Submission to UN on Six Human Rights Defenders – May 16, 2016

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Submission to:

Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

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

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Special Rapporteur on the right to health

Joint Urgent Appeal on Behalf of Six Human Rights Defenders

Alleging Torture Including Denied Critical Medical Treatment

CHRD is submitting a joint urgent appeal on behalf of six human rights defenders facing deteriorating health in police custody while being denied appropriate and adequate medical treatment. All of the detainees suffer from exacerbated pre-existing illnesses and/or newly contracted health conditions that have put their lives in peril, according to information provided to CHRD by their families, lawyers, and other supporters. CHRD believes that medical treatment is being deprived to them as a form of political retaliation for their rights advocacy work, a human rights violation that we have been documenting in numerous cases involving human rights defenders (see https://www.nchrd.org/2014/06/medical-watch-list-of-chinese-detainees/)

With this appeal, CHRD calls for legal and humanitarian intervention for two cancer patients: Huang Yan (female, 46 years old) and Zhang Shuzhi (female, 56); two individuals with serious heart diseases: Pei Guodong (male, 62) and Guo Hongwei (male, 52); an activist who has developed chronic illnesses in prison: Chen Xi (male, 62); and an elderly detainee: Xiao Yunling (female, 76).

Authorities’ failure or refusal to provide adequate medical treatment for detainees violates Chinese law and, among other international standards, the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners. Depriving detainees/prisoners medical treatment violates the “Administrative Measures for Life and Sanitation of Prison Inmates” (drafted by China’s Ministry of Justice in 2010 and subsequently put into a trial phase), which stipulate incarcerated individuals must be given physical health examinations and periodic physical check-ups. In addition, the “Regulations on Administrative Detention Facilities,” which also guarantees that incarcerated individuals in China be entitled to medical care, including physical examination, have not been enforced in all of these cases. In all of the cases detailed below, requests for bail and/or medical parole have been repeatedly rejected or gone unanswered, even though all six defenders’ poor health conditions qualify for release on bail according to Measures for Carrying Out Medical Parole for Prisoners (issued by the Ministry of Justice).

In China, the deprivation of medical treatment to further persecute detainees and prisoners of conscience reflects a tacit central government policy and a systematic practice. Depriving medical treatment to individuals in custody is a life-threatening form of torture, and in some cases it has led to the deaths of Chinese activists—which CHRD is determined to avoid from recurring by sending this communication and urging active intervention on the part of UN human rights experts. One particularly high-profile and tragic case of deprived medical treatment in China is that of activist Cao Shunli (曹顺利). Ms. Cao was managing health conditions at the time she was seized by Beijing police in September 2013; however, she was not allowed to take medication that she had brought into detention, and did not receive adequate medical treatment for illnesses that came about during her time in police custody. As a result, Cao eventually died in March 2014 from complications from illnesses after over five months in custody.

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture (1)

A. Family Name: Huang (黄)

B. First and other names: Yan (燕)

C. Sex: Female

D. Birth date or age: October 15, 1970

E. Nationality: Chinese

F. Occupation: Formerly a small business owner, currently unemployed due to retaliation for human rights activism

G. Identity card number (if applicable):

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.)

Huang Yan became involved in rights defense work after meeting prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟), himself a victim of torture while incarcerated, at an underground church in 2003. Ms. Huang advocated for Gao’s release after he was detained three years later. Due to her overall advocacy efforts, Huang has been subjected to numerous arbitrary detentions, house arrest, and disappearance. In retaliation for her activism, she suffered miscarriages on three occasions due to brutality by state agents; she was forced to undergo an abortion the first time, and she later miscarried twice due to severe beatings by police. As a result of this violence, Huang’s health deteriorated rapidly, and she eventually developed ovarian cancer. Despite government retaliation, Ms. Huang continued her advocacy efforts, such as going to Hong Kong to promote freedom for prominent activists and lawyers detained in China, including Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), Xu Zhiyong (许志永), Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), and Ilam Tohti (伊力哈木).

G. Residential and/or work address

Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, China

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

Huang Yan was initially seized on November 26, 2015, when police took her away from residence for questioning. She was put under criminal detention the next day on suspicion of “deliberately disseminating terrorist information.” Authorities changed the charges against her to “obstructing official duties” on December 31, 2015, when they formally arrested her. Ms. Huang has been detained in Cell 254 of Shunde (德) District Detention Center in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, since her initial custody. She has been denied medical treatment during her entire detention and also subjected to other inhumane treatment.   

