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Nearly 100 Rights Defenders Attacked in Beijing Area in half month

Posted by Author on September 17, 2006

Chinese Human Rights Defenders, Sept. 11, 2009– (abstract)

Since mid-August, police all over China have carried out a centrally coordinated clampdown on rights activities. Without due process or legal procedure, large numbers of writers, intellectuals, lawyers and rights activists have been subjected to house arrest and other forms of tightened control.

In Beijing alone, nearly 100 people have been affected. They include Liu Xiaobo, Jiang Qisheng, Wang Lixiong, Wei Se, Zhang Zuhua, Jiao Guobiao, Teng Biao, Li Heping, Jiang Tianyong, Li Baiguang, Fan Yafeng, Zhang Lihui, Li Fengping, Li Jingsong, Li Subin, Hou Wenzhuo, Li Hai, Hu Jia (twice detained for questioning in recent days), Liu Huo, Qi Zhiyong, Liu Jingsheng, Ma Wendu, Li Jinping and the family and contacts of lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Another, Zhao Xin, was forcefully returned to Yunnan Province.

Highlights of the crackdown in Augest

On August 9, 2006, human rights activist Guo Feixiong was beaten up by a gang of police officers on the train to Beijing. On the same day, Yao Baohua and Zhou Yaqin, representing landless peasants in Changzhou in Jiangsu Province were put under criminal detention by the local police and charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.” They had been seeking to petition the local government and were expressing their views peacefully.

On August 11, Tan Kai, an environmentalist from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and founder of the NGO called “Green Watch,” was convicted of “illegally acquiring state secrets” and sentenced by the local court to 18 months of imprisonment. He had been protesting illegal pollution. The same day Zan Aizong, a Zhejiang correspondent for “China Ocean News,” received seven days of administrative detention for reporting the demolition of a church in Xiaoshan city. The Hangzhou Public Security Bureau accused Zan Aizong of “spreading rumors and disturbing public order”.

On August 15, human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was secretly arrested by police in Dongying city in Shandong. Gao had spoken out about his concerns about violations of human rights. The authorities have yet to announce the specific reasons for his arrest. Since his arrest, the police have placed his wife and children under close and invasive surveillance.

On August 17, in Yinan County in Shandong Province, Dr. Xu Zhiyong, who had been providing legal assistance to the activist Chen Guangcheng, was accused of theft. Yinan police detained Xu, as well as two lawyers, Zhang Lihui and Li Fangping, who were accompanying him. They were taken to Jiehu police station for questioning.

On August 18, other activists, including Deng Yongliang and lawyer Zhang Jiankang, were also detained by police in Yinan, Shandong, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

On August 19, the Yinan County People’s Court sentenced blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng to four years and three months in prison for “gathering a crowd to disrupt traffic order” and “willful damage to property”. The authorities refused to let Chen’s lawyers represent him in court.

On August 20, Li Jianhong and Ouyang Xiaorong, both members of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, were beaten by police in Qingdao, Shandong and forcibly returned to Shanghai and Yunnan.

On August 22, rights representative Liu Zhengyou in Zigong City, Sichuan Province was badly beaten by unidentified thugs right before the eyes of police. Liu has been urging the government to negotiate with peasants to settle a land dispute fairly and had been participating with the farmers in peaceful demonstrations.

On August 25, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Zhao Yan, a researcher at the Beijing office of New York Times, to three years of imprisonment on charges of “fraud.” In a trial that drew much international scrutiny, Zhao was found not guilty of “divulging state secrets.” Zhao Yan had been paying close attention to issues such as peasant land rights and fair compensation. He had also been providing legal aid to help people begin litigation against corrupt officials.

On August 31, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court delivered a judgment in an initial hearing for Cheng Xiang (Ching Cheung), the chief China correspondent for the Singapore newspaper The Straits Times. Cheng was found guilty of “espionage” and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment plus one year of deprivation of political rights. The court also confiscated 300,000 yuan of Cheng’s personal property.

– from China: Intensified Attack on Human Rights Defenders, Sept. 11, 2009

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