China Human Rights Briefing

March 21-27, 2014

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

  • Jiangsu Activist Sentenced in Ongoing Crackdown on Civil Society
  • Four Human Rights Lawyers Detained Over Black Jail Investigation
  • Cao Shunli’s Body “Disappeared” From Hospital, Supporter Liu Xiaofang’s Detention Confirmed

Freedom of Expression

  • Filmmaker Questioned for Trying to Interview “Tiananmen Mothers” Leader

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment & Punishment

  • Tibetan Prisoner Dies After Torture, Medical Release

Arbitrary Detention

Jiangsu Activist Sentenced in Ongoing Crackdown on Civil Society

Jiangsu activist Gu Yimin (顾义民) was sentenced to 18 months in prison on March 24 for “inciting subversion of state power,” the third activist known to have been sentenced to prison in the crackdown on civil society that has gone on for the past year. Outside the Changshu City People’s Court, thugs attacked Gu’s lawyers, Liu Weiguo (刘卫国) and He Huixin (何辉新), with He suffering a gash on his head. Reporters have been unable to contact Gu’s wife, and Changshu police threatened many of Gu’s supporters before the hearing. Several foreign diplomats—including from Canada, France, Great Britain, Norway, and the United States—went to Changshu for the proceedings, but authorities did not allow them into court. Tried last September, Gu Yimin was seized the previous June after he refused to withdraw his application for a rally marking the Tiananmen Massacre and posted images online of the massacre.[1]

Four Human Rights Lawyers Detained Over Black Jail Investigation

Four human rights lawyers were recently seized by police for trying to free an individual locked up in a “black jail” in Heilongjiang Province.

Four human rights lawyers were recently seized by police for trying to free an individual locked up in a “black jail” in Heilongjiang Province.

Four human rights lawyers were seized on March 21 after going to Heilongjiang Province to investigate the case of an individual illegally held in a “legal education center,” a “black jail” mostly used to lock up religious practitioners. Taken into custody in Jiamusi City, lawyers Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Wang Cheng (王成), and Zhang Junjie (张俊杰) were given administrative detentions. At least Tang, Jiang, and Wang are serving 15-day punishments at Qixing Detention Center in the city of Jiansanjiang. Tang was charged with “using a cult to disrupt social order,” but it is not known if the other detained lawyers are suspected of the same offense. The family of the individual locked up in the “legal education center” had hired the attorneys. The lawyers made three unsuccessful attempts to secure the person’s release before police took them away from a local hotel. As this situation further illustrates, Chinese human rights lawyers are facing an increasingly hazardous work environment, with authorities resorting to various kinds of reprisals against them (for more information, see CHRD’s 2013 annual report).[2]

 

Cao Shunli’s Body “Disappeared” From Hospital, Supporter Liu Xiaofang’s Detention Confirmed

The 309 Military Hospital in Beijing told Cao Shunli (曹顺利)’s brother Cao Yunli (曹云立) and her lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) on March 26 that her body is not at the hospital, as the whereabouts of Cao Shunli’s corpse remain undisclosed nearly two weeks after her death. When Cao Yunli and Wang made inquiries at the hospital, they were told that they have to ask Chaoyang District police for information. Hospital staff also have refused to provide copies of the activist’s medical records to her family, saying that they need permission from authorities at Chaoyang District Detention Center to release them. Cao Shunli was held at that detention center from September 2013 to late February, and developed severe illnesses that went untreated. After being hospitalized due to her life-threatening condition, detention center authorities forced her family to sign off on Cao’s medical bail on February 27. Following her death on March 14, reports emerged that her body showed signs of mistreatment and severe neglect (see report).[3]

Liu Xiaofang (刘晓芳), who went missing on March 11 in Beijing after visiting Cao Shunli in the hospital, has been confirmed to be under criminal detention. She is being held in Haidian District Detention Center on unknown charges. Like Cao, Liu was active in demonstrations outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the summer of 2013 (see report).[4]

