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Archive for the ‘Chen Guangcheng’ Category

Chen Guangcheng, women rights

China: Witnesses Prevented from Appearing at Activist’s Retrial

Posted by Author on November 28, 2006


Human Rights in China (HRIC), November 27, 2006-

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that serious interference by local authorities has resulted in several witnesses failing to at the retrial of blind activist Chen Guangcheng.

Chen Guangcheng, 35 and blind since childhood, is a self-taught lawyer and activist in Shandong Province who has fought for multiple rural causes, the most famous of which was a class-action lawsuit he filed against the city of Linyi over an official policy of forced abortions and sterilizations.

After repeated arrests and beatings, Chen was detained on March 11, 2006, but was not brought to trial until August 24, when he was found guilty of destruction of property and assembling a crowd to disrupt traffic.

Chen was represented by a court-appointed lawyer for the two-hour trial because his own lawyers had been detained the night before. He was sentenced to four years and three months in prison, and was last reported held at the Yinan County Public Security Bureau Detention Center.

On October 31, a provincial appeals court ordered a retrial for Chen, which was set for November 27. However, Chen’s lawyers were provided with no formal notification of the trial date. In addition, there were reports of harassment and detention of witnesses that prevented them from testifying at the retrial:

Chen Guanghe– Chen Guangcheng’s cousin. New reports state that Yinan police officers threatened members of Chen’s family and instructed Chen not to appear at the trial. Sources subsequently told HRIC that Chen Guanghe had arranged to meet Chen Guangcheng’s lawyers at the hotel where the lawyers were staying on November 26. One of the lawyers, Teng Biao, and Chen Guangcheng’s eldest brother, Chen Guangfu, were waiting at the hotel’s entrance when Chen Guanghe arrived, and they saw seven or eight men in plain clothes appear and take Chen Guanghe away.

Chen Guangdong – News reports state that Yinan police officers threatened members of Chen’s family and instructed Chen not to appear at the trial. Sources told HRIC that Chen was put under house arrest and prevented from appearing in court.

Chen Guangyu – Sources told HRIC that Chen was put under house arrest and prevented from appearing in court.

Chen Gengjiang– Sources told HRIC that Chen was detained by police officers from the Yinan Public Security Bureau around noon on November 26. Nothing has been heard from him since then.

Sources told HRIC that Chen Guangcheng’s wife, Yuan Weijing, and his eldest brother Chen Guangfu, were kept under constant surveillance in the lead up to the trial, with upwards of 10 police officers tracing their every move. Yuan believes the authorities are concerned that witnesses will say that police coerced them into testifying against Chen in his original trial, and therefore have prevented them from appearing in the retrial.

In addition, sources say that Chen’s lawyers, Li Jinsong, Li Fangping and Teng Biao, were also obstructed for about six hours by more than 20 police officers on November 26 when they attempted to interview the witnesses. According to media reports, on the day of the retrial, Teng Biao was denied entry to the court and was interrogated by police for four hours before being released. (… read more)

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, East China, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social | Comments Off on China: Witnesses Prevented from Appearing at Activist’s Retrial

China’s Political Courts

Posted by Author on November 12, 2006


By TENG BIAO and ZHANG ZUHUA, The Asian Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2006-

BEIJING — In China, legal decisions in politically sensitive cases aren’t subject to public accountability. The process, hidden behind closed doors, is steered by political — not judicial — authorities. This has been true for decades, and was proven true again this week in the appellate case of Chen Guangcheng, China’s blind, “barefoot” lawyer.

On Monday, the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court in Shangdong province overturned Mr. Chen’s four-year prison sentence, and remanded his case for retrial at the local court in Yinan County, where Mr. Chen was originally convicted.

That first trial, held in August, was a sham. Mr. Chen had angered local officials in 2005 by documenting forced abortions and sterilizations. After putting him under house arrest and then detaining him for a total of nine months, local Party officials arrested him on trumped-up charges of “intentional destruction of property” and “gathering crowds to obstruct traffic.”

Mr. Chen’s initial, two-hour closed-door hearing was barred to all but his three brothers. His legal team, of which I was a member, was replaced by two government-appointed lawyers, against Mr. Chen’s wishes. The two new lawyers never met Mr. Chen before the trial, read any of his case files, nor offered a credible defense. They only parroted the prosecution’s case. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

The appeals process was similarly secretive. This time, our defense team was armed with extensive supporting testimony from hundreds of eyewitnesses. But in mid-October, while awaiting notice of a court date, we suddenly learned that the court had already finalized a ruling without releasing its decision to the public. Mr. Chen’s family had been kept in the dark, too.

While we are relieved that this latest decision favored Mr. Chen, China’s judicial process remains as opaque as ever. Reversals of verdict in politically charged cases are rare. Last year, when the Hunan Intermediate Court upheld a 10-year sentence against journalist Shi Tao, its decision was likewise shrouded in secrecy. In that case, as well, the decision was rendered without hearing arguments from Mr. Shi’s lawyers. Countless other cases in China have followed a similar pattern.

Why, then, was the decision in Mr. Chen’s case different? One can only guess, as Linyi court officials have explained nothing. But it seems implausible that any professional legal review was involved.

We know that local authorities in Yinan Country were angry at Mr. Chen for exposing their abusive birth-control methods. When the travesty of the subsequent arrest and conviction of Mr. Chen drew international attention, political considerations at higher levels — most likely from Beijing — may have come into play. The remanding of Mr. Chen’s case thus seems to be the fruit of his courageous supporters inside China, as well as their friends in international human-rights groups.

Cynics might object that only those who are individually noticed and championed seem to receive any justice in China. A vast, silent majority of victims languish without attention or justice. Indeed, it could be argued that a frightened and paranoid government might even double its abusive efforts to stifle this growing opposition.

Still, the fight remains worthwhile. The Yinan County court now has, according to the law, six weeks within which to conduct a new trial based on the existing evidence, or to order an entirely new investigation. For Mr. Chen personally, it means a chance to avoid
imprisonment in squalor. And for China as a whole, one can only hope that the continued pressure brought on by rights defenders against legal abuse might bring about long-term change.

Vaclav Havel, during similar struggles in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1970s, wrote that “demanding that the laws be upheld is thus an act of ‘living in truth,’ which threatens the whole mendacious structure at its point of maximum mendacity.” If China has an independent judiciary three decades from now, we might look back on the Chen Guangcheng case as having played a role.

Mr. Teng is a lawyer for Mr. Chen. Mr. Zhang is a pro-democracy activist.

Posted in Chen Guangcheng, China, East China, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Report, Social | Comments Off on China’s Political Courts

China Vs. My Husband: A Dissident’s Ordeal

Posted by Author on October 12, 2006


By Yuan Weijin, The Washington Post, October 12, 2006-

DONGSHIGU, China — On Aug. 20, the Yinan County People’s Court in Shandong province sentenced my husband, Chen Guangcheng, to four years and three months in prison on charges of “intentionally destroying property” and “assembling a crowd to disturb traffic.”