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Shunde Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers, including one surnamed Li (李);

Shunde District Detention Center officers.

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

Huang’s lawyer was allowed to meet her on December 2, 2015, six days after she was initially taken into custody. Her husband was also allowed to see her during a lawyer’s visit.

D. Describe the methods of torture used

Huang Yan, who suffers from diabetes and ovarian cancer, has not received medical interventions that doctors at a Beijing hospital have recommended she have, specifically surgery and chemotherapy to treat her cancer. Prior to being seized in 2015, she had undergone surgery to have her affected right ovary removed and also underwent two rounds of chemotherapy. Her husband, Wu Guisheng (吴桂生), has pressed authorities to allow for cancer treatment; however, an officer told him they would send her to a military hospital if she is in critical condition, but that, if she dies there, her death would be considered “natural.”

On November 26, when Huang Yan was taken into Shunde District Xingtan Police Station for questioning, officers denied her water when she needed it to take her daily medication. After Ms. Huang pressed harder for water, several officers assaulted her.

One week after Huang was transferred to Shunde District Detention Center, all her daily medicines were confiscated, and authorities did not provide her any other medication. In addition, in reprisal for her shouting political slogans in detention, guards have refused to let her bathe and shackled and hit her. Huang said she lost over 30 pounds in one month—due to poor and insufficient diet, and cruel treatment by officers who also prohibited her from receiving additional food around New Year’s holidays, as is custom. In addition, throughout her detention, the activist has been prevented from buying limited nutritional food products that were available for sale to detainees.

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Due to an absence of vital medications for her diabetes and cancer, and an insufficient diet, Huang’s physical condition had significantly deteriorated by late February 2016, according to her husband, who is concerned that she may die in detention if she does not receive adequate medical care. Due to lack of treatment for diabetes, her eyesight has become so poor that she can barely see, she has developed foot problems and has trouble walking, and she has open sores on both her legs and back. Huang Yan also has sustained injuries to her hand and wrists from extensive shackling.

Her husband’s concerns have been corroborated by her lawyers. Following a March 2 visit, Huang’s lawyer reported her health was very poor, with complications arising from ineffective treatment of diabetes.

During a visit on April 7, 2016, Huang told her lawyer, Shang Baojun (尚宝军), that she had recently undergone a medical examination on April 1 that showed her late-stage cancer had spread to other parts of her body, and that she had dangerously high blood sugar and blood pressure. She asserted that she had not been able to get adequate medical treatment in the detention facility, and that her situation has become critical.

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

It is believed the reported torture is intended to prevent her from getting further involved in rights defense activities, and is a form of political retaliation. When Huang Yan was initially taken in for police questioning, she was asked if anyone had approached her for help in a land grab case, strongly suggesting that authorities were concerned about her human rights work, which has posed challenges to local officials. In addition, Huang has been shackled and beaten as punishment for her protests during custody against the cruel and inhumane treatment that she has endured.

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

Yes, a detention center doctor has conducted an examination in early April 2016.

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

No treatment for physical conditions caused by diabetes, cancer, or injuries has been provided. Because Huang’s conditions have turned extremely critical, she was sent to Guangzhou Military Hospital in early May 2016. However, authorities have refused to inform family or lawyer her current conditions or whether she has received adequate treatment.

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?

The doctor’s examinations have been brief and rudimentary. No medical report was issued.

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?

Victim did not die in custody.

III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

Huang’s lawyer complained to the director of the detention center about her poor health and general ill-treatment, but an officer claimed her health conditions were not life-threatening. Authorities refused to provide Huang’s medical records after her family requested them. Huang’s husband filed a request for medical release on March 30, 2016, but a notice dated April 3 stated she did not qualify for medical release on a baseless pretext that she may “collude” in criminal activity with someone on the outside. On April l2, 2016, lawyer Shang filed another request for medical release, but Huang Yan remains in detention. Huang’s case was returned to the police due to lack of evidence in mid-March 2016, but authorities resubmitted her case on April 11 to the prosecutor, recommending indictment.    

After Huang was put under criminal detention, she staged a hunger strike protesting her arbitrary detention, ending it only after she saw her lawyer on December 2, 2015. After being prohibited from receiving additional food during holidays, Huang protested by staging a 15-day hunger strike in January 2016, but authorities, including a staff from the local procuratorate based in the detention center, refused to address her complaint.      

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture (2)

A. Family Name: Zhang ()

B. First and other names: Shuzhi (淑芝)

C. Sex: Female

D. Birth date or age: July 13, 1960

E. Nationality: Chinese

F. Occupation: Formerly a worker at a transport company for 26 years, Huang has been unemployed due to poor health. 

G. Identity card number (if applicable): 

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.)

