In an open letter to the United Nations, Wang Xifeng (王喜凤), a teacher from Shanxi Province, details the abuses that she and husband Qin Yongmin (秦永敏) have suffered over the past several months at the hands of various government authorities. She and Qin, a well-known democracy activist based in Wuhan, Hubei Province, were married in a traditional wedding ceremony on May 13, 2012, after applying for a marriage certificate. Authorities have continued to refuse to issue the couple a marriage certificate, which has prompted Wang to seek assistance from the international community. Human Rights in China’s English translation of Wang’s letter is below; the original Chinese is available on HRIC’s website.
In the letter, Wang says that the authorities unlawfully detained her and Qin for 26 days in June and have been restricting their freedom of movement with round-the-clock surveillance. Wang states that she underwent an abortion because family planning policy prohibits unmarried couples to have children. Wang alleges that the authorities have also harassed her family and ex-husband under the pretext of investigation, and have attempted to kidnap her to return her to Shanxi. Wang calls for an international investigation into their situation and demands that the Chinese authorities issue her and Qin a marriage certificate and ensure their basic human rights.
Qin is a long-time activist and spent two of the past three decades in prison for his activism and writings. In 1998, he was convicted of “subversion of state power” after calling for political reform and cofounding the China Democracy Party (CDP) and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Despite being under three years of deprivation of political rights following his release from prison in November 2010, Qin has continued his rights defense work and his writing. This has resulted in Qin being put into administrative detention several times, kept in black jails for months, and summoned by the police and threatened numerous times.
Qin Yongmin began his activism in the late 1970s. He participated in the Wuhan Democracy Wall Movement in 1979 and created and edited a democracy magazine Bell. He was detained in 1981 and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment and three years’ deprivation of political rights for “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.” From 1993 to 1995, Qin served two years of Reeducation-Through-Labor for drafting the “Peace Charter,” a collective open call on the Chinese government to reevaluate its stance on the June Fourth crackdown, release all political prisoners, and allow exiled students and academics to return to China. The charter also asked the Chinese government to adopt democratic elections with multiple political parties.
For more information about Wang Xifeng and Qin Yongmin, see:
- Qin Yongmin, “Statement: I Will Not Commit Suicide,” August 9, 2012
- Qin Yongmin and Wang Xifeng, “Qin Yongmin’s Wife Harassed by Local Police at Home,” August 7, 2012
- Qin Yongmin and Wang Xifeng, “Couple Terminate Pregnancy as Authorities Continue to Refuse to Issue Marriage Certificate ,” August 6, 2012
- Qin Yongmin, “After 15 Days in Detention, Dissident Qin Yongmin Calls Off Interviews for 2012,” March 20, 2012
- Qin Yongmin, “Activist Qin Yongmin Repeatedly Detained; Home Searched,” May 23, 2011
- “Democracy Activist Qin Yongmin Released from Prison after 12-Year Sentence,” November 29, 2010
- “‘State Security”: A Tool of Repression at the Trials of Wang Youcai and Qin Yongmin,” December 16, 1998