China Human Rights Briefing

January 4-9, 2012

To download this week’s CHRB as a .pdf file, please click here.

Highlights

  • News Emerges About Detainees From Jasmine Crackdown: CHRD has learned that the whereabouts of Guangzhou-born netizen Liang Haiyi, who was detained in Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province last February, have been unknown since October, and that activist Yu Yunfeng is suffering while serving a two-year RTL punishment.
  • Authorities Crack Down on Blogging About Demolitions: In the past few days, authorities in Fujian Province have taken into custody an activist, Chen Xuemei, who was blogging about corruption involving home evictions and demolitions, and a microblog exposing similar problems in Shandong Province was also shut down.

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

•           Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Netizen Liang Haiyi Reportedly Missing Since October

Heilongjiang Activist Suffering in RTL

•           Anhui Authorities Issue RTL Punishment to Man for Petitioning in Front of United Nations Development Programme Building

•           Fujian Police Detain Rights Activist Who Exposed Corruption Behind Demolitions

•           One Petitioner Detained, Another Missing After Preparing for Self-Immolation Near Tiananmen

•           Guangxi Police Use Violent Tactics to Sweep Up Villagers in Night Raid

Freedom of Expression

•           Shandong Authorities Close Down Elderly Citizens’ Blog on Violent Demolitions

•           Pregnant Sichuan Woman Warned Over Online Appeal for Help After Beating by China Mobile Staff

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

•           One Self-Immolation Attempted, One Threatened Over Demolitions in Henan Province


Arbitrary Detention

Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Netizen Liang Haiyi Reportedly Missing Since October

CHRD has learned that the whereabouts of netizen Liang Haiyi (梁海怡) have been unknown for months after those close to her disclosed recently that she no longer is being held at the Harbin Women’s Detention Center.* Last October, friends went to the detention center in Heilongjiang Province only to learn that Liang was no longer there, but they were not told if she had been released or was being held in another facility.

Liang Haiyi (aka Miaoxiao [渺小]), originally from Guangdong Province, was taken in for questioning on February 20 by Harbin police, and criminally detained two days later on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” and was subsequently arrested. Police accused her of “posting information from foreign websites regarding ‘Jasmine Revolution’ actions on domestic websites.” By August, her case had reportedly been transferred to a court for prosecution, but no new case developments have emerged since that time. In fact, very little information about Liang’s circumstances has been known since she was taken into custody in February, though it is believed that authorities have frequently pushed her to sign a confession, which she has refused to do. (CHRD)[1]

Heilongjiang Activist Suffering in RTL

Heilongjiang activist Yu Yunfeng (于云峰) is reportedly suffering both physically and mentally while serving a two-year Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment at the Wanjia RTL facility in Harbin City. Family members visited him in mid-December, and they found that Yu has grown very thin, is struggling with both high blood pressure and hemorrhoids, and that he appears to be in poor physical and emotional states overall.

Yu was issued a two-year RTL punishment after being taken into custody by officers from the Harbin Public Security Bureau on July 29. He is reportedly being punished for alleged offenses related to “inciting subversion of state power” for “spreading rumors against the Party and against socialism.” In the past couple years, Yu has become active in rights defense efforts in the area of evictions and demolitions, and in support of freedom of online speech and political reforms. (CHRD)[2]

Anhui Authorities Issue RTL Punishment to Man for Petitioning in Front of United Nations Development Programme Building

Petitioner Wei Hanzhong (魏寒中), from Anhui’s Jieshou County, has been given a one-year Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment in retaliation for petitioning in front of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office building in Beijing. On November 30, police from the Chaoyang District branch of the Beijing Public Security Bureau took into custody Wei and 11 other petitioners for “disrupting work unit order” after they had been out in front of the UNDP office. The petitioners were given five-day administrative detentions, but the detention facility refused to accept Wei since he was ill. The next day, Beijing police handed Wei over to the Anhui Province Letters and Visits Bureau based in the capital. Jieshou authorities then administratively detained him from December 3 to 13 based on an earlier fabricated offense, which allegedly took place on October 10 in Jieshou.

