Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 10:51 GMT

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - China

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 14 March 2007
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - China, 14 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48747ce148.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Ongoing repression of cyber-dissidents

In 2006, repression increased against cyber-dissidents, who use Internet to promote human rights and democracy in China.

Release of Mr. Shi Xiaoyu, Mr. Luo Yongzhong and Mr. Luo Changfu14

– Mr. Shi Xiaoyu was released without being charged nearly a month after his arrest on October 20, 2005 in Chongqing, for having posted information online on police repression against city workers during various gatherings. As a result of this repression, two workers died and many other people were arrested and suffered injuries. Since the end of September 2005, Mr. Shi Xiaoyu was trying to help workers in the iron and steel industry in Chongqing who are fighting against the corruption of several officials.

– In 2006, Mr. Luo Yongzhong was released. He had been sentenced to three years in prison and two years of deprivation of his political rights in October 2003 after publishing over 150 articles on the Internet concerning issues such as the fate of disabled people and the need for constitutional reform. He was detained in Changchun Tiebei prison, in Jilin province.

– Mr. Luo Changfu was released after serving a three-year imprisonment sentence that was pronounced in November 2003. He was arrested in October 2003 by the Yincheng Public Security Bureau (PSB) (Hubei province) for organising a campaign for the release of Ms. Liu Di, a cyber-dissident released on bail on November 28, 2003.

Ongoing arbitrary detention of many cyber-dissidents15

As of the end of 2006, many cyber-dissidents remained in detention, including:

– Mr. Jiang Lijun, sentenced on November 18, 2003 to four years in prison for having published pro-democracy political opinions on the Internet and for "subverting State power" (Article 105 of the Criminal Code).

– Mr. Tao Haidong, sentenced to seven years in prison in January 2003 for posting books and articles on websites based in China and overseas.

– Mr. Jin Haike, Mr. Xu Wei and Mr. Zhang Honghai, who founded, in May 2000, the New Youth Society, a study group that discussed political and democratic reforms, and Mr. Yang Zili, a member of the Society, were arrested in March 2001. Having refused to admit that they were guilty, they became the target of acts of violence whilst in detention. In October 2003, Mr. Jin and Mr. Xu were sentenced to ten years in prison, whereas Mr. Zhang and Mr. Yang were sentenced to eight years in detention and two years of deprivation of their political rights for "subversion aiming at overthrowing the government". The verdict was confirmed on November 10, 2003 by the Beijing Municipal Supreme People's Court.

– Mr. Wang Sen, sentenced in May 2002 to ten years in prison for "inciting subversion of the State", after having reported on the Internet that a medical centre in the south-western city of Dachun was selling tuberculosis medication donated by the Red Cross for a steep price.

– Mr. He Depu, Mr. Sang Jiancheng, Mr. Dai Xuezhong and Mr. Han Lifa, who were among the 192 signatories of an "Open Letter to the 16th Party Congress", which was posted on the Internet in mid-November 2002 and called for progress with regards to democratisation and the protection of human rights in the country, the right to return of exiled Chinese political opponents and the release of prisoners of conscience.

– Mr. Wang Xiaoning, who was arrested in September 2002 for having posted articles on the Internet16. On September 12, 2003, the Beijing Municipal First Intermediary People's Court sentenced him to ten years' imprisonment, with two years' deprivation of his political rights for "incitement to subvert State power". These charges were linked to essays calling for democratic reforms and a multi-party system, and denouncing repression against trade union leaders and peasants. Mr. Wang was also accused of communicating by email with Mr. Liu Guokai, the exiled leader of the Chinese Social Democratic Party, which is considered by Chinese authorities as an "hostile organisation".

– Mr. Zhao Changqing, who was sentenced in August 2003 to five years' imprisonment for "incitement to subvert State power" after he co-signed the "Open Letter to the 16th Party Congress". He has been held at the Weinan prison in the province of Shaanxi since 2002 and has been repeatedly subjected to ill-treatment while in detention. For example, he spent 40 days in solitary confinement following his refusal to sing a song praising the Chinese Communist Party on February 18, 200617.

On April 10, 2006, his sister was informed that he would be placed in confinement for three additional months because he had spoken to a Falun Gong prisoner and had refused to do military drills. According to his sister, Mr. Zhao has only been allowed one medical examination since his detention despite his fragile health (he has already been treated for tuberculosis).

Ongoing acts of repression against Ms. Ma Yalian18

On February 15, 2006, Ms. Ma Yalian, a cyber-dissident, was arrested by the police for "trouble on the public thoroughfare", in the Minxin district of Shanghai. The police confiscated all her personal belongings. Ms. Ma had been released at the beginning of the month after ten days in illegal detention, but she was still under constant police surveillance.

Ms. Ma was detained in the Fengqi Hotel (Pudong district) under the watch of a dozen policemen and was released on May 6, 2006. As of the end of 2006, she was still under house arrest.

Since the publication of articles on acts of violence and humiliation conducted by the police and other civil servants, Ms. Ma Yalian has been detained several times in the past few years, and has at times been subjected to ill-treatment.

Ongoing acts of harassment against Mr. Huang Qi19

In 2006, Mr. Huang Qi, a cyber-dissident, continued to be the target of intimidation, especially since the posting of comments and pictures of a workers' protest in the Nanguang firm in Chengdu on his website www.64tianwang.com in June 2006.

Nanguang firm is closely linked to local authorities and published a propaganda pamphlet accusing Mr. Huang Qi of being involved in the organisation of this social movement. For their part, authorities accused Mr. Huang of illegally leading and supporting retired workers of the Nanguang firm, who gather on a regular basis to demand their pension. Moreover, the managers of the business affairs office denounced, in their pamphlets, links between Nanguang workers and foreign organisations and journalists of Radio Free Asia, based in the United States.

