China Human Rights Briefing
 
February 14-20, 2012

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Top News

  • One Jasmine Crackdown Detainee Released, Another Transferred to Prison: Hubei activist Gao Chunlian was released “on bail” last week after nearly a year in detention, while Sichuan activist Chen Wei was transferred to Jialing Prison to serve his nine-year sentence for “inciting subversion,” which was handed down in late December.
  • Guard of Chen Guangcheng & Family Discloses Recent Hardships, Violations: Speaking on condition of anonymity, an individual who has guarded lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng and his family during their house arrest in Shandong Province provided details about the family members’ worsening health. The guard also discussed the extremely tight monitoring that they were subjected to around the Chinese New Year.

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

•           Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Hubei Activist Gao Chunlian Released on Bail After Year in Detention on “Inciting Subversion” Charge

Sichuan Activist Chen Wei Transferred to Jialing Prison to Serve Sentence

•           Chen Guangcheng, Family Members Severely Ill; Restrictions on Freedom Only Tighten

•           Yunnan Petitioner Sent to 21 Months of RTL, Had Been Disabled by Forced Birth Control Surgery

•           Beijing Activist Wang Yuqin Reportedly Serving 21-Month RTL Sentence

•           Anti-Corruption Activist Illegally Held for More Than 10 Days

Harassment of Activists

•           Guangzhou Authorities Restrict Activists’ Movements, Confiscate Property On Day of Vietnam Veterans’ Gathering

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment

•           Hunan Petitioner Tortured With “Tiger Bench” For Not Complying With RTL Demands

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

•           Demolition Victim in Sichuan Sentenced to 3½ Years in Prison


Arbitrary Detention

Updates on Detentions and Disappearances Related to Jasmine Crackdown

Hubei Activist Gao Chunlian Released on Bail After Year in Detention on “Inciting Subversion” Charge

CHRD has learned that Hubei activist Gao Chunlian (高纯炼) was released on bail (qubao houshen) on February 15, returning to his home in Xianning City after nearly a year in detention and about four months after his trial on charges of “inciting subversion of state power.” (The Xianning City People’s Court heard Gao’s case on October 19 but has not issued a verdict.) Reportedly, charges brought against Gao involved “organizing political parties” and “participating in Jasmine activities.” Officers from the Xianning Public Security Bureau began following Gao after a “Jasmine Stroll” protest in Wuhan City on February 27, 2011, and took him into custody the next day.

Gao is one of 11 individuals detained during the Jasmine Crackdown known to have been arrested. A signatory to Charter 08, Gao has worked as an elementary school teacher and been an active online discussant about China’s human rights situation. (CHRD)[i]

 

Sichuan Activist Chen Wei Transferred to Jialing Prison to Serve Sentence

Sichuan activist Chen Wei (陈卫), sentenced to nine years in prison in December for “inciting subversion of state power,” was transferred on February 13 to Jialing Prison in Nanchong City, according to his wife, Wang Xiaoyan (王晓燕). Not informed beforehand of Chen’s transfer, Wang tried to visit her husband on February 14 at the Suining City Detention Center, where he had been held since being detained nearly a year ago. However, the detention center personnel told her that he had been sent to Jialing Prison the previous day. Authorities took Chen Wei into custody on February 20, 2011, and formally arrested him for “inciting subversion” on March 28. The Suining Intermediate People’s Court convicted and sentenced Chen on December 23. (CHRD)[ii]

 

Chen Guangcheng, Family Members Severely Ill; Restrictions on Freedom Only Tighten

CHRD recently learned that the lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) and his family members are growing increasingly ill while under house arrest, and ramped-up monitoring and restrictions have only exacerbated their living conditions. According to an individual who has guarded their home—and who requested anonymity—Chen recently emerged from the house looking very pale on a day in early February, and took just a few steps before collapsing to the ground and being carried inside by guards. The informant said that he saw Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), Chen’s wife, one time prior to the Chinese New Year and noticed that she was very thin. In a weakened state, she reportedly leaned against a wall outside her front door to support herself, and guards then took her back inside. Chen’s mother, who is in her 80s, also is in worsening health, and can only walk with the aid of crutches. The informant had not seen her come out of the house since shortly after the Chinese New Year. When Chen’s daughter, Chen Kesi (陈克斯), recently became ill with a fever, guards escorted Chen’s ailing mother when she took the child to get medical attention.

