China Human Rights Briefing
March 6-12, 2012
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- Harassment Around “Two Meetings” Period Continues: Authorities have maintained a tight grip on the movements of petitioners and activists, particularly in and around Beijing, with the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in session.
- CHRD Reports Highlight Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Violence Against Marginalized Women: CHRD has just released its annual report on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) for 2011, a year that saw the most rampant violations against HRDs since the rights defense movement caught steam a decade ago. Another new CHRD report (in Chinese) focuses on violence against marginalized women in China, including the support networks available and the challenges of dealing with this pervasive but too often ignored issue.
- Henan Rights Activist Arrested for “Gathering Crowd to Disrupt Social Order
- Hunan Workers’ Rights Activist Issued 10-Day Detention
- Jilin Petitioner Receives Detention, May Be Under Police Pressure to Confess to Crime
Harassment of Activists
- Cat-and-Mouse Game Goes On: Authorities Intercept Petitioners During “Two Meetings”
- Netizens Out of Contact En Route to Dongshigu Village, Had Sent Image of Chen Guangcheng’s Daughter’s School
Law & Policy Watch
- NGO Serving Disabled Might Close Due to Difficulties of Non-profit Registration
- 2011 CHRD Report on Human Rights Defenders: China Beset by Deteriorating Human Rights Situation
- CHRD Releases Report on Violence Against Marginalized Women
Henan Rights Activist Arrested for “Gathering Crowd to Disrupt Social Order”
On March 10, Henan authorities formally arrested rights activist and independent People’s Congress candidate Zhou Decai (周德才), who has been charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt social order.” Zhou was taken into custody on February 28 as he was preparing to attend a labor rights defense seminar in Beijing focusing on tobacco industry workers who have been bought out by their companies. Zhou, who is being held at the Luoshan County Detention Center, has been a grassroots organizer and activist for over a decade. Gushi authorities have detained Zhou before for his rights defense and pro-democracy activities, which have included organizing peasants to seek justice over land rights issues besides assisting tobacco workers in seeking compensation after losing their jobs. (CHRD)[i]
Hunan Workers’ Rights Activist Issued 10-Day Detention
Hunan authorities recently issued a 10-day administrative detention to rights activist Dong Zemei (董泽梅) after taking her into custody on March 5 and reportedly coercing her to sign a confession. Authorities have had Dong squarely on their radar since last August, when she went to petition in Beijing with a large group of activists. More recently, in early February, she was among nearly 100 individuals who rallied in front of the Hongjiang City government building and requested the mayor enter into a dialogue with them. From that day, Dong had faced constant harassment and threats from national security officers before they eventually seized her.
Dong Zemei began her activism while working at an electrical power station. After the station went through restructuring in 2004, she was selected to be on its board of directors. However, Dong was reportedly removed from the position without the knowledge of the shareholders in 2007, at which point she began petitioning. (CHRD)[ii]
Jilin Petitioner Receives Detention, May Be Under Police Pressure to Confess to Crime
Petitioner Zhao Guixiang (赵桂香) has been issued a 10-day administrative detention after being forcibly returned to Jilin Province from Beijing, where she was taken into custody on February 29. Her family, which is aware that Zhao has been under constant interrogation in detention, is concerned that police are trying to coerce her into confessing to criminal wrongdoing, and figure that authorities intend to criminally punish Zhao or send her to Re-education through Labor. On the day Zhao was seized, more than 10 police officers followed her to her rental unit and forced their way inside. They took away Zhao’s cell phone and petitioning materials, examined her ID card, and then placed her into a vehicle and forcibly took her back to Jilin. Charges against Zhao are unclear since her family has not received a detention notice. (CHRD)[iii]
Harassment of Activists
Cat-and-Mouse Game Goes On: Authorities Intercept Petitioners During “Two Meetings”
Authorities have kept up their suppression of petitioners who had tried to reach the capital around the time of the “Two Meetings.” On high alert, security personnel have intercepted individuals on trains or at train stations while also seizing petitioners who have managed to reach Tiananmen Square. As in years past, numerous reported incidents of harassment of large groups have involved petitioners from Shanghai, who flock to Beijing in significant numbers. The accounts below are some instances of harassment and restricted movements from the past several days.