Local officials punished my husband because he provided advice about the law and human rights to village women who were forced to undergo abortions. Officials in charge of birth control were afraid that they would be disciplined as a result of his peaceful activities.

I have not seen my husband since March, when he was formally detained after we both had been under house arrest and residential surveillance for six months. I have been banned by local government officials from visiting him, first at the detention center and now in prison. I never received notification about the date and location of my husband’s court hearing. When I finally learned from a fellow villager about the hearing schedule, naturally I wanted to attend. But I was physically constrained by local officials, so I could not go.

Instead of attending his trial I was detained at the local police station. Officers threatened me, saying that unless I stopped speaking up about the case, I could also face charges and prosecution for intentionally destroying property and assembling a crowd to disturb traffic.

I did not receive any legal documents from the Yinan Court until almost a month after the court announced its verdict in my husband’s case. When I had a chance to read the verdict, which was sent to me through e-mail by someone who took the trouble to record every word, I was overcome with indignation and grief. But I must hold myself together, for I have to take care of our two small children and my mother-in-law, who is ill from the fear caused by threats from officials. I left the house and buried myself in farm work. Security guards hired by local officials to follow me came along and kept an eye on me in the fields from just a few yards away.

Three fellow villagers who had been detained and who faced the same charges as my husband were released on Aug. 20. They were each sentenced to seven months, with the start of their terms deferred for one year. I asked them about what they had been through. They felt embarrassed, but they told me that they simply could not endure the torture during interrogation. And so they repeated back to authorities what they were ordered to say, and it was later used as evidence against my husband.

The police threatened them with death if they did not testify against him. They said that police officers had bound their hands behind their backs for at least three days. They were deprived of sleep for 15 days. The police pulled their hair and beat and kicked them whenever they fell asleep. One of them told me: “I was terrified of death. My kid is very young.” I begged them to testify to Chen’s innocence at the appeal. They refused. They said, “We were set free because we said and did something against our will and conscience. That was the price we paid for our release. We dare not do anything that has to do with Chen Guangcheng from now on. Our families have to survive.”

I sympathize with these villagers and understand their fear. I can only lament the miserable situation of my fellow peasants in China.

Before I married Chen Guangcheng I was an English teacher. My parents disapproved of our marriage because Chen is blind. Now they want me to move back to live with them, but I have declined. Since I am still under residential surveillance, however, I have no choice but to let them take care of one of my children, who can then attend school there. I have no regrets at having chosen Chen Guangcheng to be my husband.

In September 2005, the local government set up a guard post in our front yard to monitor our daily activities. Since the police took Chen to the detention center in March, the guards have been watching and following me around all day long.

I want to send a message to my husband: One day the truth will come to light. Even though they put you in jail, they cannot imprison your thoughts and spirit. You must take good care of yourself so that you can continue your unfinished work.

Links to Post coverage of the detention, trial and sentencing of Chen Guangcheng accompany the online version of this column onhttp://www.washingtonpost.com.

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, Family, Human Rights, Law, News, Official, Opinion, People, Politics, Rural, Social, Speech, Women | 2 Comments »

How Beijing keeps its promises

Posted by Author on October 12, 2006


Human Rights Feature, Oct. 2-6, 2006-

The “voluntary pledge” presented by China in May for the express purpose of winning a seat on the Human Rights Council still rings in the ear, but it is ever more hollow today. Breaking its own promises, China poses a serious challenge to the new RC’s acclaimed reforms to provide a stronger and more effective protection of human rights.
….

In the four months since it made the “voluntary pledge,” the Chinese government has:

– Promulgated press control regulations on international media operating in China. In June, the government proposed huge fines (up to the equivalent of US$12,500) for journalists, foreign or domestic, who report “emergency incidents” such as clashes with police, epidemic outbreaks, or natural/man made disasters without official permission. On 10 September, the government enforced that the Xinhua News Agency would become the only authorized distributor of all news and information by foreign news agencies operating in China, in the process banning several categories of information.

– Closed down countless online publications, discussion forums and chat rooms, and began monitoring email correspondences, cell phone calls, text messages and instant messaging. In the past few months, the government shut down popular websites and online forums frequented by activists and independent writers, such as the Aegean Sea, Century China, and Dijin Minzhu.

– Detained human rights activists and lawyers, including the blind activist Chen Guangcheng in Shangdong, the rights activist/independent writer Guo Feixioang in Guangdong, and the Beijing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. The police have placed Gao Zhisheng’s wife and children under close and invasive surveillance since arresting him in mid-August.

– Charged democracy/human rights activists with political crimes of “incitement and sedition to overthrow the state” that carry long prison terms or the death penalty. The rights activist Guo Qizhen and several other writers/democracy activists have been charged with this crime. On 6 September, authorities arrested Internet writer and former Aegean Sea website editor Zhang Jianhong on the grounds of “inciting subversion”. He faces a possible prison sentence of several years.

– Imprisoned activists for peaceful activities. Chen Guangcheng was sentenced for 4 years and 3 months on 20 August. On 11 August, Tan Kai, an environmentalist from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province and founder of the NGO “Green Watch,” was convicted of “illegally acquiring state secrets” and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. On 25 August, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Zhao Yan, a researcher at the Beijing office of New York Times, to three years imprisonment on charges of “fraud,” a trumped up charge in retaliation for his concern with peasant land rights and fair compensation, and for providing legal aid to help farmers bring litigation against corrupt officials.

– Intensified persecution of unofficial “house church” members and demolished churches in the eastern provinces. In one case in August, in Xiaoshan of Zhejiang Province, officials demolished a 200-year old Christian church and arrested more than 60 church members who opposed the demolition. Zan Aizong, a journalist and Christian, received seven days of administrative detention for reporting the demolition of this church. He was accused of “spreading rumors and disturbing public order.”

– Put hundreds of activists and outspoken critics of the government under house arrest or residential surveillance; some activists have been detained incommunicado or made to disappear for periods of time. On 18 August, the activist Deng Yongliang and lawyer Zhang Jiankang disappeared in police custody in Yinan, Shandong, and police denied knowledge of their whereabouts. They were eventually released.

– Authorized use of police force to suppress peaceful demonstrations by farmers demanding land rights. On 9 August, 2006, Yao Baohua and Zhou Yaqin, representing landless peasants in Changzhou in Jiangsu Province, were placed 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 22 August, rights representative Liu Zhengyou was badly beaten by unidentified thugs right before the eyes of police in Zigong City, Sichuan Province. 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.

