Hazardous Times for Human Rights Defenders
(Jan. 04, 2006)An NGO Report on Respect for and Implementation of
the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in PRC
The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CRD)
Table of Contents:
Introduction p. 2
Part I. GENERAL SITUATION, ANALYSES AND RECOMMENDATIONS p. 5
Part II. SELECTED INDIVIDUAL CASES p. 15
The situation human rights defenders face in China has steadily deteriorated in 2005. Throughout China, human rights defenders have been subjected to close surveillance and brutal repression by government agents. China' s human rights defenders have become the targets of government intimidation, repression and persecution, facing grave danger to their personal freedom and safety. The year 2005 saw a leap forward in Chinese citizens¡¯ rights consciousness. During this important year in Chinese human rights history, Chinese human rights defenders played a key role. They set the agenda for the development of a human rights movement and pushed this movement forward.
On January 3, 2006, CRD releases its report " Hazardous Times for Human Rights Defenders: An NGO Report on Respect for and Implementation of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in PRC." In this report, CRD documents how, during the year of 2005, human rights activists have frequently come under close surveillance and extra-judicial violence, including house arrest, police surveillance of homes, taking in for questioning, restriction of freedom of movement, forced relocation or detention, tailing by security agents, bugging, computer and internet monitoring, search of private residence, even violent assault by unidentified militia forces while under the close surveillance of the police, resulting in serious injuries.
In an internal speech by President Hu Jintao in May 2005, for the first time human rights activists were identified as targets of the ongoing crackdown on dissent. Since then, repression has intensified. Evidence includes the arrest of lawyer Zhu Jiuhu who was representing private investors in the oil industry in northern Shanxi province (Zhu was subsequently released on bail but not allowed to practice law); the arrest of Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong) who provided legal aid to the villagers of Taishi village in Guangdong province; the physical assaults on Guangdong lawyers Tang Jingling and Guo Yan and Zhongshan University professor Ai Xiaoming, who also provided legal aid to Taishi villagers; the beatings of Hubei village election activists Lu Banglie and Yao Lifa and Beijing rights activists Hu Jia and Zhao Xin (Zhao was seriously injured in the assault); the suspension of Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng¡¯s license to practice law after Gao publicly appealed to top leaders on behalf of torture victims who had been tortured due to their practice of Falun Gong; the house arrest of Chen Guangcheng, who provided legal assistance to Shandong Linyi villagers who had been subjected to coercive family planning operations or detained to enforce family planning policies, after he was abducted and detained briefly in early September. House arrest has become a routine method used to intimidate and restrict activists. One activist, for example, was subjected to over 10 house arrests and aggressive tailing operations during 2005, amounting to over 200 days, without any court order or legal warrants.
The intimidation of and attacks on human rights defenders have seriously breached the Chinese government¡¯s commitments and duties to implement the ¡°UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.¡± Authorities¡¯ disregard for international human rights law, threats to the personal safety of human rights defenders and use of extra-judicial violence against them continued throughout the visit to China by Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur on Torture of the UN Human Rights Commission from November 21 to December 2, 2005.
While China¡¯s economy continues to grow and its international trading status rises, the human rights situation in China has not improved. On the contrary, social and economic rights (such as labour rights, the right to organize independent unions, rights to housing, health and environment, children¡¯s rights to education, equal opportunities for women, protection of property ownership, etc.) of PRC citizens, especially the marginalised and disadvantaged groups, are not effectively protected. One important reason for the lack of protection of basic social and economic rights is the severe restrictions on civil and political rights, including suppression of non-governmental defender groups and individuals who provide aid to the marginalised and disadvantaged. Such suppression constitutes not only threats to their personal safety, but also their freedom to engage in human rights work.
CRD believes that the situation of human rights defenders in China constitutes serious breaches of provisions of the PRC Constitution, especially the 2004 amendment stipulating the protection of human rights, as well as of international human rights standards established, especially, in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified by the PRC in 2001), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ratified by the PRC in 1988), and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly.
CRD calls on Chinese citizens to be aware of and denounce the abuses perpetrated against rights activists. CRD demands that the Chinese authorities end all abusive operations targeting human rights defenders and bring those responsible to justice. CRD calls on the UN and other international human rights bodies and NGOs to investigate alleged abuses, aid victims, and urge the Chinese government to secure the conditions under which defender groups and individual activists can do their work safely and freely.
CRD recommends to the UN Special Representative on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders the following long-term approaches to strengthening the role and improving the personal safety and working conditions of human rights defenders in China:
(1) Accelerating the reform within the United Nations and establishing the proposed Human Rights Council.
(2) Expanding international human rights training programs, providing more opportunities to Chinese human rights defenders.
(3) Improving information exchange. This would include expanding services to translate more of the relevant body of information into the Chinese language and making it accessible on-line to non-English speakers.
(4) Strengthening international protection and petition mechanisms to assist human rights defenders.
As it releases this report, CRD hopes for a better year for human rights protection in China in 2006. CRD is encouraged by the government¡¯s latest gestures, which indicate some willingness to see accountability for rights abuses ¨C notably the release of human rights worker Guo Feixiong and Taishi villagers from detention in Guangdong before the end of December; and the visit of local officials to a human rights worker who was brutally beaten by unidentified men and hospitalized in Sichuan and these officials¡¯ vow to bring those responsible to justice. CRD hopes that 2006 will see the Chinese government initiate serious efforts to implement China¡¯s commitments in international human rights conventions, as well as to respond to pressures from civil society and international actors to redress rights abuses.
Qualifying this optimism, CRD is gravely concerned about the latest wave of abusive incidents. CRD takes this opportunity to urge Chinese authorities to:
¡ñ End the persecution of human rights defenders through arbitrary detention, including releasing Xu Wanping, sentenced to 12 years¡¯ imprisonment for ¡°incitement to subvert state power¡± in Chongqing on December 23, 2005; releasing Yang Tianshui, who was detained on the same day in Nanjing, Jiangsu province; lifting the house arrest imposed on human rights defender Chen Guangcheng and his family, and holding local officials who authorized the illegal detention to account;and releasing environmental activist Tan Dun, founder of the NGO ¡°Green Watch,¡± who was arrested on the charge of ¡°illegally obtaining state secrets¡± on December 7, 2005.
¡ñ Stop retaliation against lawyers who seek to defend human rights cases, such as by reinstating the lawyer¡¯s license of Gao Zhisheng, who was stripped of the right to practice law after he issued an open letter to top leaders demanding an investigation into the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners;
¡ñ Ensure that officials who use illegitimate force to deal with protests by ordinary people are brought to justice, such as those who authorized the shooting that resulted the killings of villagers in Shanwei, Guangdong,
¡ñ Recognize that transparency is crucial to accountability, and allow NGOs, the media, and independent international agencies to conduct investigations of events such as that in Shanwei, in order to handle such serious rights violations appropriately.
About this report: This report has been drafted and researched by activists in China. CRD coordinated its editing, English translation, and production. This report is organized in the form of answers to questions posed by Ms. Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Concerning State Parties¡¯ Respect and Implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Ms. Jilani circulated a questionnaire on this issue, asking for information on the implementation of the Declaration for her report the UN General Assembly in April 2006. On November 10, 2005, we submitted this report to Ms. Jilani in Geneva.
The current version has updated the original submission. After the Introduction, the overview section of this report is followed by a list of cases of human rights defenders. The names of those included in the list are highlighted in bold in the text below.
Part I. GENERAL SITUATION, ANALYSES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In 1999, the UN adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.1 Article 12 of this Declaration stipulates that:
1. Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
2. The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
3. In this connection, everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by omission, attributable to States that result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
According to these stipulations, we will adopt the following definition of ¡°human rights defenders:¡± Human rights defenders are those people who, individually or working with others in organizations, have acted to promote human rights, safeguard fellow human beings from rights abuses, or assisting victims of abuses. Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do, either as a profession or personal devotion, to defend the rights of others, not just the rights of themselves or their families and friends.2 Human rights defenders adopt peaceful means for their struggle. They use the Internet and other tools to promote universal human rights. Chinese human rights defenders draw upon the PRC Constitution, Chinese law and international human rights conventions. They seek to represent the disadvantaged and marginalized social groups and victim of rights violations in the Chinese society. They disclose rights abuses at considerable risk to their personal safety and freedom. They seek accountability, redress for rights violations, and social justice, including by pushing for the establishment of rule of law and structural reforms.
The ¡°human rights defenders¡± community
Please briefly describe, with examples, the human rights defenders community in your country. Please cover considerations such as: the numbers of human rights defender organizations; the range of activities conducted; the quality, effectiveness and impact of human rights defenders¡¯ work.
Since 2002, due to the awakening of citizens¡¯ sense of human rights and the development of telecommunication technology (such as the Internet), there have emerged many individual rights defenders and defender organizations in China. More and more lawyers, intellectuals, workers, farmers, and other ordinary citizens have acted, either as a profession or personal devotion, to defend fellow citizens¡¯ human rights. Their actions have been sufficiently significant in impact and effectiveness that they have generated a ground-breaking movement, known widely now as the ¡°rights defense movement¡± (weiquan yundong). There has emerged a budding ¡°human rights defenders community.¡± Given China¡¯s specific circumstances, we consider the following groups and their collaborative projects as constituents of this community:
¡ñ Groups operating as Internet news/information centers (such as the ¡°Civil Rights Defense Net¡± [gong min wei quan wang www.gmwq.org ] and the ¡°Network of Monitoring by [public] Opinions¡± [yulun jiandu wang, http://zgyljd.blogchina.com]);
¡ñ Groups registered as for-profit business corporations or consulting firms (such as the Beijing AIZHIXING Institute of Health Education, led by Dr. Wan Yanhai [Beijing ai zhi xing xinxi zixun zhong xin http://www.aizhi.net], ¡°Empowerment and Rights Institute, directed by Hou Wenzhuo, [Ren zhi quan gong zuo shi,¡± http://www.earichina.org), and¡±Sunshine Constitutionalism¡± [yang guang xian zheng], now renamed as Gongmeng Information Consultation Firm [gongmeng xinxi zixun gongsi www.xianzhengchina.org], created by Teng Biao and Xu Zhiyong);
¡ñ Law firms (such as the ¡°Beijing Mo Shaoping Law Firm¡± http://www.moshaoping.lawyers.com.cn and ¡°Beijing Huayi Law Firm¡± http://www.huayilawyers.com);
¡ñ Studios or workshops hosted by individuals (such as ¡°Jingsheng Studio¡± [Liu Jingsheng gong zuo shi]);
¡ñ Loose networks of victims and families (such as the ¡°Tiananmen Mothers,¡± led by Ms. Ding Zilin), or those who work individually or together to defend their own rights and the rights of those in their communities, such as the housing activists;
¡ñ Journalists and editors working for government-run newspapers or magazines that are outspoken on rights abuses (such as the Southern Metropolitan News [nanfang dushi bao], Window of Southern Wind [nan feng chuang], Weekly News [xinwen zhoukan], and the New Capital Newspaper [xin jing bao]).
