11, 2014

RE: Rights Violations of Chinese Activists and Petitioners Around Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics

Dear President Bach:

The Network of Chinese Human Rights Activists (CHRD) would like to draw the International Olympic Committee’s attention to the suppression of Chinese citizens’ rights in the lead up to, and surrounding, the Nanjing Youth Olympics held on August 16-28, 2014. During the games, Chinese authorities violated citizens’ right to peaceful assembly, association and expression, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China has signed.

The suppression comes at a time when Chinese authorities under President Xi Jinping have taken an increasingly hard line on civil society activism. Fourteen human rights activists and lawyers have been imprisoned to date in a crackdown that began in March 2013, and over 150 individuals have faced suppression around the 25th anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre this summer.

As CHRD partially documents below, at least 300 activists and petitioners, faced restricted movements, including being locked up in “black jails” (unlawful detention facilities) and forced to “travel,” and also were interrogated by police in Nanjing and many nearby cities in Jiangsu Province. As such, Chinese authorities unfortunately did not uphold the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter, which call for the games to “promote a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

Informed by sources based inside China, CHRD documented the following instances of suppression tied to the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics:

•    Nanjing residents blocked from attending the games due to detentions or other restrictions in movement:

On August 28, a group of eight Nanjing petitioners, including Ms. Ju Xiaoling (居小玲) and Mr. Yang Junling (杨俊龄), were abducted at the Nanjing Olympics Sports Center by police and forced into vehicles and driven away from the venue. At least 60 petitioners who are victims of forced home evictions in Xiying Village were put under house arrest on August 15, and barred from going into the city to watch the games. Nanjing activist Ms. Xu Juan (许娟) was seized and interrogated on July 31-August 1 by national security officers who also installed a spying device on her cell phone, and police also forced her to “travel” out of the city. Meanwhile, Ms. Meng Haixia (孟海霞), of Jiuhua Township in Jiangsu, was put under house arrest on August 17, and police beat her on the 22nd after she called an ambulance to take her ailing 83-year-old mother-in-law to the hospital.

•    Citizens from other locations in China harassed or detained after traveling to Nanjing:

Activist Mr. Sun Liyong (孙立勇), who had gone to Nanjing, was abducted by police from his home in Shandong Province on August 20, detained in a black jail and forced to take a psychiatric examination before being released. On August 14, police seized two Chengdu activists, Ms. Chen Min (陈敏) and Ms. Gou Li (苟利), from a Nanjing hotel after twice bursting into their room to conduct an “inspection.” They were taken to the Jian’ye District Police Station before being escorted back to Chengdu. Shanghai petitioner Ms. Li Xuemei (李雪梅) was seized in Nanjing while trying to watch the games on August 16, detained in a black jail, and then sent back home. On August 14, Ms. Peng Jingmei (彭静梅), Ms. Lan Guiyuan (兰桂媛), and seven other petitioners from the provinces of Shanxi and Hunan, were rounded up by police late at night at a friend’s house in Nanjing and taken to a shelter for under-age detainees in Nanjing. Another activist, Mr. Sheng Lanfu (盛兰福) of Liaoning, was in police custody for at least 10 days after arriving in Nanjing with the intention of staging a protest at the games.

•    Activists from other cities in China detained or harassed for trying to travel to Nanjing or indicating plans to attend the games:

On August 15, Changshu City, Jiangsu activist Mr. Gu Xiaofeng (顾晓峰) disappeared into police custody for 24 hours in Suzhou City for allegedly “disrupting public order” after he tried to go to Nanjing to attend the games. Meanwhile, a dozen activists in Changshu were frequently visited by police for “tea” (a euphemism for being interrogated) and put under house arrest. Beijing activist Ms. Li Dongmei (李冬梅) posted a message online about plans to travel to Nanjing to watch the Youth Games on August 5. The next day, she was visited by Nanjing National Security police and Beijing Public Security police, detained and interrogated for hours, and then released into police monitoring. She was forced to abandon her travel plans after police incessantly visited and called her.

•    General security tightening up and harassment of activists due to the Youth Games:

In Nantong City, Jiangsu, police prevented activist Mr. Lu Zhenping (陆镇平) from going to Hong Kong on August 13, citing the potential of “endangering state security” in illegally restricting Lu’s travel. When the games opened, Lu and a dozen other petitioners and activists were put under soft detention or had their movements monitored by police, and warned not to go to Nanjing. Petitioner Ms. Ma Yufeng (马玉风) of Zhenjiang City in Jiangsu was prevented from leaving the area, and from the eve of the games had police stationed outside her residence, tasked with restricting her movement. Many activists elsewhere in the country were either put under house arrest or 24-hour surveillance, frequently visited or received phone calls from police, and warned of severe consequences if they traveled to Nanjing.

In light of such widespread violations, CHRD urges the International Olympic Committee to investigate China’s failure to comply with the Olympic Charter, and to ensure that every future host city and government strictly adheres to Olympic values and international law. Mr. Bach, in your speech at the opening of the Nanjing games, you said that the athletes will ‘learn the concept of mutual respect, abidance by the rules, and fairness and justice.’ In this spirit, CHRD further calls on the International Olympic Committee to ensure that Beijing’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics is assessed against the government’s efforts to respect the rules of fairness and justice in providing fundamental human rights protections to all its citizens.

Thank you for your attention, and please do not hesitate to contact CHRD should you have any questions.


Reply from International Olympic Committee Communications Department – October 24, 2014

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