Skip to content Skip to navigation

May 2006

May 31, 2006

The information contained in this summary is based on information collected by HRIC in May and is not intended as a complete list. Rather, it should be viewed as a representation of larger trends of dissent and repression in China.

Media Censorship

Petitions and Protests

Human Rights Defenders

Death Penalty


Media Censorship

Web site closure: China's National Conditions Advisory Network
A popular Web site, "China's National Conditions Advisory Network"(中国国情咨询网), was shut down on May 11 after publishing an online opinion survey regarding reports of compensation paid to the family of a June 4 victim. The Web site hosting company revealed that local public security officials had expressed concern over the "sensitive and harmful"content of the Web site. The Web site, launched in November 2005, focused on conducting public opinion polls on current issues. It had previously been suspended on several occasions, but was always able to re-launch.[1]

Blackout on Internet boycott campaign
A media blackout on coverage of Shenzhen-based businessmen Zou Tao's (邹涛) call for a national boycott of commercial housing projects was noted in mid-May, after CCTV and the Internet portal 163.com had carried running updates on Zou's boycott campaign. Zou's call for support for the campaign in April via Internet drew considerable media and public attention, and on May 12, he went to Beijing in an attempt to meet Premier Wen Jiabao. Sources at CCTV said no more programs on Zou would be aired pending further directives from the authorities. Other media outlets, including Beijing TV and Beijing News, have also been forced to drop stories on Zou. Zou's blogs at Tingyablog.com and bolog.oeeee.com were pulled on May 13. Zou was detained by Shenzhen police at the airport when he tried to leave for Beijing.[2]

PRC information warfare capabilities
According to the Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2006,[3] China is developing the ability to launch pre-emptive attacks against enemy computer networks in a crisis. The PRC plans to focus on using civilian computer expertise and equipment from academies, institutes and the IT industry to enhance PLA operations, the U.S. Department of Defense reported.[4] "During a military contingency, information warfare units could support active PLA forces by conducting ‘hacker attacks' and network intrusions, or other forms of ‘cyber' warfare, on an adversary's military and commercial computer systems, while helping to defend Chinese networks," according to the D.O.D. report. The PLA began to incorporate offensive computer network operations into military exercises in 2005, with the goal of developing first strike capability.[5]

New Internet regulations
China has passed a new regulation, effective July 1, that prohibits the uploading and downloading of Internet material without the copyright holder's permission. The Legal Affairs Office of the State Council said that the regulation was issued on the principle of balancing the interests of copyright owners, Internet service providers and users of copyrighted works. The new regulation will fine individuals up to 100,000 yuan ($12,500) and confiscate computer equipment from those breaching copyright. Xinhua announced the regulation on May 29.[6]


Petitions and Protests

Land disputes
Residents in Qunli Village, Suzhou clashed with more than 1,000 police on May 7 over a resettlement dispute. About a dozen protestors were detained, and some remained in custody at the time of a May 9 news report.[7]

Thirty women in Baiyun, Guangdong Province, clashed with about 300 policemen, riot police and other government officials on May 11 over the local government's confiscation of 130 mu of land. Many of the women were reported injured in the clash.[8]

Local authorities forcefully suppressed a protest on May 14 by residents of Dayingzi Village in Changchun, Jilin Province over the acquiring of some 600 acres of land belonging to 137 households. A village representative petitioned the central government in early May and applied to have the local court hear the case, but the authorities have yet to respond.[9]

Teachers' protests
About 700 former kindergarten teachers gathered in front of Yunnan's provincial government offices on May 10 to protest their pension benefits, which they said were inferior to those of secondary and primary school teachers.[10]

Teachers from more than 80 primary and secondary schools in Jintang County, Sichuan Province staged a warning strike on May 24 over allowances granted in addition to basic salary and other benefits. The teachers accused local governments of corruption and embezzling educational funding. News on the strike was reportedly blocked on the Internet and in local media.[11]

