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Retaliatory Detentions of Shanghai Petitioners

July 19, 2005

Sources in China previously reported to HRIC that on the evening of June 24, more than 30 petitioners had been attacked by dozens of police officers as they prepared to depart for Beijing from Shanghai’s west train station for the purpose of protesting against China’s revised regulations on petitioning.

On June 28, 16 petitioners, many of them from the same group, issued an open letter protesting the prosecution of petitioner Xu Zhengqing, who has been held on charges of "disturbing social order" since a previous incident on January 29, when Xu and other petitioners were detained in Beijing while attempted to attend commemorative activities for deceased former official Zhao Ziyang.

Sources in China most recently told HRIC that the following people had been detained over the past ten days:

  • Public security police took Zheng Peipei from her home around 1 p.m. on July 7. Police have not yet provided Zheng’s family with any kind of warrant relating to her detention.
  • Public security police took Wang Qiaojuan from her home around 4 p.m. on July 7. On the afternoon of July 9, police notified Wang’s family that she had been formally detained on a charge of “disturbing the peace in a public place.” Wang is currently being held in the Shanghai Train Station Public Security Detention Center.
  • Public security police summoned Yang Weiming to the local dispatch station around 8 p.m. on July 7. Police eventually produced Yang’s family with a detention warrant for Yang on the charge of “disturbing the peace in a public place.” He is currently being held in the Shanghai Train Station Public Security Detention Center.
  • Public security police detained Shen Yongmei on the morning of July 11. Shen’s family members have had no further news of her since.
  • Public security police detained Liang Yuling on July 14 on charges of "disturbing the peace in a public place."
  • Police reportedly detained Zhang Xiujuan around the same time, but the date of her detention has not been ascertained.

The revised petitions regulations enacted on May 1 are meant to streamline and modernize the complaints process to better serve petitioners’ rights. The new regulations stipulate that "no organization or individual is allowed to retaliate against petitioners, and offenders will be held to account." However, since the enactment, many petitioners are reported to have expressed dissatisfaction with the new procedures, finding them even less effective than the old ones.

"This latest round of detentions demonstrates a blatant disregard for the new regulations and their explicit prohibition of retaliation against petitioners," said HRIC president Liu Qing. "If the Chinese authorities are sincere in their intentions to better serve petitioners’ rights, they should address the complaints rather than persecute the complainants."