( More from Human Rights Feature’s article )

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, Economy, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, Media, People, Police, Politics, Report, Rural, Social, Speech, Technology, Zhao Yan | Comments Off on How Beijing keeps its promises

Wife of Detained Rights Activist Chen Guangcheng Forcibly Brought in for Questioning

Posted by Author on October 4, 2006


Human Rights in China, October 03, 2006-

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Yuan Weijing, the wife of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, was stopped and detained by police in Linyi City, Shandong Province, on October 3 where she and her daughter were in transit on the way to her parents’ home for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Sources in China told HRIC that Yuan Weijing left her house at 7am on October 3 with her one-year-old daughter. Shortly after leaving her home, Yuan was followed by five or six individuals. At approximately 9am, they arrived in Linyi City and planned to transfer to another bus to get to Linshu, but they were stopped by the police. Among the group of police were two deputy Party secretaries from Shuanghou Township, Yinan County named Zhang Jian and Yu Mingjiang. After stopping Yuan Weijing’s bus, they announced “[you are] summoned according to Article 91 of the Criminal Procedural Law,” and then forced her into the police car. Yuan Weijing had previously been summoned for interrogation on July 10 and July 20 this year.

After Yuan Weijing was taken to the Shuanghou Township police station, the policemen told her, “Neither the city nor county approve of your visit [to your parents’ home]. If you insist on going there, we may arrest you, and, just like Chen Guangcheng, you will bear the consequences of that decision. It won’t be good for your parents, either.” According to sources, the Chief of the Shuanghou Township police station was present through the whole process. Yuan Weijing was held at the police station where she was taunted and threatened. She was finally released at 6pm that evening.

Since Chen Guangcheng was taken into custody on March 11, Yuan Weijing has been reportedly kept under 24-hour surveillance by the police. She is followed whenever she goes out, even when shopping for groceries. After learning of Yuan Weijing’s plan to visit her parents two days ago, police increased the number of guards outside her house. It has been over a year since she last visited her parents on August 20, 2005, where her three-year-old son also lives.

After Chen Guangcheng was charged with “deliberately damaging property and gathering a mob to disrupt traffic” in mid-June, his hearing was delayed until August 18, 2006. Chen was represented by court-appointed lawyers after police detained three members of his defense time the night before his trial. On August 24, 2006, Chen was sentenced to four years and three months’ imprisonment.
Chen Guangcheng is appealing the judgment. After numerous attempts, Chen’s two lawyers, Li Fangping and Li Jingsong, were finally able to meet with him. On September 28, they were notified by the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court that Chen’s appeal hearing would be closed.

Yuan Weijing noted that this kind of operating behind closed doors only demonstrated that the Linyi City authorities were afraid to allow public scrutiny of the evidence and judicial process, and that if the facts were made public it would prove Chen’s innocence.

HRIC condemns the harassment of Chen Guangcheng and his family and urges the international community to condemn the ongoing crack down on and intimidation of numerous other human rights defenders in China, including Three Gorges Activist Fu Xiancai and rights defense lawyers Gao Zhisheng and Guo Feixiong. HRIC calls on the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court to afford a full, fair and open appeal hearing for Chen Guangcheng.

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, East China, Family, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Police, Politics, Social, Women | Comments Off on Wife of Detained Rights Activist Chen Guangcheng Forcibly Brought in for Questioning

50 Leading Foreign Scholars Protest China’s Harassment of Human Rights

Posted by Author on October 3, 2006


Washington Post, October 3, 2006-

BEIJING — More than 50 leading scholars and rights campaigners from the United States, Europe, and Australia have issued a rare public protest of Chinese policies, sending an open letter to President Hu Jintao asking him to stop the harassment of human rights activists.

The Sept. 29 open letter posted on the Web site of the New York-based Human Rights Watch organization chiefly bore the signatures of some 40 well-known China scholars, including the Council on Foreign Relations’ Jerome Cohen, Harvard’s Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Yahuda of the London School of Economics.

“We note with concern the sharp increase in official retaliation against such advocates and their families through persistent harassment, banishment, detention, arrest and imprisonment,” the letter said. “We … write to urge your commitment to ensuring the civil rights of advocates for social justice.”

A call to the offices of the State Council _ China’s Cabinet _ went unanswered on the third day of a weeklong official holiday marking the annual National Day festivities.

The Foreign Ministry said it was studying the contents of the letter.

Foreign China scholars have rarely spoken out about human rights abuses in China, partly out of concern for their access to the country.

In their appeal, the scholars said Chinese actions toward human rights activists called into question “China’s oft-stated commitment to a rule of law.”

They said cases involving activists Gao Zhisheng, Chen Guangcheng, Zhao Yan and Hu Jia were particularly troubling because China appeared to be using “state secrets laws to prevent defendants in politically sensitive cases from exercising their rights to fair and impartial hearings.” ( more from Washington Post’s report )

Posted in Activist, Australia, Chen Guangcheng, China, Europe, Gao Zhisheng, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Protest, Social, Speech, USA, World, Zhao Yan | Comments Off on 50 Leading Foreign Scholars Protest China’s Harassment of Human Rights

Birth Control Officer Kills Fetus Two Days Before Baby Due

Posted by Author on September 26, 2006


By Wan Manna, Central News Agency/The epoch Times, Sep 25, 2006-

Hong Kong based “Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy” reported today (September 22) that twenty-two Shandong residents who have been persecuted by the Birth Control Office, are going to file a law suit to the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong Province. Among those 22 persons, one woman was given an injection by the Birth Control Officer to kill the baby just two days before it was due.

The Information Center also reported that on August 24, 2006, blind Chinese human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment. He has submitted an appeal to the Linyi intermediate court. One hundred and thirty-seven witnesses agreed to testify to defend for Chen in court, including the above-mentioned twenty-two women, who had been mistreated by the Birth Control Officer and had received help from Chen.

The Information Center quoted one of the witnesses, Chen Xirong, of Xiajiagou Village, Fei county in Shandong Province, who said that three years ago his daughter-in-law Li Juan had nine months pregnant and just two days before the baby was due she was abducted by the Birth Control personnel and taken to a hospital where she was injected with a drug that killed the fetus. A dead baby girl was born 10 hours later.

According to Li’s family, the authority has not done anything as yet about this “intentional killing” and the personnel involved have not been punished.

Click here to read the original article in Chinese

Posted in Activist, Birth control, Chen Guangcheng, Children, China, East China, Family, Health, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, Women | Comments Off on Birth Control Officer Kills Fetus Two Days Before Baby Due

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

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Chen Guangcheng, China, Ching Cheong, City resident, Dissident, Gao Zhisheng, Guo Feixiong, Human Rights, intellectual, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Police, Politics, Social, Zhao Yan | Comments Off on Nearly 100 Rights Defenders Attacked in Beijing Area in half month

Chinese rights activist Hu Jia detained

Posted by Author on September 7, 2006


BBC News, 7 September 2006-

Chinese police have detained a prominent human rights activist and Aids campaigner who has fought several high-profile cases.

