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Activist Detained After Telling UN Expert of Impending Eviction

October 7, 2009

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned from informed sources that Liang Liwan (梁丽婉), a petitioner of forced eviction and demolition from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, who has been in police custody since September 23, 2009, was moved to an undisclosed location on October 3. Her family currently has no information on her whereabouts.

In December 2008, Liang sent to Yves Cabannes, convener of the United Nations Advisory Group on Forced Evictions, information about the impending demolition of her home by the local government. Later that month, Liang’s husband was seriously injured in a beating by thugs.

In mid-August 2009, at a conference at the School of Public Management of Zhejiang University, Liang, using her own case as an example, spoke about the social problems facing ordinary Chinese citizens. Yves Cabannes attended the conference, which was organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a German foundation, the Centre Marc Bloch, a German social sciences research institution, and the Zhejiang University. After the conference, Liang invited Cabannes and others to see the site of her home, which is being requisitioned by the government for expansion of the city’s East Railway Station. During the tour, the police took Cabannes and others to the local police substation for questioning. Liang escaped and returned to the outskirts of Beijing to her temporary home, which she was renting while petitioning the government.

Sources say that on September 22, 2009, three men and one woman forced their way into her temporary home and attempted to force her to sign an agreement for the demolition. Liang refused. Liang was detained in Beijing by officials and security police belonging to the city of Hangzhou. (Sources say that, on September 23, Hangzhou police told Liang’s husband on September 23 that “we have picked up your wife.”) Liang was taken to Hangzhou on September 27 and detained at two different locations before being transferred to an undisclosed location on October 3.

“This is just one example of the millions of citizens who have been forcibly displaced by local governments across China in recent years in the name of development,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of HRIC. “The implementation of a land requisition policy marked by corruption and coercive tactics raises serious concerns of the protection of citizens’ rights.”

HRIC urges the authorities to release Liang and provide assurance that she will be treated fairly and properly in accordance with Chinese and international human rights law.

For more information regarding forced eviction, see: