Li Jianfeng (李建峰), a former presiding judge in the Economic Department of Ningde Municipal Intermediate People's Court, Fujian Province, was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment on "subversion of state power" in 2002. Li denied the charges and maintained that his prosecution was in retaliation for his rights defense work. Every year since 2007, in its annual Report on Human Rights Practices in China, the U.S. State Department has listed Li as one of the political prisoners in China, citing him as an example of China’s practice of jailing citizens “for reasons related to politics and religion.” Li served 11 years in prison, during which time he was tortured and forced to perform hard labor. Li was released in April 2013 after receiving a five-year sentence reduction. He now faces grave challenges: he is unemployed, his wife and daughter have left him, and he has to care for his elderly parents.
This account provides background on the case of Li Jianfeng (李建峰), a former presiding judge in the Economic Department of Ningde Municipal Intermediate People's Court, Fujian Province, was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment on "subversion of state power" in 2002. Li denied the charges and maintained that his prosecution was in retaliation for his rights defense work.
He Zuhua, Tian Lan and other Aggrieved Police Officers
Following two open letters in August and September 2012 urging the Communist Party of China (CPC) to address corruption in the judicial system and redress the miscarriage of justice in their individual cases, this group of former police officers have issued three additional open letters [insert hyperlink to CH of this item] to the new CPC leadership. In two of them, issued in October and December 2012, they urge the new leaders to stop persecuting rights defenders under the guise of "stability maintenance," punish those responsible for cases of miscarriage of justice, and express their commitment to play a leading role in the rights defense movement. In the February 2013 letter, in the form of an anti-corruption declaration, the police officers condemn corrupt officials for wielding "stability maintenance" as a tool to protect themselves and subject citizens to arbitrary detention, beating, and other forms of rights violations. The declaration also expresses the signatories' support of the CPC's commitment to address corruption, uphold the supremacy of the Constitution, and advance the rule of law.
The Alliance of Chinese Citizens for Rights Defense
In a statement on the criminal detention of rights defender Zhao Changqing (赵常青) and lawyer Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜) in Beijing, the Alliance of Chinese Citizens for Rights Defense pointed out that such actions by the authorities would only lead to further unrest in an already unstable society, and that more rights defense lawyers would step up bravely to the challenges as a result.
In an open letter on the criminal detention of at least seven individuals who have been calling on government officials to publicly disclose their assets, Xu Zhiyong (许志永) and nine other lawyers, media workers and entrepreneurs urge the authorities to protect the rights of citizens to freedom of expression and to immediately release those detained.
Four Beijing rights defense lawyers—Cheng, Han (程海), Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), Wang Quanzhang (王全章), and Han Zhiguang (韩志广)—had planned to appear in a hearing for 13 Falun Gong practitioners being charged in a Dalian Court, Liaoning Province, on April 12.
Ai Xiaoming (艾晓明 ), a professor at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou and a rights activist, calls this newly completed documentary film by Xie Yihui (谢贻卉) of “extraordinary significance.” The film follows the investigation by journalist Zeng Boyan (曾伯炎), a former Sichuan Daily reporter, to a Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) camp located in Dabao Township, Ebian County, Sichuan Province, and reveals that 4,000-5,000 minors, boys and girls, suffered inhuman treatment when they were interned in there in the late 1950s and early 1960s. All were made to do manual labor and suffer protracted starvation. As many as 12 children died in a single day. Ai Xiaoming says: “[the documentary] has not only historical significance, but also—in a time when some people are still uncertain about whether the RTL system should be abolished—powerful practical significance.” The film will be added to the Documentary Film Collection Project at the Universities Service Center for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In light of the recent exposé of torture and violence at the Masanjia Women’s Reeducation-Through-Labor Facility, Ai Xiaoming, professor at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou and a noted rights activist, compares the atrocities in Masanjia to those committed in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. She urges the Chinese public to break its silence, the authorities to investigate the case in a timely manner, and the abusers to reflect on their own behaviors.