Ms. Zhang began her rights defense activities several years after her work unit both stopped paying her salary in 1996 (after she became ill with cancer) and also refused to pay any of her medical expenses one year later, including for three major surgeries. According to Chinese law, her work unit was lawfully responsible for providing her lost wages and reimbursing medical fees. Beginning in 2006, Zhang was forced to abandon many of her petitioning activities due to her declining health. She still tried bringing her complaint to the attention of officials on the city, provincial, and central government levels, and also posted information online about the Wangkui County authorities’ false statements on her case.

Though in poor health, Ms. Zhang in the past couple of years had taken part in rights defense activities that were not directly related to her personal case. She had called for the release of imprisoned members of China’s civil society. Zhang was also part of a “rights defense team” that went looking for activist Cao Shunli after she was disappeared, and then called for Cao’s release after her detention was confirmed. Along with other activists, Zhang had joined Cao Shunli to push for a civil society role in the UN Universal Periodic Review of China, including by taking part in sit-ins in the summer of 2013 in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.

G. Residential and/or work address

Wangkui County, Heilongjiang Province, China

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

On October 27, 2015, Zhang Shuzhi was abducted by officers from Suihua County of Heilongjiang Province, while she was waiting in line in front of Beijing’s Letters and Visits Office, which handles citizen complaints about official wrongdoing. The next day, Zhang Shuzhi was put under criminal detention on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (Criminal Law, Article 293: Section 4) and was held at Wangkui County Detention Center until January 4, 2016, when she was transferred to Suihua City Detention Center. Ms. Zhang was moved to Harbin Women’s Prison in Heilongjiang on April 6, 2016, after she was handed a 4-year prison sentence on January 28, 2016. She has reported torture in all three incarceration facilities.

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Officers from Suihua County of Heilongjiang Province based in Beijing;

Authorities at Wangkui District Detention Center, Suihua Detention Center, and Harbin Women’s Prison.

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

No one was allowed to see the victim until January 2016, more than two months after she was initially detained. Ms. Zhang’s lawyer had been previously denied visits with her.   

D. Describe the methods of torture used

From the time she was detained, Ms. Zhang has been deprived of basic and daily medication to manage severe diseases, specifically terminal thyroid cancer and liver disease (she had previously undergone two major surgeries to have parts of her thyroid and liver removed, between 2003 to 2008).

During her abduction on October 27, Zhang was brutally beaten, resulting in severe injuries that caused her to have extreme difficulty moving around for two months, as Zhang told her sister in a phone call while en route to Harbin Women’s Prison in April 2016. The activist stated to her sister that she still has not recovered from those injuries.

For two months after Zhang was detained, the victim was not allowed to appoint a lawyer of her choice and was thus deprived of legal counsel, leaving her even more vulnerable to mistreatment. Authorities at Wangkui County Detention Center never informed Ms. Zhang’s family members of her request to engage a lawyer on her behalf, resulting in the activist having no defense lawyer present during her trial on December 21, 2015. Zhang was only allowed to see her lawyer in January after the hearing, after two failed attempts in December 2015, when detention center authorities denied her lawyer’s request for a meeting. At her lawyer’s request, Zhang was given a second hearing the following month. This period of deprived access to legal counsel violates China’s Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), which states a defendant should be able to visit with a lawyer within 48 hours of a request (Article 37).

According to Zhang Shuzhi’s sister, Zhang appeared frail and had difficulty breathing when she tried to defend herself at the first hearing, when she had no legal representation. It was also the first time family members saw Zhang. Prior to her current detention, a medical examination showed cancer had spread to other parts of her body. Zhang’s health condition seemed to have worsened by the time of the second hearing, when her family observed that she looked extremely weak. Her family members are deeply concerned that with the continuing denial of necessary cancer treatment and medication, the activist will die in custody. 

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Zhang told her sister she still suffers from injuries sustained from beatings that occurred on the first day of her detention. Family members suspect Zhang’s conditions have turned critical, since no treatment has been provided when her cancer has started to spread prior to her detention. Since no comprehensive medical examination has been provided, Zhang Shuzhi’s lawyer and family members have only observed the activist appearing extremely frail.