- On March 1, more than 20 thugs dispatched by Fujian authorities beat and seized Fuzhou petitioners Li Kuichun (李奎春) and Li Yuncheng (李云成) in Hebei Province as the pair was making their way to Beijing by train. The thugs searched the two petitioners, confiscated cell phones, and took more than 1,500 RMB (nearly $US 240). They then forced them off the train and drove them to Beijing and placed them in a black jail. Several days later, the hired thugs took the petitioners back to Fuzhou, where Li Kuichun has been closely monitored since his return.
- On March 4, two Hunan petitioners, Yin Jiyun (殷继云) and Xie Zhouxiang (谢周相), were blocked and taken away when trying to board a train for Beijing, where they planned to seek justice over their grievances. They were still in custody by the time of writing, and a cadre from Wugang City reportedly has said that Yin may be given a Re-education through Labor (RTL) punishment. Yin had just recently been released after a 21-month RTL stint that began in 2009.
- Hubei petitioner Wang Guilan (王桂兰), now home after being held temporarily at the black jail at Jiujingzhuang in Beijing, reportedly was given several thousand RMB by Enshi City representatives who promised that they will resolve her grievance back in Hubei. Providing money and granting such promises are common tactics by authorities to placate petitioners and deceptively win over their trust, only to have problems of injustice continue to go unresolved.
- On March 5, 11 petitioners from Shanghai were intercepted in Beijing and sent back home, where they have been detained in a black jail. Among them are one 92-year-old individual, one one-week old baby with her mother as well as 90-year-old Zhu Guiying (朱桂英), who came to the capital with her son, who is also being held. The two have been petitioning since their home was forcibly demolished in 2004 but without any compensation provided, and have come to Beijing more than 50 times to seek justice.
- On March 5, Anhui petitioner Ma Hailing (马海玲) was taken into custody in Beijing when preparing to hand over grievance materials to National People’s Congress representatives. After being sent back to Hefei City, she was placed in a black jail located in a guesthouse. For years, Ma has petitioned and sought an explanation after local authorities secretly dug up and moved her mother’s grave.
- On March 5, 44 petitioners from Shanghai were abducted in Beijing and sent back to their hometown, where seven of them were reportedly given administrative detentions. Twenty-three more petitioners from Shanghai were seized on March 6 and taken to the black jail at Jiujingzhuang. They were sent back to Shanghai the next day and then underwent questioning at various police stations, where they were reportedly forced to read warnings or “instructions” issued to them about their activities.
- On March 6, about a dozen Shanghai petitioners went to a restaurant in the capital to seek out some of their local National People’s Congress representatives, hoping to hand over proposals to them. Beijing police blocked the petitioners at the restaurant’s entrance, took them to a police station to question them and later held them at a black jail in the Beijing South Railway Station. Authorities ordered them to go home on their own, which they did on March 7, and told them to go to their subdistrict office to resolve their issues. The next day, one of the petitioners, Jiang Li (江莉), was intercepted upon arrival in Shanghai by more than 10 individuals, who held her on the ground and beat her. Reportedly, Jiang has since been detained in a local black jail.
- On March 6, Liu Ping (刘萍), an independent People’s Congress candidate from Jiangxi Province, was intercepted by Xinyu City security personnel at a Beijing train station after she reportedly headed to the capital to look for work. Her cell phone was taken away and she remains out of contact at the time of writing. Liu is among many independent candidates from Jiangxi who have faced restrictions on their movement around the Two Meetings.
- On March 6, police officers took into custody a group of more than 10 Shanghai petitioners who disembarked a public bus at Tiananmen Square. After first questioning the group and finding out they were petitioners, the police called police vehicles to take them away, and the group was later taken to the black jail at Jiujingzhuang.
