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Dissidents Detained and Beaten as NPC Opens

March 5, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Beijing police have continued their wide scale crackdown against activists in preparation for the National People’s Congress. Dissidents, house church leaders and petitioners have been deprived of their liberty, with some subjected to severe physical abuse.

According to HRIC’s sources in Beijing, the city’s Public Security Bureau has deployed upward of 1,000 police officers to closely monitor and control the movement of certain activists as a means of “keeping the peace” as the NPC begins its new session. Hua Huiqi, a house church leader and activist on forced evictions, was put under effective house arrest in the middle of February. On the afternoon of March 5, Hua Huiqi told the PSB officer guarding his home that there was no legal basis for his virtual imprisonment, and insisted on being allowed to leave the premises. Instead, Hua and his wife, Wei Jumei, were loaded into a police vehicle and taken to the Fengtai PSB station, where Hua Huiqi was harshly beaten by several police officers. Wei Jumei called in an ambulance, which removed Hua Huiqi to Beijing’s Dianli Hospital for treatment. While Hua’s elderly parents were at the hospital visiting him, police broke into the family’s home and conducted an unlawful search. Upon returning home around 10 o’clock that night, Hua found the house ransacked, and his parents’ bank book for their life savings of 100,000 yuan missing, along with $700 and 1,000 yuan in cash. Hua and his wife left home to go to the Fengtai PSB station to report the theft, only to be beaten again by police who tried to bar their way. Wei Jumei was struck so soundly that she lost a tooth. When Hua and his wife finally reached the police station, the reporting officer showed no interest in their allegation of theft, but demanded to know the source of their money.

In addition, HRIC has learned that Beijing PSB officers unlawfully detained dissident Zhang Chunzhu on March 2, and since then have kept him against his will in a small hotel in the Beijing suburb of Changping. Police have also established a watch station outside the home of Jia Jianying, the wife of dissident He Depu, in order to closely monitor her movements. In another incident involving Li Shanna, a nurse and the wife of arrested house church leader Xu Yonghai, a police officer threatened her as she tried to provide medical treatment to a handicapped friend, Liu Anjun.

“We strongly protests the authorities using ‘keeping the peace’ as an excuse for depriving dissidents of their freedom of movement,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “The intention to introduce human rights into the constitution will mean nothing unless the government can demonstrate that it recognizes and genuinely respects the concept.”