Hu JiaMore than 20 plain clothed policemen took Hu Jia from his home in Beijing, according to his wife, Zeng Jinyan.

Mr Hu, 33, was said to be collecting data on the detention of activists and has been under house arrest since July. Ms Zeng said she believed the arrest was part of a wider crackdown on rights campaigners.

Last month, Chen Guangcheng, who had campaigned against forced sterilisation and abortion, was jailed for public order offences. His lawyers were detained ahead of his trial.

Gao Zhisheng, a well-known lawyer who represented members of the banned Falun Gong group and villagers who accused local officials of stealing their land, was also detained last month.

“In the past month, I keep hearing about people missing, arrested, I believe it’s part of a campaign,” Ms Zeng said.

Surveillance

She said the men banged on the door at 0830 (0030 GMT) and told Mr Hu to go with them to a local police station.

“We can only wait and see if this will be just an interrogation or something longer,” she said.

The couple had been under constant police surveillance by police since July, Ms Zeng said.

Mr Hu, 33, had worked to protect the rights of Aids sufferers and had also protested against the detention of other activists.

He had reportedly been trying to arrange a lawyer for Gao Zhisheng.

On the night before his arrest, he received a telephone call from Mr Gao’s wife, Geng He, after which telephone and internet access were cut, his wife said.

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Beijing, Chen Guangcheng, China, Gao Zhisheng, Health, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Politics, Social | Comments Off on Chinese rights activist Hu Jia detained

Critics silenced before Olympics

Posted by Author on August 27, 2006


August 26, 2006–

CHINA’S crackdown on critics is reaching a climax, with blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng being jailed for four years and three months for organising fellow villagers to disrupt traffic, and researcher for The New York Times Zhao Yan sentenced to three years on a bizarre fraud charge.

The jailings are part of a nationwide pre-emptive strike against critics of China’s authoritarian system. In its determination to intimidate opposition before China comes into the full glare of global attention during the Beijing Olympics in two years, the Government appears to have decided to abandon, for now, moves to bring the country within the rule of law.

An increasing feature of the relentless intimidation of lawyers and journalists has been the use of closed trials, manoeuvres to block legal representation, trumped-up charges, and coincidental attacks by thugs who are never caught or prosecuted.

Mr Chen, 34, a self-taught “barefoot lawyer”, became famous for launching a legal action for victims of forced abortions and sterilisations in his home town of Linyi, in the northeastern Shandong province.

Yesterday, Mr Chen was joined in jail by Mr Zhao, who was acquitted – to widespread surprise – on a charge of “revealing state secrets” that followed the Times’s correct report in 2004 that former president Jiang Zemin would soon step down as military chief.

Mr Zhao, 44, has been held in prison since then, and his trial was in secret. But despite the failure of the widely derided state secrets charge, he was not permitted to go free.

One of Mr Zhao’s lawyers, Mo Shaoping, told The Australian that as soon as the state secrets charge appeared to founder, the fresh charge was laid that in 2001 Mr Zhao received 20,000 yuan (just over $3000) from Feng Shaochen, who had been sentenced to a term at a labour camp. Mr Feng, whose written accusation was not supported by documentary evidence or witnesses, said Mr Zhao falsely claimed he could secure a lighter sentence for him. Mr Zhao’s lawyer, Mr Mo, said that he denied the entire story. He said that when Mr Zhao was recently visited in jail, “he was not in a very good condition at all”.

The verdict is being awaited on veteran Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong, a correspondent for the Singapore Straits Times, whose own closed-door trial last week took less than a day. Mr Ching, who was detained 16 months ago while seeking access to the final reflections of Zhao Ziyang – the former Communist Party secretary-general, held under house arrest after opposing the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 until his death last year – is accused of spying for Taiwan, which he vehemently denies.

Last week, lawyer Gao Zhisheng – widely known for defending democracy advocates, Christians, other lawyers and, even more annoyingly for the authorities, Falun Gong members – was seized by security officials from his sister’s home in Shandong province.

Mr Gao had earlier travelled to offer help at the trial of Mr Chen, in the same province, but was beaten when he arrived. No one was charged.

Lawyer Xu Zhiyong, who flew from Beijing to defend Mr Chen last week, was accused on the evening before the trial of picking the pocket of a security officer. He told The Australian he was then beaten by a plain-clothes policeman who emerged from a car without licence plates. He was held at the local police station on the theft charge, until Mr Chen’s trial was over.

Instead, Mr Chen was assigned by the local government two lawyers who conceded every prosecution claim, despite Mr Chen’s rejection of both them and the claims.

Related:
Activists urge renewed U.S. rights pressure on China, Reuters, August 25, 2006

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Chen Guangcheng, China, Ching Cheong, East China, Gao Zhisheng, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Social, Speech, Sports | Comments Off on Critics silenced before Olympics

Activists urge renewed U.S. rights pressure on China

Posted by Author on August 26, 2006


By Paul Eckert, Asia Correspondent, Reuters, August 25, 2006–
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington’s need for help on global security concerns is tempering its criticism of China over human rights and enabling Beijing to strengthen a crackdown on dissent, activists said on Friday.

They said it was no coincidence that China’s clampdown on activists and lawyers came at a time when the United States needs Chinese support at the United Nations to curtail the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

“The reason why Hu Jintao can strengthen the suppression is because the U.S.-led international community has let up on its pressure on the Chinese government,” said Wei Jingsheng, a dissident who was exiled from China in 1997 after spending most of the previous two decades as a political prisoner.

Hu, China’s president and Communist Party chief, was meting out tougher treatment of civic activists than a decade ago when Wei was in and out of jail, Wei told reporters.

In recent weeks, China has clamped down on a growing web of lawyers and activists seeking to expand freedoms through litigation and Internet-driven campaigns.

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng was jailed for over four years on Thursday. Last week, Beijing police detained outspoken human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has defended the banned Falun Gong spiritual group.

The United States criticized China over the cases and has demanded the release of those and other activists.

Human rights lawyer Morton Sklar, who is pursuing lawsuits against officials behind China’s deadly six-year crackdown on Falun Gong, said the need to court veto-wielding Security Council member China was staying the U.S. hand.

“The United States is dependent on their support to get some things through the Security Council,” said Sklar, head of the World Organization for Human Rights USA.

“As a result, the United States has become less and less able — less and less willing — to exert itself forcefully against the government of China as far as human rights abuses are concerned,” he told reporters in Washington.

A U.S. State Department official said Washington had suspended a formal human rights dialogue with China because it failed to produce concrete results, but that other rights diplomacy methods were being “pushed hard.”

“I don’t think we’ve pulled our punches at all in raising human rights with China. We’ve been going at them quite hard,” said the official.

