China Human Rights Briefing

February 21-27, 2012 

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Top News

  • Dissident Li Tie Transferred to Prison, May Face Hard Labor: Hubei dissident Li Tie, sentenced to 10 years in January for “subversion of state power,” was recently sent to Huangzhou Prison, where many of the inmates reputedly are incarcerated for violent offenses. According to Li’s brother, the prisoners there are forced to do hard labor, and he worries that Li Tie will be subjected to the same treatment.
  • Hangzhou’s China Democracy Party Members Face Spike in Harassment: For the past week, police in Hangzhou have taken in for questioning members of the Zhejiang branch of the banned China Democracy Party (CDP). The escalation of harassment is believed to be tied to their drafting of a new “Nationality Law” that they have reportedly planned to submit to officials in Beijing.

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

•           Hubei Dissident Li Tie Transferred to Huangzhou Prison, Family Worries He Will Face Hard Labor

•           Man Given 18 Months of RTL After Organizing Spring Festival Gathering for Fellow Petitioners

•           Anhui Activist Indicted for “Fraud,” Has Fought Government Corruption

Harassment of Activists

•           Hangzhou Police Ramp Up Harassment of China Democracy Party Members

Freedom of Expression

•           Jiangsu Villagers Face Restrictions on Freedom After Property Protest Creates Media Frenzy

Violence Against Women

•           Shandong Couple Goes Into Hiding to Avoid Forced Abortion Order

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

•           Elderly Man Criminally Detained For Petitioning After Violent Home Demolition


Arbitrary Detention

Hubei Dissident Li Tie Transferred to Huangzhou Prison, Family Worries He Will Face Hard Labor

On February 24, public security officers notified the family of Hubei dissident Li Tie (李铁), who was sentenced in January to 10 years’ imprisonment for “subversion of state power,” that he has been transferred to Huangzhou Prison in Tuanfeng County. According to Li’s younger brother, the majority of detainees in this prison were convicted of violent crimes, such as robbery and murder, and inmates often perform hard physical labor, raising concerns that Li may be subjected to such treatment. During Li’s detention, police have tried to prevent his family members, particularly his younger brother, from giving interviews to foreign media.

A democracy rights activist and freelance writer, Li Tie was initially detained on September 15, 2010, and formally arrested on October 22 of that year. The Wuhan Intermediate People’s Court tried Li on April 18, 2011, but the court did not deliver the verdict until eight months later. Since sentencing Li on January 18, the court has not provided Li’s family with a copy of its decision. During the past decade, Li has written many online articles promoting democracy, constitutional government, and direct local elections. Li has also organized activities to honor the memory of Lin Zhao (林昭), the well-known Beijing University student jailed in the 1950s and executed by the government in 1968 for her views and writings. (CHRD)[1]

 

Man Given 18 Months of RTL After Organizing Spring Festival Gathering for Fellow Petitioners

Zhao Zhenjia (赵振甲), a petitioner from Liaoning Province who was issued a death sentence with reprieve during the Cultural Revolution (see image), has reportedly been issued an 18-month Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment. While official charges remain unclear, the punishment may be linked to a Chinese New Year gathering that Zhao organized for fellow petitioners last month. Prior to the holiday, Zhao also reportedly brought reporters to a black jail, which led to the release of petitioners detained there. Beijing police took Zhao into custody on January 22 but reportedly did not send a detention notice to his family in Fushun City, and they also did not permit some of Zhao’s friends to visit him at the Youanmen Police Station.

 

Dating back nearly four decades, Zhao has sought justice over persecution and retribution by authorities. In 1974, the Shenyang City Intermediate People’s Court issued Zhao a punishment of the death penalty with two-year reprieve for “counterrevolution” for crimes that allegedly involved his writings that expressed critical opinions about Chinese society. Zhao was imprisoned until 1981, when the same court ordered his release. Zhao then began petitioning to seek justice over what he had endured. The Shenyang court in 1985 declared him innocent of any criminal wrongdoing, but he was not compensated. In 2000, Zhao was sent to three years of Re-education through Labor in retaliation for his petitioning, and he was also detained for 15 days in 2008 after bringing firecrackers and grievance materials to Tiananmen Square. (CHRD)[2]

Anhui Activist Indicted for “Fraud,” Has Fought Government Corruption

Anhui activist Wang Xile (王西乐), who was criminally detained last September, has reportedly been indicted on suspicion of “fraud” based on his alleged dealings with rural machinery workers, CHRD has learned from petitioners familiar with Wang’s case. The petitioners have indicated that Wang’s family cannot afford to hire an attorney and insisted the government is persecuting him for his anti-corruption activities.