Take for example the ¡°Civil Rights Defense Net.¡± It was created in April 2003 by Mr. Li Jian, a former factory worker, and now an activist based in Dalian City, Liaoning Province. Gongmin Weiquan is a network of many prominent citizens of social conscience and personal integrity, including one hundred thirty advisers. They are prominent in political, legal, economic, social, cultural, and educational sectors of Chinese society. Some are well-known liberal reformers and democracy/rights advocates. They represent progressive ideas in the non-government sectors. The website of Gongmin Weiquan publicizes information on rights abuses, disseminates ideas of human rights, and explores ways of reforming the political system and developing rule of law institutions. The group also conducts investigations and fact-finding research of alleged rights violations.
Another example is the Beijing lawyer Mo Shaoping. Mr. Mo began taking human rights cases in 1994 and has represented clients such as Liu Xiaobo, Liu Nianchun, Jiang Qisheng, Xu Wenli, Fang Jue, Yao Fuxin, Xu Wei, Yang Jianli, Du Daobin, Zhao Xin, Zhao Yan, Shi Tao, and Feng Bingxian in politically sensitive cases. Another lawyer is Pu Zhiqiang, who represented the authors of the Investigative Report on Chinese Farmers, who were sued for defamation by officials described in the book as being ¡°corrupt.¡± In other sensitive cases, Pu Zhiqiang also represented Yu Huafeng, Zheng Enchong, and the Beijing Youth Daily. Human rights lawyers such as Mo Shaoping and Pu Zhiqiang are often the last resort of victims of rights abuses seeking justice in today¡¯s China.
Given the reality in China, it is difficult to give the precise number of non-governmental groups working on human rights. However, if we include social groups working on problems concerning environment protection, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, homosexuality, women¡¯s equality, children¡¯s education, rights of the disabled and so on, we must put the estimate rather high: in the thousands.
It is important to note that, due to the Chinese government¡¯s long-standing policy of strict restriction on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), those who wish to form NGOs generally cannot obtain legal registration. This is because a non-profit group, according to government regulations, must first find a government agency to ¡°hook¡± onto before it can apply for legal registration.3 Meanwhile, non-official websites face increasing obstacles to their survival. These websites are victims of the Chinese government¡¯s draconic Internet censorship. Finally, the non-governmental defender organizations suffer from severe under-funding. The government has from time to time penalized those who accepted international funding for their work promoting human rights and democracy, accusing them ¡°breaking the law.¡± Due to these problems, in China, the conditions for the survival of the human rights defenders community are harsh and this community is at imminent risk.
Moreover, the Chinese government has taken harsh measures to suppress rights activists, punishing individuals playing active roles in exposing abuses or assisting victims. In the past year alone, many individual defenders have been, at one time or another, arrested, detained, taken into custody for questioning, put under house arrest, or beaten; some were sentenced to prison terms; many have been harassed by police, facing constant threats to their personal safety, privacy, and freedom of movement. Some of the people who have experienced these types of abuses are:
¡ñ Lawyers who provided legal aid to persecuted rights defenders and victims of rights abuses. Human rights law practice is one of the most hazardous professions in China today. Chinese human rights lawyers often pay a heavy price for their temerity in taking on such cases, and many of them have been subjected to persecution. The following lawyers have been on the forefront in defending human rights: Xu Zhiyong, doctor of law from Beijing University; Gao Zhisheng, director of Shengzhi Law Firm; Pu Zhiqiang and Teng Biao, of the Beijing Huayi Law Firm; Mo Shaoping, director of Mo Shaoping Law Firm; Zheng Enchong, the Shanghai lawyer; Guo Guoting, another Shanghai lawyer; Li Heping, partner of the Beijing Gaobo Longhua Law Firm; Zhang Xingshui, of Jingding Law Firm; and Zhu Jiuhu, of Beijing Jietong Law Firm.
¡ñ Writers who wrote about rights defenders or the movement of defending rights, such as Liu Xiaobo, Yu Jie, Zhang Lin, Zheng Yichun, and Du Daobin; journalists or editors who reported on rights problems, such as Cheng Yizhong, Yu Huafeng, Li Minying, Shi Tao, and Zhao Yan; and actively engaged scholars such as Zhang Zuhua, Yu Meisun, Teng Biao, Xu Zhiyong, and Fan Yafeng;
¡ñ Those who represented disadvantaged social groups to protest rights abuses and demand protection of specific rights, such as Ding Zilin, Feng Bingxian, Feng Xiaoyuan, Gao Yaojie, Ma Yalian, Lu Banglie, Mao Hengfeng, Guo Qiyong, Liu Fenggang, Liu Feiyue, Liu Zhengyou, Zhang Shanguang, Ye Guozhu, Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang;
¡ñ And those who act in the capacity of individual activists or NGO (non-government organizations) to defend rights, such as Chen Guangcheng, Guo Feixiong, Li Guozhu, Liu Jingsheng, Li Weiping, Wan Yanhai, Hu Jia, Li Jian, Hou Wenzhuo, Li Boguang, and Zhao Xin.
(In Part II, we will detail some of these individuals¡¯ cases.)
Despite harsh conditions, this budding defenders community has managed to achieve a record of impressive accomplishments. For example, for months after April 2003, the Internet and other conventional media were inundated with protest letters, signature campaigns, and critical analyses concerning the death of Sun Zhigang, a young employee of a Guangzhou company, who was beaten to death in police custody, where he had been taken for not carrying his residential permit. This unprecedented public outcry and pressure for accountability eventually forced the government to abolish the notorious ¡°Custody and Repatriation¡± detention system. This system was used to enforce discriminatory policies against rural residents and other kinds of ¡°unwanted¡± persons in the cities. One could be detained for months without any court trial or judicial review, for not carrying urban residential permits or for other minor public order infractions (including panhandling, prostitution, or, in a handful of cases, political dissent) before being sent back to their villages/towns.
Other examples include the Online campaigns demanding the release of detainees including the rural entrepreneur and reformist Sun Dawu,4 the Internet writers Liu Di5 and Du Daobin, and the independent-minded editor of the Southern Metropolitan News, Cheng Yizhong.6 These campaigns also gained international support. Under public and international pressure, the government backed down and eventually released these individuals.
A more recent example is public mobilization to support the self-organized defense of economic rights by rural investors in privatized oil field enterprises in northern Shanxi Province. Due to the persistent and concerted efforts by representatives of the tens of thousands of investors and prominent lawyers, intellectuals, and activists, the government eventually released detained representatives (except for one: Mr. Feng Bingxian) including the leader Feng Xiaoyuan, as well as their lawyer Zhu Jiuhu.
Meanwhile, other NGOs concerned about specific rights problems, such as environmental groups, groups working on the protection of the rights of persons infected with HIV/AIDS, homosexual groups, women¡¯s groups, groups promoting children¡¯s education rights or disability rights, have also made progress in their fields.
Nevertheless, the development of the capacity of human rights defenders community, as well as the conditions for its survival and flourishing, vary one region to the next. This has to do with the immenseness of the Chinese territory, the regional diversity in many other aspects of life, including the growing regional income discrepancy (between major metropolitan areas, developed coastal regions, and underdeveloped western-central China). The effectiveness and impact of defender organizations vary from region to region due to uneven organizational capacity, social mobilization, access to resources, attitude of local authorities, as well as experiences in employing tactics and strategizing. While the conditions for rights defenders are generally harsh throughout the country, defender organizations concentrated in the more developed regions such as Beijing, areas along the Yangzi River, the Pearl River, and the southeastern coast, seem more organized, their organizational capacity more developed, and more effective, than in other areas.
(If relevant) Please list ways in which the role and situation of human rights defenders in your country need to be strengthened and how this can be achieved (e.g. improved human rights training, greater transparency, improved protection, etc)
We have the following recommendations for strengthening the role and situation of human rights defenders in the long-run in our country:
(1) Accelerating the reform within the United Nations and establishing the proposed Human Rights Council, to parallel in authority and importance the Security Council and the Social Economic Council, so as to make human rights one main focus of the UN¡¯s work, together with security and development; strengthening international monitoring of rights situation, improving coordination in aid and intervention in serious violations of human rights and humanitarian affairs.
(2) Expanding international human rights training programs. This is particularly relevant to rights defenders in China. China has more than one fifths of the world¡¯s population, which alone makes the task of protecting human rights difficult and challenging. There is a pressing need to train human rights defenders in China. Unfortunately, very few have had the opportunity to benefit from existing training programs. We suggest that the UN and international human rights NGOs increase the number of such programs, making them accessible, and providing more opportunities to the growing number of Chinese defenders.
(3) Improving information exchange. International human rights community should utilize the Internet and other media to disseminate information more effectively. Information about other countries¡¯ human rights defenders helps Chinese defenders with valuable lessons and experiences of implementing best practices. This effort includes expanding services to translate the body of human rights information into the Chinese language and making it accessible on-line to people who are unable to read English.