China joined Russia and Western powers on the Security Council in censuring North Korea over ballistic missile tests last month and in setting a deadline of August 31 for Iran to stop nuclear enrichment work. But it remains unclear if China would support sanctions against those countries.

Related:
China Jails Blind Rights Activist For Over 4 Years, Reuters, Aug 24, 2006
Chinese Police Detain Prominent Human Rights Lawyer, Aug 18, 2006

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, Dissident, Gao Zhisheng, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Activists urge renewed U.S. rights pressure on China

China: Chen Guangcheng is prisoner of conscience

Posted by Author on August 25, 2006


Press release, 2006-08-24–Human rights activist Chen Guangcheng was today sentenced to four years and three months in prison. In reaction, Catherine Baber, Deputy Asia Pacific Director at Amnesty International said:

“We condemn utterly the sentence imposed on Chen Guangcheng and consider him a prisoner of conscience. Chen has been imprisoned solely because of his peaceful defence of human rights and he should be released immediately.”

“The charges against Chen were politically motivated and the trial was grossly unfair from start to finish. Chen’s lawyers were obstructed at every step of the way, from collecting evidence to representing him in court. By some accounts the trial lasted only two hours; and the courtroom was filled with official representatives preventing members of the public and most of Chen’s relatives attending.”

Chen was charged with “damaging public property and gathering people to block traffic” in June 2006, after he had been detained incommunicado for three months. He had been arbitrarily confined to his home since September 2005. Before his detention Chen had been helping local villagers in their attempt to sue the local authorities in Linyi City, Shandong province, for carrying out an illegal policy of forced abortions and sterilizations which reportedly affected thousands of local women.

Related:
China Jails Blind Rights Activist For Over 4 Years, Reuters, Aug 24, 2006

Defense Team Detained, Chinese Rights Activist Stands Trial , Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2006
Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case , hrw.org, July 2006

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, East China, Law, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China: Chen Guangcheng is prisoner of conscience

China Jails Blind Rights Activist For Over 4 Years

Posted by Author on August 24, 2006


Reuters, Aug 24, 2006–
A Chinese court jailed a blind human rights activist for four years and three months oncheng guangcheng 1 Thursday, state media announced, prompting other campaigners to warn of a clampdown on China’s “rights defenders”.

Chen Guangcheng, who was tried last Friday without his own lawyers present, drew international attention last year after accusing officials in east China’s Shandong province of enforcing late-term abortions in a population control drive.

Chen, 34, was accused of damaging property and disrupting traffic after a protest erupted in his home Dongshigu village in February against his months-long house arrest, but his family and lawyers say the charges were trumped up.

The verdict from Yinan County Court in Shandong came as a shock to Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, who had not been notified by the court.

“I thought they were going to sentence him even though he’s innocent, but I never expected such a heavy sentence,” she told Reuters. “Even if he was guilty, the damage they said happened was small and the law says blind people should be give leniency”.

Chinese activists told Reuters the unexpectedly heavy sentence indicated officials are clamping down on “rights defenders” – a growing network of lawyers, academics and dissidents seeking to expand citizens’ freedoms through litigation and Internet-driven campaigns for legal reform.

Chen had educated himself in the law and campaigned for farmers’ and blind citizens’ rights.

“This sentence was at the extreme of what anybody ever imagined”, said Hu Jia, a Beijing dissident now under house arrest. “It’s another attack on the rights defence movement, like the detention of Gao Zhisheng”.

Gao, an outspoken human rights lawyer who has campaigned for the banned Falun Gong spiritual group, was detained by Beijing police after months of being followed by them.

Chen’s attorney, Xu Zhiyong, said Chinese courts were supposed to notify the defendant’s family and lawyers before a verdict, but they were given no warning.

“We’ll certainly appeal against the sentence. Chen Guangcheng is adamant that he’s innocent,” Xu told Reuters. “The trial was absurd, and now to have such a heavy sentence delivered this way is just unacceptable”.

Xu and two other defence lawyers were detained on charges of theft as they prepared to defend Chen last week. At a July hearing that was cancelled at the last minute, supporters of Chen said they were beaten by police and hired thugs.

Other Chinese rights activists who have campaigned for Chen’s release have been put under house arrest in Beijing, deported from there to distant cities, or gone into hiding.

Related:

Defense Team Detained, Chinese Rights Activist Stands Trial , Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2006
Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case , hrw.org, July 2006

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, Dissident, Hu Jia, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Social, Speech | Comments Off on China Jails Blind Rights Activist For Over 4 Years

China: Government Must End Crackdown on Lawyers

Posted by Author on August 22, 2006


Human Rights Watch, Hong Kong, August 23, 2006– Chinese lawyers who defend human rights and expose the absence of an independent judiciary are under increasing attack from state authorities, Human Rights Watch said today. The central government must respond to the recent spate of harassment, detentions, and physical attacks on human rights lawyers.

Human Rights Watch also urged the central government, which has so far failed to intervene on the lawyers’ behalf, to state publicly that attacks against lawyers will not be tolerated, and to take immediate steps to ensure the effective protection of lawyers.

“It’s unclear whether China’s central authorities have ordered, condoned or ignored the recent attacks on lawyers,” said Sophie Richardson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch. “But it’s crystal clear that the government should uphold the law and stop this blatantly illegal persecution of lawyers.”

Two of China’s most prominent lawyers are currently facing prosecutions that seem to be politically motivated. Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng, an outspoken advocate of the rights of victims of government violations and abuse of power, was detained on August 15 on charges of alleged involvement in criminal activities. In 2005, authorities stripped Gao of his right to practice law.

On August 18, the trial of another legal activist, Chen Guangcheng, turned into a mockery of justice when his lawyers were physically assaulted and then forcibly detained by Public Security to prevent them from attending. The court, in Yinan county, Shandong province, has charged Chen with intent to damage public property and inciting others to join him to disrupt traffic intent to damage public property and inciting others to join him to disrupt traffic.

Chen and Gao have faced months of harassment, intimidation, unlawful detentions and physical assaults because of their legal activism.

In a separate incident on August 18, Yang Zaixin, one of the lawyers who attempted to attend Chen’s trial, was beaten. He was placed in detention at a local police station, then reportedly sent back to his home province of Guangxi on August 19. Yang has not yet returned home.

China has seen a sharp upswing of protests over the past few years, especially in rural areas, some of which have been violently put down by security forces. Although China’s top leaders have acknowledged that many protests were fueled by local government abuses, and promised to enhance access to judicial remedies for aggrieved citizens, repressive tactics have continued unabated.

In the rare instances in which central authorities have acknowledged such cases, they have tended to blame rogue local officials for the problems. Yet few local officials have been prosecuted for wrongdoing. And ultimately it is the central government’s responsibility to protect all people exercising their lawful rights. The recent crackdown on civil rights lawyers appears to be part of an effort by the central government to stymie challenges to its rule.