While holding Wei, Jieshou police issued a decision on December 9 dismissing the administrative punishment for Wei, and on December 12 the Fuyang City RTL Management Committee in Anhui handed him a one-year RTL punishment, citing the October 10 incident for which Wei had already been punished. Not yet sent to an RTL facility, Wei is still being held in the Jieshou County Detention House. (CHRD)[3]

Fujian Police Detain Rights Activist Who Exposed Corruption Behind Demolitions

On January 7, authorities in Fujian Province took into custody rights activist Chen Xuemei (陈雪梅), who has used her blog to expose problems of corruption involving forced home evictions and demolitions in her home district. Chen was able to inform CHRD that she was being detained, and stated that Jimei District police in Xiamen City had demanded she remove negative articles about demolition work in the area, but that she had refused. Chen is being held at the Xiamen City No. 1 Detention House, though complete detention procedures reportedly have not been followed. In retaliation for her activism, police have threatened Chen and on many occasions have invited her to “drink tea” in order to question her. (CHRD)[4]

One Petitioner Detained, Another Missing After Preparing for Self-Immolation Near Tiananmen

One petitioner taken into custody when preparing to self-immolate around Tiananmen Square on January 1 has been administratively detained, while the whereabouts of another remain unknown. Police from the Dongcheng branch of the Beijing Public Security Bureau gave a nine-day administrative detention to Zhao Yunxia (赵云侠) of Jilin Province, who has petitioned to try to bring her son’s murderer to justice. In addition, Jiang Fan (江帆), from Henan Province, has not been heard from since she was seized from around the square. Jiang had gone to Beijing to speak out against corruption after being abused by her husband, who had worked in the court system. According to Jiang’s family, authorities in Kaifeng City in Henan claim to be unaware of her fate. Some friends fear that Jiang has been sent to a psychiatric facility, where authorities in the past have placed her in retaliation for her petitioning. This would be particularly troubling since Jiang has breast cancer, which is likely to worsen in such a facility. (CHRD)[5]

Guangxi Police Use Violent Tactics to Sweep Up Villagers in Night Raid

CHRD has learned that dozens of villagers from Guangxi Province have been in custody after police orchestrated an aggressive overnight sweep to try to quell a dispute over lost farmland between villagers and a state-owned farming company. On December 24, over 3,000 armed police officers were mobilized to surround Xinxing Village in Liuzhou City, going door to door to take villagers away. Officers handcuffed villagers, taped their mouths closed, and took them to a sports ground. Police and riot guards stationed themselves around homes, warning villagers inside not to come out before dawn and to keep quiet. Police searched residences and destroyed cell phones when locals tried to record images of their actions. Police also used dogs to intimidate and bite villagers, and hit some elderly residents with batons.

Officers eventually took into custody 31 individuals from the sweep—and another villager was seized on January 1—and most of these villagers remain in custody. Residents have tried to have the media expose the police behavior, but higher authorities issued a directive prohibiting reports on the incident. The villagers have been in a dispute with a state-owned farming company that has reportedly been farming land that local residents claim belongs to the village. (CHRD)[6]

More recent news related to arbitrary detention:

“72-Year-Old Mother Held in Black Jail, Letters and Visits Bureau Official Ignorant of Legal Issues Displays Authority” (72岁老母亲被关黑监狱 信访局法盲局长上门耍威风), January 4, 2012, HRCC

“71-Year-Old Petitioner Jiao Yanshou of Shandong Transferred from Psychiatric Institution, Whereabouts Unknown” (山东71岁访民焦延寿被转移精神病医院下落不明), January 7, 2012, CHRD

“Steel Workers in Chengdu, Sichuan Protest for Three Days, Several Taken Into Custody” (四川成都攀成钢职工抗议三天,多人被抓), January 7, 2012, CHRD

Freedom of Expression

Shandong Authorities Close Down Elderly Citizens’ Blog on Violent Demolitions

CHRD learned on January 7 that Shandong Province authorities have shut down a microblog whose content critical of the local government had been written by four elderly individuals. On the microblog, named “Yizhou Refugees” (沂州难民), the citizens had been exposing corruption and violence by the Linyi City government in its demolition of homes from several years ago. The four individuals took nearly a half-year to study computers before creating the microblog to help affected residents who had unsuccessfully sought justice. Local officials have detained those petitioning over the demolitions, holding some in black jails. In addition, the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court has not held hearings or taken any other action on over 100 complaints lodged by residents. Several years ago, local officials had forced more than 2,700 residents to “voluntarily” sign eviction and demolition agreements, leading to the violent destruction of homes, including those of the elderly microbloggers. (CHRD)[7]

Pregnant Sichuan Woman Warned Over Online Appeal for Help After Beating by China Mobile Staff

After suffering a beating that sent her to the hospital, a pregnant woman in Sichuan Province was warned for sending on online message for help when local authorities failed to respond to the incident. On January 1, Wang Luanying (王鸾英), 29 years old, went to an office of China Mobile in Jiachuan City to inquire about charges from December. The manager’s husband, who is also the vice-chief of the township, reportedly cursed and hit her, pushing Wang to the store counter and striking her stomach, causing Wang to have abdominal pains. As Wang’s family sought justice over the beating, local authorities—including the police and local Party committees—avoided getting involved.