Mr. Huang Qi had been arrested on June 3, 2000 and sentenced in 2003 to five years' imprisonment for having posted several articles on the Tiananmen Square Massacre on his website. He was released on June 4, 2005 at the end of his sentence.

Moreover, in June 2006, the lease on his flat and his office were prematurely ended.

Arbitrary detention and sentencing of Mr. Li Jianping20

On March 7, 2006, Mr. Li Jianping, a cyber-dissident from Shandong, was charged with "incitement to subvert State power" in relation to articles he wrote and posted on foreign websites.

On April 12, 2006, 31 articles written by Mr. Li criticising Chinese authorities and the human rights situation in the country were used as evidence.

On October 25, 2006, the Zibo City Intermediate People's Court sentenced Mr. Li to two years' imprisonment, a verdict that was appealed by Mr. Li.

He was arrested on June 30, 2005 after police searched his home and seized manuscripts and correspondence. In 2005, the case was sent back twice to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) due to a lack of evidence.

Since his arrest, he has not been allowed to see his family nor his lawyer.

Arbitrary detention and sentencing of Mr. Guo Qizhen21

On May 12, 2006, Mr. Guo Qizhen, a volunteer with the Tianwang Disappeared Persons Service Centre, Cangzhou, Hebei province, was placed under house arrest by local security forces as he was preparing to join a hunger strike to fight against the government's repression of human rights defenders.

On June 6, 2006, Mr. Guo Qizhen was accused of "incitement to subvert State power" and held in detention centre n° 2 in Cangzhou City. He was not allowed to see his family nor his lawyer. Mr. Guo has a disabled leg and suffers from neurasthenia. He was accused of posting articles on foreign websites criticising the communist regime and the repression of fundamental freedoms by Chinese authorities.

During a hasty trial on October 16, 2006, Mr. Guo Qizhen was sentenced to four years in prison by the Changzhou Intermediate People's Court and to three years of deprivation of his political rights.

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Zhang Jianhong22

On September 6, 2006, Mr. Zhang Jianhong, founder of the website The Aegean Sea (Aiqinhai), which was closed down in March 2006, and a member of the independent writers' association PEN, was arrested in his home in Nigbo, Zhejiang province, and detained for "incitement to subvert State power". The policemen produced a search warrant and seized the hard drives of two of his computers and an address book. They also interrogated his wife on her husband's acquaintances and the articles calling for democratic reforms that he was posting on websites based abroad.

More specifically, in these online articles, Mr. Zhang criticised the human rights abuses of the Chinese government against dissidents, journalists and other Chinese citizens in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

His family was officially informed of his arrest on October 12, 2006. He was still being detained by the end of 2006.

Acts of harassment against trade unionists

Ongoing detention of Mr. Yao Fuxin / Release and harassment of Mr. Xiao Yunliang23

On February 23, 2006, Mr. Xiao Yunliang, a labour activist from the province of Liaoning, was released three weeks before completing his four-year prison sentence. He was imprisoned since March 2002 for "attack on national security".

However, since his release, Mr. Xiao has remained under house arrest, and friends or relatives attempting to visit him have been harassed and intimidated by the police who are watching his house. On February 28, 2006, Mr. Xiao's daughter lodged a complaint against the police, denouncing her father's situation. She received no response.

Mr. Xiao Yunliang was arrested along with Mr. Yao Fuxin for having led a workers' demonstration against corruption and the non-payment of overdue salary in northeast China in March 2002. On May 9, 2003, they were sentenced to four and seven years in prison respectively for "subverting State power" and three years of deprivation of their civil and political rights. Their appeals were later rejected. Their health deteriorated after their transfer from Jinzhou prison to Lingyuan prison, considered as one of the harshest prisons in China, on October 8, 2003.

Mr. Yao Fuxin is due to be released in March 2009. The conditions of his detention remained precarious, and his health continuously deteriorated in 2006.

Hong Kong – Judicial proceedings against representatives of three trade unions24

On June 28, 2006, the Gold Peak Industries Holding Limited (GP) lodged a complaint for "defamation" with the High Court of Hong Kong against representatives of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and two local trade unions, Globalisation Monitor and the Neighbourhood and Workers' Service Centre. The complaint followed a joint letter issued on June 4, 2006 by the three organisations in which they shared their concerns over the excessive exposure of GP workers to cadmium, which led in some cases to poisoning. The case was still pending by the end of 2006.

Acts of harassment against defenders denouncing forced evictions

Arbitrary detention of Mrs. Liu Hua and her husband Mr. Yue Yongjin25

On February 20, 2006, Mrs. Liu Hua and her husband Mr. Yue Yongjin, two rural land rights activists from the district of Shenyang, in the province of Liaoning, were arrested by members of You'anmen's PSB after filing petitions in Beijing against corruption and illegal land seizures in their village just before the annual session of the National People's Congress. No arrest warrant was presented to them.

On February 21, 2006, Mrs. Liu and Mr. Yue were forcibly taken to Shenyang, where they remained respectively detained at the Shenyang's Masanjia Re-education Centre and the Sujiatun District Detention Centre.

Mrs. Liu Hua and Mr. Yue Yongjin have been denouncing the corrupt practices of the local authorities in villages for many years, and since 2004 they have been asking Beijing authorities to intervene in forcible land seizures in the village.

Mrs. Liu is the former village chief of Zhangliangbao village (Liaoning province) and Mr. Yue was president of the village council.

When 40 villagers protested in front of the Sujiatun PSB to demand their release, a PSB officer explained that Mrs. Liu was being held because "she had caused trouble in Beijing" and that her crimes were "serious". Mrs. Liu Hua was allegedly released at the end of March 2006.

