Skip to content Skip to navigation

Chen Meng

1999年03月31日

Man who Exposed "Blacklist" Ill in Prison

China Rights Forum, Summer 1999

On April 19, Human Rights in China and Human Rights Watch issued an appeal for the release of Chen Meng.

Chen Meng, 37, a musician imprisoned for leaking a list of Chinese citizens with valid passports who were barred from leaving or returning to China because of their political activities, is reportedly seriously ill with a liver disease. He is currently detained in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, having served four years of a 12-year prison term.

Chen is said to be suffering from hepatitis B and C, and should be given a thorough medical examination by doctors not linked to the prison system. In addition, he is thought to have been held in solitary confinement since he was detained on March 14, 1995, which likely aggravated his condition. Prolonged use of solitary confinement violates both Chinese law and international human rights standards.

According to documents on the case, Chen was tried by the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in a closed hearing in 1996 and convicted of illegally providing state secrets to organizations outside China’s borders. The verdict sentencing him to prison was delivered on April 15, 1997, and some months later, his appeal against his conviction was rejected. He was accused of faxing a top-secret document to "organizations outside China’s borders."

The document in question was the notorious "blacklist" of Chinese nationals or former nationals either barred from entering China or to be subjected to arrest or other measures on arrival. Although the existence of such a list had long been suspected, there was no evidence of it until Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China published a report containing the information from the document Chen Meng had sent to Hong Kong. This report, entitled China: Enforced Exile of Dissidents: Government ‘Re-entry Blacklist’ Revealed, was published in January 1995.

The impact of the document, entitled A List of 49 Overseas Members of Reactionary Organizations Currently Subject to Major Control, was to strand dissident citizens abroad without legal protections of any kind, in clear violation of international law. The vast majority of the people on the list have done nothing more than engage in peaceful advocacy for democracy and human rights. Fifty percent of them were on police "most wanted" notices following the June Fourth crackdown. Others include former political prisoners and people who have had their Chinese passports confiscated or canceled while living overseas.

As the rejection of Chen’s appeal indicates, the authorities considered that the release of this document was damaging to the "reputation" of the government, and this is why it was classified. Most legal scholars reject such an application of the concept of "state secrets." According to the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, drafted in 1995 by an international team of human rights experts, restrictions on freedom of expression on national security grounds are illegitimate when their purpose is "protecting the government from embarrassment, or exposure of wrongdoing, …or to conceal information about the functioning of its public institutions..."

Chen was an unemployed musician at the time of his arrest. He had obtained a copy of the document from his brother-in-law, Tang Tao, then a border guard and now serving a six-year term for leaking state secrets. For her role in helping fax the document to Hong Kong, Chen’s sister, Bai Suping, was sentenced to a two-and-a-half-year term in Reeducation Through Labor, an administrative punishment imposed without a trial. Bai completed the term in 1997.

A document recently adopted by the United Nations indicates that those who expose human rights abuses should not be subject to prosecution. When Chen faxed the "blacklist" document to Hong Kong in November 1994, he was clearly motivated by the desire to expose the abuse of human rights which the blacklist represented, and thus his action should be considered as protected under the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in December 1998. The Declaration’s Article 8 reads:

 

Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to have effective access, on a non-discriminatory basis, to participation in the government of one’s country and in the conduct of public affairs.

This includes, inter alia, the right, individually and in association with others, to submit to governmental bodies and agencies and organizations concerned with public affairs, criticism and proposals for their functioning and to draw attention to any aspect of their work which may hinder or impede the promotion, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Furthermore, last October, China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right of all citizens to enter and leave their own country and the right to impart information "regardless of frontiers."

Human Rights in China and Human Rights Watch believe that Chen and Tang Tao should be promptly released and cleared of all charges. The reports of Chen’s ill-health suggest that he should be released on medical parole immediately.

更多话题

709事件 公众知情权 司法公正 行政拘留 法律天地 任意羁押
公示财产 双边对话 黑监狱 书评 商业与人权 审查
零八宪章 儿童 中国法 翻墙技术 公民行动 公民记者
公民参与 民间社会 评论 中国共产党 宪法 消费者安全
思想争鸣 腐败 反恐 向强权说“不!” 文革 文化之角
时政述评 网络安全 社会民生 民主和政治改革 拆迁 异议人士
教育 选举 被迫失踪 环境 少数民族 欧盟-中国
计划生育 农民 结社自由 言论自由 新闻自由 信仰自由
政府问责 政策法规 施政透明 香港 软禁 中国人权翻译
户口 人权理事会 人权动态 非法搜查和拘留 煽动颠覆国家政权 信息控制
信息技术 信息、通信、技术 公民权利和政治权利国际公约 国际人权 国际窗口 国际关系
互联网 互联网治理 建三江律师维权 司法改革 六四 绑架
劳改场 劳工权利 土地、财产、房屋 律师权责 律师 法律制度
国内来信 重大事件(环境污染、食品安全、事故等) 毛泽东 微博 全国人大 新公民运动
非政府组织 奥运 一国两制 网上行动 政府信息公开 人物
警察暴行 司法评述 政治犯 政治 良心犯 历史钩沉
宣传 抗议和请愿 公开呼吁 公共安全 种族歧视 劳动教养
维权人士 维权 法治 上海合作组织 特别专题 国际赔偿
国家秘密 国家安全 颠覆国家政权 监控 科技 思想理论
天安门母亲 西藏 酷刑 典型案例 联合国 美中
维吾尔族人 弱势群体 妇女 青年 青年视野