“The Chinese authorities can no longer have it both ways,” said Richardson. “Beijing should either uphold the rule of law and tolerate legal challenges or drop this façade of commitment to legal reform. The actions against Chen, Gao and others make it difficult to believe that everyone in China is equal before the law.”

Human Rights Watch said the pattern of abuses against lawyers contravened China’s obligations under international law, as well as its stated commitment to the rule of law. China’s constitution and numerous domestic laws protect all individuals against violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure discrimination, pressure or other arbitrary action as a consequence of legitimate exercise of their rights. In addition, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees that everyone is entitled to a fair trial, as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998 but has not yet ratified.

Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese authorities to release Gao, declare a mistrial in Chen’s case and ensure that lawyers are free of intimidation and interference as they carry out their professional duties; they are entitled to this protection under the United Nations Statement of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

“Chinese lawyers don’t need special treatment, but the public needs them to work freely because of their essential role in the justice system,” said Richardson. “If lawyers can’t have justice, what are the hopes for ordinary citizens?”

Related:

40 China dissidents press for lawyer’s release, Reuters, Aug.21, 2006

Chinese Police Detain Prominent Human Rights Lawyer , VOA news, August 18, 2006
Lawyer’s 3rd open letter urge to stop the Brutality, Gao Zhisheng, on Dec. 12, 2005

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, Gao Zhisheng, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China: Government Must End Crackdown on Lawyers

Defense Team Detained, Chinese Rights Activist Stands Trial

Posted by Author on August 18, 2006


By Maureen Fan, Washington Post, BEIJING, Aug. 18The blind rural lawyer who exposed forced abortions and sterilizations in eastern China last year stood trial Friday without his lawyers, while supporters said the case made a mockery of any effort in China to impose the rule of law.Chen Guangcheng, 34, appeared pale and thin when he showed up at a county courthouse in eastern Shandong province wearing a black T-shirt, gray pants and slippers, said his brother, Chen Guangfu, 49.

Outside, a heavy police presence prevented supporters from attending the trial, although another two of Chen’s brothers were allowed inside.

Chen’s three-member defense team, including the nation’s top human rights advocates, had been detained by police the previous night, one of them said. Lawyer Xu Zhiyong remained detained until well after Chen’s trial had ended.

By noon Friday, the two defense lawyers released from detention appealed to the judge to delay the trial. “Due to the violation of the defendant’s rights and the lawyers’ rights,” they refused to attend the trial and asked for a deferment, said Teng Biao, another lawyer who was assisting the defense team. “We didn’t get any reply,” he said.

Judge Wang Jun of Yinan county announced that Chen’s lawyers could not appear “due to some unexpected reason,” and appointed two local lawyers to represent Chen instead.

A furious Chen yelled, “I refuse to attend the court trial if the lawyers designated by me don’t show up,” his brother said.

“Void,” Wang said, as two assistant judges watched.

“Hooligans!” Chen yelled.

“Uncivilized language!” Wang said.

No witnesses were called.

“The so-called defendant lawyers didn’t defend my brother at all, but just repeated two words, ‘No objection, no objection,’ until the very end,” Chen’s brother said. “They concluded at the end, that this is, one, a case without any confession, and two, that Chen Guangcheng should be shown leniency because he is a blind man.”

Chen Guangcheng was so angry he then threw up three times during the two-hour trial, lawyers said.

The three lawyers who were supposed to have defended Chen had been about to leave their hotel for dinner Thursday night when they were suddenly surrounded by six men who accused the attorneys of stealing one of their wallets. The men called the police, who then detained the lawyers at a local police station.

“This is a sham trial. These two lawyers had never met Chen Guangcheng before the trial. How can anyone expect them to effectively defend Chen?” said Li Fangping, one of the three attorneys who was detained.

“Chen himself protested in the court room this afternoon about the unauthorized designation of lawyers, but the judge turned a deaf ear to it,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous, absurd and illegitimate,” said Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, who was barred from the trial. “Even if Guangcheng did make a crime, the authority should at least have an open trial.”

Chen, who has been under house arrest or in police detention for nearly a year, faces charges of destroying public property and disrupting traffic in his home village. Supporters say those charges were trumped up after Chen filed a rare class-action lawsuit last year, revealing abuses in enforcing China’s one-child-only policy in Linyi, a city of 10 million people about 400 miles southeast of Beijing.

Rights groups condemned the disregard for Chen’s legal rights.

“Progress toward rule of law at minimum requires the authorities to comply with legal protections and procedures on the books,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of New York-based Human Rights in China. In this case, “court-appointed lawyers who remain silent throughout the proceedings and speak only to ask for mercy on the basis of the defendant’s blindness make a mockery of the right to legal counsel. The final decision in this case will speak volumes about China’s commitment to respecting the rights of its citizens.”

The judge was expected to issue a verdict at end of this month or at the beginning of September, said Li, the defense attorney.

Also Friday, a well-known human rights lawyer who has lobbied for Chen’s release was detained in Shandong province for questioning in unspecified “criminal activities,” the official New China News Agency reported. Gao Zhisheng, 42, has been under surveillance for taking on sensitive causes from labor unrest to Falun Gong, the suppressed religious group. (Researcher Jin Ling contributed to this report.)

Related:

China to Deter Increasing Legal Challenges
Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case
AI report 2006- China overview(3)

Posted in Activist, Birth control, Chen Guangcheng, China, East China, Health, Law, People, Social | Comments Off on Defense Team Detained, Chinese Rights Activist Stands Trial

China to Deter Increasing Legal Challenges

Posted by Author on August 18, 2006


Chinese Crackdown on Rights Lawyers

Signals Effort to Deter Increasing Legal Challenges

By JOSEPH KAHN, The New York Times, BEIJING, Aug. 18 — Chinese officials are stepping up a crackdown on defense lawyers in the latest sign that Communist Party leaders are determined to stamp out legal challenges to their authority.

The Beijing police have detained Gao Zhisheng, one of the country’s most outspoken lawyers and dissidents, on suspicion of criminal activity, state media said Friday.

Separately on Friday, court officials in Shandong Province held a closed criminal trial of Chen Guangcheng, a legal expert and advocate of peasants’ rights, which Mr. Chen’s defense lawyers condemned as heavy-handed political persecution.

While the Chinese leadership is eager to create the impression that it is building an impartial legal system, the latest actions suggest that at least some powerful officials want to curtail the growing use of lawsuits to contest abuses of power, human rights violations, land seizures and official corruption.

The ruling party has encouraged the idea that people have legal rights as a way of checking petty corruption, improving efficiency and channeling social grievances into the party-controlled judicial system.

But a surge in social unrest in recent years, including protests by people frustrated that they are unable to exercise their constitutional rights, has alarmed local and national leaders.