It was not possible to obtain further information on Mr. Yue Yongjin's situation as of the end of 2006.

Arbitrary arrest of Mr. Liu Zhengyou26

On June 16, 2006, Mr. Liu Zhengyou, a defender of the rights of peasants evicted from their land by local authorities in Zigong (Sichuan province), was arrested at the Beijing airport without an arrest warrant at the request of the Zigong Municipal PSB and the Sichuan Provincial PSB. At the time of his arrest, he was about to board a plane for Geneva (Switzerland), where he was to attend a training course on human rights organised by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) from June 17 to 25, 2006.

Mr. Liu was immediately taken back to Zigong by the police, where he was detained and interrogated by the Zigong PSB for two hours as a "criminal suspect" for his role in the April 20, 2005 "illegal demonstrations" that aimed at presenting a petition calling for enquiries into the eviction of farmers without compensation to the mayor of Zigong.

On June 18, 2006, Mr. Zhengyou was finally released after 37 hours in detention, but he was told that he would have to return for more questioning later.

In August 2006, Mr. Liu Zhengyou was subjected to acts of harassment and was reportedly beaten.

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Chen Qian27

On November 9, 2006, Mr. Chen Qian, a representative of the villagers of Dongzhou, was arrested for displaying anti-corruption banners in Dongzhou, Shanwei, Guangdong province. It was not possible to obtain further information concerning his situation by the end of 2006.

Mr. Chen Qian has been targeted by the authorities since he led a group of villagers to demand compensation for the families of victims of the violent repression of a protest on December 6, 2005, which resulted in the death of three people and dozens of injured. Thirteen protesters were also arrested and sentenced to three to seven years in prison for "disturbing public order". They were protesting against the confiscation of their land in Dongzhou without fair compensation.

Acts of harassment against HIV/AIDS activists

Ongoing acts of harassment against Mr. Hu Jia28

From February 16 to March 28, 2006, Mr. Hu Jia, a prominent HIV/AIDS activist in Shanghai and co-founder and former director of the Aizhixing Institute of Health Education, was arrested following a hunger strike by human rights defenders and lawyers to protest against the unlawful detention of human rights activists. During his detention, authorities repeatedly stated that they did not know Mr. Hu's whereabouts and denied him the right to have access to the medication he requires to treat Hepatitis B.

Furthermore, since July 17, 2006, Mr. Hu Jia has been under house arrest and has been unable to leave his home without the prior consent of the Tongzhou Unit (Beijing suburb). His wife, Mrs. Zeng Jinyan, has also been under surveillance and her movements have been restricted. According to police, these measures were taken to prevent them from going to Linyi, Shandong, to protest against the detention of Mr. Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer29.

On September 7, 2006, Mr. Hu was arrested by 20 plain-clothes policemen and detained for 12 hours for no official reason.

On September 26, 2006, he was taken once again to the local PSB. Amongst other issues, the police interrogated him on his relationship with Mr. Gao Zhisheng and Mr. Chen Guangcheng, as Mr. Hu Jia had started an Internet campaign in their defence.

Attempted assassination of Mr. Liu Xiaowu30

On June 15, 2006, Mr. Liu Xiaowu, an HIV/AIDS activist in Henan, was stabbed in the back three times by an unidentified person. Four days earlier, he had lodged a complaint with the Health Ministry in which he denounced civil servants in the health sector who were taking advantage of the free medical treatment offered by the government.

Arbitrary arrest of several HIV/AIDS activists in the Henan province31

On July 18, 2006, Ms. Li Xige, an HIV/AIDS activist from Ningling County, Henan province, and director of the NGO Healthy Happy Home (Kanglejia), was stopped along with seven HIV positive women upon their arrival in Beijing by dozens of policemen and local government officials from Ningling County, and later transported in a bus owned by the Ministry of Health.

These women had become HIV positive as a result of blood transfusions in State-run hospitals, in most cases when giving birth by caesarean between 1993 and 2001. They had come to Beijing in order to call upon the Ministry of Health to look into their demands to the local government for fair compensation for their HIV infection.

The eight women were immediately taken back to Ningling and questioned on July 20, 2006. Five women were released shortly afterwards, while Ms. Li Xige, Ms. Wang and Ms. Zhang were charged with "gathering people to assault a State body". Ms. Wang and Ms. Zhang were released on bail on medical grounds on July 27 and August 2, 2006.

On August 11, 2006, Ms. Li Xige was released on bail, but was placed under surveillance the day after, and has not been allowed to leave town since then. However, she was authorised to go to Beijing to receive AIDS treatment at the end of August 2006.

Ms. Li was still under police surveillance as of the end of 2006, as were Ms. Wang and Ms. Zhang. However, judicial proceedings against them were lifted.

Closure of Snow Lotus32

On October 18, 2006, the authorities of the Xinjiang autonomous region ordered the closure of Snow Lotus, an NGO involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, because it was not registered. The police also conducted a search in the home of the director, Mr. Chang Kun, and confiscated his personal belongings, including a computer.

The registration requirements are such that many NGOs are unable to meet the criteria and are thus unable to register. Snow Lotus was closed down just after it had denounced discrimination against Hepatitis B patients.

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Kong Delin33

Mr. Kong Delin, who supports hemophiliacs suffering from HIV/AIDS and helps them to obtain compensation, was taken in for questioning by members of the Shanghai PSB on October 24, 2006. Soon after, he was officially accused of "interference with official matters".

On the same day, three hemophiliacs suffering from HIV/AIDS were also arrested. These arrests took place shortly before a November conference in Beijing on compensation for hemophiliacs and those suffering from AIDS and which they were planning to attend.