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

It is believed her current detention and subsequent mistreatment are acts of reprisal against her. For instance, according to the Suihua City Intermediate People’s Court’s decision to reject Zhang’s appeal of her prison sentence, the consideration was based partially on her refusal to admit any wrongdoing. Zhang Shuzhi has long been persecuted for her activism, in addition to her current situation. She has been subjected to numerous arbitrary detentions, including two Re-education through Labor punishments, repeated harassment, and ill-treatment while in police custody, including death threats, extensive shackling, and violent beatings.

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

Only rudimentary examinations were provided by government doctors when the victim first arrived at each facility.

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

No treatment for injuries or illnesses was provided. Ms. Zhang only had access to “basic medication” bought by her family, since officers at the detention center said that authorities would not provide medicine for her.

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?

Doctors’ examinations at the detention center and prison were brief and rudimentary. Authorities have refused to provide a comprehensive medical examination. No medical report was issued.

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?

Victim did not die in custody.

III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

Zhang Shuzhi’s lawyer had requested bail on December 30, 2015, but received a rejection notion one month later, in violation of Article 95 of CPL, which stipulates a decision must be made within 3 days of an application. In addition, Article 65 of CPL stipulates individuals with serious illness can be released on bail pending investigation. Her lawyer also requested that the Wangkui County People’s Court and the Public Security Bureau allow Zhang Shuzhi to undergo a comprehensive medical examination, but authorities refused. On March 29, 2016, the Suihua City Intermediate Court rejected Zhang’s appeal for a second-instance trial and upheld the original sentence.

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture (3)

A. Family Name: Pei (裴)

B. First and other names: Guodong (国)

C. Sex: Male

D. Birth date or age: September 6, 1954

E. Nationality: Chinese; Man () Ethnicity 

F. Occupation: Farmer

G. Identity card number (if applicable): 

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.)

Pei Guodong began petitioning over official corruption and police brutality in 2000 after he fell victim to police shooting that resulted in a permanent injury to his left leg. He faced government reprisals for his actions, including being sentenced to two years in prison in 2004. After his release, Pei continued with his rights-defense efforts, such as voicing support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2014, and protesting an incident of police killing in 2015.  

G. Residential and/or work address

Weichang Manchu and Mongol Autonomous County, Hebei Province, China 

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

On October 29, 2015, Pei Guodong was seized by Beijing police near Beijing West Railway Station, and police from Weichang County Xinbo Police Station in Hebei Province forcibly transferred him to Weichang County Detention Center. The next day, Pei was given a 15-day administrative detention.

At the end of the detention, on November 14, 2015, Weichang County PSB criminally detained him on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” Around November 18, however, Pei was sent to No. 5 Emergency Department of Weichang County Hospital as he became critically ill from staging an ongoing hunger strike in protest of what he perceived to be his arbitrary and illegal detention. He has since been incarcerated at the hospital and subjected to daily force-feeding.

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Officers from Yangfangdian Police Station in Haidian District, Beijing;

Officers from Xinbo Police Station in Weichang County, Hebei Province;

Officers from Weichang County PSB;

Medical personnel at Weichang County Hospital.

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

The first time Pei Guodong met his lawyer, Li Weida (李威达), was in December 2015, more than one month after his initial custody, and after he was sent to the hospital. Family members have been barred from visiting him at the hospital.

D. Describe the methods of torture used

According to Pei Guodong’s son, the activist’s health has deteriorated greatly due to untreated heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure combined with Pei’s ongoing hunger strike, which began in November 2015 when he was put under criminal detention. About four days after Pei started his protest, he was sent to the emergency care at Weichang County Hospital and has since been subjected to force-feeding by a tube that passes through his nose. Pei has been held in a room with a surveillance camera, and both the window in the room and the door are covered by metal screens. At least four officers guard him everyday. 

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Due to his untreated medical conditions and his hunger strike, the activist has lost significant weight, has difficulty walking, and has become extremely weak. The activist also has suffered pain from the force-feeding tube that has been passed through his nose for nearly half a year. Pei needed a wheelchair to attend pre-trial proceedings on January 26, 2016, at the Weichang Manchu and Mongol Autonomous County People’s Court in Chengde City.

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

The current detention is a pretext to punish Mr. Pei’s past human rights activism, particularly for sharing photographs of mainland activists holding a banner with a message of support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong in 2014, an action referenced in the indictment against him.

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

The victim was examined by a doctor after he was sent to the emergency care of a public hospital around November 18, 2016.

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

Some basic medicine has been provided to treat some of his medical issues, but it is not sufficient to deal with their severity.

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?

No medical examination or report was provided.

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?

Victim did not die in custody.