(4) Strengthening international protection and urgent petition mechanisms to assist human rights defenders. If there were no international urgent petition procedures and rescue mechanisms at all, the conditions of human rights defenders could have been much worse in China. There would have been many more imprisoned for their human rights activities. We strongly recommend that the UN and other international bodies as well as international NGOs to strengthen their capacities for protecting rights defenders and monitoring the situation of rights defenders in China. They need to have ways to collect updated information and make more frequent trips to the country to investigate abuses and work with activists on the ground.
2. Assessment of the current situation of the Declaration¡¯s implementation in the country
Firmly established success in implementing the Declaration
We would like to point out that the Chinese government has done poorly in implementing the Declaration. So far as we know, neither the Chinese government nor the official media has made the Declaration known to the public. Relevant information on this Declaration seems unavailable or may have been blocked on the Internet by the government. With the exception of a few scholars and diplomats who studied the subject of human rights, no one else seems to know about its existence. We have yet to see a Chinese translation of the Declaration and the relevant documents made available to the public in China. The Chinese government has hardly taken concrete steps toward effectively implementing the Declaration.
As can be seen from the summaries and analyses above, since the Chinese government has not taken effective steps to implement the Declaration and has blocked relevant information on the Internet, it has done little that can be considered ¡°progress¡± in protecting human rights defenders and defender organizations.
Despite the provisions of Articles 6 and 7 of the Declaration,7 the Chinese government still does not permit Chinese citizens to investigate rights abuses, conduct fact-finding investigations, or disseminate relevant information, even though the Chinese Constitution was amended in 2004 to include the phrase ¡°the state respects and protects human rights¡±. For example, on December 13 and 14, 2004, several Chinese citizens (Liu Xiaobo, Yu Jie, Zhang Zuhua) were taken into custody for questioning by Beijing State Security Bureau police. The three intellectuals were threatened and warned not to go ahead with their plans to compile ¡°an unofficial human rights report.¡± Mr. Liu¡¯s home was also searched. In another example, the website of Civil Rights Defense Net and other websites focusing on human rights were blocked by Chinese cyber police. The website of Civil Rights Defense Net was ordered to close by the Beijing Communication Administration on November 21, 2003. It was allowed to re-open later, but was finally shut down on August 25, 2004. As a result, people in China can only browse this site through proxy servers or access it from outside the country. Other websites of human rights defenders have also become targets of Internet censorship. Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Teng Biao was questioned many times by authorities at his workplace, the Chinese University of Politics and Law. He was warned by his employers not to get involved in human rights cases, or else he would lose his job and his personal safety would be jeopardized. Lawyers Pu Zhiqiang and Zhang Xingshui have been repeatedly put under house arrest or forced to leave Beijing during politically sensitive periods. In particular, since the summer of 2005, the government has intensified its suppression and surveillance of human rights defenders. Many rights defenders have been arrested or detained, harassed, beaten, or their residences searched. Currently, there is no relief in sight.
3. Freedom of association and freedom of _expression
We begin with the implementation of freedom of association. On October 15, 1998, the PRC State Council promulgated the Regulation on the Registration and Management of Social Groups. The regulation stipulates that any non-governmental group or association must be registered and approved by a division of the Ministry of Civil Affairs. It requires that all such groups and associations be sponsored by government agencies before they can apply for registration. But many non-governmental groups or associations in China are unable to get the approval and sponsorship by government agencies and thus could not successfully obtain official permits. This regulation effectively deprives people in the PRC of the freedom of association enshrined in international human rights conventions and the Chinese Constitution.
Due to such restrictions, many NGOs have had no option but to register as for-profit business corporations or consulting firms and consequently have been subjected to further government restriction and control through financial regulations and heavy taxation. Many of them were forced to close down or rendered ineffective. For example, the Beijing Hua Xia Citizens¡¯ Rights Consultation Center [Beijing huaxia gongmin quanli zixun zhongxin], founded by Li Weiping and Liu Jingsheng, obtained its legal registration as a for-profit consulting firm on April 1, 2005. As soon as local police realized that the firm was to engage in human rights work, they forced it to close on April 18. Mr. Li and Mr. Liu lost tens of thousands of yuan in personal savings, which they had used to pay the hefty registration fees. Other non-governmental groups faced similar obstacles to their survival and sustainable operation.
The implementation of freedom of _expression is no better. China has no laws protecting the freedoms of information, press, and _expression, although the PRC Constitution, Article 35, stipulates that ¡°citizens have freedoms of _expression, press, assembly, association, and demonstration.¡± There are countless cases of authorities prosecuting individuals on criminal charges for exercising their freedoms of information, press, and _expression. The most blatant of these cases include the persecution of Luo Yongzhong (Jilin province), Du Daobin (Hubei province), Guo Qinghai (Hebei province), Zheng Yichun (Liaoning province) and Li Jianping (Shandong province). In September 2005, the State Council issued the Regulation on Internet Media Information Services. The new Regulation imposes tight restrictions on the use of the Internet to disseminate information, thus making it impossible for citizens to express independent views online.
Chinese citizens are also deprived of the freedoms of assembly, demonstration and protest. Immediately after the June 4th suppression in 1989, the government promulgated the PRC Law of Assembly, Demonstration and Protest [zhonghua renmin gongheguo jihui youxing shiwei fa] on October 31, 1989. This law stipulates that all assemblies and demonstrations must be approved in advance by the police. Sixteen years since the promulgation of this law, independent applications to stage assemblies or demonstrations have hardly ever been approved. Moreover, applicants who submitted applications for approval of demonstrations often become the objects of harassment, threat, or imprisonment. For example, Hu Yuwen in Shanghai, Hu Jia, Zhao Xin, Guo Feixiong, Ye Guozhu in Beijing, and Li Guozhu from Heilongjiang province, have all been subjected to police beating, detention, or imprisonment after they filed applications to hold public gatherings or protests. Recently, the villagers of Taishi, Guangdong province, staged sit-ins and demonstrations in an effort to set in motion of the impeachment of their village chief. Local authorities ordered the police to suppress the protests. Within weeks, more than 30 villagers had been detained, some of them have since been arrested and charged, others released. On December 6, 2005, police opened fire on villagers protesting land seizure in Dongzhou village, Guangdong province, reportedly killing as many as 20 farmers.
4. Bad Practices
Existing ¡°bad practices¡± can be illustrated by the treatment of several prominent lawyers as follows:
- Lawyer Zheng Enchong of Shanghai was sentenced to three years in prison and deprived of political rights for one year. Local authorities were retaliating against Zheng for representing displaced Shanghai residents who had been forced to relocate from their homes by officials and real estate dealers.
- Lawyer Guo Guoding of Shanghai was forced into exile in Canada because he had acted as legal counsel for persecuted rights activists and members of the spiritual sect, Falun Gong.
- Lawyer Zhu Jiuhu of Beijing was detained for representing rural investors in the oil fields of Shaanxi. He was released after two months, but was ordered not to represent his clients in this case and his freedom of movement was restricted.
- Lawyer Gao Zhisheng of Beijing was followed and put under surveillance by police, and his law firm was barred from practicing law for one year, after he wrote an open letter to Chinese leaders demanding an investigation into claims of torture and religious persecution by Falun Gong practitioners. This was apparently also retaliation against him for representing detained Taishi villagers who demanded the removal of a corrupt village chief.
If prominent human rights lawyers face threats and imprisonment for doing their job, ordinary citizens face more repressive measures taken against them since they would have difficulties in exercising their rights to legal counsel and defense due to the persecution of defense lawyers. For example, on September 14, 2005, police of Shanghai Jingan District suddenly arrested more than100 people who had demanded compensation for their forced eviction from their homes. Among the people arrested were Zhang Fenfen, Ma Yalian, Shen Yongmei, Chen Xiuqing, Zhou Mingwen, Wang Xueyi, Yang Chunhua and Chen Wanhong. The police also threatened to send Zhang Fenfen to a mental hospital. The imprisonment of their lawyer Zheng Enchong made them vulnerable to abuses by police and unfair trials.
The examples described above show that the Chinese government uses a variety of measures to suppress the human rights defenders¡¯ community. The measures include threats, intimidation, surveillance, house arrest, detention or arrest, jailing, and beating. The authorities take the initiative to attack, strike hard at the leaders, and nip the buds before they grow in order to prevent the human rights defense movement from growing and spreading.
5. Good practices
One example of good practice is a recent amendment of the Constitution. In March 2004, the National People¡¯s Congress revised the Constitution adding the phrase ¡°the state respects and protects human rights,¡± although, as is shown above, this pledge is hardly being implemented. Another example is the abolition of an administrative detention system. After the notorious case of Sun Zhigang¡¯s death from police beating, the infamous practice of locking up and abusing people in ¡°Custody and Repatriation Centers¡± was abolished. However, the practice of arbitrary detention in Reeducation through Labor Camps remain. Under the RETL system, the police have the power to send anyone into a labor camp for several years without a trial.
The contributions of different actors
a. The awareness, commitment and contributions of national authorities to implementing the Declaration
There is little evidence of the national government¡¯s sincerity and commitment to implementing the Declaration.
b. The awareness, commitment and contributions of local authorities to implementing the Declaration.
c. The awareness, commitment and contributions of human rights defenders to implementing the Declaration.
We regret to say that, due to information blackouts and censorship by the government, the Declaration is not well-known among the Chinese public. An important task lies ahead - to inform the general public about this Declaration in China. If the government were to lift its censorship on the Internet or in conventional media, this should not be difficult.
d. The awareness, commitment and contributions of United Nations bodies in the country to implementing the Declaration.
7. Evolution of the situation
In general, China can be described as a country with lots of laws, but without a rule of law, with a Constitution, but without constitutional government. Although ¡°the protection of human rights¡± has been added to the PRC Constitution, human rights protection is far from being implemented in administrative and legal practice. There is no clear indication that China is moving towards instituting better protections for human rights. On the contrary, in the past several years, the Chinese government has intensified its harassment and persecution of human rights defenders and defender organizations, suppressing the budding, fragile rights defense movement through the use of judicial and extra-judicial means - detention, arrest, custody for questioning, house arrest, beating, and imprisonment. The situation of human rights defenders in China is getting worse.