Mr. Kong Delin was released on November 20, 2006.

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Wan Yanhai34

On November 24, 2006, Mr. Wan Yanhai, a prominent member in the fight against HIV/AIDS and co-founder and former director of the Aizhixing Institute of Health Education in Beijing, was arrested and detained for three days by the PSB of Beijing. The Institute had planned to organise a symposium entitled "Blood safety, HIV/AIDS and legal human rights" on November 26, 2006 to help people suffering from the virus to find out more about their rights. The symposium was cancelled after Mr. Wan's arrest.

Acts of harassment against several defenders of environmental rights

Acts of harassment against Mr. Sun Xiaodi35

For the past ten years, Mr. Sun Xiaodi has been denouncing radioactive contamination emanating from uranium mine n° 792 in the autonomous Tibetan prefecture of Gannan (Gansu) and in particular the illegal resale of contaminated equipment.

Mr. Sun went to Beijing on March 30, 2006 to denounce these activities to the government once again. On April 1, 2006, he went to Shenyang, Liaoning province, to visit Mrs. Liu Hua36, who had just been released after being detained for a month. On April 4, 2006, Mr. Sun visited her husband, Mr. Yue Yongjin, who was detained in the Sujiatun district detention centre, and participated in a protest in Zhangliangbao village calling for his release. He was briefly arrested by the police on April 6, 2006.

Since then, Mr. Sun has been under constant surveillance and members of his family have also been harassed. His home has notably been attacked several times since December 5, 2006 by unidentified men who threw stones on his door and windows during the night.When Mr. Sun reported these events to the local police, they reportedly simply replied that he was "free to leave if he wished to do so".

Moreover, since he was diagnosed with an abdominal tumour in November 2006, Mr. Sun has still not received any response to his request to go to Beijing to receive medical treatment.

Mr. Sun had already been detained in Lanzhou prison from April to December 2005 after denouncing environment damage in Gansu in an interview with foreign journalists and emphasized the appearance of birth defects and a rise in the number of cancers. He had then been placed under house arrest until March 20, 2006.

Arbitrary detention and judicial proceedings against Mr. Huang Jin, Mr. Mo Zhensheng, Mr. Mo Zhenning, Mr. Tan Heshan and Mr. Xu Yugao37

Mr. Huang Jin, chairman of Daxin county, Leishe district, was arrested in the company of Mr. Mo Zhensheng, Mr. Mo Zhenning, Mr. Tan Heshan and Mr. Xu Yugao on June 27, 2006. They were suspected of organising a sit-in protesting against the construction of a manganese electrolyte factory, which is used for the production of steel, in the Guangxi province. The factory was built by a company called "Daxin Manganese", which was merged with the partially State-owned CITIC conglomerate. There is a great risk that the factory will pollute the region, especially the Heishui River, which is the only source of water for the inhabitants. The protest also aimed at drawing the attention of local authorities to irregularities concerning the compensation awarded to villagers who were forcibly evicted from their homes. More than a hundred policemen were deployed and a dozen people who were suspected of organising the protest were arrested. Although most were released soon afterwards, Mr. Huang Jin, Mr. Mo Zhensheng, Mr. Mo Zhenning, Mr. Tan Heshan and Mr. Xu Yugao were charged with "gathering a crowd in order to attack a State building". No further information regarding their possible detention could be obtained by the end of 2006.

A hearing was planned on December 5, 2006. No further information could be obtained since then.

Sentencing and arbitrary detention of Mr. Tan Kai38

On April 29, 2006, Mr. Tan Kai, a founding member of the environmental NGO Green Watch (lüse guancha), was charged with "illegally obtaining State secrets". It is presumed that the charges were linked to his job as a computer repair technician. In 2005, he had indeed repaired the computer of an employee of the committee of the Party of Zhejiang province and, as per normal procedure, he saved his client's files. However, it is believed that this accusation was just a pretext to prosecute Mr. Tan.

On August 11, 2006, Mr. Tan Kai was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment by the Hangzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court.

The hearing in the appeal was held in camera by the Intermediary People's Court of Hangzhou in October 2006. By the end of 2006, Mr. Tan's lawyer had not yet been informed of the verdict, but it seemed that the Court upheld Mr. Tan's sentence, since he was still being detained in the West Lake detention centre in Hangzhou.

Mr. Tan Kai was arrested in October 2005, following the opening of a bank account in his name by the founders of Green Watch in order to seek funds that would allow them to legally register the organisation39. Green Watch's objectives include defending environmental rights in Huashui Town, Dongyang City, in Zhejiang province, where the residents complain that the pollution generated by the chemical factory affects the quality of the water, destroys crops and causes birth defects.

On November 15, 2005, Green Watch was declared illegal by the government of Zhejiang province. Since then, Mr. Tan Kai's relatives have been subjected to threats and acts of intimidation.

Ongoing arbitrary detention of Mr. Shi Tao40

Mr. Shi Tao, a journalist and a freelance writer, was still being detained by the end of 2006.

He was arrested on December 14, 2004 and the Changsha Intermediate People's Court of Hunan province sentenced him on April 27, 2005 to ten years in prison and to two years of deprivation of his political rights for "illegally divulging State secrets abroad"(Article 111 of the Criminal Code). On June 2, 2005, the Supreme People's Court of Hunan Province confirmed this judgment in appeal, without even conducting a hearing.

Sentencing and arbitrary detention of Mr. Zhao Yan41

On March 17, 2006, charges of "divulging State secrets to a foreign organisation" held against Mr. Zhao Yan were dropped one month before the visit of President Hu Jintao to the United States. Mr. Zhao is a researcher and a journalist for the New York Times, who had previously worked with peasants on their complaints to local and central authorities. Mr. Zhao is also known for his reports on the situation of rural populations in China and had been arrested in September 2004.