Defense lawyers and legal scholars have also cooperated with one another and formed a nascent legal opposition. Mr. Gao and Mr. Chen are among an informal group of legal experts who consider themselves rights defenders. The moves to punish them may signal a broader effort to rein in legal protests.

Mr. Gao was detained by the Beijing Public Security Bureau “for questioning related to his suspected involvement in criminal activities,” the official New China News Agency said in a two-line dispatch on its English-language news wire on Friday.

The detention was not reported in Chinese by the agency or other state-run media. A spokesman for the Beijing police said he had no information about Mr. Gao’s case.

Mr. Gao, 42, is a prominent defense lawyer and human rights crusader who was stripped of his license to practice law late last year. He has been under constant police surveillance and harassment since then.

Until Tuesday, when he was detained while visiting relatives in Shandong Province, Mr. Gao remained openly combative. He issued sharply worded letters and statements denouncing official corruption and abuse of power and led a hunger strike to denounce persecutions of journalists and political opposition figures earlier this year.

He rallied members of underground Christian churches and adherents of Falun Gong, an outlawed spiritual group, to assert themselves and press for greater freedoms.

Mr. Gao has offended some other critics of one-party rule, who argued that his flagrant attacks on party leaders were self-aggrandizing and threatened to set back gradual progress toward legal and religious tolerance.

But he has also been widely viewed as an international symbol of legal openness. Some opposition figures said the fact that he had been allowed to remain free despite his provocations indicated that officials under President Hu Jintao were reluctant to risk international opprobrium by arresting him.

“This is a warning to rights activists all around the country that no one is too big to be punished,” Hu Jia, an opposition figure who is close to Mr. Gao and was himself put under house arrest last month, said in a telephone interview. “They are attacking the leading symbol of the movement to scare everyone else.”

In a separate action, Shandong authorities held a two-hour criminal trial in Yinan County on Friday afternoon of Mr. Chen, 34, who taught himself the law despite being blind. The trial was marred by the detention of three of Mr. Chen’s legal advisers on Thursday. (more details…)

Related:

Attorneys for blind China activist detained – lawyer
Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case

AI report 2006- China overview(4) , Amnesty International
Lawyer’s 3rd open letter urge to stop the Brutality, on Dec. 12, 2005
Gao zhisheng’s 2nd open letter to China head, on Nov. 22, 2005
*
Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao: Please Answer the Following Questions
Gao zhisheng’s 1st open letter to China head,
on Oct. 18, 2005
*
Stop Persecuting Believers of Freedom and Mend Your Ties with the Chinese People

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, China, Gao Zhisheng, Law, Lawyer, People, Social | 1 Comment »

Attorneys for blind China activist detained – lawyer

Posted by Author on August 17, 2006


By Chris Buckley, BEIJING (Reuters), Thu Aug 17, 2006– Attorneys for a blind rights activist facing trial in eastern China appear to have been detained by police, another lawyer said on Thursday, the day before the scheduled start of the trial.Chen Guangcheng is due to face trial in Shandong province on Friday on charges of disrupting traffic and destroying property following a protest in his home village in February.

Chen, a blind, self-taught legal activist in his 30s, drew international attention last year after accusing local officials of enforcing late-term abortions in a population control drive.

His family and supporters say the charges against him are trumped up and he is being persecuted for his activism.

His scheduled trial after almost a year in virtual house arrest and then police detention has become a lightning rod of contention between rights activists and security-wary officials.

Police in Shandong’s Yinan county, where Chen lives, held three attorneys preparing to defend him, accused them of stealing a purse and took them away on Thursday, another of Chen’s lawyers, Li Jinsong, told Reuters by telephone.

Li said he received a call from one of the attorneys, Zhang Lihui, telling him of the police action. “He couldn’t say much before the phone call suddenly ended,” Li said.

Repeated calls by Reuters to the mobile phones of two other attorneys said to be held — Xu Zhiyong and Li Fangping — were not answered late into Thursday night. The police station where Li Jinsong said they had been taken could not be contacted.

“We don’t know what’s happening, but it fits a pattern,” said Hu Jia, a Beijing-based rights campaigner in contact with the defence team. “Yinan County wants to prevent any effective defence for Chen Guangcheng.”

Hu said the three attorneys were seeking to prepare Chen’s defence but court officials “made their work very difficult”.

In June, Li Jinsong and other lawyers were roughed up when they went to visit Chen. In July, dozens of Chen’s supporters scuffled with people they described as thugs and plainclothes police when they gathered at a court for a cancelled hearing.

On Thursday, police in another part of Shandong detained an outspoken human rights lawyer who was present at that clash.

Gao Zhisheng was taken away by more than 10 plainclothes police from his sister’s home in Shandong’s Dongying city, activist Hu Jia told Reuters, adding he received the news from the sister. It was unclear whether Gao was intending to go to Chen’s trial again.

Chen’s case has also drawn warnings from Washington.

Last week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey said she raised it with officials while in Beijing, the Washington Post reported.

“We believe that there has been a certain violation of normal standards and are urging China to release him from imprisonment,” said Sauerbrey.

Related:

Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case
AI report 2006- China overview(3)

Posted in Activist, Birth control, Chen Guangcheng, China, Gao Zhisheng, Health, Hu Jia, Law, Lawyer, People, Social, World | Comments Off on Attorneys for blind China activist detained – lawyer

Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case

Posted by Author on August 11, 2006


hrw.org–Chronology:

cheng guangcheng 1March 2005:
Chen learns of family planning abuses in Linyi city, Shandong province and begins his own investigation.

June 2005:
After Chen organizes a class-action lawsuit, he travels to Beijing to consult with legal scholars and lawyers and to meet with the press. The suit was filed, only to be rejected.

August 12, 2005:
Chen and family are imprisoned in their own home. Twenty to 300 officials and civilians who appear to work in concert with the police maintain round the clock watch.

September 6, 2005:
Chen manages to escape to Beijing, where he is apprehended by Linyi city officials and threatened with a long prison term if he does not stop his activism. When he refuses, he is returned to effective house arrest in Dongshigu, his home village.

October 4, 2005:
Lawyers Li Fangping and Li Subin and law lecturer Xu Zhiyong attempt to visit Chen. After two of the three were beaten, police interrogate all three, then escort them back to Beijing the following day.

October 24, 2005:
Local officials beat Chen to prevent him from leaving his house to meet with two Beijing scholars, then refuse to permit him to seek medical assistance.

March 11, 2006:
Chen is “disappeared” from his home. His family is told nothing about his whereabouts for three months.

June 11, 2006:
Yinan county officials acknowledge that they have Chen in custody; his formal detention is dated June 10.

