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Mass House Arrests Before June 4th

May 28, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that members of the Tiananmen Mothers and other dissidents have been placed under virtual or actual house arrest in a pre-June 4th crackdown.

According to sources in China, Tiananmen Mothers Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Yin Min had been planning to represent the group in filing a legal complaint with the Supreme People’s Procuratorate against former Premier Li Peng on behalf of 126 people who lost loved ones on June 4, 1989. In addition to the 126 signatories, the complaint attaches the names of 11 family members who died prior to the legal action.

The authorities apparently learned of the plan, however, and on May 25 the Mothers found themselves under tight surveillance, with police warning Ding Zilin explicitly not to go to the Procuratorate or even to the post office. Zhang Xianling and Yin Min were placed under the same control starting on May 28. At this point all three women are being confined almost entirely to their homes, apart from closely monitored shopping trips.

Warned not to file their legal complaint with the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Tiananmen Mothers are issuing it publicly as an open letter. The full text is appended to the Chinese press release.

HRIC has also learned that the Chinese authorities have subjected many dissident intellectuals and their families to similar restrictions. Among them are Liu Xiaobo, Wang Tiancheng, Hua Huiqi, Zhang Chunzhu and Liu Anjun, as well as Jia Jianying, the wife of jailed dissident He Depu, and Li Shanna, the wife of jailed house church leader Xu Yonghai.

“The Chinese authorities have no legal basis whatsoever to deprive these people of their personal liberty, nor do they have the right to prevent the Tiananmen Mothers from filing a legal complaint,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “This latest crackdown shows that the Chinese authorities have made no progress in the recognition of human rights or rule of law since they butchered unarmed civilians 15 years ago.”