However, Mr. Zhao was sentenced to three years in prison for "fraud" on August 25, 2006 during a hearing held behind closed doors. This charge was linked to the previous accusations, which had been dropped only a few months before.

Mr. Zhao appealed the decision.

On December 1, 2006, the Beijing High Court confirmed his sentence in a short hearing during which Mr. Zhao was not allowed to make a statement, nor present evidence or witnesses. Moreover, his lawyer was not allowed to attend the hearing.

Mr. Zhao has already been detained for two years awaiting trial. He is expected to be released in September 2007.

Ongoing acts of harassment against Ms. Ding Zilin42

In 2006, Ms. Ding Zilin, one of the main spokespersons for the Tiananmen Mothers, an organisation that tirelessly campaigns for an independent inquiry into the repression of pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989, continued to be subjected to recurrent surveillance and harassment.

Since May 30, 2006, on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the 1989 events, Ms. Ding Zilin and Ms. Zhang Xialing, also a spokesperson for the Tiananmen Mothers, have been subjected to close surveillance by the police. Indeed, Ms. Ding was only given permission to leave her house on rare occasions and was always accompanied by policemen.

Since January 27, 2005, Ms. Ding Ziling has been under house arrest in Beijing after asking for the release of two human rights defenders. Moreover, the Tiananmen Mothers' bank account, which contains 5,940 euros, has been frozen by the Beijing PSB since 1998 for "the purpose of an investigation".

Ill-treatment and arbitrary detention of Ms. Mao Hengfeng43

In 2006, Ms. Mao Hengfeng, a prominent defender in the campaign against Chinese family planning policies and forced evictions in Shanghai, was subjected to ongoing acts of harassment.

From February 13 to March 29, 2006, Ms. Mao was put under house arrest in a flat in the Yangpu district of Shanghai on suspicion of "causing disturbance on a public thoroughfare". While under house arrest, Ms. Mao was under constant surveillance and was beaten several times, in addition of being deprived access to her lawyer. One of her jailers allegedly hit her in the chest and simulated strangling her. Her arrest followed her participation, in early February, in a nationwide hunger-strike in support of Mr. Gao Zhisheng44 and several other human rights defenders who had started a hunger strike against the violence and the repression of Chinese authorities.

On May 23, 2006, Ms. Mao Hengfeng was arrested once again by the police of Yangpu district without being produced an arrest warrant, and placed under "soft" house arrest in Kelaideng Hostel. Ms. Hengfeng broke a lamp while protesting against her illegal detention and, on May 30, 2006, she was placed under criminal detention and charged with "intentionally damaging property".

On August 28, 2006, the charges against Ms. Mao were sent to the Prosecutor of Yangpu district, who sent them back to Yangpu PSB due to lack of evidence.

Ms. Mao was still in detention as of the end of 2006 and could not receive any visit from her family.

Ms. Mao has already been subjected to many acts of harassment and arbitrary detentions. She was sentenced to 18 months of Re-Education Through Labour (RTL) by the Shanghai PSB in April 2004, during which she was subjected to ill-treatment.

From September 23 to 27, 2005, Ms. Mao and her relatives were placed under house arrest after she announced her intention to protest against acts of harassment against her at the United Nations Office in Beijing. Since then, she has been repeatedly arrested.

Repression against lawyers

Sentencing and arbitrary detention of Mr. Huang Weizhong45

Mr. Huang Weizhong, a defender of peasants' rights in Putian (Chengxiang district), was accused by the Prosecutor of Putian of "gathering crowds to disturb social order" on February 28, 2006. He had been arrested on December 28, 2005.

In the past two years, Mr. Huang Weizhong had unrelentingly sent petitions, filed complaints and asked for a protest permit to defend peasants' right to land.

On May 17, 2006, Mr. Huang Weizhong was found guilty of the charges against him by the Chengxiang District Court and was sentenced to three years in prison.

On May 29, 2006, Mr. Huang appealed the decision and filed a complaint for defamation with the Chengwiang District Court against Meizhou Daily, a newspaper of the Committee of the Putian Municipal Party. On May 18, 2006, the newspaper had published on its front cover an article entitled "Huang Weizhong sentenced to three years in prison by the Court of First Instance for fomenting a resistance movement for the requisition of land".

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Yang Maodong and ill-treatment of Mr. Tang Jingling46

In 2006, Mr. Yang Maodong, alias Guo Feixiong, a legal counsel in the Shengzhi law firm in Beijing, whose activities were suspended in November 200547, was subjected to ongoing acts of harassment by the police.

On February 3, 2006, he was held for 12 hours at the Linhe police station in Canton (Guangdong province). When released, he was beaten and photographed by a group of unknown persons while police officers stood by.

On February 8, 2006, Mr. Yang Maodong wrote an open letter to the Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao, and his Prime Minister, Mr. Wen Jiabo, in which he protested against the disproportionate use of force by the authorities during the recent repressions of civil society movements and protests in rural areas. He also denounced forced evictions, violence against human rights defenders and the strengthening of censorship. He invited the authorities to begin a dialogue with peasants in order to avoid an escalation of land disputes and asked them to guarantee local democracy, freedom of the press and the respect for human rights.

Mr. Yang was arrested on the same day and brought to the Fuyou police station in Beijing. He was released the next day and escorted back home by three policemen. Since then, his house has been under police surveillance and all his movements have been watched.

Mr. Yang was detained on August 2, 2006, after being beaten by the police once again for joining a demonstration in front of the central government's residence in Beijing.