There are various causes for this. Domestically, the government often sees no option but to resort to brutality to crush any challenges it perceives to its rule. It has an acute sense of political crisis and insecurity because of its lack of legitimacy and mounting social unrest. Top leaders fear the recurrence of a massive political movement like that of 1989. Furthermore, the human rights defense movement has been gaining momentum in recent years and a growing number of prominent intellectuals, lawyers, villagers and workers have joined in such efforts. Contacts and cooperation among these social groups have become more sophisticated and strengthened their capacity in rights defense. The government is thus determined to take preventive measures and strike hard at activists and their leaders. In addition, the current Chinese leaders are trying to consolidate their power. They deem it necessary to take tough measures against liberal reformers and challenges from civil society. To make the situation even worse, China¡¯s legal system remains underdeveloped, and it lacks an independent judiciary. When abused or victimized by the police, human rights defenders can rarely get a fair hearing from an independent court, and thus there is no way to make the perpetrators accountable.
More broadly, beyond China, the so-called ¡°color revolutions¡± in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan have made the Chinese leaders apprehensive. They are afraid that the waves of democratization will sweep into China. They have decided to wage a war that has no powder smoke to suppress any human rights movement or movement for democracy and freedom, to block the development of civil society or NGOs. They want to nip the Chinese human rights defenders community in the bud.
Part II. SELECTED INDIVIDUAL CASES
Based on the analyses in Part I of the general situation of human rights defenders in China, we have documented some cases of individuals who have been harassed or punished by authorities for acting in various capacities to defend fellow citizens¡¯ human rights. The individuals profiled in these cases are just a few among the many who have acted to defend human rights and have been, consequently, harassed, threatened, or imprisoned for their activities. For instance, there are many other courageous and active human rights lawyers than we could document here, such as Teng Biao, Li Heping, Li Subin, Jiang Tianyong, Li Fuchun, Yu Jiang, Tang Jingling, and Guo Yan. We divide these cases into three categories: community activists, human rights lawyers, and human rights workers. (The cases are listed under each category in alphabetic order):
1. Community Activists:
Ding Zilin£¨¶¡×ÓÁØ£©, female, university professor. Since she lost her 17-year-old son in the 1989 massacre, she has led a group of the family members of victims, ¡°the Tiananmen Mothers,¡± to seek justice. For the last sixteen years, she has been at the forefront of a network of people who have worked to document the brutal crackdown in a systematic fashion by collecting the names of victims and recording their individual stories. For this, she has been subjected interrogations, threats of violence, periods of detention and house arrest.
In March 2004, Ding Zilin was arrested outside her home in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. Police did not produce any warrants. Two other members of the Tiananmen Mothers in Beijing, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinpin also were arrested and had their homes searched, and personal items were confiscated. Police told them that "the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign and the Tiananmen Mothers as a group were reactionary organizations through which entities inside and outside of China were conspiring to harm national security and to incite subversion of state power." The authorities also threatened the ¡°Mothers¡± that they must not submit a video CD presenting the testimonies of six family members of June Fourth victims, through the Hong Kong-based support group, the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign, to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in Geneva.
Feng Bingxian £¨·ë±üÏÈ£© male, detained for acting as a representative of rural investors seeking dialogue with local government to resolve a property rights dispute. The dispute began in March 2003, when Yulin Municipality and Yan¡¯an Municipality governments took back more than five thousand oil fields that the government had allowed private investors to invest in and develop. The confiscation caused property loss for more than 1,000 small private enterprises and 60,000 individual investors. The investors first petitioned the government at higher levels, without receiving any response. Then they tried to engage in dialogue with officials and they were unable to find any room for negotiation. As they began preparing lawsuits, police arrested their representatives and their lawyer, Zhu Jiuhu.
On May 11, 2005, about 300 representatives of investors in privatized oil fields from six counties in Northern Shanxi gathered in Xi¡¯an. They submitted a ¡°Request to the Shanxi Provincial Central Communist Party¡± to ask the city governments at Yulin and Yan¡¯an municipalities to correct the illegal administrative actions by county governments in confiscating previously privatized oil fields. Beginning on May 14, some representatives were detained after dialogues stalled. Local officials tried to threaten the investors so that they would not appeal or go to court. Others were placed under house arrest or went into hiding. A wider manhunt for other representatives was launched. On July 26, Feng Bingxian was arrested after he made an appointment to meet a journalist working for the government Central TV station to meet in Wuhan, where the journalist promised to make a program about the investors¡¯ plight. Mr. Feng found no journalist at the meeting place, but was surrounded by police from Yulin, Shanxi.
On October 21, Jinbian County Prosecutors¡¯ Office in Shanxi issued an indictment against Feng Bingxian, together with Feng Xiaoyuan and two other representatives who had been released to await trial in mid-September, on the charge of ¡°gathering crowds to disturb social order.¡± The trial of all four has been postponed several times.
Feng Xiaoyuan£¨·ëÐ¢Ôª£©, male, 64. Chief representative of rural share holders in a privatized oil-filed enterprise in Jinbian County, northern Shanxi Province. The rural share holders petitioned and tried to settle the dispute through meetings with officials who had ordered changing the ownership back to the government, causing share holders to lose their investments. Having failed to gain any response from authorities, they filed a lawsuit. Feng was detained with several others on May 14, 2005, on suspicion of ¡°disturbing social order.¡± He was not tried and was detained at the Jinbian Detention Center. In mid-September, he was released on bail. On October 21, Jinbian County Prosecutors¡¯ Office in Shanxi issued an indictment against Feng Xiaoyuan, along with Feng Bingxian and two other representatives, for ¡°gathering crowds to disturb social order.¡± The trial has been postponed several times.
Gao Yaojie£¨¸ßÒ«½à£©, female, 74, a retired gynecologist and HIV/AIDS activist, began treating people with HIV and AIDS and taking action to expose the officially covered-up epidemic in 1996 in the villages of Henan Province. She has been harassed, threatened, and barred from meeting journalists or traveling abroad to receive an award.
In the 1990s, impoverished farmers in Henan sold their blood at government-run blood collection centers. In the rush to maximize profits, safety precautions were largely ignored. The blood, untested for diseases, was pooled and re-injected into the sellers. The result was a high rate of cross infection. In some villages, the HIV infection rate was estimated at 65%.
Dr. Gao, who traveled to the villages to treat the villagers, discovered this and tried to alert authorities about the epidemic. She used her small retirement pension to treat patients and educate the farmers about HIV/AIDS, often under harassment by authorities who denied responsibility in the spread of HIV/AIDS and tried to cover it up.
After Dr. Gao spoke to foreign reporters about the blood-borne epidemic in Henan, she was warned not to disclose ¡°state secrets¡± to ¡°foreign, anti-China forces.¡± And Chinese reporters were warned not to report on the scandal.
On 31 May 2001, Dr. Gao was unable to receive the Jonathan Mann Health and Human Rights award in Washington, DC. The Chinese government denied her permission to travel abroad.
Li Minying£¨ÀîÃñÓ¢£©, male, 60, journalist. Founder and former editor-in-chief of The Southern Metropolitan News. He was also on the editorial board of the Southern Daily, another outspoken newspaper. He was arrested on January 15, 2004 and sentenced on June 15, 2004 by the Intermediate Court of Guangzhou City to six years imprisonment and fines of RMB 100,000 yuan on unsubstantiated charges of ¡°accepting bribes.¡± He is now imprisoned at Guangdong Panyu Prison.
The Southern Metropolitan News was once the mouthpiece of the government and in dire economic situation. Since Li Minying and others took over management, the paper became widely popular due to its reporting on social ills and exposing of corruption officials. It gained the fame of a paper with ¡°social conscience.¡± As readership grew, the paper also became financially viable. Some of the paper¡¯s famous reports include its exposure of discrimination based on the hukou (household registration) system and the Custody and Repatriation detention system.
Liu Feiyue£¨Áõ·ÉÔ¾£©, male, 35, a school teacher in Suizhou city, Hubei province, pro-democracy activist and campaigner for basic health and education rights. Liu has been harassed by authorities for his activities. In 1996, he was detained by Suizhou Public Security Bureau for 15 days for writing about official corruption. In September 2005, he was sent to a village school as punishment for his active role in drawing attention to lack of protection of rural children¡¯s education rights.
Since 1997, Liu has been involved in activities organized by the banned China Democracy Party. In early 2004, he openly criticized government hospitals that use various pretexts to charge patients numerous fees and collude with drug companies to raise drug prices. Liu collected over 500 hundred signatures on the streets of Suizhou City on a petition to demand more government spending on rural medical care. Liu also championed rural education rights. In July 2005, he traveled to villages and towns of Suizhou and investigated complaints about problems with schooling for children from rural families. He called for public support and collected more than 600 signatures on a petition sent to the State Council and the Ministry of Education, demanding that the government cut the numerous fees levied by schools and ease the burden of paying for basic education on rural families . In early 2005, Mr. Liu began publishing online ¡°Monitoring Citizens¡¯ Rights to Basic Living¡± (min sheng guancha). Mr. Liu is under constant police surveillance and his phone calls and Internet activities are monitored closely.
Liu Fenggang£¨Áõ·ï¸Õ£©, 45, was detained on 13 October 2003. Subsequently, Xu Yonghai (ÐìÓÀº£), 44, and Zhang Shengqi (ÕÅÊ¤Æå), 30, were detained in November 2003. All three were charged under Article 111 of the PRC Criminal Law with ¡°providing state secrets to foreign organizations,¡± and tried in secret on 16 March 2004 by Hangzhou Intermediate People¡¯s Court in Zhejiang Province.
The three Christians were detained during an intensified crackdown against unofficial churches in Zhejiang Province, launched by the authorities in March 2003. In July 2003, more than a dozen house churches were reportedly destroyed and at least 300 Christians arrested, some were reportedly ill-treated and beaten.