The informant said that there is an even greater guard presence at Chen’s home than in the past. Seven or eight guards stay inside the family’s compound and approximately 20 individuals are stationed around the residence. The head of the guards, Gao Xingjian (高兴建), constantly inspects the area. Residents living near Chen’s family go through a de facto security checkpoint before reaching their homes, and have been frightened into silence about the conditions surrounding Chen and his family.

A person with knowledge of the situation said that after central authorities came to see Chen last fall, the local government negotiated with Chen in November but those talks broke down, with authorities eventually bringing in about 20 individuals who beat Chen and his wife. In addition, authorities traced the movements of Chen’s family even more tightly than usual—with more than 200 individuals assigned to monitor Chen—after the media reported the death of one of Chen’s elder brothers in late January. (CHRD)[iii]

 

Yunnan Petitioner Sent to 21 Months of RTL, Had Been Disabled by Forced Birth Control Surgery

Petitioner Li Zhongying (李忠英) has been given a 21-month Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment in Yunnan Province for “disturbing work order” after being held for 20 days in a home for the elderly. Accompanied by local government officials and police officers, RTL officials from Xiongzhou City went to the home on February 20 and presented Li notification of her punishment.

Li Zhongying suffered injuries from a surgery forced upon her by family planning officials in 1994 that led to her becoming severely disabled. Since then, she has petitioned for compensation and to advocate for authorities to legally implement family planning policies. She has been detained in the home of the elderly almost every year during the “two meetings” in Beijing, a period when she has often petitioned. While Li was in custody last year, she injured her spine while trying to escape from detention, further worsening her disabled condition. (HRCC)[iv]

 

Beijing Activist Wang Yuqin Reportedly Serving 21-Month RTL Sentence

Beijing activist Wang Yuqin (王玉琴) is reportedly serving a 21-month Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment, according to her family, though it had been previously reported that she was given just a six-month punishment last July. Wang’s family confirmed the lengthy punishment to the organization Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch, for whom Wang has volunteered. Wang is being detained at the Beijing Women’s RTL facility. She was issued the RTL punishment for allegedly “disturbing social order” after organizing others to petition at the Beijing Housing Administration Bureau. Her detention is also likely linked to advocacy efforts on behalf of her activist husband, Yang Qiuyu (杨秋雨), who himself has been serving a two-year term at the Beijing Xin’an RTL facility since April of 2011 after being taken into custody the previous month during the Jasmine Crackdown. After Wang learned that her husband had been sent to RTL, she repeatedly sought an explanation for his detention, filed a lawsuit against the Beijing Municipal RTL Committee, and also applied for permission to hold a demonstration. (CRLW)[v]

 

Anti-Corruption Activist Illegally Held for More Than 10 Days

Ma Liangfu (马良富), an anti-corruption activist from Inner Mongolia, has reportedly been in police custody for more than 10 days after being seized while en route to Beijing. Authorities have refused to allow Ma’s family to visit him and maintain that he is only being questioned—he had allegedly distributed leaflets in the capital—and claim Ma has not been formally detained. On February 8, Ma was travelling through Yinchuan City in Inner Mongolia when public security bureau (PSB) officers stopped him at the railway station and confiscated his identification card. After returning home to Alxa League, Ma went to the local political and legal committee to inquire about his ID and was put under surveillance. On the evening of February 10, national security officers from Alxa League came to his home and took Ma away without going through any legal procedures. At the time of writing, Ma reportedly was being held at the office of the Alxa League PSB. The previous time that Ma was illegally detained, he went on a seven-day hunger strike and became so weak that he eventually had to be carried home by his family members. (HRCC, CRLW)[vi]

 

Harassment of Activists

Guangzhou Authorities Restrict Activists’ Movements, Confiscate Property On Day of Vietnam Veterans’ Gathering

On February 17, Guangzhou authorities intimidated and restricted the movements of several activists in connection with a commemorative gathering of 1,000 Vietnam War veterans, and also confiscated numerous items from one of the activists during a home search. National security officers dragged away activist Lin Ji (林计) as he was observing the event at the Guangzhou Uprising Martyrs Cemetery. The officers took Lin home, entered his residence, and looked through Lin’s materials without producing a search warrant. Among other items, they confiscated a camera that Lin had used to take photographs at the event, a cell phone, compact discs, materials about rights defense, and documents of personal complaints that Lin was preparing to submit to the local city government. In addition, plainclothes police forcibly dragged away activist Cui Minyi (崔敏仪) from the scene of the event and took her to a police station. Earlier that morning, two officers took away Guangzhou lawyer Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) to “drink tea” and only released him when the veterans’ gathering was over.