UN secretary general petitioned on visit to China
Families of three rights activists on May 19 issued an open letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who was visiting China and meeting with President Hu Jintao. The letter, signed by relatives of Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), Xu Zhengqing (许正清) and Chen Xiaoming (陈晓明), urged Annan to pressure China to release the detained rights defenders. In addition, HRIC reported that Xu Yongdao (许永道), the elderly father of long-time petitioner Xu Zhengqing (许正清), also submitted an open letter on May 19 requesting Annan's intervention in his son's case. Xu Zhengqing was sentenced to three years in prison on October 17, 2005 for commemorating the death of former Party leader Zhao Ziyang. The elder Xu has been harassed and monitored by local police for his petitioning efforts on behalf of his son.

A large number of police officers were spotted patrolling the entrances of the Beijing South Station during Annan's visit, apparently with the intention of preventing out-of-towners from petitioning Beijing during Annan's visit. Some petitioners in a squatter encampment were also reported to have been taken away by police.[12]

Open letter by Tiananmen Mothers
The Tiananmen Mothers on May 28 issued an open letter renewing calls for appropriate compensation and assistance for the victims of June 4 and their families, as well as a full investigation and official accountability.[13]


Human Rights Defenders

Harassed
Police forcibly detained rights activist Guo Qizhen (郭起真), 49, from his Cangzhou, Hebei Province home on May 12. According to Guo's wife, the police showed no identification, and said they were taking Guo for a psychiatric examination. Guo has published more than 66 online articles on official corruption.[14]

Li Weiping (李卫平), a democracy activist who was imprisoned for three years after participating in the 1989 democracy movement, issued an online statement on May 17 revealing that Beijing state secrets personnel had approached him in February and asked him to "cooperate"with them by gathering information on democracy groups' activities, failing which he would be expelled from Beijing. Although police gave Li until June 11 to leave, his landlord has already cancelled his lease.[15]

Dissident writer Xiong Zhongjun (熊忠俊) was forced to leave Shenzhen for his home village in Hubei after local police pressured his landlord to cancel his lease. Xiong had published a series of articles criticizing the Communist government in 2005, and had been detained for allegations of inciting subversion of state power. The charge was eventually dropped due to insufficient evidence.[16]

Police reportedly detained dissident writer Liu Shui (刘水) on May 29 while he was visiting a friend in Shenzhen. According to news reports, Liu's friend suspected that Liu was taken away for questioning in regard to research he had been conducting on the system of custody and reeducation. A former leader in the June 4 student movement, Liu has frequently posted critical essays on the Internet and has been detained four times previously.[17]

Detained
In May it was reported that rights defender Cheng Xiaoming (陈小明) has been missing since February 15, when he was detained by a dozen police officers from Shanghai's Luwan District Public Security Bureau. According to HRIC's sources, the PSB suspects Chen of bringing an American consular official to the home of petitioner Fu Yuxia on the evening of February 13 while a number of other petitioners were gathered in Fu's home. Chen was one of more than a dozen petitioners detained on February 15, and his home was subsequently searched twice. Sources say Chen was originally held in a storage room of the PSB station, and that in the middle of the night on March 6 he was stripped naked and physically abused, his cries for help audible from outside. On March 31, sources say, Chen was designated a key suspect and transferred to a secret location, and no one has had any news of him since.[18]

Shanghai authorities initiated a massive roundup of petitioners in the lead-up to the 17th anniversary of June 4, and the release of imprisoned lawyer Zheng Enchong scheduled for June 5. First to be detained was long-time petitioner Mao Hengfeng (毛恒凤), who was placed in "soft detention"in Yangpu District's Kelaideng Hostel on the evening of May 23. Angered at her unwarranted detention, Mao broke a lamp inside her hostel room, and as a result, police placed her under criminal detention on the charge of "intentionally damaging property"on May 30.[19]

