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Shanghai Petitioners in June 4 Crackdown

June 4, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that under the tense political atmosphere of the June 4 anniversary authorities are taking repressive measures against people protesting urban clearances in Shanghai.

According to sources in Shanghai, a group of more than 100 displaced residents attempted to board a train for Beijing on June 3 with the intention of petitioning officials regarding Shanghai’s urban renewal program. As on previous occasions, however, police were waiting for them, and nearly all were taken from the train station in police vehicles. Three residents, Lu Yu, Chen Daili and Yang Chunxia, managed to evade the police action and arrived in Beijing on the morning of June 4.

Meanwhile more than 500 other families found themselves under tight police surveillance starting on June 2. One police officer is reported to have said to one of the residents, “June 4 is coming up. We don’t want you causing trouble, so don’t try going to Beijing.”

A lawyer who has become famous for representing victims of urban redevelopment, Zheng Enchong, has more than a dozen police officers posted around his home, and attempts to communicate with him by telephone, fax and e-mail are being impeded. Likewise a Hong Kong resident, Shen Ting, who is in Shanghai assisting her father in a related lawsuit, is constantly harassed by police officers surrounding her family’s home. A police officer comes in every hour and warns them not to cause trouble, and when Shen Ting leaves the house she is closely followed. Engineer Lu Jianfeng, Wang Haixiu, who is five months pregnant, and Wang Lin, a retired doctor, have also been subjected to severe harassment while carrying out their personal business. More than 100 residents marched to the Shanghai Municipal Offices in Kangping Road on June 3 to protest the egregious interference.

The latest incidents come at a time when six relocated residents are engaged in a lawsuit against property developer Zhou Zhengyi alleging corruption and collusion with government officials in Shanghai’s Jing’an District redevelopment program.

“Discontent is increasingly rapidly over Shanghai’s urban redevelopment program,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “It remains to be seen whether the ongoing lawsuit will help resolve the issue. In the meantime, Chinese officials should seek a more conciliatory approach with protesting residents to defuse the situation, rather than continuing with their suppressive measures, which are only making matters worse.”

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495