- On March 7, two Shandong petitioners were taken into custody around Tiananmen Square while reportedly on their way to a post office to mail letters. Police questioned Lin Xiuli (林秀丽) and Ji Ziyan (季子燕) before seizing them, and Lin fell out of contact after reporting the situation to CHRD. Previously, Lin was crippled after being thrown from a building, and she began petitioning after being dissatisfied with a court decision. She has been held in a mental hospital in retaliation for her petitioning. Li has been petitioning over her husband’s murder.
- On March 7, more than 10 Shandong authorities based in Beijing seized petitioner Liu Houshun (刘厚顺), from Wendeng City. They covered Liu’s head with a bag and beat him before driving him back to Wendeng. The next day, Liu’s daughter found out he was being held in a police station and went to take photographs of her father’s injuries, which may be quite serious. However, police did not permit to do so and warned her that they would destroy her camera if she took photographs. The police then proceeded to drive Liu off to an unknown location.
- On March 9, officers from the Beijing Balizhuang Police Station rounded up and handed out five-day administrative detentions to 12 petitioners from Shanghai who were reportedly on their way to air their grievances around United Nations offices in the capital.
- Four elderly petitioners from Guangxi were seized on March 9 while near Tiananmen Square, and the group was sent to the black jail at Jiujingzhuang. They later refused authorities’ order to return to their hometown, and their whereabouts have been unknown since March 10, when they were reportedly driven out of Beijing by security guards hired by the local government in Guangxi. The petitioners have been seeking justice for years over issues related to requisitioned land, evictions, and demolitions.
- On March 11, six petitioners from Shanghai were taken into custody while they were walking near the Changping District People’s Court in Beijing. Changping police later handed them over to Shanghai authorities, who have detained the petitioners in a black jail at the Beijing South Railway Station.
- Seven Jiangsu petitioners and two petitioners from Hubei Province were seized from a public bus by Beijing police on March 12. At the time of writing, they were being held in the basement of a police station in Xicheng District, where they reportedly were not being given anything to eat. (CHRD)[iv]
More related news:
“Xu Heping Among 12 Nantong Petitioners Held in Jiujingzhuang Black Jail After Going to Beijing” (南通徐和平等12位赴京访民被押往久敬庄), March 6, 2012, CHRD
“Chengdu Petitioner Li Tinghui Goes to Beijing to Petition, ‘Monitored’ After Being Taken Back Home” (成都访民李廷惠北京上访，押回当地后遭“稳控”), March 7, 2012, CHRD
“Jiangsu Petitioner Sent Back Home, Held in Black Jail” (江苏访民被押送回当地关进黑监狱), March 7, 2012, CHRD
“Martyr’s Orphan Qiao Tianjun Detained After Submitting Lawsuit Materials During ‘Two Meetings’” (烈士遗孤乔天军因“两会”提交控诉状被拘留), March 7, 2012, CHRD
“Three Qianjiang, Hubei Petitioners Blocked in Beijing, Sent Back Home and Held” (湖北潜江三访民被截回地方关拘留室), March 7, 2012, CHRD
“Petitioner Li Azhen of Zhangjiagang Followed During Two Meetings” (两会期间张家港访民季阿珍被跟踪), March 7, 2012, CHRD
“Petitioner Yu Xiaojie Seized During Two Meetings in Beijing, Held in Black Jail in Nantong” (两会期间赴京上访被抓，俞小妹被关南通北阁黑监狱), March 7, 2012, CHRD
“Chengdu Petitioner Zheng Zhonghua, Others Held in Black Jail After Being Seized in Beijing While Petitioning” (成都访民郑中华等人因北京上访被关黑监狱), March 8, 2012, CHRD
“Shanghai Rights Defender Liu Yiliang Detained After Trying to Submit Proposals During Two Meetings in Beijing” (上海维权者刘义良北京向两会递交议案被拘留), March 8, 2012, CHRD
“Shanghai Petitioner Fu Ying Seized, Badly Injured After Falling Off Interceptors’ Vehicle” (上海访民傅鹰离奇从截访车跌下摔成重伤), March 8, 2012, CHRD
“Wannian County, Jiangxi Petitioner Hu Jinshui Seized in Beijing During Two Meetings Period, Sent Back Home to Detention” (两会期间，江西万年县访民胡金水在京上访被截回拘留), March 9, 2012, CHRD
“Two Jiangsu Petitioners Go Missing After Leaving Beijing Black Jail at Jiujingzhuang” (江苏两访民被政府从北京的久敬庄接出后失踪), March 10, 2012, CHRD
“During Two Meetings, Anji, Jiangsu Petitioners Beaten, Put Under Soft Detention” (两会期间，浙江安吉访民遭殴打和软禁), March 12, 2012, CHRD