On September 12, 2011, officers from the Mengcheng County Public Security Bureau took Wang into custody on a “fraud” charge. According to his self-defense materials, rural machinery workers gave Wang 10,000 RMB (approx. $US1,600)—to support his efforts to expose official corruption—after he had helped them write complaints. However, Wang, 62, immediately rejected the funds and later asked another person to return the money. For many years, Wang has attracted the ire of local authorities by volunteering to help write petitioning materials for fellow citizens and also representing petitioners in their grievances. (CHRD)[3]

Harassment of Activists

Hangzhou Police Ramp Up Harassment of China Democracy Party Members

Hangzhou police recently have taken in for questioning several members of the Zhejiang branch of the banned China Democracy Party (CDP) in an escalation of intimidation meant to restrict the dissidents’ freedom of expression. On February 21, public security police took in for questioning dissident writer Chen Shuqing (陈树庆) after searching his home and confiscating property, including a computer. Chen was held overnight and released the next day only to be taken back to a police station on February 23. Hangzhou officers on February 22 questioned other CDP members—Wang Donghai (王东海), Wang Rongqing (王荣清), Lou Yuyin (楼玉银). In addition, police summoned the dissident writer and CDP member Gengsong (吕耿松) for questioning on February 23. Member Zou Wei (邹巍) was also likely seized by police around this time and, after being released, was summoned by police on February 27.

 

It is believed the recent harassment stems from a proposal to amend the PRC Nationality Law drafted by Zhejiang CDP members, a document they reportedly have planned to try to submit to the National People’s Congress. Their proposal suggested that, among other amendments, that China recognizes dual citizenship, so that overseas Chinese can retain the Chinese citizenship. (CHRD, CRLW)[4]

Freedom of Expression

Jiangsu Villagers Face Restrictions on Freedom After Property Protest Creates Media Frenzy

Authorities in Jiangsu Province recently clamped down on local residents and blocked the work of flocking journalists after a protest about land and property issues attracted the attention of major media outlets. On February 13, more than 1,000 residents in Nantong City rallied before the city government building over grievances concerning requisitioned land and home demolitions. By February 18, provincial media as well as numerous mainstream news outlets from Beijing—including CCTV, People’s Daily, Xinhua, and China National Radio—had converged to interview protesters and report on their situation. In response to the media onslaught, however, local officials in Nantong took into custody at least one petitioner in the name of “maintaining stability” and prevented journalists from speaking with residents. From February 19 until journalists eventually left Nantong on February 24, local cadres followed a number of villagers, keeping them under around-the-clock surveillance. (CHRD)[5]

Violence Against Women

Shandong Couple Goes Into Hiding to Avoid Forced Abortion Order

Family planning officials in Shandong Province have been pressuring a pregnant woman to undergo a forced abortion, and she and her husband have gone into hiding to protect their unborn child. From Linyi City, Yuan Xuelan (袁雪兰) and her husband, Li Gen (李根) have one daughter who is under two years old, and Yuan is now four months pregnant with their second child. While pressing her to have an abortion, officials with the Linyi Family Planning Commission have not produced relevant documentation that would authorize their actions. The couple has gone into hiding with their daughter in order to evade family planning personnel, who have searched their home several times during this period. On February 17, family planning authorities sent people to Li’s brother’s shop to find out their whereabouts and then took the brother away. After being detained for five days, he was only let go after Li Gen had someone deliver 5,000 RMB (nearly $US800) to the officials.

 

According to Li, several families in their village are under similar pressure from officials, and the family planning commission has reportedly brought on workers to enforce the “one-child” policies in aggressive fashion. They search homes and destroy property and also have seized pregnant women and turned them over to family planning personnel, who then take them to undergo forced abortions. Li further indicated that his family would have to pay a fine of 50,000 RMB (almost $8,000) for a second child and an additional 20,000 RMB for registering the child (nearly $3,200). Linyi City is also home to Chen Guangcheng and his family, who have been subjected to house arrest since Chen was released in September 2010 after serving a prison sentence for documenting family planning abuses by local officials. (CHRD)[6]

Forced Eviction and Demolition/Land Expropriation

Elderly Man Criminally Detained For Petitioning After Violent Home Demolition

Hebei authorities have criminally detained Jia Yushan (贾玉山), a 71-year-old petitioner, on a charge of “fraud,” and have held him for more than two months over a conflict about a forced home demolition. From Xingtai City, Jia has refused to sign an agreement with the local government because he has believed that his property was located outside of the area designated for demolition, according to his son. His family has been concerned about Jia’s health during his detention; he suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other illnesses, but the local detention center has not allowed Jia’s family to deliver medications to him.