Tianxiagong, an anti-discrimination NGO based in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, had planned to host a seminar for public interest lawyers in Suzhou and signed a contract with the Suzhou Motai hotel (苏州莫泰酒店管理有限公司) to reserve Motai facilities for the seminar. When Motai refused to honor the reservation just before the seminar was to convene, Tianxiagong sued the hotel. During the trial, Motai argued that it canceled Tianxiagong’s reservation on the order of the Pishijie substation of Suzhou Public Security Bureau, and the police admitted to the order stating it was necessary to “maintain stability.” On March 18, 2013, the court ordered the hotel to pay Tianxiagong 21,570 yuan in damages, in addition to returning the original deposit of 5,000 yuan.
In this article, Ai Xiaoming’s provides a portrait of Lin Zhao, a Peking University student who was killed during the Cultural Revolution for criticizing the “tyranny” of the Chinese Communists, and discusses Lin Zhao’s articles, poems, and portions of her prison writings. Ai believes that Lin's ideas and her eyewitness account of history constitute “important historical data for understanding Chinese society in the 20th century.” But Ai points out that not all of Lin Zhao’s prison writings have been returned by the authorities and her archive is still sealed. Ai urges the Shanghai authorities to make Lin’s archive available to researchers and the public. Ai also thinks that current study of Lin Zhao is "too simplistic," and urges researchers not to skirt the issues of Lin’s abnormal mental state and erotic fantasies.
On April 1, 2013, in advance of the Qing Ming Festival, a group of independent intellectuals and participants in the 1989 Democracy Movement gathered in a funeral home in Zhengding County, Hebei Province, to pay respect to the victims of the government’s military crackdown on the Democracy Movement. This was the first time in nearly 24 years since the crackdown that citizens in China held such a public memorial to remember June Fourth victims. Also included in this posting is a eulogy signed by 22 individuals.
In this article, legal scholar and human rights activist Xu Zhiyong and others show their support for the four Beijing citizens including, Hou Xin, who were criminally detained on March 31, 2013, after they displayed banners and publicly called for disclosure of official assets in Xidan, downtown Beijing. The protestors have been charged with “unlawful assembly.”
In this article, Beijing lawyer Xiao Guozhen provides a portrait of rights advocate Hou Xin, one of four individuals detained by police in Beijing, following their March 31, 2013 protest calling for disclosure of official assets. The other three individuals detained were Yuan Dong, Zhang Baocheng, and Ma Xinli. They were held at the Beijing No.3 Detention Center.
Ma Yalian (马亚莲), a Shanghai rights defender, went to Beijing to petition during the period of the Two Congresses, and had planned to protest on Tiananmen Square. But to avoid being harassed by the police, Ma had to hide at a friend’s home where she used her friend’s computer to send out the essay.
The Beijing-based house church leader and rights defender urges NPC deputies and CPPCC members currently attending the Two Congresses—particularly those from Liaoning, Zhejiang and Beijing—to guarantee citizens’ right to freedom of religion as protected by the Chinese Constitution.
Based on real-life experiences and enacted by a group of petitioners and rights activists from Nantong, Jiangsu, this docudrama shows what typically happens to petitioners when they are detained—often in unofficial places of detention, black jails—without formal charges, and sometimes without notice to families.
Yao Cheng, a friend of Zhang Lin’s and the owner of the apartment in Hefei where Zhang temporarily lived, said in his article that the police came to search his apartment without legal permission and advance notice, and then kidnapped Zhang’s daughter.
In his article, rights activist Zhang Lin describes the kidnapping of his 10-year-old daughter and her 20-hour illegal detention in Hefei and Bengbu, Anhui Province, on February 27 and 28. Police also searched Zhang’s home in Hefei, took away his keys, mobile, and computer.
Lawyers for Wang Dengchao, a former Shenzhen police sentenced for 14 years in prison for “obstructing official business” and “embezzlement,” issued two complaints against 23 provincial and local officials.
Two short articles by Li Jinglin, one of the two former lawyers who represented Shenzhen police officer Wang Dengchao in his appeal against his 14-year prison sentence for “embezzlement” and “obstructing official business.”