Trial developments
Beijing prosecutors have filed a new indictment against Zhao Yan (赵岩), a former researcher for The New York Times who has been in custody since 2004 on state secrets and fraud charges. The trial has been set for June 8. The criminal investigation against Zhao was resumed by China's prosecutors after the original charge of divulging state secrets was dropped in March. He was detained in September 2004 for allegedly providing the Times with advanced information on Jiang Zemin's plan to resign from the Central Military Commission. The Times has consistently denied that Zhao had anything to do with the report.[20]

Tan Kai (谭凯) was tried at Hangzhou's Xihu District Court on May 15 on charges of "illegally obtaining state secrets."The Hangzhou Public Security Bureau issued summonses to Tan and five other members of an unregistered environmental civil society group, Green Watch (lüse guancha), on October 19, 2005 after the group opened a bank account under Tan's name. Tan was detained and subsequently arrested on December 7, and indicted on April 29, 2006. Tan and his colleagues were engaged in monitoring the situation in Huashui Town in Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province, following complaints by local residents that pollution from a nearby chemical factory was destroying crops and causing birth defects. On November 15, after a series of protests in the spring, the Zhejiang provincial government declared Green Watch an illegal organization. Tan, a computer repair technician, was formally charged last year with "illegally obtaining state secrets"after he backed up the files of a computer at the Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee office while making repairs.

Charged
The Bijie District Court in Guizhou began hearing the criminal case against Li Yuanlong (李元龙), a former reporter of Bijie Daily, on May 11. Li, 45, was charged in September 2005 with inciting subversion for posting essays critical of the government on the Internet. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Li reported on rural poverty and had been censored in recent years because of complaints by local officials embarrassed by his reports. The Bijie District Procuratorate previously sent the case back to state security requesting further investigation.[21]

Jailed
Huang Weizhong (黄维忠), a villager from Fujian Province, was convicted on May 13 for "disturbing public order"and was sentenced to three years in prison by a local court. Huang had attempted to petition Beijing on behalf of thousands of villagers protesting a land grab by the local government. Huang's appeal will be decided before end of June.[22]

Yang Tianshui (杨天水), 43, a freelance writer, was convicted on multiple charges of subversion on May 16 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Yang decided not to appeal, in protest against the legality of the trial. According to his lawyer, Yang was accused of posting articles on foreign Web sites, receiving money from abroad and helping a would-be opposition party. Yang had previously served a 10-year jail term for criticizing the 1989 crackdown between 1990 and 2000.[23]

Twelve residents of Guangdong's Dongzhou Village were jailed for up to seven years on May 24 for their roles in a demonstration in December 2005, which ended with the death of three villagers after authorities dispatched troops to suppress the protest. The villagers were convicted of illegally manufacturing explosives, illegal assembly and disturbing public order, according to relatives who attended the hearing. Villagers Huang Xirang (黄希让), Lin Hanru (林汉儒) and Huang Xijun (黄希俊), previously described as the riots' ringleaders, were jailed for seven, five, and five years respectively. Two others, Wang Xishu and Zhang Xinyi, were reportedly sentenced to three years each.[24] The South China Morning Post reported that seven of the 19 villagers who stood trial were acquitted.[25]


Death Penalty

Violent Crimes
Fang Jianqing (樊建清), 19, a nanny from a rural village sentenced to death by Shanxi Higher People's Court on April 4 for murdering her employers, was executed on May 17 after her sentence was upheld on appeal.[26]

Ju Yunlong (瞿云龙), 50, unemployed, convicted of robbing and murdering a taxi-driver on May 15, 2005, was sentenced to death by the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court in mid-May.[27]

Lu Yunpeng (芦云鹏), Zhao Mingjie (赵明杰), Zhao Zhunzhang (赵军章) and Zhang Zhanke (张占科), convicted of killing a business rival, were sentenced to death by the Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court in Henan Province on May 15.[28]

Xu Chengping (徐承平) and Zheng Jun (郑军), convicted of murdering Xu's business partner and taking his property, were sentenced to death by the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court on May 19. Xu and Zheng are appealing.[29]

