China: Two Old Women Sentenced to Re-education Through Labor After Applying to Demonstrate in Beijing Olympics “Protest Zones”

Human Rights in China, August 19, 2008-

Human Rights in China has learned that Beijing petitioners Wu Dianyuan (吴殿元) and Wang Xiuying (王秀英) have been ordered to serve a one-year term of Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) after repeatedly applying for permits to hold demonstrations in the Beijing “protest zones” during the Olympics. Wu and Wang have both been actively petitioning the government since they were forcibly evicted from their homes in Beijing in 2001.

“Punishing Wu and Wang after they applied for protest permits and actively petitioned the government demonstrates that the official statements touting the new Olympics ‘protest zones,’ as well as the permit application process, were no more than a show,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “The record speaks for itself: in addition to retaliatory actions, despite numerous applications made, no approvals for demonstrations have been reported.”

Wu Dianyuan’s son, Li Xuehui (李学惠), told Human Rights in China that Wu, 79, and Wang, 77, went to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) Security Administration Unit (北京市公安局治安管理总队) five times between August 5 and August 18 to apply for permits to demonstrate in the newly-designed “protest zones.” The two women, who used to be neighbors, applied to demonstrate against the forced eviction from their homes in 2001. Wu and Wang’s application was neither granted nor denied on each of their five trips to the Security Administration Unit. On August 5, the two were held by PSB officers and interrogated for 10 hours.

On August 17, Wu and Wang each received an RTL decision dated July 30 from the RTL commission of the Beijing Municipal Government (北京市人民政府劳动教养管理委员会). The decisions order them to serve one year of RTL for “disturbing the public order,” from July 30, 2008 to July 29, 2009. The decision states the term will be served outside the RTL camp, but also places restrictions on movement and stipulates that if provisions of the decision or other regulations are violated, they will be sent to the RTL camp.

When Wu and Wang returned to the Security Administration Unit on August 18, they were told by the PSB officers on duty that since they had received the RTL decision the day before, they now had no right to apply for the demonstration protest.

- Original:Two Beijing Residents Sentenced to Reeducation-Through-Labor After Applying for Permits to Demonstrate in Olympics “Protest Zones”