III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

During pre-trial proceedings in January 2016, Pei Guodong’s lawyer requested that the Weichang County People’s Court throw out illegal evidence against Pei and to allow him to be released on bail due to his worsening physical state, but the court rejected the requests. After authorities did not notify Pei’s lawyer and family of his trial date—depriving Pei of a legal and fair hearing (see below)—Pei’s lawyer has filed an appeal over the verdict with the Chengde City Intermediate Court, but no response has been given so far.

Mr. Pei is determined to continue his hunger strike in protest against various legal and procedural violations in his case. On April 3, 2016, Pei’s son visited the Weichang County People’s Court to inquire about his father’s pending trial date, as the family and lawyer have not received any notification since the pre-trial meeting. To his astonishment, a judge informed him Pei Guodong had been sentenced—to four and a half years in prison. A verdict without a trial where the defendant and lawyer present is a gross violation of China’s Constitution (Article 125 stipulates that, except in special circumstances as specified by law, all cases in the people’s courts are heard in public and accused has the right to defense) and multiple provisions of CPL. Articles 11 through 13 of the CPL stipulate cases shall be conducted publicly and verdicts must be given in accordance to legal procedures. The only exclusions, or the special circumstances, are cases involving state secrets or private personal information, or involving commercial secrets, and the court has to provide an explanation (Article 183 of CPL). Pei Guodong’s case falls under none of these exceptions and the judge provided no reason for such unlawful action.

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture (4)

A. Family Name: Guo (郭)

B. First and other names: Hongwei (洪)

C. Sex: Male

D. Birth date or age: May 16, 1964

E. Nationality: Chinese

F. Occupation: Service contractor

G. Identity card number (if applicable): 

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.)

Most recently, Mr. Guo participated in activities that called for democracy such as supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in late 2014, but his rights defense work began more than a decade prior. In 2003, Guo Hongwei exposed government officials who had embezzled public funds, and he subsequently faced harassment and retaliation. Two years later, he was wrongly convicted and given 5 years in prison. Upon his release in 2009, Guo began to petition and seek legal redress against the unjust prison sentence and harassment he suffered, but thus far to no avail.

G. Residential and/or work address

Tiedong District, Siping City, Jilin Province, China   

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

On March 9, 2015, Guo Hongwei and his mother were forcibly taken to Siping City Detention Center by Siping City PSB and national security officers. Both Guo and his mother were held at the detention center until April 2016. During the detention period, Guo was subjected to numerous incidents of physical assault and other forms of mistreatment.

On October 4, 2015, after staging a hunger strike for several days, Guo Hongwei was sent to emergency care at Siping City No. 1 People’s Hospital due to critical health conditions.

On October 16, Guo was transferred to Xinkang Prison Hospital in Jilin Province and stayed there until after his trial ended in December 2015, when he was returned to Siping City Detention Center. During his trial period, Guo was beaten by court bailiffs in a waiting room at the Tiedong District People’s Court in Siping.   

On April 26, 2016, Guo was moved to Zhenlai Prison in Baicheng City in Jilin, where he sustained injuries to his head, face, and neck after cellmates assaulted him with a scissor.    

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Siping City Tiedong Sub-branch PSB officers and its director, surnamed Wang (王);

Director Wang Haibo (王海波) and guards at Siping Detention Center, including one officer surnamed Yu (于), and cellmates Liu Jinlong (刘金), Yue Lin (岳林), and Shi Liang (施亮);

Court bailiffs at the Tiedong District People’s Court;    

Cellmates at Zhenlai Prison, including one surnamed Zhao ().

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

Guo Hongwei’s lawyers were repeatedly denied visits with him until May 27, 2015, nearly 3 months after he was seized. One of his lawyers had been harassed by authorities until the lawyer quit.

D. Describe the methods of torture used

Guo Hongwei has been deprived medical treatment for several serious health conditions, including high blood pressure and heart disease, which he developed in 2009. Guo has stage 3 hypertension, which requires urgent medical treatment and will lead to a stroke if left untreated.  During a past detention, according to a medical assessment dated January 22, 2015, parts of Guo’s brain have suffered lacunar stroke resulting from occlusion of arteries, and the doctor confirmed the patient was not suitable for detention.

Mr. Guo has suffered physical assaults and other mistreatment at Siping Detention Center that began shortly after his initial custody. On March 11, 2015, two days after he was detained, officer Yu along with cellmates, including Liu Jinlong, brutally assaulted him because he wanted to file a complaint with a prosecutor stationed in the detention center. Guo sustained injuries to his chest and his glasses were broken. From March to May 2015, Liu Jinlong continued to abuse Guo, including repeatedly pouring ice-cold water over him for hours after stripping him, beating him while guards watched, and depriving him of his food and clothes.