Zheng Yuanbo (郑元波), 38, convicted of murdering his son's principal on November 11, 2005 after a quarrel, was sentenced to death by the Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court in Zhejiang Province on May 12.[30]

Zhou Yanfan (周延樊), 30, a triad member convicted of murdering five people, was sentenced to death by Chaozhou Intermediate People's Court and executed on May 24, 2006.[31]

Xu Chengping (徐承平), Zheng Jun (郑军) and Liu Xiong (刘雄), a gang member and two former police officers convicted of murder, were sentenced to death by the Fuzhou Immediate People's Court on May 19. They are appealing.[32]

Financial Crimes
Wen Mengjie (温梦杰), 50, a banker at the Bank of Communications convicted of accepting bribes totaling 10 million yuan, was sentenced to death by the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.[33]


//

ENDNOTES

[1] "办八九民调网站被关 涉历史当局仍过敏 (Government's Closure of Website That Held Opinion Poll on June 4th Shows Authorities Are Still Overly Sensitive on Subject)", Radio Free Asia, May 15, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[2] 深圳市民网上发起不买房行动 (Shenzhen Resident Launches "Don't Buy Apartments" Campaign on Internet), Radio Free Asia, May 12, 2006, http://www.rfa.org; "Media Ban on Housing Protester", SCMP, May 17, 2006, http://china.scmp.com.

[3] Department of Defense, Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the PRC 2006, May 2006, http://www.defenselink.mil.

[4] Josh Rogin, "DOD: China fielding cyberattack units,"Federal Computer Week, May 25, 2006.

[5] Department of Defense, Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the PRC 2006, May 2006, http://www.defenselink.mil.

[6] "Govt vows to better protect copyright on Internet," Xinhua News Agency, May 29, 2006.

[7] "苏州娄葑因房屋动迁发生警民冲突 (Angry Suzhou Villagers Clash with Police Over Resettlement Dispute)", Radio Free Asia, May 09, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[8] "广州白云区30多妇女阻止强拆与警察冲突 (30 Guangzhou Women Clash with Police for Demolishing of their Property),"Radio Free Asia, May 16, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[9] "吉林大营子村土地案村民状告无门 (Jilin Court Refuses to Hear Land Acquisition Dispute),"Radio Free Asia, May 13, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[10] 云南700多名退休教师聚集省政府前要求提高待遇 (700 Retired Teachers Petition at Yunnan Government Office Demanding Better Retirement Benefits), Radio Free Asia, May 10, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[11] 成都金堂八十多所中小学教师罢工 (Teachers from 80 Chengdu Schools Go on Strike), Radio Free Asia, June 25, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[12] "安南访华 被羁押维权人士的家属致安南公开信 (Families of Detained Human Rights Defenders Send Open Letter to Kofi Annan When He Visits China),"Radio Free Asia, May 19, 2006, http://www.rfa.org; 安南访京期间北京大批搜捕上访者 (Large Numbers of Petitioners Arrested During Kofi Annan's Visit to Beijing), Radio Free Asia, May 23, 2006, http://www.rfa.org. Human Rights in China, "Press Advisory: Crackdown on activists leading up to June 4th,"May 26, 2006.

[13] Human Rights in China, "Tiananmen Mothers Renew Calls for Justice for June 4th Crackdown,"May 28, 2006.

[14] "维权人士郭起真被便衣警察带走 (Rights Defender Guo Qizhen Taken Away by Plain-clothes Police),"Radio Free Asia, May 15, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[15] 李卫平:我不当密探 (Dissident Li Weiping Forced to Leave Beijing for Refusing to Be Government Spy), Radio Free Asia, May 18, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[16] 网络异见人士被公安逼迫返乡 (Public Security Bureau Forces Another Internet Activist to Go Back to Home Town), Radio Free Asia, May 24, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[17] 异议作家刘水在深圳被公安带走 (Dissident Writer Liu Shui Taken Away by Police in Shenzhen), Radio Free Asia, May 29, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[18] Human Rights in China, "News Update: Concern over Fate of Petitioner Chen Xiaoming, Missing for Three Months,"May 8, 2006.

