China Human Rights Briefing

May 2-8, 2014

Arbitrary Detention

Crackdown on Commemorating 25th June Fourth: Detentions in Beijing, Hunan

Five dissidents and activists have been criminally detained after taking part in a seminar commemorating June Fourth held on May 3 in Beijing, while a veteran journalist who supported the 1989 pro-democracy protests also has gone under criminal detention. Facing charges of “creating a disturbance,” the five involved with the seminar are Hao Jian (郝建), a Beijing Film Academy professor and critic, writers Hu Shigen (胡石根) and Liu Di (刘荻), human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强), and Xu Youyu (徐友渔), a scholar retired from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Their detentions, issued on May 6, indicate how sternly—and how early—authorities are acting to deprive citizens of freedoms in the run-up to the sensitive 25-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre (see CHRD statement).

Four of the five, Hu, Pu, Liu, and Xu, suffer from various health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. All five individuals are being held at Beijing No. 1 Detention Center. Scholar and writer Liang Shaoyan (梁晓燕), who police took in for questioning after the seminar, remains out of contact. Several others involved in the activity were interrogated by police but then released.

Dissident journalist Gao Yu (高瑜), who has been criminally detained on “state secrets” charges, is among several individuals with ties to the 1989 pro-democracy movement who have recently been seized. (image: ansa.it)

Dissident journalist Gao Yu (高瑜), who has been criminally detained on “state secrets” charges, is among several individuals with ties to the 1989 pro-democracy movement who have recently been seized. (image: ansa.it)

Gao Yu (高瑜), a Beijing-based dissident journalist, has been criminally detained on charges of “illegally disseminating state secrets overseas,” according to official Xinhua news, which also released video footage showing Gao’s confession of “wrongdoing” (see story). Reportedly, the charges stem from a “top secret document” linked to Gao that had been posted to an overseas website in August 2013 and then disseminated more widely. Gao, 70, went missing in late April, when she was preparing to submit a piece titled “Party Nature vs. Human Nature” to the Deutsche Welle , an international broadcaster financed by the German government (see report).

In Hunan Province, police also gave five-day administrative detentions to three activists who went to Shaoyang City to pay tribute to the 1989 labor leader Li Wangyang (李旺阳). Li died under mysterious circumstances in a hospital while in police custody around the June Fourth anniversary in 2012. The activists detained were Li Jianjun (黎建军), Zhang Shanguang (张善光), and Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰). Police also questioned and forcibly sent back to Hong Kong six journalists from the region who had come to Shaoyang.[1]

Most of the detainees in Beijing are veterans of the pro-democracy and human rights movement, including as participants or vocal supporters during the 1989 protests. Hu Shigen was taken into custody in 1992 after calling for government accountability for the June Fourth crackdown and locked up for more 16 years on “counterrevolutionary” charges. Hao Jian lost a cousin in the Tiananmen Massacre. Xu Youyu, one of the original signatories to Charter 08, the manifesto to promote political reform and democratization in China, witnessed the demonstrations in Tiananmen. Pu Zhiqiang, a Tiananmen student leader in 1989, has defended Re-education through Labor detainees, writers, and journalists in several high-profile cases and been an outspoken critic of official policies. In reprisal for backing the pro-democracy movement a quarter-century ago, Gao Yu was barred from publishing within China and also imprisoned for six years on charges of “leaking state secrets.” Liu Di, who has written online under the name “Stainless Steel Mouse,” first rose to prominence in 2002 after being detained for satirizing the government’s Internet restrictions.

Contacts:

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

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

Follow us on Twitter:@CHRDnet

[1] “Special Alert: Participants in June Fourth Seminar Criminally Detained—Hu Shigen, Pu Zhiqiang, Hao Jian & Liu Di” (特别关注:参加六四研讨会,胡石根、浦志强、郝建、刘荻被刑拘), May 6, 2014, WQW; “Rights Defense Network’s Statement on Beijing Authorities’ Suppression of June Fourth Seminar Participants”(“维权网”就北京当局打压参加“六四”研讨会人士的声明), May 6, 2014, WQW; “Beijing Journalist Gao Yu Detained for Illegally Providing Central Government Secret Documents Overseas” (北京女子高瑜涉向境外非法提供中央机密文件被拘), May 8, 2014, Xinhua.