In its indictment against the three men, the procuratorate stated that the charge of ¡°providing state secrets to foreign organizations¡± was made in connection with Liu Fenggang¡¯s decision to write, disseminate and publicize several reports written over a two-year period, documenting the destruction of churches and the harsh treatment suffered by members of underground congregations. According to the indictment Xu Yonghai, a doctor, sent these documents to a US-based Chinese-language magazine, Christian Life Quarterly, while Zhang Shengqi, a computer technician, e-mailed the reports overseas.
On 6 August 2004, the court sentenced Liu Fenggang to three years, Xu Yonghai, to two years and Zhang Shengqi to one year. These sentences included the period of time that they had already served in pre-trial detention. Zhang Shengqi should therefore have been released in November 2004, and Xu Yonghai in November 2005, although there has been no official confirmation of their release. Liu Fenggang and Xu Yonghai are imprisoned in Hangzhou Xijiao Prison.
Liu Fenggang was a member of the state-sanctioned Protestant church but became critical of restrictions imposed on the church by the authorities, and chose to join the Beijing Christian Sacred Love Fellowship, an unofficial religious group. As a result, he was dismissed from his job as a worker in a medical equipment factory.
Liu Zhengyou (ÁõÕýÓÐ), male, 53, farmer, construction worker, owner of a rural machine tool factory, based in a village in Hongqi township, Zigong city, Sichuan province. Activist and petitioner for farmers¡¯ land rights.
In 1993, Zigong officials began seizing more than 2,500 acres of farm land, including private and collective properties, on which 30,000 farmers had farmed and lived for generations. Local government seized the land for building a ¡°New High Tech Development Zone.¡± The farmers were offered small living stipends and what they considered inadequate compensation for their houses and farming land ¨C about one sixth of what it would cost to buy houses and land in Zigong at the time. Farmers who refused to relocate and organized sit-ins were forced by armed police and guards to move. Police came to the villages many times to ¡°clean out¡± villagers. The farmers designated Liu as their leader. During these clashes, more than 40 people were beaten up by police, among them, four died and a dozen were left permanently handicapped. Twenty-one were arrested. Over the next several years, clashes with local officials escalated. Officials intermittently blocked roads and shut off water and electricity in the villages. Some farmers said their houses were torn down during days they were away. One of the largest confrontations occurred July 4, 2003, when about 1,000 police descended on Hongqi Township and, using sticks and electric prods (crowd-control devices that give electric shocks), scattered a large gathering of protesters, according to Chinese media reports.
Liu Zhengyou and three other farmers (and their families) were among those who refused to leave. Between 1998 and 2000, the Zigong government ordered about 600 police and officials to force them out. They used bulldozers and explosives to destroy their houses. More than 20 people have since been left homeless.
Some farmers got jobs in township-owned factories in the mid-1990s, but most of those factories failed within a few years. The farmers were left with no livelihood. Those who left town became migrant workers.
The farmers filed lawsuits in local courts six times without receiving any response. Between 1995 and 2005, Liu Zhengyou petitioned the government for investigation and review of the Zigong land rights abuse three times, mailed more than 300 letters to local, provincial, and central government administrative and judicial offices, without receiving any response.
On April 20, 2005, more than 2,000 villagers from Hongqi village, Weiping village and other villages of Zigong city tried to hand in a petition to Zigong Mayor Wang Hailin. They were stopped by 700 police and officials. During the altercation with police, several villagers were badly injured including Liu. They were taken to the hospital for treatment, after which Liu and four others were detained and later released.
Lu Banglie£¨ÂÀ°îÁÐ£©, male, 34, a farmer from Hubei province, an elected deputy to local People¡¯s Congress. He is active in monitoring rural elections in other villages across China. He was reportedly beaten on October 12, 2005, for trying to assist Taishi villagers in Guangdong province to impeach a village chief suspected of corruption.
Lu was praised by the Communist Youth League-owned China Youth Daily last year for mobilizing villagers in his own village to impeach the chief suspected of corruption despite harassment by local officials and thugs in 2003. When his campaign forced his village chief to resign, the paper said, Lu emerged as "the front runner of peasant grassroots democracy."
A flood of the Yangtze River in 1998 left 200 fellow villagers homeless. Lu says because of local corruption, not all the government assistance reached the families. He began actively campaigning for local villagers¡¯ rights. In 2001, Lu bought a copy of China Reform-Rural magazine, which educates peasants on their legal rights. He contacted its editors and was later invited to a conference on farmers¡¯ rights with legal scholars. Lu decided to use the Village Committee Organization Law to impeach his village chief, which he did in 2003. He also ran as an independent write-in candidate and was elected a deputy to his township¡¯s People's Congress.
In March 2005, Lu moved to a factory in the Pearl River Delta region. He got a job packing Christmas trees for export to the US. There, he met with legal reformers assisting Taishi villagers. Lu decided to help. On July 31, he went to Taishi and talked to villagers.
In early August, Taishi residents surrounded their village committee building to prevent the removal of accounting books, which they said would prove corruption. On Sept. 12, police drove the villagers away. Police arrested about 30 people and 10 remain in custody. Several dozen thugs that Taishi residents believe were hired by local officials harassed villagers and attacked anyone who tried to contact the villagers, including activists like Lu, and lawyers.
Lu was taken back to his home town in Hubei to recover from injuries. He has apparently and continues his activism. In early November, he traveled to Beijing to a meeting with lawyers who are helping the detained Taishi villagers. He also tried to enter Taishi village to collect eyewitness testimony, but was stopped and escorted home by police.
Ma Yalian£¨ÂíÑÇÁ«£©, female, 42. Former employee of the Shanghai Tools Company. On February 19, 2004, she was arrested for her active role in petitioning the government to address grievances involving forced evictions. On March 16, 2004, the Shanghai Reeducation Through Labor Management Committee decided to send her to a RETL camp for one year and six months for ¡°disturbing social order and security.¡± She was detained at the Huangpu District Detention Center in Shanghai and was released on August 19, 2005 after serving her full term at the RETL camp.
Ma herself had made repeated complaints after her family was evicted as a result of an urban redevelopment plan in Shanghai. For her actions, she was sentenced in August 2001 to one year in a RETL camp. She had reported being beaten while serving her time.
Ma Yalian was punished for a second time apparently for posting articles on the Internet exposing failings in China¡¯s administrative complaint and adjudication system. At about the same time the authorities tightened up censorship and surveillance on the Internet. Ma posted articles about harassment and abuses both on the legal professional website http://chineselawyer.com.cn and on the overseas website www.dajiyuan.com, which is run by Falun Gong activists. In these postings, for example, Ma disclosed that there were incidents of individuals committing suicide in front of government petitioning offices.
Mao Hengfeng£¨Âíºã·ï£©, female, ruled by authorities to be sent to a ¡°Re-education Through Labour¡± (RETL) camp for 18 months after she repeatedly protested official abuses of her rights. She was released on September 12, 2005. Since then, she has continued her protests and has suffered further abuses along with her husband, Wu Xuewei, who has also been subjected to beatings and may face criminal charges. Both are at risk of persecution, including arbitrary detention and torture or ill-treatment.
Mao, the mother of twins, was reportedly dismissed from her job in 1988 because she became pregnant for a second time with a third child, in violation of China¡¯s ¡°one child¡± family planning regulations. Mao Hengfeng refused to undergo an abortion and she was subsequently incarcerated at a psychiatric hospital, where she was forcibly injected with various drugs. She nevertheless continued the pregnancy, giving birth to a baby girl prematurely on February 28, 1989. She was then notified in March 1989 that she had been dismissed from her job for missing sixteen days at work.
Mao won an appeal to authorities about her dismissal according to regulations under China¡¯s Labour Law. She got her job back according to a ruling by the Shanghai Municipal Labour Arbitration Committee. However, the soap factory where she worked disputed the ruling, and appealed to Shanghai Yangpu District Court. Mao was seven months pregnant with her fourth child at the time of the appeal hearing. The judge reportedly told her that if she terminated her pregnancy, he would rule in her favor.
Mao Hengfeng was detained after she traveled to Beijing to petition state authorities at the time of the annual meeting of the National People¡¯s Congress in March 2004. Authorities ruled that her petitioning ¡°disturbed social order.¡± Her welfare allowances were discontinued when she was sent to the RETL camp in April 2004, leaving her family in severe financial difficulties.
Several days after her release, Mao Hengfeng and her family were reportedly held under a form of ¡°house arrest¡± from 23-27 September, 2005. Officials tried to prevent her from contacting a UN office in Beijing about the abuses she had suffered. She was placed under house arrest again from September 29, to October 11, 2005 during the National Day holidays and the fifth plenary session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Yao Fuxin£¨Ò¦¸£ÐÅ£©, male, 55, and Xiao Yunliang£¨Ð¤ÔÆÁ¼£©, male, 59. Yao, a factory worker at Liaoyang City Steel Mill and an activist for labor rights. Arrested for ¡°illegal demonstrations and protests with others¡± after joining Liaoyang workers in a strike on March 29, 2002. On June 25, 2003, the Liaoning Provincial Higher Court upheld a lower court¡¯s decision to sentence him to seven years imprisonment and three years of deprivation of political rights for ¡°subversion against the state.¡± He is now imprisoned at the No. 2 Prison in Linyuan City, Liaoning Province. Xiao was sentenced to four years in prison on May 9, 2003 on charges of subversion. He was detained after leading peaceful worker demonstrations in Liaoyang City, Liaoning Province, in March 2002.
Thousands of workers from more than 20 factories in Liaoyang City had demonstrated against official corruption and demanded basic living allowance for laid-off workers, payment of pensions and unpaid wages.
The two were also active in the Democracy Party organizing activities in the late 1990s. Yao was reportedly to be the coordinator of a proposed "Liaoning Preparatory Committee of the China Democracy Party." But the party-organizing activities were soon discovered by the police and many of the participants arrested.