[19] Human Rights in China, "Press Advisory: Crackdown on activists leading up to June 4th,"May 26, 2006; Human Rights in China, "Zheng Enchong Released Amidst Crackdown on Petitioners,"June 5, 2006.

[20] 北京检察院对赵岩恢复起诉 (Beijing Procuratorate Resumes Prosecution Against Zhao Yan), Radio Free Asia, May 15, 2006, http://www.rfa.org; Trial of NYT Researcher Begins June 8, AP (via YahooNews), May 27, 2006, http://news.yahoo.com.

[21] 贵州记者李元龙案在毕节法院公开审理 (Guizhou Court Set to Hear Case of Journalist Li Yuanlong), Radio Free Asia, May 10, 2006, http://www.rfa.org; 李元龙案开审家属受压 党员老父叹体制缺陷 (Li Yuanlong's Father Attends Li's Trial, Expresses Dissatisfaction with Legal System), Radio Free Asia, May 12, 2006, http://www.rfa.org.

[22] "土地维权活动代表黄维忠被判刑3年 (Land Rights Activist Huang Weizhong Sentenced to 3 Years' Imprisonment for Organizing Petitions Against Land Grabs)", Radio Free Asia, May 17, 2006, http://www.rfa.org ; "福建农民代表黄维忠被判三年监禁 (Fujian Farmers' Representative Huang Weizhong Sentenced to 3 Years' Imprisonment)", Voice of America, May 24, 2006, http://www.voanews.com.

[23] 杨天水被判刑十年辩护律师表遗憾 (Yang Tianshui Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison, Yang's Lawyer Expresses Disappointment), Voice of America, May 16, 2006, http://www.voanews.com; China Launches Severe Crackdown on Media, AP( via YahooNews), May 16, 2006, http://news.yahoo.com.

[24] "China Sentences Dongzhou Villagers For Their Part in Clashes,"Radio Free Asia, June 2, 2006.

[25] Prison Terms for Dongzhou Rioters, SCMP, May 25, 2006, http://china.scmp.com.

[26] "杀死原长治人大副主任夫妇的小保姆被执行死刑 (Appeals Court Confirms Death Sentence for Nanny who Murdered Local People's Representative)", Xinhuanet, May 19, 2006, http://news.xinhuanet.com.

[27] "上海零口供劫犯被判死刑 (Shanghai Murder Suspect Sentenced to Death)", The Beijing News, May 16, 2006, http://news.thebeijingnews.com.

[28] "为独霸考研市场老总雇凶杀人获死刑 (Multimillionaire Sentenced to Death for Killing Business Rivals)", Legal Daily, May 18, 2006, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn.

[29] "福州警匪勾结杀人案3人获死刑 公安副局长外逃 (3 Sentenced to Death in Murder and Robbery Case in Fuzhou)", Xinhuanet, May 24, 2006.

[30] "家长杀校长一审被判死刑 (Parent Sentenced to Death for Murdering School Principal)", Legal Daily, May 15, 2006, http://www.legaldaily.com.cn.

[31] "闯入大排档乱枪杀两人 潮州涉黑团伙骨干周延樊昨被枪决 (Chaozhou Triad Group Leader Executed Yesterday for Random Killing of Two People at Food Stall)", Nanfang Daily, May 25, 2006, http://www.nanfangdaily.com.cn.

[32] 福州警匪勾结杀人案3人获死刑 公安副局长外逃 (3 Sentenced to Death in Murder and Robbery Case in Fuzhou), Xinhuanet, May 24, 2006, http://news.xinhuanet.com.

[33] "6年索回扣千余万 京城商业贿赂第一贪被判死刑 (State Bank Official Sentenced to Death for Corruption)", Xinhuanet, May 18, 2006, http://news.xinhuanet.com.