Wang eventually posted a message on Tianya, an internet forum, and described her experience and the indifference of authorities. On January 4, Wang received an email from the official email address of the mayor of Jiachuan, informing her that the appeal for assistance was not realistic, and warning Wang that she could not use public opinion to exert pressure on authorities. (CHRD)[8]

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

One Self-Immolation Attempted, One Threatened Over Demolitions in Henan Province

On January 4, two individuals—one who set himself on fire and another who threatened to self-immolate—protested separate home demolitions in a village in Henan Province. In Lianzhuang Village in Luoyang City, local officials and unidentified individuals came together to destroy the home of 71-year-old Zhang Jianshui (张建水) while he was not on the premises. Upon seeing the home demolished, the man’s son, Zhang Wenjun (张文军), set fire to himself, and was taken to a hospital for treatment of serious burns. A family member has indicated that Zhang Wenjun has been transferred to the Luoyang No. 3 People’s Hospital, but that he is not being allowed visitors.

In the same village, Zhang Putao (张葡萄) took to the roof and doused herself with gasoline when dozens of people arrived to forcibly destroy her home, and fellow villagers called for police to respond. The demolition team retreated, and police eventually persuaded Zhang to come down. She later asserted that fewer than half of the village residents have agreed to accept compensation in exchange for their homes to be demolished. She also said the village Party committee has taken the issue to the local court while preventing villagers from taking legal steps to oppose demolition plans. (CHRD)[9]
 
Correction: CHRD previously reported, in its August 29-September 6, 2011 edition of China Human Rights Briefing, that Liang Haiyi was being detained in Harbin Women’s Prison.
 
 
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

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[1] “Liang Haiyi, Suspected of ‘Inciting Subversion,’ Missing” (被指“煽动颠覆国家政权罪”的梁海怡下落不明), January 5, 2012; “Liang Haiyi ‘Inciting Subversion’ Case Has Been Transferred to Court” (梁海怡“煽 动颠覆国家政权”案已移交到法院), August 30, 2011; “Harbin Netizen Liang Haiyi in Custody Over Five Months” (哈尔滨网民梁海怡被羁押逾5个月), August 3, 2011

 

[2] “Liang Haiyi, Suspected of ‘Inciting Subversion,’ Missing” (被指“煽动颠覆国家政权罪”的梁海怡下落不明), January 5, 2012; “Police Detain Rights Lawyer Wu Zhenqi in Harbin,” (维权律师吴镇琦在哈尔滨被警方扣押), August 18, 2011; “Harbin Rights Defender Yu Yunfeng Sent to RTL,” (哈尔滨维权人士于云峰被劳教), July 29, 2011

 

[3] “Jieshou County, Anhui Petitioner Wei Hanzhong Given RTL Punishment” (安徽界首县访民魏寒中被劳教), January 6, 2012, CHRD

 

[4] “Xiamen Netizen Chen Xuemei Detained for Using Blog to Defend Rights” (厦门陈雪梅因写博客维权被拘留), January 7, 2012, CHRD

 

[5] “Petitioner Jiang Fan Missing 4 Days After Trying to Self-Immolate at Tiananmen, Another Petitioner Administratively Detained” (天安门自焚访民江帆失踪4天,一人被拘留), January 4, 2012, CHRD; “As New Year Breaks, Petitioners Attempt Suicide At Tiananmen Square, Many Taken Into Custody at Black Jail in Jiujingzhuang” (新年伊始,访民到天安门自杀,多人被抓到久敬庄), January 1, 2012, CHRD

 

[6] “Liuzhou Police Seize Another Villager, Most Others Remain in Custody” (柳州警察再次抓人 大部分村民未获释), January 6, 2012, CHRD

 

[7] “Yizhou, Linyi Refugees’ Blog Exposing Violent and Forced Home Evictions Shut Down” (揭露临沂野蛮暴力强拆沂州难民微博遭封杀) , January 7, 2012, CHRD; “Elderly Studying Computers in Linyi, Shandong Use Microblogs to Expose Violent Forced Demolitions by Government” (山东临沂古稀老人学电脑微博揭露政府野蛮暴力强拆), January 5, 2012, CHRD

 

[8] “Pregnant Women Severely Beaten in Wangcang County in Sichuan Warned After Posting Online Message for Help” (四川旺苍大两乡长当众殴打孕妇受害人网上发帖遭警告), January 4, 2012, CHRD

 

[9] “Two Self-Immolations in One Day Over Forced Demolitions in Lianzhuang Village, Luoyang, Henan” (河南洛阳练庄村强拆一天逼出两起自焚案), January 4, 2012, CHRD