On August 9, 2006, Mr. Yang was beaten by police officers on a train to Beijing and taken to Shaoguan (Guangdong), where he was detained until the next day. The police reportedly accused him of having a fake train ticket.

On September 14, 2006, Mr. Yang Maodong was arrested in his home in Canton, where police produced a search warrant, searched the house and seized his three computers and personal notes, among other items. He was accused of "illegal trading" and of illicitly printing, publishing and selling 20,000 books. His wife, Mrs. Zhang Qing, was also taken to the police station to be interrogated.

On September 18, 2006, his wife tried to visit him at the Canton PSB, but was not allowed to see him.

On September 30, 2006, Mr. Yang was officially arrested for "illegal trade of publications"48.

During numerous interrogations at the Panyu police station, Guangdong province, he was reportedly not allowed to sleep for several days in a row.

On October 19, 2006, Canton PSB sent Mr. Yang's case to the municipal Prosecutor of Canton who, on October 28, 2006, sent it back to the PSB for more information.

On December 28, 2006, the Prosecutor informed Mr. Yang that he had received a "statement of investigation" from the PSB.

Mr. Yang Maodong was still detained at the local Canton detention centre as of the end of 2006.

Since July 2005, Mr. Yang has provided legal aid to the farmers of Taishi village (Guangdong), who are trying to obtain the legal revocation of the head of the village committee, suspected of corruption. In September 2005, the local government had violently repressed their protests, detaining and injuring dozens of villagers. Mr. Yang had denounced these events by posting a number of articles on the Internet, including on the Yannan forum, which was closed on October 1, 2005. He was arrested in Canton on September 13, 2005, and released on December 27, 2005 after a 59-day hunger strike.

Furthermore, Mr. Tang Jingling, another lawyer providing legal aid to the villagers of Taishi, was followed and beaten by five unidentified men on February 2, 2006 as he was returning from a visit to Mr. Yang. After having reported the incident to the police, he was followed by two taxis on his way home.

Sentencing and arbitrary detention of Mr. Chen Guangcheng49

On March 11, 2006, Mr. Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer involved in denouncing the extensive use of violence by the authorities of Linyi in relation to birth planning policies, was arrested with other militants by local police officers for "disturbing traffic". It is only on June 11, 2006 that his wife was informed by the Yinan PSB that her husband was charged with "deliberate destruction of property" and "organising a mob to disrupt traffic".

On June 19, 2006, the authorities banned a press conference in Beijing that called on the international community to denounce Mr. Chen's situation. The organisers of the conference were interrogated and put under surveillance. Mr. Chen's family was also subjected to repeated acts of harassment.

The first hearing in his case, scheduled for July 20, 2006, was finally postponed until August 18, 2006 by the Linnan County People's Court in Shandong Province.

On August 24, 2006, Mr. Guangcheng was sentenced to four years' and three months' imprisonment, without his lawyers being allowed inside the hearing room. His trial only lasted two hours.

On October 31, 2006, the Court of Appeal ordered the review of Mr. Chen's case.

On November 27, 2006, the new proceedings against Mr. Chen took place before the People's Court of Yinan Canton and lasted ten hours. His lawyers, his wife and his mother were allowed to attend the hearing.

On December 1, 2006, the Court sentenced Mr. Chen to four years and three months in prison for "intentionally disrupting traffic" and "inciting material destruction".

On December 8, 2006, Mr. Chen's lawyer appealed the decision to the Intermediary Court of Linyi City.

He was still being detained at the Yinan detention centre as of the end of 2006.

Acts of harassment against several of Mr. Chen Guangcheng's witnesses and lawyers50

In addition, since the beginning of his trial, Mr. Chen Guangcheng's lawyers and several key witnesses have been subjected to ongoing acts of reprisals.

– On August 18, 2006, Mr. Xu Zhiyong was beaten by unidentified men and taken into police custody, only to be released 22 hours later, after Mr. Chen's trial had finished. The same day, Mr. Li Jinsong and Mr. Zhang Lihui were arrested and detained on charges of theft. Both were released, but were then prevented from attending the trial. Two other defence lawyers, Mr. Yang Zaixin and Mr. Zhang Jiankang, were also harassed and forced to return home. Consequently, authorities appointed their own public defender, who was not able to read Mr. Chen's file before the hearing.

– Moreover, on the morning of November 26, 2006, Mr. Chen Gengjiang, a key witness in the proceedings, was detained for the whole duration of the hearing and was only released once he had signed a declaration promising not to get involved in the case. Two other key witnesses, Mr. Chen Guangdong and Mr. Chen Guangyu, disappeared on November 26 after telling their lawyers that they planned to testify in the proceedings. On the same day, Mr. Chen Guanghe, Mr. Chen's cousin, was kidnapped by unidentified men as he was on his way to meet Mr. Chen Guangcheng's lawyers. The police allegedly threatened Mr. Chen's family and ordered Mr. Chen Guanghe not to attend the hearing. As of the end of 2006, Mr. Chen Guanghe was officially placed in detention.

All four men had been tortured to coerce them to provide false testimonies against Mr. Chen during the first case against him.

– Besides, Mrs. Yuan Weijing, Mr. Chen's wife and a witness, was placed under house arrest until November 25, 2006. She was arrested around noon by members of the Yinan PSB in the presence of her lawyers on November 28. Policemen produced an arrest warrant authorizing her detention for interrogation. Eight hours later, she was violently thrown out of a police car and left nearly unconscious on a road near her village. She was only able to talk the next day to explain that the police had mistreated and insulted her. During her detention, police officers presented a warrant authorising house arrest for "suspicion of intentionally disrupting traffic" and "inciting material destruction". These crimes are punishable with up to six months of house arrest under Chinese law. Mrs. Yuan had already been placed under house arrest for 15 months without any reason.