Yao Fuxin, Xiao Yunliang and others were accused of organizing workers of the Liaoyang factories to assemble and demonstrate in March 2002, without applying for legal permits, for ¡°disturbing functions of state organs,¡± and for giving ¡°inflammatory speeches.¡± They were also accused of contacting ¡°hostile separatist organizations¡± overseas and foreign reporters.
Ye Guozhu£¨Ò¶¹úÖù£©, male, 50. Arrested on September 15, 2004, for leading efforts to petition the government to address grievances by residents forced to relocate without fair compensation.
After his own house was demolished after he had been forcibly evicted, Ye Guozhu began to take an active role in defending his own and fellow citizens¡¯ housing rights. Many years¡¯ petitioning of government authorities did not succeed in getting an official hearing for their grievances. In the process, he met many people who had suffered from similar violence and heard many sad stories. He began to take on their cases with the hope that his efforts could assist these people in seeking administrative and legal remedies.
Gradually, he also began helping people with other kinds of grievances to petition the government and get their stories into the media. Mr. Ye, living in poverty himself, provided food and other assistance to petitioners who traveled from rural areas.
On 24th August 2003, Ye helped organize the ¡°September 18 March¡± to call for social justice. The activities were planned according to legal regulations. The organizers applied for a permit from the Beijing Municipal Security Bureau, where they were required to submit a list of the participants. But the application was rejected by the PSB. On August 27, the Beijing Dongcheng district police detained him and subsequently charged him with the crime of ¡°disrupting social order.¡± He was formally arrested on September 15, 2004. On February 2, 2005, the No. 2 Beijing Municipal Intermediate Court sentenced him to four years in prison for ¡°picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.¡± He is imprisoned at the Tianjin Cha Dian Qing Yuan Prison.
Zhang Shanguang£¨ÕÅÉÆ¹â£©, male, 53, a former middle school teacher, an activist for workers' rights. In 1998, Mr. Zhang tried to form the Alliance for Defending the Rights of Laid-off Workers in Hunan Province. He gave information to foreign journalists about rural and urban labor unrest in Hunan province. As a result, he was detained in July 1998 and sentenced five months later to ten years in jail for "providing state secrets to overseas organizations." There have been reports that Zhang Shanguang has been abused in prison. He was reportedly beaten, shackled, and forced to engage in hard labor for long hours after he refused to undergo forced labor. He suffers from tuberculosis which he contracted while he was previously imprisoned for seven years for criticizing the government for the June 4th 1989 crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations. Following international campaigns, authorities have allowed family to send medicine to the prison. Reportedly, his tuberculosis is under control, but he remains very weak.
Zhao Yan£¨ÕÔÑÒ£©, male, 43. Formerly a researcher for the Beijing bureau of The New York Times. He has been in custody since September 17, 2004. On October 20, 2004, he was arrested on charges of fraud and on ¡°suspicion of providing state secrets to an overseas organization.¡± He has not been tried and is now confined at the Beijing State Security Bureau Detention Center.
Previously, Zhao was a reporter for various newspapers and journals, including the Chinese magazine China Reform. He was known for his bold investigative reports on official corruption, citizens taking government officials to court, and farmers¡¯ grievances and rural unrest. Between 2003 and 2004, he was instrumental in assisting citizens campaigning to remove corrupt mayors or deputies to the People¡¯s Congress. He also played an active role in helping farmers to seek compensation for land forcibly confiscated by authorities and in obtaining the release of wrongfully convicted persons in some of the most celebrated cases in the country.
Zhao has not been allowed to see his lawyer or family. He was alleged to have revealed to his employer, the New York Times, that former president Jiang Zemin was resigning as head of the Central Military Commission before the official announcement had been made. The New York Times has denied the allegation. The newspaper carried an article about the resignation on September 7, 12 days before the official announcement. Zhao Yan¡¯s lawyer said Zhao could be accused of "treason", a charge for which the death penalty can be imposed.
Zhao Yan studied at the Department of Chinese Language in Heilongjiang University in 1982. Between 1989 and 2002, he worked as a journalist for the Shekou Communication Newspaper, Hong Kong Special Region Newspaper, Chinese Lawyers Newspaper, and the China Reform Journal. He began working for the New York Times in May 2004.
2. Human Rights Lawyers:
Gao Zhisheng£¨¸ßÖ¾êÉ£©, male, 41, lawyer. Gao Zhisheng has represented many activists and rights defenders in courts or taken their cases. The more recent ones include activists detained in connection to the Taishi Village demonstrations demanding the removal of a corrupt chief in Guangzhou, the detained representatives of rural investors in oil fields in Yulin, Shanxi. He was to defend the Internet writer Zheng Yichun, who was tried and sentenced to seven years in prison.
On November 4, 2005, the Beijing Judiciary Bureau informed Gao that his law firm was barred from practicing law for one year. He was told that, if he would not obey authorities during the year, he might lose his personal freedom. The Beijing Justice Bureau had been looking for ¡°evidence¡± to revoke his license, threatening his partners and assistants to leave. On November, the Bureau officially suspended the law firm¡¯s license and suspended Gao¡¯s personal license to practice law.
On October 18, Mr. Gao had written an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao requesting a government investigation into alleged systematic torture and persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. He said he must take this action because such cases were normally not accepted by any courts in China and, as a lawyer, he was unable to provide legal aid to victims. Since then, he has been under pressure from authorities to withdraw his letter. He refused. Mr. Gao told journalists that he would take legal action, suing the Beijing Justice Bureau.
Mr. Gao is under constant police surveillance, which did not cease even during his meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture in Beijing. He has now been forced into hiding in northern China.
Guo Guoting£¨¹ù¹úÍ. ©, attorney, chief partner of the Shanghai Tian Yi Law Firm. He was one of few lawyers who would defend dissidents and Falun Gong practitioners. He represented the imprisoned lawyer Zheng Enchong. Because of these activities, the Shanghai authorities revoked his license to practice. A year after he lost his right to practice law and also his freedom of movement, he left for Canada.
On February 23, 2005, Guo¡¯s office was searched by 20 police. On March 6, about 30 police searched his home. They confiscated numerous papers, diaries, documents etc. They even searched his daughter¡¯s computer. And his home phone was cut off for one month. On March 24, 2005 Guo was charged with ¡°gathering crowds to disturb social order¡± and his license to practice law was taken away. Guo received over 30 warnings from at least six different government agencies, including the Shanghai Justice Bureau and the State Security Bureau.
Xu, Zhiyong (ÐíÖ¾ÓÀ), male, law PhD from Beijing University, founder of Sunshine Constitutionalism institute [yangguang xianzheng, now renamed Public Alliance Information Consultation Company (gongmeng xinxi zixun gongsi)]. He played a key role in the abolition of the ¡°Custody and Repatriation System¡± in 2003. After the ¡°Sun Zhigang incident¡± (in which a migrant was detained in Guangzhou for not carrying an ID card and beaten to death at a ¡°C & R¡± center), Xu Zhiyong, together with Teng Biao and Yu Jiang, openly called for the National People¡¯s Congress to abolish the ¡°C & R system.¡± The system was eventually dissolved under public pressure by an executive order issued by Premier Wen Jiabao.
Xu Zhiyong also provided legal aid to the rural entrepreneur Sun Dawu, former editor-in-chief of the Southern Metropolitan News Cheng Yizhong, the paper¡¯s former general manager Yu Huafeng, and the Beijing underground church pastor Cai Zhuohu. He was also involved in preparing the lawsuit by Linyi villagers against Shandong officials for using violence in family planning campaigns. On October 4, 2005, when Xu and two other lawyers, Li Heping and Li Subin, arrived at Linyi to collect evidence, they were harassed and turned away by police. In November 2005, he and Li Heping defended Gao Zhisheng at the hearing about the decision by the Beijing Justice Bureau to suspend Gao¡¯s license to practice law.
Authorities have warned Xu not to get involved in human rights cases. They have threatened him with job loss and incarceration. The CCP branch secretary at the Posts and Telecommunications University where Xu works has repeated to him the warning from ¡°certain government offices.¡±
Zheng Enchong£¨Ö£¶÷³è£©, male, 55, former attorney. Arrested on June 18, 2003 for ¡°illegally providing state secrets to overseas interests.¡± On December 28, 2003, the Shanghai Municipal Higher Court upheld a lower court¡¯s verdict, which found him guilty of the charge and sentenced him to three years of imprisonment and one year of deprivation of political rights. He is now imprisoned at Tilanqiao Prison in Shanghai City. Mr. Zheng provided legal advice to people who were displaced from their homes due to redevelopment projects.
Mr. Zheng was originally detained on June 6, 2003, after assisting with more than 500 cases of families displaced due to Shanghai's urban redevelopment projects. Mr. Zheng had advised families involved in a lawsuit alleging corrupt collusion between officials and a wealthy property developer, Mr. Zhou Zhengyi, who allegedly relocated 2,159 residents from a housing property in West Beijing Road to a fringe district with very poor transportation, without paying anything for a 70-year land lease on the property.
One of the communications considered to be a "state secret" by the Shanghai State Security Bureau was Zheng passing on information about protests by displaced people to Human Rights in China, an NGO based in New York. According to local sources, the protest was publicly known. The Court acknowledged that the document concerning the protest and police intervention never reached any human rights entities outside China, to which it was allegedly sent.
Mr. Zheng's license had been revoked in 2001 after he stated that it was necessary to amend Article 10 of the PRC Constitution that secures the state's right to own the land in cities and the right "to expropriate the land in the country in public interests" from collective owners. Despite Mr. Zheng's loss of his license to practice law and increasing official persecution, he continued to provide legal advice to people even though he could not represent them in court. When news came in August 2003 that Mr. Zheng was being tried secretly, more than 300 people to whom he had been providing legal advice gathered to protest outside the court. The court called in some 200 police officers to control the crowd, and more than 100 protesters were arrested.