Netizens Out of Contact En Route to Dongshigu Village, Had Sent Image of Chen Guangcheng’s Daughter’s School
In the evening of March 10, two netizens went out of contact after heading to Dongshigu Village in Shandong Province, where lawyer and activist Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) is living under house arrest with his family in Linyi City. The two netizens, Zhang Peng (张鹏) and Tang Tao (唐韬)—who use the screen names “Mr. Hualiu 2011” (滑溜先生2011) and “Canqian 06” (参前06), respectively—had been in round-the-clock contact with other netizens during the trip. They also had been sending photos taken along the way, including an image of the elementary school where Chen’s daughter, Chen Kesi (陈克斯), studies. It is believed the two may have been taken into custody in Dongshigu. It is feared they might have been detained and beaten, just as activists who went to visit Chen in the past have been subjected to mistreatment. (CHRD)[v]
Law & Policy Watch
NGO Serving Disabled Might Close Due to Difficulties of Non-profit Registration
According to a February 29 article in the Beijing News, Huiling (慧灵), a group that serves individuals with mental disabilities in several locations throughout China, might be forced to close down if it fails to register as a non-profit organization in the next three months. Huiling has existed as a “business” for the past 12 years as a result of difficulties registering as a non-profit, or a “Citizen-Managed Non-Enterprise Work Unit,” with the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In China, as detailed in a CHRD report, Reining in Civil Society, a non-profit requires sponsorship by a government agency before they can be apply to register with the MCA. According to the article, Huiling’s application to become a recognized non-profit was recently rejected three times in one day by civil affairs bureaus in the capital, and it has been rejected 69 times since 2010.
Without being legally registered as a non-profit, Huiling has been unable to access many funding sources, on top of having to pay business tax as well as other charges. It is running into financial difficulties, and it faces the prospect of only having three months of salary for its staff and an accompanying lack of capacity to provide services. (Beijing News)[vi]
2011 CHRD Report on Human Rights Defenders: China Beset by Deteriorating Human Rights Situation
CHRD has just released its annual report on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) in China for 2011, the most repressive year since the ongoing rights defense movement picked up steam in the early 2000s. The report presents a compilation of research and analysis that traces a year of harsh crackdowns characterized by lengthy prison sentences, extensive use of extralegal detention, and enforced disappearance and torture. As shown in the report, CHRD documented 3,833 incidences of arbitrary detentions and 159 incidences of torture of HRDs. Furthermore, a survey of dozens of HRDs conducted by CHRD reveals that one-fourth of them were subjected to torture of enforced disappearance during the year, one-half were detained at some point, and two-thirds were monitored or harassed. (CHRD)[vii]
CHRD Releases Report on Violence Against Marginalized Women
CHRD has released a report (in Chinese) on violence against marginalized women in China and support networks available to help them overcome this pervasive but too often ignored problem. The report introduces and analyzes the reasons for violence against marginalized women, including petitioners, victims of violence under the age of 18, and sex workers, and also gives information about how to halt the cycle of violence and victimization. The report points out that the Chinese government has failed in a number of areas in protecting these women from violence. Namely, the country has an inadequate legal framework that fails to punish the perpetrators, institutions meant to protect women from violence often ignore those who are marginalized, and a lack of official effort exists to change the sense of prejudice against these women in the media and popular culture. The report also discusses the role of civil society organizations to combat this particular problem of violence.
