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Rights Activist Beaten and Detained Following Protest

October 29, 2009

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Shen Peilan (沈佩兰), a Shanghai-based forced-evictions petitioner, has been detained. Shen’s husband, Cai Jingcheng(蔡净成), told HRIC that Shen was taken away from their home at 3:00 p.m. on October 29 by officers from the public security bureau of Maqiao Township in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. Based on information provided by Shen before her detention, she was beaten by police officers on October 27 when she went to visit rights defense lawyer Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠). Shen had participated in a rally on Nanjing Road in Shanghai on October 23, 2009, to protest the conviction of another Shanghai petitioner, Duan Chunfang (段春芳), who had been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Prior to that, just before October 1, Shen went to Beijing.

Cai told HRIC that the police at Maqiao Township public security bureau said that Shen is forbidden to go to Beijing, and that she was being detained for ten days for “disturbing public order.” Cai said that the police refused to give him any official documentation regarding the detention. 

Shen began petitioning the authorities in 2003 after her home in outer Shanghai was demolished to make way for development. A friend of Zheng Enchong and his wife Jiang Meili, Shen subsequently signed Charter 08 and has repeatedly been harassed by the authorities and prevented from attending church. On May 24, 2009, before the 20th anniversary of the June Fourth government crackdown on the 1989 Democracy Movement, Shen, according to a written account she provided to HRIC, was surrounded by four or five men dressed in camouflage and taken away in a van. She was then taken to an unidentified detention facility – a “black jail” – and kept there for 25 days. On May 23, 2008, during the Olympic torch relay in Shanghai, Shen was beaten by four unidentified men.

Zheng Enchong began protesting the forced eviction from his home in the Dongbakuai neighborhood of Shanghai in the late 1990s. A rights defense lawyer based in Shanghai, and a signer of Charter 08, Zheng served a three-year prison term in 2003-2006 for “providing state secrets overseas.” Upon his release on June 5, 2006, he was put under de facto house arrest and since then has been subjected to restrictions on his personal freedom, beatings by authorities, and harassment.

For more information on Shen Peilan and Zheng Enchong, see:

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