Mr. Zheng has reportedly been beaten in prison after he asked for pen and paper to write. In December 2005, he was awarded the Annual Human Rights Award by the German Association of Judges. On December 14, his wife and aunt were denied a visit to him by the prison. Their request to speak to him by phone was also rejected. Prison authorities refused to give any reason for the denial.
Zhu Jiuhu£¨Öì¾Ã»¢£©, male, 39. An attorney at Beijing Jietong Law Firm and litigator on behalf of northern Shanxi Oilfield investors. Arrested on May 26, 2005, after agreeing to represent the investors in lawsuits against the officials. In the early hours of May 26, police detained Zhu in his Yulin hotel, seizing his computer and documents. His alleged crimes were ¡°suspicion of gathering crowds to disturb social order¡± and ¡°illegal demonstration.¡± He was confined at Shanxi Jinbian Detention Center.
On September 19, 2005, local authorities in Shanxi province released Zhu Jiuhu on bail. But he was banned from leaving Beijing or accepting media interviews. He was also barred from practicing law and from continuing to represent the rural investors in the Shanxi oilfield cases. In December 2005, the Beijing Justice Bureau and the Beijing Lawyers Association re-instated his license to practice.
3. Human Rights Workers:
Chen Guangcheng£¨³Â¹â³Ï£©, male, 34, a self-taught lawyer. Briefly kidnapped and detained on September 6, and since then put under house arrest by Shandong police for exposing family planning violence in Linyi and providing legal aid to villagers who were to take legal action regarding these abuses against local authorities.
Chen has a long history of campaigning for the rights of farmers and the disabled.
Blind due to a high fever from the age of one, Chen was educated at home till he was 18, but then attended the Linyi Primary School for the Blind and then Qingdao School for the Blind. He assisted local villagers to solve drinking water pollution problem when he was attending Nanjing Chinese Medicine University in 2000. He created and ran the ¡°Rights Defense Project for the Disabled¡± under the auspice of the Chinese Legal Studies Association between 2000 and 2001. Since 1996, he has provided free legal consultation to farmers and the disabled in rural areas. In 2003, he was sponsored by the ¡°International Visitors Project¡± to visit the US. In 2004, he ran a ¡°Citizen Awareness and Law for the Disabled Project¡± supported by NED and the Monica Fund.
Since March 2005, Mr. Chen has been assisting villagers in bringing legal action against the Linyi city authorities for alleged illegal activities in implementing government birth quotas. According to Linyi residents, in March 2005 the local government began forcing parents with two children to be sterilized and women pregnant with a third child to undergo abortion. Officials detained family members of those couples who fled, beat them and held them hostage. The villagers¡¯ lawsuit was due to be heard on October 10, but the court date was postponed several times. Only four villagers are reportedly still pressing for the lawsuit while others have pulled out after being harassed and threatened or bribed. Police also allegedly forced them to testify against Chen Guangcheng, saying that he fabricated the reports of abuses.
By the end of August, Chen had evaded police surrounding his village and went to Shanghai, then to Beijing, to seek help from lawyers. In Beijing, friends arranged for him to meet foreign journalists, diplomats, and international legal experts, to discuss the lawsuits. On September 6, he was detained in Beijing by police from Shandong Province, who took him back to Linyi and released him into house arrest the following day. Since then, his house has reportedly been surrounded by up to 30 men and many cars; his landline and mobile phone services have been cut off, and his computer has been seized. On October 4, law lecturer Xu Zhiyong, lawyer Li Fangping, and another lawyer attempted to visit Chen and negotiate with local officials to have his house arrest lifted. The lawyers were stopped on their way to the house. Chen reportedly managed to leave his house and spoke with them briefly, but was then forcibly taken back. When he resisted, he was beaten up by men surrounding his house. The lawyers tried to go to Chen¡¯s house, but they were stopped and reportedly beaten up and taken to a police station where they were interrogated. They were told that the case now involved ¡°state secrets¡± and escorted back to Beijing.
On October 10, Chen Guangcheng¡¯s cousin Chen Guangli and another villager, also surnamed Chen, who had been giving interviews about Chen Guangcheng¡¯s situation to foreign reporters were reportedly detained. On October 24, two other Beijing scholars and friends of Mr. Chen went to visit him. As Mr. Chen ran out to greet them, he was stopped and beaten by more than 20 men stationed outside. The visitors were quickly escorted away. Authorities did not release Mr. Chen even after the UN Special Rapporteur called his relatives from Beijing during the Rapporteur¡¯s visit in late November 2005.
Guo Feixiong £¨¹ù·ÉÐÜ£©, penname Yang Maodong £¨ÑîÃ¯¶«£©, 39, Beijing-based writer and scholar, independent publisher. Guo Feixiong disappeared on September 12, 2005, and was later confirmed to be in police custody.
Guo graduated from Huadong Teachers¡¯ College with a philosophy major in 1988 and was assigned a job in a medical school in Wuhan. He resigned in 1991 and went to Guangdong. Between 1993 and 2001, he ran a small independent publishing house. Since then, he became a freelance writer. His writings can be found at http://www.yannan.cn/homepage/guofeixiong.htm
Guo went to Guangzhou and assisted villagers involved in land disputes with local officials in Nanhai, Guangdong Province in June 2005. He sent daily briefings reporting developments and the villagers¡¯ demands on the Internet. He was detained while working with villagers at Taishi, Guangdong Province, where he had been advising villagers in their legal campaign to impeach an elected village committee chief who the villagers suspected of embezzling funds from selling collectively-owned farm land. The campaign in Taishi began in July 2005. In mid-August, Guo was invited by local activists to provide legal counsel. After the villagers¡¯ requests to follow legal procedures to implement their motion was repeatedly rejected or ignored by government, villagers staged sit-ins and hunger strikes. Since mid-September local officials have allegedly taken coercive measures to block the process. All seven elected members of the re-election oversight committee resigned, some citing official pressure or threats, following clashes with police. Dozens of villagers have reportedly been detained. There have also been reports of harassment and violent attacks on journalists and lawyers.
Guo was detained at an Internet caf¨¦ in Guangzhou on September 13 but was confirmed to be in police custody 11 days later. Guo¡¯s lawyers were not able to meet with him due to the harassment and threats the lawyers faced. Guo was detained at the Panyu Detention Center on suspicion of ¡°gathering crowds to disturb social order.¡± While in detention, he went on hunger strike for 59 days and doctors at the detention center force-fed him to keep him alive.
On December 27, 2005, Guo was released by Panyu District Public Security Bureau. On the same day, other detained Taishi villagers were also freed. According to Guo, on September 25, security personnel from the Guangdong provincial Public Security Bureau tortured him in an attempt to extract information. They abused him verbally. After he reported the abuses to the procuratorate¡¯s office and protested openly, however, the interrogators refrained from using torture as an interrogation tactic.
Hou Wenzhuo£¨ºîÎÄ×¿£©, female, 35, a former scholar, founder and director of Empowerment and Rights Institute China (EARI, ren zhi quan, http://www.earichina.org) based in Beijing. Since the group was established in 2004, she has been monitored and sometimes harassed by police. In recent months, the EARI office has been searched and was eventually forced to close down. During the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, at the end of August 2005, Hou was put under house arrest in an attempt to prevent her from attempting to meet with the Commissioner.
Hou has been working on migrants¡¯ rights, rural elections, and land rights in the past few years. She participated in a training with the UN in Geneva in 2003. After her return, she set up EARI mainly to focus on rural petitioners who come to Beijing to request that the central authorities to investigate their grievances. EARI followed the land dispute and farmers¡¯ protests in Nanhai County, and later the Taishi villagers¡¯ sit-ins demanding removing a corrupt village chief. Between June and September 2005, EARI associates filed daily briefings and urgent calls for public/international media attention to violent crackdowns by local police. Some of them were questioned, at least one person remains in custody, another was severely beaten outside Beijing. In October, Hou was followed and questioned by police while trying to collect information in Guizhou Province about complaints from dislocated villagers due to a dam project. Under threats, Hou Wenzhuo left China for the US in November 2005.
Hu Jia£¨ºú¼Ñ£©, male, 31, AIDS activist based in Beijing. Hu focuses on the health rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Henan province. Due to his criticisms of the government¡¯s failures in AIDS prevention and care, he has been repeatedly harassed, often put under house arrest, and beaten by police. He was placed under house arrest on May 28, 2004, after publicly stating his intention to light a candle in Tiananmen Square in memory of those who were killed during the June 1989 crackdown. He reported that he was beaten when he tried to leave his apartment building. He was again detained after he tried to participate a gathering to mourn the deceased former leader Zhao Ziyang in February and in late August during the visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour. In the latest round of harassment, Hu Jia was detained on November 7 by Zhengzhou police in Hunan, while he was assisting HIV/AIDS petitioners trying to bring their cases to the attention of officials attending an AIDS conference there.
Li Boguang£¨Àî°Ø¹â£©, male, 37, legal scholar with a Ph.D from Beijing University, taught law at Hainan University from August 1997 to April 1998. He is now a senior advisor at Beijing Anping legal service company.
In 2003 and 2004 Li Boguang helped to defend the rights of hundreds of thousands of villagers and ethnic minorities in several provinces who were being forcibly relocated due to the expropriation of their land. He provided legal counsel and training to the affected people, helped with their public petition campaigns, assisted their efforts to force the resignation of local officials and hold business perpetrators accountable. He also gave advice on rural elections in Liaoning province. He has been a legal adviser to local rights activists such as Chen Guangcheng in Linyi, Shandong province.
Li Boguang was arrested on December 14, 2004, when he was working as a legal advisor to local farmers in Fujian province. He was released on probation, waiting for trial, for one year on January 21, 2005.
In February 2005, he represented Liu Lie, a farmer from Heilongjiang province, who had come to Beijing to seek an administrative review of her land dispute with local officials by the Legal Office at the State Council after she had exhausted legal channels at the provincial level. The state farm violated the land contract by taking back the land which she leased for agriculture and was making a profit. This celebrated case became the first constitutional law case involving the State Council. This case has now been ruled in Liu Jie¡¯s favour.
