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February 2006

2006年02月28日

The information contained in this summary is based on information collected by HRIC in February and is not intended as a complete list. Rather, it should be viewed as a representation of larger trends of dissent and repression in China.

Labor

Media Censorship

Petitions and Protests

Human Rights Defenders

Death Penalty


Labor

Disasters
A gas blast killed 23 miners in the Sihe Coal Mine in Shanxi Province on February 1, while more than 50 others suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Nearly 700 workers were on duty at the mine, which is managed by the state-run Jincheng Mining Group.[1]

A gas leak at the Malingshan Coal Mine in Dengfeng, Henan Province, on February 10 killed 15 of the 56 miners working in the mine shaft at the time. Officials were reported to be arranging compensation for the families of the victims.[2]

On February 21, seven miners who had been trapped since February 18 in a collapsed shaft were rescued from the Aiyou Mine in Liaoning Province in northwestern China. The miners had escaped falling rubble, and ventilation remained normal while the rescue crew constructed a 95-foot-long tunnel to reach them. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.[3]

An industrial accident at a mine in Shandong Province left 18 dead and nine injured on February 23.[4]

On February 25, the Dayuan Coal Mine in Hunan Province suffered a gas explosion that left 14 dead and four missing. High methane gas levels persisted after the accident, and mine officials said that it would be unlikely for the missing miners to be found alive.[5]

A gas blast at a mine in Shaoyang City, Hunan Province on February 26 killed 17 miners of 24 miners on duty at the time. One miner remained missing as of February 28. The mine was reported to be in violation of mining operation rules.[6]


Media Censorship

Editor dies from injuries
Wu Xianghu, 41, an editor at the Taizhou Wanbao [Taizhou Evening News 《台州晚报》], died on February 2, 2006, after sustaining injuries from an October 20, 2005, beating by traffic police. The assault came in retribution for a report criticizing high licensing fees for electric bicycles. A senior official was fired for his role in the attack.

Editor dismissed
Chen Jieren, 34, chief editor of The Public Interest Times, was sacked on February 8 after running a story criticizing the English accuracy of a newly launched government website.


Petitions and Protests

Detained
Since mid-February, several petitioners have been detained or reported missing following participation in lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟)'s hunger strike against official repression and violence.

Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤) was detained on the evening of February 13 by police officers from the Public Security Bureau's (PSB) Yangbo District Daqiao Dispatch Station. When her husband went to the dispatch station to inquire after Mao, police reportedly told him that Mao was being held under "residential surveillance" on the basis of an administrative decision issued on February 13 finding her guilty of "causing a disturbance in a public place." Mao's husband pointed out to the police that under Chinese law, residential surveillance is not to be used to completely deprive an accused person of his freedom of movement, and asked where Mao was being held, but police refused to provide him with further information.[7]

On February 14, police officers from the PSB's Zhabei District Zhijiangxi Dispatch Station asked Du Yangming (杜阳明), a petitioner in his 60s, to accompany them back to the police station for questioning. When he found himself instead held for an indeterminate period of time in the basement of a nearby hostel, Du went on hunger strike in protest. According to HRIC's sources, police worried that Du would suffer injury to his health because of his advanced age, and on February 17 transferred him to another hostel nearer to the dispatch station.[8]

On February 15, police detained petitioner Ma Yalian (马亚莲) at the home of a friend in a village in Shanghai's Minxin District. Shortly after the friend returned home from work, police arrived at his door with a search warrant and carried away all of Ma's personal belongings and papers. Ma had been under constant surveillance since being released from 10 days of unlawful detention at the beginning of February. Friends have expressed worries about Ma's physical condition, which has deteriorated over the course of several recent detentions.[9]

On February 15, Fu Yuxia (付玉霞) was detained by a dozen police officers from Shanghai's Luwan District Public Security Bureau while she was at her brother's house. Fu is a petitioner on forced relocation issues who maintains regular contacts with the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, and a consular official had visited her home two days before she was detained. She has not been seen since, and her bother's home was under surveillance at last report.[10]

