China Human Rights Briefing

 May 23-29, 2014

Information in China Human Rights Briefing (CHRB) originates from reports by Rights Defense Network (RDN), Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch (CRLW), Human Rights Campaign for China (HRCC), and other grassroots groups based in China, except where noted.

Contents

Arbitrary Detention

  • Detentions Mounting Prior to 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre
  • Liaoning Activist Jiang Lijun Criminally Detained
  • Filmmakers of Series Promoting Constitutional Democracy Detained in Beijing

Freedom of Expression

  • Blogger Fired After Meeting With US Secretary of State Kerry

Reprisals Against Human Rights Lawyers

  • Beijing Authorities Deny License Renewal to Attorney Who Supported Detained, Tortured Lawyers

Arbitrary Detention

Detentions Mounting Prior to 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre

Chinese authorities continue to detain citizens in the sensitive days before the quarter-century anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, with CHRD now having tracked 50 individuals affected by the crackdown. On May 26, police in Henan Province detained several individuals in Zhengzhou City who took part in a memorial tribute on February 2 for former Chinese leaders Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang. Hu’s death in April of 1989 became a trigger for students to rally in Tiananmen Square, while Zhao was deposed for supporting students during the 1989 pro-democracy protests. Four of the individuals seized are known to have been criminally detained while others remain in police custody.

Police took away Hou Shuai (侯帅), Shi Yu (石玉), and Fang Yan (方言) from their homes on May 26. The next day, Hou was put under criminal detention on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” Shi, a journalist, had his home searched by police, who confiscated his computer, hard drive, notebooks, and iPad. On May 27, police took in for questioning Chang Bayang (常伯阳), the attorney for the three above, on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place.” Hou Shuai is being held at No. 3 Detention Center of the Zhengzhou City Public Security Bureau Prison Administration Department. At the time of writing, both Shi and Chang were being held at Erligang Police Station.

Zhengzhou lawyer Ji Laisong (姬来松) has been criminally detained on a charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” after going missing on May 26. Ji is being held at Public Security Bureau No. 3 Detention Center in Xingyang City. In addition, married couple Yu Shiwen (于世文) and Chen Wei (陈卫), taken away on May 23, also have been criminally detained for taking part in the February event, after being held under house arrest since February. Their alleged crimes and place of detention remain unclear.[1]

Chongqing netizen Liu Wei (刘伟) was seized in Beijing and then criminally detained on May 17 on charges of “creating a disturbance.”

Chongqing netizen Liu Wei (刘伟) was seized in Beijing and then criminally detained on May 17 on charges of “creating a disturbance.”

In addition to the cases in Henan, netizen Liu Wei (刘伟) was forcibly returned to Chongqing from Beijing and criminally detained on charges of “creating a disturbance” on May 17. Liu had travelled to Beijing in April and was photographed in Tiananmen Square, an act that may have led to his detention. In 2011, Liu Wei was sentenced to two years of Re-education through Labor after posting information online about the “Jasmine Revolution,” and authorities have closely monitored him since his release in January 2013.[2]

CHRD has been documenting the crackdown taking place prior to the especially sensitive June Fourth anniversary. (See Individuals Affected by Government Crackdown Around 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Massacre on CHRD’s website.) To date, 50 individuals are confirmed to have been detained, disappeared, or summoned for police questioning since April in the municipalities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and the provinces of Guangdong, Guizhou, Henan, Hunan, Shaanxi, Shandong, and Zhejiang. Of these, there have been 26 criminal detentions and one confirmed arrest. Additionally, five activists have received administrative detentions and seven have disappeared. Some in custody have reportedly been mistreated, including by being deprived of medication or visits with lawyers, or have faced physical assault or verbal intimidation.

