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Press Advisory: Petition Circulated for Detained Environmental Activists

December 1, 2005

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received an open letter circulated by several activists on behalf of detained environmental activist Tan Kai.

The Hangzhou Public Security Bureau issued summonses to Tan and five other members of an environmental civil society group “Green Watch” (lüse guancha) on October 19. All were subsequently released except for Tan, who has been held in criminal detention ever since.

Sources told HRIC that Tan Kai, Lai Jinbiao, Gao Haibing, Wu Yuanming, Qi Huimin and Yang Jianming informally organized Green Watch after monitoring the situation in Huashui Town in Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province in April this year following complaints by local residents that pollution from a chemical factory was destroying crops and causing birth defects. Protests by the villagers in late March and April culminated in a violent conflict with local police on April 10, in which more than 400 police officers were reportedly deployed and many people injured.

According to the open letter, the Zhejiang provincial government on November 15 declared Green Watch an illegal organization. Since then, the letter says, Tan Kai’s family members have been subjected to threats and intimidation and have not dared to contact the outside world. The open letter calls for the Chinese authorities to immediately release Tan Kai and to allow Green Watch to function as a lawful civil society organization. The full text of the letter, signed by Wang Donghai, Chen Longde and ten others, is appended to the Chinese version of this news advisory.

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