One of the petitioners who was visiting Fu's home at the time of the consul's visit, Chen Xiaoming (陈小明), was also detained on February 15. Police from the PSB's Luwan District Dispatch Station carried out a search on Chen's home that same day and took away two computers and a quantity of documents.[11]

Some 100 petitioners were apprehended by police in Beijing as Chinese leaders held meetings on the new rural development campaign on February 14.[12]

Around 10 protesters were arrested in Jiangsu Province on February 26 after some 3,000 villagers gathered in late February to protest a land acquisition.[13]

Missing
Hu Jia (胡佳), a prominent HIV/AIDS activist, disappeared on February 16 after staging a hunger strike in protest against violence towards dissidents. Hu was supporting a protest launched on February 6 by Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng. Gao said that at least 10 people have been detained since February 15 and held without charge in Beijing, Shanghai, Guizhou and Yunnan. Hu's wife said that she last saw Hu when she left for work on the day of his disappearance, and had noticed several plainclothes police in the lobby of her apartment building. The UNAIDS China office has requested information about Hu Jia's situation from the Ministry of Health.[14]


Human Rights Defenders

In detention
Liu Fenggang (刘凤钢), a house church leader, is reportedly deteriorating in prison due to lack of treatment for his heart condition. Another imprisoned house church leader, Xu Yonghai (徐永海), was held well beyond his proper release date because of authorities' misuse of residential surveillance procedures. Xu Yonghai, who was sentenced to two years in prison in the same case as Liu Fenggang, was released recently and has returned to his home in Beijing. However, sources quote Xu as saying that he was imprisoned in Hangzhou for more than 80 days longer than he should have been. Liu Fenggang, Xu Yonghai and Zhang Shengqi were detained and imprisoned after Liu published reports on persecution of Christian house churches in overseas publications. Xu and Zhang were involved in funding Liu's investigations and transmitting the articles overseas.[15]

It was revealed in February that dissident Zhao Changqing (赵常青) has been repeatedly subjected to abusive treatment in prison, including solitary confinement, most recently because he objected to singing the political anthem, "Socialism is Good." Zhao, sentenced in August 2003 to five years in prison, has been repeatedly beaten and sent into lengthy periods of solitary confinement during his incarceration in Shaanxi Province's Weinan Prison. He was most recently released from 40 days of solitary confinement imposed on him when he refused to sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system during a flag-raising ceremony at the prison.[16]

Trial Developments
The Higher People's Court of Chongqing on February 28 upheld the 12-year prison sentence imposed on Xu Wanping (许万平) in December. Xu, a human rights activist formerly imprisoned for his involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen protests, was detained on March 30, 2005, for allegedly organizing and participating in anti-Japanese protests, and was formally charged with "incitement to subvert state power" on May 24. He was tried in secret at the Chongqing No. 1 Intermediate's People's Court, where he was represented by a government-appointed lawyer. On December 23, Xu was found guilty of "incitement to subvert state power" on the basis of recruitment he had allegedly carried out on behalf of the outlawed China Democracy Party, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison and four years' subsequent deprivation of political rights.

Li Yuanlong (李元龙), 45, a journalist with Bijie Daily in the Guizhou Province, was formally indicted on February 9 on charges of "incitement to subvert state power" after being detained on September 9. His arrest is believed to be related to a number of articles critical of the authorities published on the Internet under his pen name, Ye Lang.[17]

Three Tibetan monks and two nuns were been sentenced to jail for one to three years by a local court in Gansu Province in early February for passing out flyers that called for Tibetan independence last May, according to the London-based Free Tibet Campaign.[18]

Harassed
Four members of a house church in Jiangsu Province were detained for several hours on February 26 after police officers stormed into the apartment where around 20 Christians were gathered.[19]


Death Penalty

Violent Crimes
Sun Gaohong (孙高红), 33, a police officer, was sentenced to death by the Shaanxi Intermediate People's Court in mid-February for participating in the kidnapping and murder of his relative in December 2005.[20]

Wang Bing (王兵), accused of being the leader of an organized crime ring, had his death sentence upheld on appeal by the Baoding Intermediate People's Court on February 18.[21]

Wang Hongyu (王红宇), 30, a peasant, was sentenced to death by the Henan Intermediate People's Court on February 23 for the murder of his rival in a rural election.[22]

Fu Jiandong (付建东) was sentenced to death by the Hebei Intermediate People's Court in late February for the murder and rape of an 18-year-old girl in May 2005.[23]


//

ENDNOTES

[1] "Coal mine blast kills 23 in north China," Agence France Presse, 1 February 2006.