Liaoning Activist Jiang Lijun Criminally Detained

Police in Liaoning Province criminally detained freelance writer Jiang Lijun (姜力均) on charges of “creating a disturbance” on May 18. Authorities in Shenyang City refused to provide his family with information on Jiang until May 26, when the family received a criminal detention notice. In taking him into custody, Shenhe District police searched his home and seized some of his possessions. While the reason for Jiang’s detention is unclear, he is known to have actively communicated online with now-detained blogger Liu Di (刘荻) (see report) as well as “Freedom and Democracy” forum moderator Li Yibin (李毅斌). Jiang is being held at Shenyang City No. 1 Detention Center. Jiang previously served four years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” after Yahoo! provided details of his account to Chinese authorities, who then used pro-democracy writings found in his email as evidence in his trial in 2002.[3]

Filmmakers of Series Promoting Constitutional Democracy Detained in Beijing

Beijing police have criminally detained two filmmakers who produced a series about constitutional democracy that government censors blocked online and prohibited from being distributed. Documentary filmmaker Shi Zhangkai (石章凯), who wrote and directed “100 Years of Constitutionalism,” was criminally detained on charges of “creating a disturbance” after he went missing in the capital on May 23. Shi had been searching for filmmaker Shen Yongping (沈勇平), the series producer, who had gone missing on April 28 before being criminally detained on suspicion of “illegal business activity” on May 5. Shi is being held in Haidian District Detention Center, and Shen is being detained at the Chaoyang District Detention Center in Beijing. Last year, police questioned Shen after he had raised funds online for the film series.[4]

Freedom of Expression

Blogger Fired After Meeting With US Secretary of State Kerry

Blogger Zhang Jialong (张贾龙) was fired from the Internet company Tencent on May 23 after making critical comments about Chinese government censorship at a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Beijing in February 2014. During the February 15 discussion on Internet freedom that Kerry had with several Chinese bloggers and journalists, Zhang also raised the cases of prisoners of conscience Xu Zhiyong (许志永) and Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波). On his blog, Zhang later posted directives from the government related to censoring online expression and publications. Zhang was suspended from work at Tencent on May 20, and the company then dismissed him, citing his allegedly “leaking business secrets and other confidential and secret information.” After the meeting in February, Zhang was prevented from posting articles under his name at Tencent. He believes his termination was delayed to minimize media attention on his situation and the potential impact on US-China relations following Kerry’s trip. (Read Zhang’s post on his dismissal in Chinese here and the English translation here.)[5]

Reprisals Against Human Rights Lawyers

Beijing Authorities Deny License Renewal to Attorney Who Supported Detained, Tortured Lawyers

Lawyer Li Guobei (李国蓓)’s license to practice law has not been renewed by the Beijing Municipality Judicial Bureau, apparently an act of retaliation against her outspoken support of human rights lawyers who were detained and tortured in Heilongjiang Province earlier this spring (see CHRD statement). Li had previously submitted a letter to the Beijing Municipality Judicial Bureau, protesting the treatment of the lawyers detained in Jiansanjiang City in Heilongjiang, and she also travelled to the city in March to show her support. CHRD has documented the increased use of administrative punishment against human rights lawyers, including blocking lawyers’ license renewal, pressuring law firms to fire outspoken lawyers, and refusing to allow lawyers to change law firms.[6]

Contacts:

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

Victor Clemens, Research Coordinator, +1 209 643 0539, victorclemens@chrdnet.com

Follow us on Twitter:@CHRDnet

[1] “Zhengzhou Lawyer Ji Laisong Criminally Detained” (郑州维权律师姬来松遭刑事拘留), May 28, 2014, RDN; “Chen Wei, Yu Shiwen Detained for Organizing June 4th Public Memorial” (因组织民间六四公祭活动陈卫、于世文遭拘捕), May 29, 2014, RDN.

[2] “Chongqing Netizen Liu Wei Criminally Detained After Travelling to Beijing to Visit a Friend” (重庆网友刘伟到京访友被以“寻衅滋事”刑拘), May 22, 2014, RDN.

[3]“Liaoning Activist Jiang Lijun Criminally Detained”

(辽宁维权人士姜力均被刑事拘留), May 26, 2014, RDN.

[4] “’100 Years of Constitutionalism’ Series Filmmaker Shi Zhangkai Criminally Detained” (《百年宪政》系列纪录片编导石章凯被刑事拘留), May 27, 2014, RDN.

[5] “Zhang Jialong Fired From Tencent After Meeting with US Secretary of State”

(张贾龙因会见美国国务卿时发言遭腾讯公司解聘), May 24, 2014, Rights Defense Network (RDN).

[6] “Lawyer Li Guobei Protests Beijing Judicial Authorities Use of Annual License Review for Political Persecution” (李国蓓律师抗议北京市司法局利用年检政治迫害), May 16, 2014, RDN.