Update to UN on case of Mi Chongbiao – August 22, 2016Comments Off on Update to UN on case of Mi Chongbiao – August 22, 2016
Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) hereby respectfully submits a second update on the enforced disappearance and house arrest of Mr. Mi Chongbiao (糜崇标), and his wife, Ms. Li Kezhen (李克珍). This update follows the urgent appeal on behalf of Mr. Mi that we submitted on February 17, 2014 (see: https://www.nchrd.org/2014/03/submission-to-un-on-mi-chongbiao-february-17-2014/) and the first update sent on May 28, 2015 (see: https://www.nchrd.org/2015/06/update-to-un-on-case-of-mi-chongbiao-may-28-2015/). Due to the most recent acts of torture suffered by the couple under ongoing and inhumane enforced disappearance, CHRD is again writing on behalf of Mr. Mi and his wife, both of whom are seeking intervention from special procedures. The information below has been provided to CHRD by an individual familiar with the case who received it from the couple’s son, and who wishes to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.
According to activist Mi Chongbiao (born in 1939), he and his wife, Li Kezhen (born in 1950), were seized by local authorities in May 2012 and have been detained in “black jails,” makeshift facilities used to illegally detain dissidents, activists, and petitioners. Currently, the couple are being held in an apartment rented by authorities, and are cut off from all communications with their family and the outside world (address: No. 2, 9th Floor, Unit 2, Building 7, Shangshan Yujing, Beiya Road, Wudang District, Guiyang City, Guizhou Province). Authorities have not provided any official notice regarding their ongoing detention, and police officers who guard the couple around the clock have routinely subjected them to death threats, beatings, and mistreatment. The couple’s sons have only intermittently been allowed brief meetings with their parents, and only when activist and his wife fully comply with orders from authorities.
Mi Chongbiao had been an active member of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, which was established in 2005 to promote international human rights and eventually banned by authorities in 2011. In 2007, Mi began to share information on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Guiyang. Mi has been detained and put under police surveillance many times due to the activities of the Guizhou Human Rights Forum and his calls to commemorate the 1989 pro-democracy movement.
Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
For over four years, Mi Chongbiao and Li Kezhen have been subjected to enforced disappearance and torture, including frequent physical assaults and tremendous psychological stress. Testimonies of beatings and death threats only surfaced after Mi’s sons were allowed brief meetings with them several times a year. Mi has reported that egregious mistreatment had taken place throughout the illegal detention. In 2013, police officers, including a captain of the state security forces of Guiyang City Public Security Bureau, Li Mu (李牧), and officer Lei Yang (雷阳), beat Mi, and warned him that he would die in a black jail unless he wrote out a letter guaranteeing that he would cut off communications with the outside world. In January 2014, Li Kezhen was sent to a hospital for emergency care after mistreatment by guards. Several months later, she was choked and nearly suffocated by Dai Yingyong (代应勇), a junior captain of the state security forces in Yunyan District. The same officer also choked Mi Chongbiao to the point of near-suffocation in 2015. Also in 2015, officer Zhuang Xinggang (庄兴刚) physically assaulted Mi, resulting in bruises all over Mi’s face and other injuries. Though such assaults have been ongoing, Mi and Li have no recourse on their own to report various forms of mistreatment against them, including being deprived of sunlight for long periods.
The most recent attack against Mr. Mi and Ms. Li took place on July 23, 2016, when the elderly couple suffered broken bones, severe bruises, and other injuries following a violent encounter with plainclothes state security officers, including Li Mu, who had previously assaulted Mi Chongbiao. That day, police were heavily guarding the area around where they are being detained due to an international marathon whose route ran past the apartment complex. In the morning, Li had gone on a walk outside the flat with two guards when they encountered four plainclothes police officers, who grabbed Li and held her hands behind her back, fracturing a bone in her right hand. They then dragged her into a doorway and hit her in the back of the head, causing her to fall to the ground, and stomped on her back. The guards then entered the flat and Li Mu attacked Mi Chongbiao, who was still sleeping in his bed. Officer Li Mu repeatedly punched Mi’s face and kicked his back, then dragged him into the living room. Li Mu told guards to leave the premises and continued to assault the couple while making death threats. Li Kezhen was also denied use of the toilet during this incident.
Mi Chongbiao and his wife requested immediate medical treatment for their injuries and pain but were only sent to the Wudang District Fushu Hospital two days later, on July 25. Although doctors initially diagnosed Mi with a broken vertebrae and requested he be hospitalized, they changed their diagnosis under pressure from authorities, after local security officers (headed by Dai Yingyong) intervened. The doctors then gave Mi some medication and a brace for his back, but he still reported feeling intense pain and partial paralysis. Doctors put Li’s right hand in a cast. However, even though she had swelling in the back of her head, and bruises on her cheeks, thighs, and ribs, police would not allow doctors to conduct x-ray to confirm any bone injuries.
Ineffective Domestic Remedies and Continuing Violations of Human Rights
Family members have sought to hold accountable perpetrators of repeated violent acts against Mi Chongbiao and Li Kezhen and their ongoing enforced disappearance, but they have faced retaliation and stonewalled in their efforts. When Mi’s son attempted to file a lawsuit against the illegal detention of his parents with a local court in 2013, the court refused to accept the case. In its refusal, the court stated that the victims must file the litigation in person. The family has found this excuse unreasonable and illogical, and perceived it as a sign of concerted efforts by local authorities to punish Mi Chongbiao and his family for his activism. Authorities have also blocked efforts to hire lawyers for the couple, and harassed Mi’s family members and warned them not to speak to media or try to gather support from others.
An arrest without any legal documentation (and where detention takes place in secret and indefinitely) not only violates international standards such as outlined in the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Person under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, but also Chinese law. According to Article 238 of China’s Criminal Law, unlawful detention that causes serious injury carries between 3 to 10 years. In addition, the law contains three crimes for torture committed by state agents. Severe injury should result in a sentence of between three and 10 years, and if a perpetrator causes disability or death, a punishment should be no less than 10 years, life imprisonment, or death. However, the police and state security officers involved in disappearing and torturing the couple have acted with impunity; hence, Mi Chongbiao and Li Kezhen have been subjected to repeated abuse and mistreatment.
The couple’s ongoing enforced disappearance is a gross violation of Article 17 (1) of the Convention on Enforced Disappearance, which states that “No one shall be held in secret detention,” and Article 10 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.”
Submission Date: August 22, 2016