– Furthermore, Mr. Chen's lawyers, Mr. Li Jinsong and Mr. Li Fangping, were taken in for questioning on the outskirts of Gushidong, where Mr. Chen lives. They had gone there to meet witnesses and collect evidence in preparation for the judicial review of the case. Although they were able to meet Mr. Chen's wife and mother, the police prevented them from speaking to other key witnesses.

Mr. Teng Biao, who is also a defence lawyer for Mr. Chen, was arrested for five hours on November 27, 2006 (the day of the trial), thus preventing him from attending the hearing. During his detention, he was violently attacked by several police officers who immobilised him on the floor, searched him, seized his mobile phone, and interrogated him.

Lastly, on December 27, 2006, eight men boarded the night bus on which Mr. Li Jinsong and Mr. Li Fangping were travelling and violently assaulted them. Mr. Li Jinsong and Mr. Li Fangping were on their way to Linyi to visit their client.

Ongoing acts of harassment against Mr. Zheng Enchong and his relatives51

Mr. Zheng Enchong, a lawyer with the Shanghai Bar, and his relatives have been subjected to many acts of harassment since his release from Tilangiao prison on June 5, 2006. Mr. Zheng is committed to defending the rights of people who have been evicted from their homes by Shanghai authorities in relation to re-urbanisation planning.

Mr. Zheng was sentenced in October 2003 to three years' imprisonment and a year of deprivation of his political rights by the Shanghai Second Intermediate People's Court for "illegally providing State secrets to entities outside China" and in particular for sending two documents to Human Rights in China (HRIC). The Shanghai Court of Appeal upheld the verdict on December 18, 2003.

As soon as he was released, Mr. Zheng was placed under house arrest and his phone line was tapped and cut several times.

On June 27, 2006, he was allowed to go to the local PSB in order to renew his identity card, in accordance with the terms of his sentence to the deprivation of his political rights for one year. However, he could not renew his card because no officer was available to process his application. The next day, Mr. Zheng and his wife went to the office of the Shanghai municipal government in order to file a complaint concerning these facts. They were then informed that the loss of Mr. Zheng's political rights entailed a total restriction on his freedom of movement.

On July 12, 2006, public security police officers from Shanghai's Zhabei District North Station broke into his apartment and summoned his wife to report to the police station, on suspicion of "impeding officials of State bodies in the execution of their duties". A search of Mr. Zheng's home was carried out and the hard drive of their computer was seized, along with an important number of other documents, including a letter that Mr. Zheng had written to the authorities. A search warrant was reportedly produced after the search. Mrs. Zheng was released shortly afterwards. Later that day, the police returned to Mr. Zheng's home and arrested him for "impeding officials of State bodies in the execution of their duties during a period of deprivation of political rights". They released him a few hours later. Nevertheless, he has since then been repeatedly summoned to the police station for questioning.

On October 14, 2006, Mr. Zheng Enchong and his wife were prevented from going to the Mu'en church in Shanghai. As they were leaving their home, they were surrounded by a dozen policemen, who knocked Mr. Zheng to the ground before sequestering him in the entrance of his building for several hours. Around the same time, Ms. Shen Peilan, a friend who had arranged to accompany Mr. Zheng to church, was prevented from leaving her home by police officers.

Incommunicado detention, sentencing and house arrest of Mr. Gao Zhisheng52

On August 15, 2006, Mr. Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer and director of the law firm Shengzhi (Beijing) that works mainly on human rights cases, was arrested by more than 20 policemen in plain-clothes from the Beijing PSB. At the time, he was at his sister's house in Dongying, Shandong province. No arrest warrant was produced. Policemen also threatened Mr. Gao's sister and asked her to keep quiet about the arrest. On August 18, 2006, a statement was published by the official press agency Xinhua, stating that Mr. Gao had been arrested on "suspicion of breaching the law", without giving any detail on the crime he allegedly committed.

Mr. Gao was then held in incommunicado detention, as neither his family nor his lawyer knew where he was. The authorities declared that his case involved "State secrets".

On September 28, 2006, Mr. Gao's request for a release on bail was rejected. His lawyers issued another request on October 24, 2006.

On October 12, 2006, Mr. Gao's lawyer was informed that his client had been formally arrested and charged with "inciting subversion" on September 29, 2006.

On December 12, 2006, Mr. Gao allegedly pleaded guilty in front of the Beijing Intermediate Court N° 1. Neither his lawyers nor his family had been informed of the hearing.

On December 22, 2006, the Court found Mr. Gao guilty and sentenced him to a three-year suspended prison term with a five-year probation period and the deprivation of his political rights for one year. Following this sentence, Mr. Gao was released and placed under house arrest.

Moreover, since his arrest, Mr. Gao Zhisheng's family members have been under close surveillance.

Indeed, on October 6, 2006, Mrs. Geng He, his wife, was "escorted" by policemen when she attempted to visit her husband in Beijing detention centre n° 2, who remained present for the duration of the visit. Moreover, on November 24, 2006, Mrs. Geng He was beaten and insulted by the police who were following her around Beijing. Her 13 year-old daughter was permanently "escorted" by policemen, even when she went to school.

As a criminal lawyer, Mr. Gao Zhisheng has represented victims of human rights abuses such as acts of torture against members of the Falun Gong Buddhist movement or leaders of the Christian church and arbitrary detention of petitioners seeking to bring a case against the government for negligence or corruption. He also defended cases involving freedoms of expression and of the press.

In November 2005, the activities of the Shengzhi law firm were suspended for one year by the local justice office of Beijing, and in December 2005 Mr. Gao's professional license was revoked. Mr. Gao appealed the decision, but lost the appeal. These events followed the publication of an open letter on the repression of Falun Gong members.

