Submission to UN on Xing Qingxian & Tang Zhishun – October 16, 2015

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Submission to:

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders


1. Identity of the disappeared person (I):

(a) Family name (*):  Xing (幸)

(b) First name (*): Qingxian (清贤)

(c) Sex:   male  /  __ female

(d) Date of birth: June 4, 1966

(e) Identity document: Identification Card Nr:

Date of issue: N/A  Place of issue: Guizhou Province

(f) Address of usual residence:  Huapaifang, Jinniu District, Sichuan Province

(g) Indigenous: __ yes  /   no

(h) Pregnant: __ yes  /   no

2. Identity of the disappeared person (II):

(a) Family name (*):  Tang (唐)

(b) First name (*): Zhishun (志顺)

(c) Sex:   male  /  __ female

(d) Date of birth: May 25, 1975

(e) Identity document: Identification Card Nr:

Date of issue: N/A     Place of issue: Beijing

(f) Address of usual residence:  Chaoyang District, Beijing

(g) Indigenous: __ yes  /   no

(h) Pregnant: __ yes  /   no

3. Date on which the disappearance occurred (at least as to the month and year) (*):

Date of disappearance: October 6, 2015

4. Place of arrest or abduction, or where the disappeared person was last seen (*):

Location (if possible street, city, province or other relevant indications): Room 8348, Huadu (华都) Guesthouse, Mong La, Myanmar.

5. Forces (State or State-supported) believed to be responsible for the disappearance (*):

(a) If the perpetrators are believed to be State agents, please specify (military, police, persons in uniform or civilian clothes, agents of security services, unit to which they belong, rank and functions, etc.) and indicate why they are believed to be responsible; be as precise as possible:

Burmese police officers from Mong La Special Region No. 4 carried out the disappearances of activists Xing Qingxian and Tang Zhishun. One officer showed a police identification to the owner of the guesthouse.

(b) If identification as State agents is not possible, why do you believe that Government authorities, or persons linked to them, are responsible for the incident?

It is believed that Chinese police from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province were involved in the police operation, because Xing and Tang have been reportedly brought back to China, although no notice of their whereabouts have been given to their families. Both Xing and Tang were in possession of valid Chinese passports and travel visas, including to Myanmar.

The activists’ homes in China were raided and searched several days after they were disappeared. On October 8, police officers from Chengdu City Beixiangzi (北巷子) Police Station of Jinniu Public Security Bureau (PSB) Branch searched Xing Qingxian’s residence. A document listing confiscated computers and other equipment that was provided to Xing’s mother-in-law was stamped by the Inner Mongolia Xing’anmeng (兴安盟) PSB, indicating that the bureau was the approving body. Only two out of the four men were in police uniform and showed police identification. The officers told Xing’s mother-in-law that Xing had been detained for illegal immigration.

Two days later, on October 10, half a dozen officers searched Tang Zhishun’s home and seized his computers. According to Tang’s family, officers from Beijing Municipal PSB and Changying Police Station conducted the raid. The police who searched the residence did not provide a search warrant, detention notice, or information on where and why Tang was detained.

(c) If there are witnesses to the incident, indicate their names. If they wish to remain anonymous, indicate if they are relatives, by-passers, etc.; if there is evidence, please specify:

The owner of Huadu Guesthouse in Mong La, Myanmar said that 10 police officers who arrived on October 6 had gone to room 8348 to take away Xing and Tang, and also seized 16-year-old Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩) (see “Additional Information” below for background on Bao). The owner refused to disclose more information after police officers spoke with her. A passer-by witnessed one officer going to a computer and erasing visual evidence of the incident (which was a photo taken by the passer-by).

5. Action taken by the relatives or others to locate the person (inquiries with police, jail, human rights commission, habeas corpus petition etc.) (*):

(a) Indicate if complaints have been filed, when, by whom, and before which organ.

On October 8, friends and lawyers filed police reports for the disappearances of Xing, Tang, and Bao at Special Region No. 4 Police Station in Mong La, Myanmar.

(b) Other steps taken:

On October 7, friends and lawyers went to the local police station in Mong La, Myanmar, seeking information about the detention of Xing Qingxian and Tang Zhishun. The officers there denied that the police action on the 6th had taken place, and claimed they had not seized the three individuals. Friends and lawyers also went to the local politics and law department seeking information, but to no avail.

Nearly 300 people signed an open petition requesting that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security protect the rights of Xing Qingqian, Tang Zhishun, and Bao Zhuoxuan to personal liberty and security, and to inform their family of their whereabouts.

(c) If action was not possible, please explain why:

Family members and lawyers of Xing Qingqian and Tang Zhishun inside China have been unable to take action to locate the two men. The families have been under pressure and harassed by authorities since the men’s disappearance, and they are afraid to speak out due to fear of government reprisal. Tang’s family was brought into a police station for questioning on October 12, and officers copied all of Tang’s information for personal contacts, including for family members and friends, during the search of his residence on October 10.

Additional Information on the case

Please indicate any other relevant information that has not been answered in the previous questions. If one of the mandatory elements noted (*) in this report could not be answered, please indicate why.

Bao Zhuoxuan is the son of detained human rights lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) and activist Bao Longjun (宝龙军). At the time of their disappearance, Xing and Tang were attempting to help the 16-year-old escape from house arrest inside China. Chinese authorities had confiscated Bao Zhuoxuan’s passport when he was abducted on July 9 with his father at Beijing Capital International Airport, where he was to fly to Australia to study. From that day, the teenager was under house arrest and police monitoring, first in Tianjin and then in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. He said he went through “hell” during the first 48 hours under police control. He was threatened when he tried to ask for the return of his cellphone and passport, and police also warned him not to try to hire lawyers for his parents. Reportedly, Bao Zhuoxuan has been returned to Hohhot and is under even stricter house arrest and police surveillance.

Chengdu-based activist Xing Qingxian suffers from severe asthma that requires medication, as well as rhinitis, a chronic inflammation of the nasal cavity. His wife deeply fears that his health will deteriorate since his medication will run out while he remains held incommunicado. Xing became involved in rights defense work after filing a lawsuit in 2004 over a wage dispute and unlawful termination against a construction company where he had worked as a technician. He studied law on his own and began providing legal advice to workers who were defending their labor rights. In 2009, Xing received a two-year prison sentence for “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order” for participating in a peaceful demonstration held outside the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court. After his release in 2011, Xing continued to document rights violations, assist petitioners, and train others to do rights defense work.

Beijing-based activist Tang Zhishun suffers from hyperthyroidism that requires daily medication and can lead to heart problems if left untreated. He is an engineer and began to engage in rights defense issues after his home was demolished in 2006. He wrote a training manual to assist others in defending land rights, helped villagers in Beijing whose homes were threatened with demolition, and helped found a public welfare NGO.

Date: October 16, 2015

Related Documentation: 

Submission to UN on Xing Qingxian and Tang Zhishun– April 7, 2016

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