For several years, Lin Ji has been seeking pension benefits as well as compensation from the forced demolition of his home. Authorities have subjected Lin to frequent harassment, including many home searches and detentions. (CHRD)[vii]

 

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment and Punishment

Hunan Petitioner Tortured With “Tiger Bench” For Not Complying With RTL Demands

He Wulian (何五连), a female petitioner from Hunan Province, has been tortured while serving a Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment, according to a fellow petitioner who recently visited her. For four days in a row this past December, He was reportedly tortured on a “tiger bench”* at the Baimalong Women’s RTL facility in Zhuzhou City. He maintained that she was tortured because she has not complied with the conditions of her punishment, frequently voicing complaints while refusing to perform the long work hours mandated inside the facility. He was issued a one-year RTL punishment in July of 2011 after petitioning in Beijing. (CHRD)[viii]

 

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

Demolition Victim in Sichuan Sentenced to 3½ Years in Prison

On February 16, a court in Sichuan Province sentenced Huang Wenwei (黄文伟) to three-and-a-half years in prison for “intentional injury” in a case involving a home demolition in Chengdu and its contentious aftermath that attracted widespread media attention and public sympathy. The day the verdict was announced, more than 100 victims of forced demolitions came out in support of Huang at the Shuangliu District People’s Court, which had tried him on July 28 of last year. While most in the crowd were refused entry, several members of Huang’s family were able to observe the proceedings, though the majority of attendants were government personnel. More than 100 police officers were also reportedly on hand outside the courthouse.

On March 30, 2011, government personnel were clearing remains of his family’s home, which had been forcibly demolished in 2010, when Huang arrived at the scene in a car. The authorities claimed that Huang drove his car at the government personnel and attacked them with a knife; however, Huang’s wife denied the claim, saying that the neighbors instead only saw him being pushed onto the ground and beaten. The next day, Huang was criminally detained for “creating a disturbance” and was arrested on that charge on April 13. In mid-July, the procuratorate indicted him for “endangering public safety.”

A month before Huang’s trial, a local court found the home’s destruction was indeed illegal, but the government denied criminal responsibility while doggedly pursuing their case against Huang. Fearing the backlash of public opinion as Huang’s criminal case attracted media attention, censors last August blocked a blog maintained by his wife, Wang Hui (王慧), who was posting articles online about the case. (CHRD)[ix]