Freedom of Expression

Filmmaker Questioned for Trying to Interview “Tiananmen Mothers” Leader

Beijing police questioned independent documentary filmmaker He Yang (何杨) after intercepting him on March 20 while he was en route to interview Ding Zilin (丁子霖), the leader of the Tiananmen Mothers movement. Police also searched his home and seized two computers, a hard disk, and other materials. He was interrogated for 20 hours on suspicion of charges related to “endangering state security” before being released, and police warned him not to try to film Ding Zilin again. Police have interrogated He Yang several times over his work, as he has produced several documentaries about China’s human rights activists (see report).[5] Authorities have geared up to prevent any public commemoration as the 25th anniversary of the 1989 massacre approaches.

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment & Punishment

Tibetan Prisoner Dies After Torture, Medical Release

Tibetan prisoner Goshul Lobsang was tortured in prison and later died at him home in Gansu Province after being released on medical parole.

Tibetan prisoner Goshul Lobsang was tortured in prison and later died at his home in Gansu Province after being released on medical parole.

Tibetan political prisoner Goshul Lobsang died at his home on March 19 in Gansu Province following torture suffered in prison, about five months after being released on medical parole. He was serving a 12-year sentence for allegedly leading a 2008 protest when he left prison in Kanlho (CH: Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture last October. Lobsang, 43, had reportedly been shackled and beaten while detained. Authorities likely decided to release him since they feared that he would die in custody. Before his death, his body had become emaciated, and he was unable to speak, walk, eat, or drink. Goshul Lobsang was taken into custody in May 2010, after he had fled the area where the protest took place in order to evade authorities. He was tried in December of that year.[6]

 

 

Contacts:

Renee Xia, International Director, +1 240 374 8937+1 240 374 8937, reneexia@chrdnet.com

Victor Clemens, Research Coordinator, +852 8192 7875, victorclemens@chrdnet.com


[1] “Gu Yimin Subversion Case Sentenced, Lawyer Attacked and Injured” (顾义民“煽颠案”开庭宣判,代理律师被打伤), March 24, 2014, WQW; “Gu Yimin Sentenced to 1 Year and 6 Months, European and American Diplomats and Media arrive at Changshu City, Jiangsu to Watch” (顾义民遭判刑一年六月,欧美领事与媒体抵江苏常熟围观), March 24, 2014, HRCC.

[2] “Lawyers Li Jinxing and Zhang Lei Go on Hunger Strike After Trying to Visit Tang Jitian and the Others in Qixing Detention Center, Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang Province” (李金星、张磊律师为会见唐吉田四律师在黑龙江建三江七星拘留所绝食), March 25, 2014, WQW; “Rights Activist and Lawyers Urgently Go to Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang Province to Rescue Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian Who Were Administratively Detained for 15 Days” (维权人士、律师紧急赴建三江营救 江天勇唐吉田被行政拘留15天), March 23, 2014, WQW; “Wang Cheng, Zhang Junjie, Jiang Tianyong and Tang Jitian Missing After Fight Against Black Jail in Heilongjiang Province” (三战黑龙江青龙山黑监狱的王成 、张俊杰、江天勇、唐吉田四律师失联), March 21, 2014, WQW.

[3] “Human Rights Defender Cao Shunli’s Remains Still Unaccounted For, Lawyer Wang Yu Threatened” (人权捍卫者曹顺利遗体至今下落不明,律师王宇遭威胁), March 26, 2014, WQW.

[4] “Beijing Activist Liu Xiaofang Criminally Detained” (北京维权人士刘晓芳因关注曹顺利被刑事拘留), March 20, 2014, WQW.

[5] “Independent Filmmaker He Yang Subpoenaed on Suspicion of Endangering State Security, Home Searched” (独立纪录片制作人何杨被以涉嫌“危害国家安全”拘传抄家), March 21, 2014, WQW.