[2] "Death toll from China mine accident rises to 15," 12 February 2006, Agence France Presse.

[3] "Seven trapped Chinese miners rescued after two days in rubble," Agence France Presse, February 20, 2006.

[4] "Death toll from two China mine disasters rises to 32," Agence France Presse, 27 February 2006.

[5] "Death toll from two China mine disasters rises to 32," Agence France Presse, 27 February 2006.

[6] "Central China mine blast toll rises to 17," Agence France Presse, 28 February 2006.

[7] Human Rights in China, "Hunger Strike Detentions Continue in Shanghai," February 17, 2006.

[8] Human Rights in China, "Hunger Strike Detentions Continue in Shanghai," February 17, 2006.

[9] Human Rights in China, "Hunger Strike Detentions Continue in Shanghai," February 17, 2006.

[10] Human Rights in China, "Press Advisory: Shanghai Petitioner Fu Yuxia Detained," February 16, 2006.

[11] Human Rights in China, "Hunger Strike Detentions Continue in Shanghai," February 17, 2006.

[12]进京上访人士被抓 (Some 100 Petitioners Apprehended by Police in Beijing as Leaders Speak on New Rural Development Campaign), Radio Free Asia, February 15, 2006 http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2006/02/15/shangfang/

[13] 土地被卖三千村民讨说法 政府拒谈判酿暴力对峙 (Riots Break Out in Jiangsu as Government Refuses to Discuss Land Acquisition with Farmers), Radio Free Asia, February 28, 2006 http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2006/02/27/chongtu/

[14] Alexa Olesen, "U.N. appeals to China to look into case of AIDS activist who staged hunger strike," Associated Press, February 28, 2006.

[15] Human Rights in China, "House Church Leader's Sentence Wrongfully Prolonged," February 03, 2006.

[16] Human Rights in China, "Dissident Zhao Changqing Abused in Prison,"February 8, 2006.

[17] Human Rights in China, "Press Release: Journalist Li Yuanlong Indicted for Subversion," February 24, 2006.

[18] 甘肃法庭判五名藏传佛教僧人徒刑 (Five Tibetan Monks and Nuns Sentenced to One to Three Years' Imprisonment by a Guansu Court), Voice of America, February 08, 2006 http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2006-02-07-voa44.cfm.

[19] 江苏家庭教会成员被抓 (Members of Jiangsu Underground Church Arrested), Radio Free Asia, February 27, 2006, http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2006/02/27/zongjiao/.

[20] 民警绑架杀害堂侄被判死刑 (Security Officer Sentenced to Death for Murdering Nephew)
The Beijing News, February 24, 2006 http://news.thebeijingnews.com/china/2006/0223/014@162668.htm.

[21] "河北打黑第一案"主犯被判死刑 (Main Culprit in Hebei's the "First Anti-Corruption Case" Sentenced to Death)
The Beijing News, February 20, 2006 http://news.thebeijingnews.com/china/2006/0219/015@161516.htm.

[22] 一农民为竞争村官雇凶枪杀"政敌" 主犯一审被判死刑 (Farmer Sentenced to Death for Murdering Rivals in Village Election), Legal Daily, February 15, 2006 http://www.legaldaily.com.cn/bm/2006-02/15/content_265442.htm.

[23] 男子强奸杀害少女后还敲诈家属 一审被判死刑 (Man Sentenced to Death for Killing and Raping Teenage Girl and Blackmailing Victim's Family), Xinhuanet, February 27, 2006 http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2006-02/27/content_4232114.htm.