 
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

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News updates from CHRD

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[i] “Xianning, Hubei Activist Gao Chunlian Released ‘On Bail,’” (湖北咸宁市民主人士高纯炼“取保候审”出来), February 15, 2012, CHRD ; “Gao Chunlian of Xianning, Hubei Arrested for ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power,’” (湖北咸宁市高纯炼被以“煽动颠覆国家政权罪”逮捕), August 8, 2011, CHRD
[ii] “Sichuan Activist Chen Wei Transferred to Jialing Prison in Nanchong City to Serve Sentence” (四川维权人士陈卫被送往南充嘉陵监狱服刑), February 14, 2012, CHRD; “Rights Activist Chen Wei Allowed to Meet Family Members” (人权捍卫者陈卫获准与家人会见), January 14, 2012, CHRD; “Rights Activist Chen Wei Transferred to Prison, Family Not Told Location” (人权捍卫者陈卫被转往监狱,家人不知关押地点), January 9, 2012, CHRD; “Alert: Chen Wei Gets Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison” (紧急关注:陈卫案当庭宣判,获刑九年), December 22, 2011, CHRD; “Ouyang Yi Taken Away by Police as Activist Chen Wei’s Trial Nears” (维权人士陈卫案开庭在即,欧阳懿被警方带走), December 21, 2011, CHRD; “Court Hears the Case of Chen Wei, Charged with ‘Inciting Subversion of State Power’ on December 23” (特别关 注:陈卫“煽动颠覆 国家政权案”本月23日开庭), December 23, 2011, CHRD; “Lawyer Zheng Jianwei Finally Allowed to View Documents for Chen Wei’s “Incitement” Case, But Again Blocked From Seeing Chen” (陈卫“煽动颠覆国家政权案”律师开始阅卷,会见再次遇阻), December 15, 2011, CHRD; “Trial of Chen Wei Imminent, Suining Court Notifies Lawyer to Get Copy of Indictment” (陈卫案开庭在即,遂宁法院通知律师取起诉 副本), December 9, 2011; “Chen Wei’s Attorney Set to Examine Case Documents, But Unable to Contact Judge” (陈卫案代理律师欲到法院阅案卷无法联系到 法官), December 6, 2011, CHRD; “Lawyer Again Blocked From Meeting Chen Wei, Dissident Charged With ‘Incitement’” (陈卫“煽动颠覆国家政权”案律师会见再次受阻), November 30, 2011, CHRD
[iii] “Around Spring Festival, Linyi Authorities Dispatch More Than 200 People to Monitor Chen Guangcheng” (春节期间临沂当局增派200多人监控陈光诚), February 18, 2012, CHRD; “Chen Guangcheng’s Entire Family Seriously Ill, In Crisis” (紧急关注:陈光诚病重全家危在旦夕), February 16, 2012, CHRD; “Chen Guangcheng, Wife, and Mother Prevented from Attending Funeral for Chen’s Elder Brother” (陈光诚夫妇和母亲被禁止参加光诚二哥的葬礼), January 28, 2012, CHRD
[iv] “Li Xiongying, Disabled From Birth Control Surgery, Facing 21 Months in RTL” (吁请关注:计划生育手术致重残冤民李忠英面临1年9个月劳教), February 20, 2012, HRCC
[v] “Beijing Activist Wang Yuqin Confirmed to Be Serving 21-Month RTL Punishment” (北京维权人士王玉琴被证实劳教一年九个月), February 15, 2012, CRLW; “Beijing Rights Defender, CRLW Volunteer Wang Yuqin Sent to RTL,” (北京维权人士、民生观察志愿者王玉琴被劳教), July 27, 2011, CRLW; “Beijing Rights Defense Activist Wang Yuqin Given 14 Days’ Administrative Detention,” (北京维权人士王玉琴被行政拘留十四天), June 16, 2011, CRLW
[vi] “Civil Anti-Corruption Alliance Founder Ma [Liangfu] Illegally Held Over 10 Days” (吁请关注:民间反腐联盟发起人马维权被非法扣押已10天), February 20, 2012, HRCC; “Moderator of China Anti-Corruption Alliance Website Ma Weiquan Held for Over 10 Days” (中国反腐联盟网站版主马维权被扣十余天), February 20, 2012, CRLW; “Inner Mongolia Rights Defender Ma Weiquan Blocked From Going to Beijing” (内蒙古维权人士马维权进京受阻), February 9, 2012, CRLW
[vii] “Guangzhou Rights Activist Lin Ji Has Home Forcibly Searched After Observing 1,000-Strong Gathering of Veterans” (因围观千名退休军人集会广州林计强被抄家), February 18, 2012, CHRD; “1,000 Retired Soldiers in Guangzhou Gather, Human Rights Lawyer Tang Jingling Has Movements Controlled by Authorities” (广州千名退休军人集会,维权律师唐荆陵遭当局控制), February 17, 2012, CHRD
[viii] “Female Petitioner He Wulian Subjected to ‘Tiger Bench’ Torture in Hunan’s Zhuzhou Women’s RTL” (女访民何五连在湖南株洲女子劳教所坐老虎凳), February 17, 2012, CHRD [*Tiger bench: A torture victim is forced to sit upright on a long bench with hands tied behind their back. Their thighs are fastened to the bench while feet are raised off the floor by bricks, putting extreme strain on the knees. Torture using a “tiger bench” is extremely painful, especially when conducted for a long period of time.]
[ix] “Victim of Eviction and Demolition, Huang Wen Wei, Sentenced to 3 Years and 6 Months for Injuring Demolition Personnel” (拆迁受害者黄文伟撞伤非法拆迁人员获刑3年6个月), February 16, 2012, CHRD; “NetEase User Blacklisted After Writing About Own Case,” (网易用户写自己的案例被封杀), August 24, 2011, CHRD; “’Endangering Public Security’ Trial Opens Against Huang Wenwei, Forced Demolition Victim in Chengdu” (成都黄文伟抵制强拆被控“涉嫌危害公共安全罪”案开庭), July 28, 2011, CHRD; “Belated Justice—Course of Forced Demolition of Wang Hui’s Home in Shuangliu, Chengdu,” (迟来的正义——成都双流王慧家被强拆的过程), July 12, 2011, CHRD; “Chengdu Resident Huang Wenwei, Who Resisted Demolition, Charged With ‘Intentional Injury,’” (抵制强拆的成都市民黄文伟被指控“故意伤害”), July 12, 2011, CHRD