In September of 2007, the construction bureau from Xingtai’s Qiaodong District sent out personnel to demolish Jia Yushan’s home without giving prior notice. The demolition team terrorized Jia by blindfolding and stripping him before dragging him outside of his home; they also beat and kicked his before demolishing his property. After the incident, Jia began petitioning to the city and provincial governments and also went to Beijing to pursue his grievance. In late 2011, the district government on several occasions sent personnel to Jia’s home, and they threatened him not to return to Beijing to petition. The Qiaodong District Public Security Bureau eventually took Jia into custody on December 11. (CHRD)[7]

 

Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian

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News updates from CHRD

 

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[1] “Sentenced to 10 Years, Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sent to Huangzhou Prison to Serve Sentence” (获刑十年的武汉异议人士李铁被送往黄州监狱服刑), February 25, 2012, CHRD; “Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sentenced (continued)” (武汉异议人士李铁被重判(续)), January 18, 2012, CHRD; “Chinese Democracy Activist Li Tie Jailed for Ten Years for “Subversion,” January 18, 2012, CHRD; “Wuhan Dissident Li Tie Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison” (特别关注:武汉异议人士李铁被判处10年重刑), January 18, 2012, CHRD; “Subversion Charge against Little-Known Activist Indicates Heightened Crackdown on Dissent in China,” November 22, 2010, CHRD; “Trial of Li Tie Begins, Procuratorate Recommends 10-Year Sentence” (李铁案开庭,检控方建议判刑10年), April 17, 2011, CHRD

 

[2] “Liaoning Petitioner Liao Zhenjia Criminally Detained, Sent to RTL for Organizing ‘Petitioners’Spring Gathering’ in Beijing”(辽宁访民赵振甲因筹办“访民春晚”在京被刑事拘留后劳教), February 23, 2012, CHRD;  “Ge Zhihui’s Blog Shut Down After She Expresses Concern for Detained Zhao Zhenjia” (关注赵振甲葛志慧微博遭封杀), February 2, 2012, CHRD; “Three Petitioners Go to Beijing to Visit Detained Liaoning Petitioner Zhao Zhenjia” (三位访民到北京丰台探望被拘留的辽宁访民赵振甲), February 2, 2012, CHRD;  “Friends Visiting Fengtai District Police Station Informed that ‘Counterrevolutionary’ Zhao Zhenjia, Sentenced to Death With Reprieve, Is Being Criminally Detained” (访友再探丰台区看守所 被告知曾判处死刑的“老反革命”份子赵振甲已被刑拘), February 2, 2012, HRCC; “Given Death Sentence With Reprieve for ‘Counterrevolution,’ Zhao Zhenjia Reflects on Historical Dilemma” (被判处死缓的“反革命集团主犯”赵振甲反映历史遗留问题), October 17, 2011, HRCC; “If There Is No Justice in the Capital, Where Can Justice Be Found?” (首都寻不到光明、那到何处能寻得光明?), October 8, 2011, HRCC

 

[3] “Anhui Rights Activist Wang Xile ‘Indicted on Suspicion of Fraud,’ Anhui Petitioners Appeal For Help” (安徽维权人士王西乐被以“涉嫌诈骗罪起诉”,安徽访民呼吁社会各界关注), February 20, 2012, CHRD

 

4 “Hangzhou Rights Activist Zou Wei Questioned for Authoring Draft Revision of ‘Nationality Law’” (因签署《国籍法修正草案》,杭州民主人士邹巍被传唤), February 27, 2012, CHRD; “Lü Gengsong, Other Hangzhou Dissidents Continue to Face Police Summons” (吕耿松等杭州异见人士连续遭到警方传唤), February 23, 2012, CHRD; “Several Zhejiang CDP Members Questioned, ‘Disappeared,’ While Chen Shuqing Returns Home” (浙江多位民主党成员被传唤“失踪” 陈树庆回家), February 22, 2012, CRLW; “Hangzhou Dissident Chen Shuqing Taken Away by Police, Have Home Searched” (特别关注:杭州异见人士陈树庆被警方抄家后带走), February 21, 2012, CHRD

 

5 “Several Petitioners Face ‘Residential Surveillance’ After Central, Provincial Media Come to Nantong to Conduct Interviews” (因央视等到南通采访多名访民被政府“监视居住”), February 24, 2012, CHRD

 

6 “Family Planning Officials in Linyi, Shandong Try to Force Pregnant Yuan Xuelan to Abort Child, Family Member Detained” (临沂袁雪兰因怀二胎计生委欲强行堕胎,家人被扣押), February 25, 2012, CHRD

 

7 “71-Year-Old Xingtai, Hebei Petitioner Jia Yushan Criminally Detained for ‘Fraud’ for Petitioning Over Eviction and Demolition” (河北邢台71岁贾玉山因拆迁上访被以诈骗罪拘捕), February 21, 2012, CHRD