[CHRB] CHRD Urges International Intervention to Gain Release of Human Rights Defenders in China (10/5-10/9/2015)Comments Off on [CHRB] CHRD Urges International Intervention to Gain Release of Human Rights Defenders in China (10/5-10/9/2015)
China Human Rights Briefing
October 5-9, 2015
Since July 2015, CHRD has requested UN independent experts of the Human Rights Council to conduct inquiries on behalf of six human rights defenders in China who have allegedly been subjected to rights violations. In the communications, CHRD documented Chinese authorities’ use of torture, forced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and obstruction of justice in retaliation against these individuals’ efforts to promote human rights and rule of law. The systematic abuses reflect China’s disregard for both international human rights standards and its own obligations to comply with international treaties, the UN Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The six cases involve four activists and one lawyer who remain in detention today, and their conditions continue to deteriorate:
- After a trial marred by procedural and legal violations, Guangzhou-based activist Yang Maodong (杨茂东, a.k.a. Guo Feixiong 郭飞雄) has been waiting for a verdict since November 2014 on a charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” Detained for leading an anti-corruption drive and exercising freedom of assembly, Yang, with help from his lawyer, filed two litigation requests against a local court and a detention center for subjecting him to torture and degrading treatment. Held at Tianhe District Detention Center, Yang has been deprived of outdoor time and fresh air—which should be rightfully provided to detainees in China—for nearly 800 days.
- Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), initially detained in May 2014 for attending a gathering at a private home to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, has been detained for 17 months without a trial. Pu suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and prostatitis (an infection of the prostate if left untreated can lead to organ failure). The lawyer has not received effective care for his medical conditions, and authorities have rejected requests to release him on medical bail while limiting his access to legal counsel. Pu is currently detained at Beijing No. 1 Detention Center on charges of “creating a disturbance” and “inciting ethnic hatred.”
- In an updated communication, CHRD has refuted the Chinese government’s claims made to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Assembly and Association, Health, Human Rights Defenders, and Torture, regarding the case of imprisoned activist Liu Ping (刘萍), and provided new information on activist Liu Xizhen (刘喜珍)’s enforced disappearance. Contrary to the government’s reply, Liu Ping has been denied a fair hearing and investigation into her allegations of torture, along with ongoing deprivation of effective treatment at Nanchang City Women’s Prison for a severe illness developed while in custody. In the same update, Liu Ping’s colleague and supporter, Liu Xizhen, has been subjected to degrading treatment in a black jail before she was put under criminal detention. An activist who defended worker’s rights and demanded the release of detained human rights defenders, Liu Xizhen has become a frequent target of government retaliation. She has been released.
- In another updated communication, CHRD also responded to the Chinese government’s claims made to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the prolonged pre-trial detention of Henan-based activist Yu Shiwen (于世文). Yu has not received effective treatment for both pre-existing medical conditions and damaging effects from a stroke he suffered two months into his detention after he was first taken into custody in May 2014. Months prior to being detained, Yu helped organize a memorial service for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. The 48-year-old activist suffers from heart disease, hypertension, and depression. Now detained for 16 months without a trial, Yu was denied access to legal counsel for the first four months, and his lawyers have been harassed and threatened. He is currently being held at Zhengzhou City No. 3 Detention Center.
- Sichuan-based activist Chen Yunfei (陈云飞) was detained for visiting graves of students killed during the suppression of the 1989 pro-democracy protests, and has now been held incommunicado for over six months. Procedural and legal violations have occurred throughout Chen’s detention; his family was not provided a detention notice within the time prescribed by law, and police blocked his lawyers from visiting him. Chen’s access to legal counsel has been further affected by the detention of one of his lawyers, Sui Muqing (隋牧青), who has been placed under residential surveillance at a secret location during the recent crackdown against human rights lawyers. Both Sui and Chen have been detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” while Chen has been charged with an additional crime of “creating a disturbance.” Chen is currently being held at Xinjin County Detention Center.
Who Are Some of China’s Persecuted Human Rights Defenders?
CHRD has featured three persecuted human rights defenders in China on our “Portraits of Defenders” page. Their “portraits” provide background information and details of their work or activities promoting human rights, for which Chinese authorities have retaliated against them. The three newest featured profiles are for human rights lawyers Wang Yu (王宇) and Li Heping (李和平), and activist/NGO worker Bian Xiaohui (卞晓辉).
The crusading human rights lawyers Wang Yu and Li Heping are not alone. They are among 22 lawyers and activists who remain in custody or secret detention after a crackdown targeting human rights lawyers that began on July 9, 2015, which has affected at least 300 lawyers and activists. Both Wang and Li have been detained for three months without access to their lawyers. In July, Wang Yu was put under residential surveillance at a secret location on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and “creating a disturbance.” The detention type and criminal charges against Li Heping remain unknown.
Bian Xiaohui represents a new generation of young college graduates who chose to work at NGOs, which has become a high-risk professional field in recent years. She was sentenced to three-and-a-half-years in prison in April 2015, apparently for demanding to see her father, a Falun Gong practitioner serving a 12-year prison term. Supporters feel that her ties to NGOs may have resulted in her imprisonment. Taken into custody in March 2014, Bian was allegedly tortured, including being force-fed after she staged a hunger strike for a week in protest against her deprived right to legal counsel. Bian is currently incarcerated at Hebei Province Women’s Prison.
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