Li Guozhu£¨Àî¹úÖù£©, male, 48, former state employee, activist. Detained for his investigation into a violent incident in Henan province. In November 2004, Li spent two days in Zhongmou county in Henan province, an area where the government declared martial law after violent clashes between Han Chinese and Hui Muslim minorities. After Li did some interviews with eyewitnesses and tried to provide assistance to victims, he sent foreign journalists copies of his interviews along with photographs of restaurants damaged in the riots.
On November 12, 2004, after Li returned to Beijing, eight police officers and the local village chief went to the office of Sanchun Dadi (Mountain Spring on the Land), a non-governmental advocacy group located on the outskirts of Beijing where Li worked as a volunteer, to question him about his Henan trip. The group had assisted farmers who came to Beijing to petition central authorities to seek redress or report on corrupt officials, property seizures, and other abuses. Li Guozhu was then detained. Officials made no statements on his whereabouts or any charges against him.
Li, a former officer at a prison management bureau in Heilongjiang province, is married and has a three-year old son. His wife is partially disabled. On December 2, Li¡¯s wife, who had no information about her husband after his detention, traveled to Beijing to seek information. Police from Heilongjiang came to the capital and detained and escorted her home.
In 2004, Li became increasingly visible in the growing numbers of street protests organized by rural petitioners who traveled to Beijing. During his years in Beijing, trying to petition for review of a Heilongjiang case, Li became resourceful and played a leading role in assisting other petitioners with their cases, offering practical advice and legal aid. He often spoke to national and international media about the petitioners¡¯ grievances and demands. In August and September 2004, police from Heilongjiang detained him in Beijing, took him back to Heilongjiang, and then released him without formal charges.
Li Jian£¨Àî½¡£©, male, 41, a former worker at a state petrolium facility and human rights activist based in Dalian City, Liaoning Province. His activities have been closely monitored and he has often been harassed due to police restriction on his travels. The surveillance is intended to intimidate him and stop him from carrying out his work.
Li Jian was a former worker at Daqing oil factory, a state owned enterprise. Since 2002, he has been involved in public petitions and other human rights campaigns. He was instrumental in organizing the online signature campaign for the release of the Internet writer Liu Di, a university student detained for her writings posted on the Internet. Liu was sentenced to jail on charge of ¡°leaking state secrets.¡± She was released early. He was actively involved in the ¡°Spring Bud Action,¡± a project aimed at raising funds to support rural girls¡¯ schooling. But this project was forced to shut down by authorities. In April 2003, he set up the ¡°Civil Rights Defense Net¡± (gongmin weiquan wang), which publicizes news and petitions on the website www.gmwqw.org. Mr. Li helps victims of rights abuses seek legal aid and solve their problems through legal procedures, as well as pushing for reform of the system. The ¡°Civil Rights Defense Net¡± website was twice blocked by officials. Mr. Li filed a law suit against authorities for violating his right to freedom of _expression and press.
Li Weiping£¨ÀîÎÀÆ½£©, scholar. He graduated with an advanced degree from Zhongnan University. He participated in the 1989 pro-democracy movement. He was sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in organizing a political party. In April 2005, he and Liu Jingsheng obtained a permit to open a for-profit business, the Beijing Hua Xia Citizens¡¯ Rights Consultation Center. The Center had planned to assist citizens in seeking to protect their legal rights and to raise awareness of human rights, training civil servants and influencing government policy on human rights. As they were to hold a press conference on April 18 to announce the opening of the center in Beijing, they were threatened by police and pressured to cancel all their activities, and they eventually handed back their legal permit.
Liu Jingsheng£¨Áõ¾©Éú£©, political dissident, detained for six months in 1979 for participating in the 1978 Democracy Wall Movement, publishing the magazine Tansuo (Exploration) with Wei Jingsheng. After the June 1989 crackdown, Liu and other activists established the China Freedom and Democracy Party and the Chinese Free Labor Union of China. Because of these activities, Liu was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He began serving his term on May 28, 1992. Liu was released from prison on November 27, 2004, two and half years before the end of his sentence. But he was deprived of his political rights for another year as part of his sentence. In April 2005, after he and Li Weiping had obtained a permit to open a for-profit business, the Beijing Hua Xia Citizens¡¯ Rights Consultation Center. (See above.) In October 2005, Liu Jingsheng opened ¡°Jingsheng Studio¡± (Jingsheng gongzuo shi) in Beijing to assist Chinese citizens in defending their rights.
Wan Yanhai£¨ÍòÑÓº££©, founder and director of the Beijing AIDS Information and Action Consultation Center (formerly Beijing Action Project), who was instrumental in exposing HIV/AIDS epidemic in rural Hunan resulting from the unsafe commercial blood business. His group has worked to push the government towards greater transparency and more effective action to prevent and treat AIDS. He was detained in August 2002 for a month on suspicion of "illegally leaking state secrets" when he published a government document on the group¡¯s website on the extent of the epidemic in Henan Province. Dr. Wan was awarded the Canadian AIDS and Human Rights Award in 2003. The group is not permitted to register as a non-profit NGO and is forced to register as a for-profit business corporation. The group¡¯s activities continue to be restricted and monitored by the police.
Zhao Xin£¨ÕÔê¿£©, male, 38. Zhao has advocated for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and petitioners who traveled to the capital to complain about corruption and abuses by local government. He wrote articles online and offered legal aid. Zhao also assists victims of the 1989 massacre by collecting testimonies and evidence and raising funds for the support of victim¡¯s families. He also campaigned for citizens¡¯ rights to political participation and participated in organizing the China Democratic Party.
Zhao was a student leader during 1989 student protest and was arrested on June 17, 1989, and imprisoned at Qincheng Prison in Beijing for one year. Zhao was arrested again on February 2, 1992, for organizing an event to mark 1,000 days since the June Fourth crackdown. He was sent to Beijing Haidian Detention Center, where he was beaten. As a result he suffers from permanent memory loss and chronic pain in his lower back. After attempting to organize a memorial event for Zhao Ziyang, the former Communist Party Secretary who was sympathetic to the 1989 student protests, Zhao Xin was detained on January 21, 2005. Zhao is currently out on probationary release awaiting possible trial.
Zhao Xin began working for the Empowerment and Rights Institute in Beijing. He is currently the Executive Director of the group. On November 17, 2005, Zhao was severely beaten by unidentified thugs in Sichuan province, where he was visiting with his parents, while plain-clothed police, who had followed him all the way from Beijing, seemed to look on. He was beaten in the hotel where he was staying, in plain view of other guests and hotel staff. He was told by one of the attackers that they had sought him out for beating. He was severely injured with one broken leg, several fractured ribs, and 11 stitches on his head. He is now hospitalized at the Chengdu Army 8.1 Hospital. In late November, Zhao Xin met with the visiting UN Special Rapporteur against Torture. Since then, local officials have also visited Zhao in the hospital, promising to bring those who beat him to justice. But authorities have not agreed to help Zhao Xin to pay his huge medical bills.
1 The UN declaration is also known as Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, General Assembly resolution 53/144 (Distr. GENERAL A/RES/53/144, 8 March 1999). This document is available on-line at: http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/A.RES.53.144.En?OpenDocument
2 This definition is consistent with Amnesty International (USA)¡¯s working definition in ¡°PRC: Human Rights Defenders at Risk,¡± available online at http://www.amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/document.do?id=AC54C5BD1819D73F80256F0F0052BD15
3 According to the China Youth Daily (October 11, 2005), ¡°more than 90% of Chinese NGOs actually have not obtained recognition by current law, and it is impossible for them to get protection which they should have. Their development is constrained.¡± According to Prof. Wang Ming, director of Qinghua University¡¯s NGO Study Institute, legal and police infrastructure is the most serious problem for the development of Chinese NGOs. Their survival and growth have benefited from the departmentalization of government administration, which is characteristic of the system, and also from a power vacuum created by government reforms during this transitional period, where they find some room for existence. But at the same time, it is precisely because of the departmentalization, NGOs cannot be regularized and managed as a sector, hence it is very difficult for them to enjoy the financial and tax revenue support and benefits which the government should give them.
4 Sun Dawu, male, well-known rural entrepreneur, former General Manger and Board Director of Hebei Dawu Corporation. Because of his criticisms of the government in his speeches on university campuses and on the Internet, he was arrested under the charge of ¡°illegal collecting of funds¡±.
5 Liu Di, female, 25. She began posting political commentaries online in 2001. On November 7, 2002, she was under criminal detention by the Beijing Public Security Bureau. After one year and twenty-one days, she was released on probation awaiting trial. On December 25, 2003, the lawsuit against her was dropped and the probation lifted by the Second Branch of the Beijing Prosecutors¡¯ Office, citing ¡°non-serious criminal acts.¡± Liu Di is now a freelance writer and translator, but she finds it very difficult to publish her articles in the mainstream media.
6 Cheng Yizhong, male, 40. During his tenure as the Chief Editor of Southern Metropolitan News (nanfang dushi bao), the paper first disclosed the beating to death of Sun Zhigang at the Guangzhou Custody and Repatriation Center and the cover-ups of the SARS epidemic in Guangzhou. In January 2004, Guangzhou authorities ordered the arrest of Cheng Yizhong, accusing him of ¡°suspect of economic embezzlement. This incident caused a uproar. Under public pressure, Guangzhou Procuratorate decided not to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence. He was released in August 2004. However, two months later, he was expelled from the party and stripped off all his administrative positions. In April 2005, he was awarded the ¡°World Press Freedom Award¡± by UNESCO.
7 Article 6
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others:
(a) To know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or administrative systems;
(b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters.
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to develop and discuss new human rights ideas and principles and to advocate their acceptance.
1. Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to have effective access, on a nondiscriminatory basis, to participation in the government of his or her country and in the conduct of public affairs.
2. This includes, inter alia, the right, individually and in association with others, to submit to governmental bodies and agencies and organizations concerned with public affairs criticism and proposals for improving their functioning and to draw attention to any aspect of their work that may hinder or impede the promotion, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
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