In June 2015, cellmate Shi Liang randomly assaulted Guo Hongwei during his sleep that left a 3-cm cut near his right eye. Guo repeatedly called for help and requested medical care, but to no avail, as the cellmates told him they were acting on behalf of orders from authorities. While in the detention center, Guo suffered more than 10 violent beatings and did not receive any medical care for his injuries and illnesses.

In protest against the assaults, his numerous unanswered requests for help, and arbitrary detention of his elderly mother, Xiao Yunling (肖蕴苓, see below), Guo persistently demanded to exercise his right as a detainee to file complaints of abuse with a stationed prosecutor and director of the detention center. In retaliation against Guo’s requests, on October 1, 2015, guards ordered four other inmates to beat him. Guo bled profusely from his nose and mouth, but still received no medical care and consequently developed ulcers in his mouth that prevented him from eating. After starving for three days, Guo was sent for emergency care at Siping City No. 1 People’s Hospital. The doctor at the hospital informed the police officers guarding his room that Guo was not physically fit for detention, because he was at high risk of internal hemorrhage. 

On October 16, Guo Hongwei was transferred to Xinkang Prison Hospital, where he was shackled to his bed everyday. According to a lawyer who visited Guo on October 29, Guo appeared extremely frail and he was shackled to his wheelchair when officers brought him into a heavily monitored room for their meeting. According to Article 37 of China’s amended CPL, authorities’ recording or monitoring conversations between lawyers and incarcerated clients is forbidden. 

According to Guo’s sister, Guo Hongying (郭洪英), her brother needed to use an oxygen tank and wheelchair when he appeared for trial proceedings in November and December 2015. He was sent back to Siping Detention Center following his trial in December.

Following a family visit on April 27, 2016, Guo was sent out for emergency care again, though this time to No. 8 Prison Hospital of Zhenlai Prison, after he had suffered another beating by cellmates at the prison. His family remains deeply concerned that Guo will be subjected to further torture, and that the deprivation of necessary medical care will put him in critical condition once more.

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Guo Hongwei sustained multiple injuries to his head, face, neck, chest, and other parts of his body. Due to various forms of torture, including deprivation of food, Guo has lost over 80 pounds. His illnesses have worsened, and after medical examinations in January and October 2015, respectively, doctors concluded his physical state was not suitable for detention, as according to Article 10 of Chapter 2 of Detention Center Provisions.

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

During a visit, Guo Hongwei informed his lawyer that his current detention and subsequent torture have been acts of reprisal against his petitioning activities and for seeking redress and accountability for the mistreatment he has suffered in custody. According to Guo, officers at the detention center threatened him with more beatings if he filed complaints of abuse. In addition, on multiple occasions, cellmates who assaulted and abused him have told Guo they were acting on orders from detention center authorities.    

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

Medical examination was only provided after Guo Hongwei was sent to emergency care. 

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

Some treatment was provided to Guo, but after he was returned to Siping City Detention Center, no effective treatment was given to manage his illnesses.

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?

A medical examination was performed where a doctor at Siping City No. 1 People’s Hospital confirmed Guo Hongwei was not fit for detention. However, no report was provided to his lawyer or family.

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?

Victim did not die in custody.

III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

From October to December 2015, Guo’s lawyers filed multiple complaints against Tiedong Sub-branch PSB and Siping City Detention Center for the violence and mistreatment Guo suffered, and against Tiedong District People’s Court and Procuratorate for not investigating allegations of torture and violations of legal procedures. However, no reply has been given. His lawyers also filed for bail on several occasions throughout Guo’s detention at Siping City Detention Center, but requests either went unanswered or were rejected. Guo’s sister has filed a request for medical parole on May 9, 2016, but Guo remains in prison.

On April 25, 2016, the Siping City Intermediate People’s Court rejected Guo Hongwei’s appeal at a second-instance trial where the court refused to let lawyers or defendant speak, and upheld the original sentence of 13 years in prison—11 years for “extorting the government” and 5 years for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” to be served consecutively.

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture (5)

A. Family Name: Chen ()

B. First and other names: Xi (西)

C. Sex: Male

D. Birth date or age: February 28, 1954

E. Nationality: Chinese

F. Occupation: Human rights advocate

G. Identity card number (if applicable): 

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.)