June 19, 2006:
Family, lawyers, legal experts and activist friends cancel a press conference in Beijing after security officers prevent would-be participants from leaving their homes. The same day, some 10 men who did not identify themselves, use force to remove Chen’s 70-year-old mother, his 3-year old son, and his older brother from legal expert Teng Biao’s Beijing home, and return them to their homes in Dongshigu village, Shandong. University officials tell two Beijing law professors Teng Biao and Xu Zhiyong to stay away from the case.

June 21, 2006:
The Yinan County People’s Procuratorate approves Chen’s arrest. Chen’s lawyers, Li Jinsong and Zhang Lihui, are able to visit him, but prison officials interfere with their ability to interview Chen.

June 22, 2006:
Local police officers take lawyer Li Jinsong in for questioning. Local assailants beat three lawyers defending villagers jailed for supporting Chen. Police officers look on as the lawyers’ cameras are smashed, then take the three in for questioning.

June 23, 2006:
Lawyers Li Jinsong and Li Subin try to visit Chen’s wife, but are stopped and beaten by guards.

June 24, 2006:
All lawyers return to Beijing. An unidentified caller warns lawyer Li Jinsong that he is “seeking death.”

June 27, 2006:
Li Jinsong and Li Subin return to Shandong on June 27, only to be harassed by assailants while the police again stand by. Some 20 men overturn the lawyers’ car and smash their cameras. Police take Li Jinsong in for questioning again.

July 7, 2006:
Li Jinsong announces Chen’s trial is scheduled for July 17, 2006. The trial is subsequently postponed until July 20.

Related:

AI report 2006- China overview(3)

Posted in Activist, Birth control, Chen Guangcheng, East China, Law, Lawyer, People, Police, Social, Women | Comments Off on Chronology of Chen Guangcheng’s Case

AI report 2006- China overview(3)

Posted by Author on July 25, 2006


Violations in the context of economic reform

Forced evictions in urban areas as well as land requisition and high taxes in the countryside were increasingly the focus of local protests and social unrest. Disturbances were often met with violence, sometimes by criminal gangs, allegedly backed or hired by local authorities or enterprises.

Despite ongoing reforms to the Household Registration (Hukou) System, migrants from rural to urban areas remained vulnerable to discrimination in the cities, including denial of access to health care and other social services.

General working conditions in factories, mines and other enterprises remained poor. The rights of freedom of expression and association of workers’ representatives continued to be severely curtailed and independent trade unions remained illegal.

  • Xu Zhengqing, an activist who had campaigned against land grabs and evictions in Shanghai, was sentenced to three years in prison in October for “disrupting public order” when he travelled to Beijing in January in an attempt to commemorate deceased former Premier Zhao Ziyang.

Violence against women

Despite laws prohibiting such practices, many women continued to be subjected to forced abortions and sterilizations by local authorities attempting to comply with strict family planning policies.

Prohibition of sex identification of foetuses appeared to have little effect on the sex imbalance. Trafficking in women and children, especially girls, continued to be reported.

Some provinces adopted regulations aimed at preventing domestic violence but abuses reportedly remained widespread.

Women in detention remained at risk of sexual abuse and other forms of torture or ill-treatment.

In August the authorities amended the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests specifically to prohibit sexual harassment of women and strengthen women’s rights to lodge complaints.

  • Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-trained lawyer, was harassed, beaten and arbitrarily detained at his home in September after he attempted to sue the local authorities in Linyi city, Shandong province, for conducting forced sterilizations and abortions in pursuit of birth quotas. He remained held at the end of the year. (To be cont’d…)

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Posted in Activist, Birth control, Chen Guangcheng, Economy, People, Social, Special report, Women | Comments Off on AI report 2006- China overview(3)

China blind activist got support from human rights advocates

Posted by Author on July 19, 2006


As the scheduled date for the trial of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng approaches, Gao Zhisheng and other human rights advocates make their way to Yinan County, Shandong Province, China, despite interference by authorities. It is estimated that 30 to 40 people like Gao will try to attend the hearing on July 20.

About 11 p.m. on July 17, human rights activist Zhao Xin, who arrived in Linyi City, Shandong Province, told a reporter that from the 16th to the 19th, many people concerned about Chen’s case and who believed in non-violent protests, would arrive in Linyi from various parts of the country. “More people would come, but as of now, we know a dozen of people from Beijing and some other places were blocked by local authorities. Beijing police are now looking for Li Hai and me. The minute I started to use my new mobile phone, I received short messages threatening to kill me and my whole family.”

Zhao Xin also disclosed that on July 18, Xu Zhiyong Ph.D., who was the first to arrive in Linyi and the first attorney to collect evidence for Chen’s case, was again beaten up by a dozen thugs when he tried to enter Dongshigu village to conduct investigations.

In the afternoon of July 18, Beijing attorney Gao Zhisheng, who has been under surveillance by police for 234 days, was invited to have lunch with friends. As soon as Gao left home, he and three other friends, Ma Wendu, Liu Jinsheng and Li Jinping, drove to Linyi. On their way, as many as 13 cars (five from Beijing, four from Tianjin, four from Shandong) followed them. When they arrived at the hotel in Taian City, Shandong Province, a large group of plainclothes police followed them to the hotel lobby and summoned the hotel proprietor outside for questioning. When interviewed by the reporter, the four of them had already settled down in the hotel.

Attorney Gao told the journalist, “I am the safest one amongst us. Who would have the privilege of being protected by 40 to 50 people at your doorstep 24 hours a day?

Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia also planned to go to Yinan on July 18, but he was restrained at home by Tongzhou National Security Brigade and threatened by police. They told him, “If you walk out of the door, you will be in a very bad situation.” Hu nearly fought with the police in protest. Hu said in an interview that he had made all preparations to attend this trial. Even if he is unable to be in the court room, he would still provide support from outside.

According to human rights activists who arrived in Linyi, besides attorneys, many human rights advocates, scholars and Christian followers have also come to Linyi to support Chen. Professor Sun Wenguang, who once taught Li Qun, Governor of Linyi City, also arrived inYinan to offer his support.

Chen’s defending attorneys Li Jinsong, Li Subin, Zhang Lihui, etc. will arrive on July 19.

During the interview, Gao Zhisheng commented that: “People in Shandong told us a local proverb ‘humiliating the deaf and beating the blind are the most despicable actions’ and this is exactly what the Chinese communist regime is doing now. They are even fearful of what a blind man sees. They thought besiege and house arrests are not secure so they want to put him in jail.”

Gao said, “Protest is the only recourse Chinese citizens have presently. However, because many Chinese are unwilling to use this method, the regime has become unscrupulous and acts wantonly. Chinese people should not count on others. Everyone is an indispensable power in deterring the tyranny.” (theepochtimes.com)

Posted in Activist, Chen Guangcheng, East China, Gao Zhisheng, Law, Lawyer, People, Social | Comments Off on China blind activist got support from human rights advocates