Ongoing acts of harassment against Mr. Li Weiping53

Mr. Li Weiping, a political dissident who participated in the 1989 pro-democracy movement, revealed on May 17, 2006 that he had been approached by Beijing's secret services. They had asked him to "collaborate" with them by collecting information on the activities of groups advocating for democracy in China, risking otherwise to be expelled from the city. His landlord had already terminated the rent, although the police had given Mr. Li until June 11 to leave town.

On April 18, 2005, Beijing police officers had ordered the cancellation of a press conference planned to announce the creation of the Chinese Citizens' Rights Information Centre in Beijing by Mr. Li Weiping and Mr. Liu Jingsheng, a political dissident who also participated in the 1989 movement. Although they had obtained the authorisation of the Bureau of Commerce of Beijing to open the Centre on April 1, 2005, the police had given them a "friendly warning" to close down the organisation as soon as possible, making it clear that instructions emanated from "higher levels" of the government. On April 14, 2005, the Beijing Public Security Bureau had demanded the cancellation of the press conference and the relinquishment of all projects relating to the Centre.

The Chinese Citizens' Rights Information Centre had still not opened as of the end of 2006.

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Zan Aizhong54

On August 10, 2006, Mr. Zan Aizhong, a writer and a member of the Independent Chinese Pen Association, was fired from his position as a journalist for China Ocean News. The previous day, Mr. Zan had publicly called upon the authorities of Hangzhou Municipal PSB to address the demolition by police forces of a protestant church in Xiaoshan, Hangzhou City, on July 29, 2006. The incident had left over 50 people injured.

On August 11, 2006, Mr. Zan Aizhong was arrested for "spreading rumours" and "disrupting social order", and was given a seven-day administrative detention order under the "Security Administration Punishment Law" for having given interviews and written articles denouncing religious persecution by the police.

On August 18, 2006, Mr. Zan was released.

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Yan Zhengxue55

On October 19, 2006, Mr. Yan Zhengxue, an artist and a dissident, was arrested in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, by the local PSB. PSB members, equipped with a warrant, searched his home and confiscated his computer and some personal belongings. The PSB denied detaining Mr. Yan at first, but finally informed his wife on October 25, 2006 that he was detained at the Luqiao PSB detention centre in Taizhou.

On November 10, 2006, Mr. Yan's spouse was told that she was not authorised to hire a lawyer to defend her husband because his case involved "State secrets". Neither his lawyer nor his family were allowed to visit him.

On November 15, 2006, Mr. Yan Zhengxue was accused of "subversion of State authorities". This charge was likely linked to his writings in favour of human rights and political reform, which criticise the regime and its corruption.

Mr. Yan had already been arbitrarily detained on several occasions in the past. He is also known for his paintings, which portray the situation in Chinese prisons, and for organising a campaign against Re-Education Through Labour (RTL).


[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website (www.fidh.org) was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

14. See Annual Report 2005.

15. Idem.

16. See Open Letter to the Chinese authorities, May 3, 2006.

17. See Urgent Appeal CHN 001/0206/OBS 014.

18. See Annual Report 2005 and Urgent Appeals CHN 004/0406/OBS 044 and 044.1.

19. See Annual Report 2005 and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), November 23, 2006.

20. See Urgent Appeal CHN 008/1006/OBS 128.

21. See Open Letter to the Chinese authorities, July 11, 2006.

22. See Human Rights in China (HRIC), September 2006.

23. See Annual Report 2005 and Urgent Appeal CHN 002/1103/OBS 060.2.

24. See Press Release, July 28, 2006.

25. See Urgent Appeal CHN 003/0306/OBS 039.

26. See Urgent Appeal CHN 005/0606/OBS 081.

27. See Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CRD), November 21, 2006.

28. See Annual Report 2005 and Press Release, August 16, 2006.

29. See below.

30. See HRIC, July 2006.

31. See Press Release, August 16, 2006.

32. See CRD, September 14-October 20, 2006.

33. See CRD, Briefing October 21 – December 1, 2006.

34. See HRIC, November 2006, and CRD, Briefing October 21 – December 1, 2006.

35. See HRIC, Press Release, December 2, 2006.

36. See above.

37. See HRIC, Press Release, December 4, 2006.

38. See Annual Report 2005 and Urgent Appeal CHN 003/1005/OBS 103.1.

39. Under Chinese law, registration requires a legal deposit of 30,000 yuan (3,074 euros) as starting capital. However, under the Regulations for registration and the managing of social organisations, issued by the Chinese State Council, the founders of an organisation cannot fundraise until the organisation is legally established. This puts them in an inextricable situation.

40. See Annual Report 2005.

41. Idem.

42. See Annual Report 2005 and Open Letter to the Chinese authorities, July 11, 2006.

43. See Annual Report 2005 and Urgent Appeals CHN 004/0406/OBS 044 and 044.1.

44. See below.

45. See CRD, June 2006.

46. See Urgent Appeal CHN 001/0206/OBS 018.

47. See below.

48. In China, the police usually carry out arrests without a warrant, the official arrest taking place subsequently.

49. See Open Letter to the Chinese authorities, July 11, 2006 and Urgent Appeals CHN 006/0706/OBS 087, 087.1, 087.2, 087.3 and 087.4.

50. Idem.

51. See Annual Report 2005 and Urgent Appeals CHN 001/0803/OBS 041.5, 014.6, 041.7, 041.8, 041.9 and 041.10.

52. See Urgent Appeals CHN 009/1106/OBS 136 and 136.1.

53. See Annual Report 2005.

54. See Urgent Appeal CHN 007/0806/OBS 097.

55. See Annual Report 2005.

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