Chen Xi was a participant in the 1989 pro-democracy movement and co-founded the Guizhou chapter of the banned China Democracy Party and the banned Guizhou Human Rights Forum. Chen has written dozens of essays promoting democracy and human rights awareness. Chen was imprisoned for his role in the 1989 protests, and again in 1996 for ten years for “organizing and leading counter-revolutionary group.” Guiyang authorities have also taken him into custody several times to prevent him from organizing human rights symposiums or other activities commemorating UN Human Rights Day, which has been a focus of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum. Prior to Chen’s current imprisonment, he was attempting to run as an independent candidate for a local People’s Congress election.

G. Residential and/or work address

Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, China 

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

Chen Xi has been incarcerated at Xingyi Prison in Guizhou Province since January 17, 2012, after he received a 10-year sentence in December 2011. Chen was formally arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” just one month before his verdict was handed down.

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Prison authorities and cellmates at Xingyi Prison in Guizhou Province.

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

Family members have been allowed to see the victim after he was transferred to Xingyi Prison, two months after Chen’s was initially taken into custody. Such a visit can only take place once a month and for 20 minutes, only after it has been approved by prison authorities and occurred under strict surveillance.

D. Describe the methods of torture used

The 62-year-old dissident has been suffering from chronic enteritis, an illness that had developed after he was moved to Xingyi Prison and due to continuing inhumane living conditions. He has been subjected to poor diet, inadequate medical care, and insufficient clothing during winter over the past five years. Prison authorities have rejected warm clothing sent by Chen’s family and at the same time refused to provide a thicker blanket or heating device for him.     

For the past five years, in addition to receiving no effective medical care, Chen Xi has been subjected to numerous forms of mistreatment, including being put under solitary confinement on multiple instances, abuses from cellmates, and deprivation of warm clothing and water. During this period, Chen has also been deprived of written communication with family and friends, and a monthly 3-minute call to family members. 

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

Mr. Chen has developed an intestinal illness that evolved into chronic enteritis, an infection of the digestive tract that causes severe diarrhea, dehydration, and fever. Chen has lost a great deal of weight, and he reportedly has difficulty walking. Chen’s wife, Zhang Qunxuan (张群选), first learned Chen was suffering from a stomach ailment after a visit on January 21, 2014, when he told her he had been having bouts of diarrhea since early December 2013 but had not received effective treatment. In addition, Chen has contracted severe frostbite on his hands, ears, and abdominal area every winter, when temperature have dropped to as low as 3 degrees Celsius.

After a visit in May 2014, Zhang reported that her husband’s health had worsened—Chen appeared extremely weak and thin, and his mental state was very poor. Following a visit in December 2014, Zhang reported that Chen’s condition still had not improved and he had continued to lose weight. The prison gave him some medication after she complained, but the medicine was ineffective.

Chen Xi has told his wife that on top of physical discomfort, he has been under tremendous psychological stress, due to ill-treatment from cellmates and solitary confinement. Chen’s wife is extremely concerned about the deteriorating health of her husband, and fears he may die if not given proper and adequate medical treatment.

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

Mr. Chen has been a longstanding human rights advocate, and as a result, he has been subjected to numerous instances of arbitrary detention in retaliation for his pro-democracy activism and for establishing human rights organizations. Prior to his current sentence, Mr. Chen was imprisoned twice following convictions for alleged offenses related to his pro-democracy activities. With three convictions, he has been sentenced to a total of 23 years in prison.

Mr. Chen had planned to run as an independent (non-Communist Party) People’s Congress candidate in 2011, and as a result, he was subjected to arbitrary detention and other rights violations in the run-up to and on the day of the local elections. Shortly after, he was taken into custody again on November 29, 2011 and put under criminal detention, hastily tried the next month, convicted, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

Only rudimentary examinations were provided by government doctor when the victim first arrived at each facility.

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

No appropriate and effective treatment has been provided.

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?

No comprehensive medical examination or report was provided.

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?

Victim did not die in custody.

III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

Chen Xi’s family and lawyer have requested medical bail multiple times in the past five years, but prison authorities have rejected the requests each time. In fact, they have openly told Chen’s wife that they will not approve such request no matter how many times they submit it. 

I. Identity of the person(s) subjected to torture (6)

A. Family Name: Xiao ()

B. First and other names: Yunling (蕴苓)

C. Sex: Female

D. Birth date or age: June 15, 1940

E. Nationality: Chinese

F. Occupation: Unemployed

G. Identity card number (if applicable):

F. Activities (trade union, political, religious, humanitarian/ solidarity, press, etc.)

Xiao Yunling had sought redress for her son, Guo Hongwei (see above), through China’s “petitioning” system, whereby citizens can submit complaints to authorities about perceived rights violations. Xiao also helped other petitioners with their cases, and subsequently faced harassment and retaliation. Xiao was officially arrested on suspicion of “extorting the government” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in April 2015.