Editors: Victor Clemens and Wang Songlian
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[i] “Henan Rights Defender Zhou Decai Formally Arrested” (河南维权人士周德才被批准逮捕), March 10, 2012, CHRD; “Henan Rights Defender Zhou Decai Criminally Detained for ‘Gathering Crowd to Disrupt Social Order’” (河南维权人士周德才被以涉嫌“聚众扰乱社会秩序罪”刑拘), March 1, 2012, CHRD; “Rights Activist From Gushi County, Henan, Zhou Decai, Taken Away by Police, Has Home Searched”(河南固始县维权人士周德才被警方抓走并抄家), February 28, 2012, CHRD
[ii] “Hongjiang, Hunan Rights Defender Dong Zemei Forced to Sign Confession, Given 10-Day Detention” (湖南洪江市维权人士董泽梅被强迫写悔过书、拘留10天), March 9, 2012, CHRD; “Hongjiang, Hunan Rights Defender Dong Zemei Taken Away by Police” (湖南洪江市维权人士董泽梅被警方带走), March 5, 2012, CHRD
[iv] “Fuzhou Petitioner Li Kuichun Reaches Hebei, Seized by Interceptors” (福州李奎春到河北办事被截访人绑架), March 7, 2012, CHRD; “Wugang, Hunan Petitioner Yin Jiyun Again Facing RTL After Being Seized at ‘Two Meetings’” (湖南武冈访民殷继云“两会”上访面临再次劳教), March 7, 2012, CHRD; “Jiangxi Independent Candidate Liu Ping Intercepted in Beijing” (江西独立参选人刘萍在北京被拦截), March 6, 2012, CHRD; “Shanghai Officials at Jiujingzhuang Black Jail, Petitioners Worried About Escalating ‘Security Maintenance’” (上海高官现身北京久敬庄，访民担心维稳升级), March 6, 2012, CHRD; “Shandong Petitioners Lin Xiuli, Li Ziyan Seized When Passing by Tiananmen Square” (山东访民林秀丽、季子燕路经天安门时被扣押), March 7, 2012, CHRD; “Jiangsu Petitioner Sent Back Home, Held in Black Jail” (江苏访民被押送回当地关进黑监狱), March 7, 2012, CHRD; “Four Guangxi Petitioners Intercepted, 82-Year-Old’s Whereabouts Unknown” (广西4访民在京被截 82岁老人下落不明), March 11, 2012, CHRD; “Six Shanghai Petitioners Held in ‘Black Jail’ in Beijing” (上海６访民在北京遭关“黑监狱”), March 12, 2012, CHRD; “During Two Meeting, Nantong, Jiangsu Authorities Held in Underground Interrogation Room” (两会期间，江苏南通访民被关地下审讯室中), March 12, 2012, CHRD; “Shandong Petitioner Liu Houshun Seized, Beaten by Local Public Security Police in Beijing” (山东访民刘厚顺在北京被地方公安绑架打伤), March 8, 2012, CHRD; “Hefei Petitioner Ma Hailing Put in Black Jail After Preparing to Hand Over Materials to NPC Representatives” (合肥访民马海玲欲向人大递材料被抓后关黑监狱), March 8, 2012, CHRD; “Shanghai Petitioner Jiang Li Beaten Upon Return to Shanghai For Trying to Submit Proposals During ‘Two Meetings’ Time” (因向“两会”交提议，上海访民江莉回沪后遭殴打关押), March 8, 2012, CHRD; “90-Year-Old Petitioner Zhu Guiying Held in Black Jail After Petitioning in Beijing During Two Meetings Period” (两会期间上海90岁老人朱桂英上访被关黑监狱), March 9, 2012, CHRD; “11 Shanghai Petitioners Held in Yajiading ‘Black Jail’” (上海１１名访民被关押嘉定“黑监狱”), March 9, 2012, CHRD; “Twelve Shanghai Petitioners Head to ‘International Human Rights Groups’ in Capital, Are Detained by Police” (上海12访民前往“国际人权机构”被北京警方拘留), March 9, 2012, CHRD; “Shanghai Petitioners Seek Justice During ‘Two Meetings,’ Get Sent Back Home, Some Detained” (上海访民到“两会”请愿被遣返，数人被拘留), March 9, 2012, CHRD