G. Residential and/or work address

Siping City, Jilin Province, China   

II. Circumstances surrounding torture

A. Date and place of arrest and subsequent torture

On March 9, 2015, Xiao Yunling and her son were forcibly taken into Siping City Detention Center by Siping Municipal PSB and National Security officers. Both Xiao and her son were held at Siping City Detention Center from March 2015 to April 2016. During the detention period, Xiao had limited access to her lawyers and did not receive any medical care. On April 26, 2016, Xiao has been transferred to Changchun Women’s Prison in Jilin Province. 

B. Identity of force(s) carrying out the initial detention and/or torture (police, intelligence services, armed forces, paramilitary, prison officials, other)

Siping City Tiedong Sub-branch PSB officers and its director surnamed Wang (王);

Director Wang Haibo (王海波) at Siping Detention Center.

C. Were any person, such as a lawyer, relatives or friends, permitted to see the victim during detention? If so, how long after the arrest?

Xiao Yunling’s lawyers have been repeatedly denied visits with her until 3 months after she was seized. 

D. Describe the methods of torture used

It is believed that Xiao has not received proper treatment for medical conditions including high blood pressure. While at trial in August 2015 (later rescheduled), Xiao fainted due to deteriorated health that was not properly treated in detention. Even after fainting, Xiao did not receive medical care or a comprehensive medical examination after she was returned to the detention center. Xiao had been denied access to a lawyer for the initial 3 months of her detention, thus depriving her of a safeguard against mistreatment.

In addition, Xiao Yunling suffered bone fractures (and requires crutches to walk) after being beaten in 2012 by police when she attempted to visit a friend in Shanghai.

E. What injuries were sustained as a result of the torture?

According to her family, Xiao Yunling appeared frail when they saw her at trial proceedings. However, since no medical report has been provided, her current health conditions are unclear.

F. What was believed to be the purpose of the torture?

Xiao Yunling has been detained due to her role in assisting Guo Hongwei’s efforts in seeking redress for a past conviction such as visiting Beijng’s Letters and Visits Office. Xiao has been targeted by authorities for other activities such as providing support for other petitioners. It is believed her current 6-year sentence is an act of government retaliation to punish her, particularly because she has been convicted of “extorting the government” for persistently demanding redress through lawful means.    

G. Was the victim examined by a doctor at any point during or after his/her ordeal? If so, when? Was the examination performed by a prison or government doctor?

Rudimentary medical examination was only provided after Xiao Yunling was transferred to the prison.

H. Was appropriate treatment received for injuries sustained as a result of the torture?

Some medication to manage high blood pressure was provided, however, Xiao’s old age and problems with her legs have not been addressed. 

I. Was the medical examination performed in a manner which would enable the doctor to detect evidence of injuries sustained as a result of the torture? Were any medical reports or certificates issued? If so, what did the reports reveal?

No medical report was provided to her lawyer or family.

J. If the victim died in custody, was an autopsy or forensic examination performed and which were the results?

Victim did not die in custody.

III. Remedial action

Were any domestic remedies pursued by the victim or his/her family or representatives (complaints with the forces responsible, the judiciary, political organs, etc.)? If so, what was the result?

Xiao’s lawyer and family requested medical bail in July and September 2015, respectively, but they were rejected without explanation, even though individuals who 70 years old and above qualify for medical release, according to “Measures for Carrying Out Medical Parole for Prisoners” issued by the Ministry of Justice in 1990.

From October to December 2015, Xiao Yunling’s lawyers filed several complaints against Tiedong Sub-branch PSB and Siping City Detention Center for refusing bail requests and lawyer visits, and against Tiedong District People’s Court for violations of legal procedures. They have not received any replies from authorities.   

On April 25, 2016, Siping City Intermediate People’s Court rejected Xiao Yunling’s appeal at a second-instance trial where the court denied lawyers and defendant a chance to speak and upheld original sentence of 6 years in prison—5 years for “extorting the government” and 34 months for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” to be served consecutively.

One of Xiao Yunling’s lawyers, Shu Xiangxin (舒向新), was himself sentenced to prison in January 2016 following years of harassment from authorities, who had levied the same charge of “extorting the government” against him for his efforts to defend his clients.

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