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September 2004

September 30, 2004

*The information contained in this summary is based on reports collected by HRIC and cannot be regarded as comprehensive. Rather, it should be viewed as an indication of larger trends of repression, reform and dissent in China.

Media Censorship: Internet Activists/Journalists/Web sites

Petitions and Protests: Forced Relocations/NPC Meeting/Official Brutality

Religious Persecution


Official Corruption: Charges, Convictions and Reforms

Media Censorship: Internet Activists/Journalists/Web sites

During the month of September, HRIC noted reports of two people detained for using the Internet to distribute information. Two people were convicted for internet-related crimes. Three Web sites and one print journal were blocked or shutdown. The government enacted two regulations governing the media. Also, one person detained for Internet or press-related crimes was released from prison. By comparison, in August one person’s appeal against his conviction for Internet-related crimes was turned down, two people were released and one law governing the Internet was enacted.


Yang Zheng was detained at the Southwest College of Foreign Languages by Chongqing Public Security Bureau officers and interrogated about subversive activities on September 24, 2004. Yang is a professor of social sciences at Southwest College of Foreign Languages, as well as a commentator using the pseudonym “Guan Kui” on the “Guancha” Web site. Yang was taken to an unknown location and subjected to “double regulations” (shuanggui) an unofficial form of detention and interrogation, in relation to publishing “reactionary articles,” contact he had with overseas scholars and teaching liberal political opinions. Yang was detained and interrogated again on September 28th and 30th. (China Information Center (CIC), “Chinese authorities arrest Guancha commentator Guan Kui,” 10/1/04)

Zhao Yan, a research assistant for the New York Times and activist for peasants’ rights, was detained in Shanghai on “suspicion of illegally providing state secrets to foreigners” on September 17th. Shanghai authorities did not divulge the reason for Zhao’s detention, but the Times believed it might be in connection with a story on September 7th reporting Jiang Zemin’s impending resignation as head of the Central Military Commission. At the time of his detention, Zhao was planning to participate in a hunger strike calling for the release of Hebei peasant-activist Zhang Youren. (HRIC, Background on Zhao Yan’s Arrest,” 9/29/04 and NYT, “Researcher for the Times in China is Detained,” 9/24/04)


Kong Youping and Ning Xianhua were sentenced to 15 and 12 years in prison, respectively, by a court in Shenyang, Liaoning Province on September 16th. The two were charged with “subverting state power” for posting articles on the Internet in support of the Chinese Democracy Party. (Reporters Sans Frontiers, “Two cyber-dissidents receive harsh prison sentences, another released,” 9/17/04)

Huang Jinqiu was sentenced to twelve years in prison on September 27 by the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court on charges of “subverting state power” for a number of essays he published on the Internet. An Internet essayist, writer and journalist, Huang was originally detained on September 13, 2003 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province. His trial on subversion charges began on June 22, 2004 at the Changzhou Intermediate People’s Court. At the time of his conviction he was detained at the Changzhou Detention Center in Jiangsu Province. (Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC), “China alert (Internet essayist, writer and journalist Huang Jinqiu sentenced to twelve years in prison),” 10/6/04)

Web site/Journal Closings:

The “Strategy and Management” journal was shut down and the most recent issue recalled by the State Press and Publication Administration on August 17th. It is believed the bimonthly journal covering diplomacy, domestic politics and economics was closed because it published a controversial article on North Korea. (Reuters, “China Orders Journal Closed Over N. Korea Story”, 9/21/04)

National authorities on September 23rd blocked access to Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that relies heavily on contributions from Internet users and carries a number of articles on human rights abuses in China. The Web site has previously been blocked ahead of key meetings of the National People’s Congress. (Reporters Sans Frontiers, “China cracks down on free expression as EU pursues ‘constructive dialogue’,” 9/28/04)

Patriots’ Alliance Web was shutdown by the Beijing Information Office in the first week of September after refusing to stop a petition drive protesting a decision by the Railways Ministry to award Japanese companies with contracts to upgrade Chinese railway lines. The petition gathered 67,876 online signatures in less than 24 hours on the Web site, which is popular among China’s young and educated. (Wall Street Journal, “Beijing Closes Web Site Airing Nationalist Views,” 9/3/04)

Authorities closed a popular discussion forum, Yi Ta Hu Tu, on September 13th. The online forum attached to Peking University hosts unmoderated discussions on sensitive topics such as corruption, human rights and Taiwan independence, which are selected through a democratic process among participants. The shutdown came in the run-up to an NPC meeting in Beijing. (Reporters Sans Frontiers, “China cracks down on free expression as EU pursues ‘constructive dialogue’,” 9/28/04)


The Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued regulations on September 4th that provide tougher penalties for the production and spread of porn through the Internet, mobile phones and other communication devices. The regulations, which take effect on September 5th, include punishments ranging from living under compulsory surveillance to life imprisonment. (AP, “China Vows Tougher Penalties for Web Smut,” 9/5/04)

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television banned television networks from airing unauthorized lotteries and contests using SMS (text messaging) after a September 6th broadcast on CCTV4’s show Today’s Focus held a lottery to guess the final death toll from the school siege tragedy in Beslan, Russia in which more than 300 people died. Contests were completely banned from news shows, while all other TV shows must gain permission and cannot include “political or sensitive topics.” (AP, “Update: China Bans Phone Text Message Lotteries,” 9/27/04)


Xu Guang was released from prison on September 14th after serving a 5-year sentence for “subverting state power” after circulating pro-democracy articles on the Internet and in the press. (Reporters Sans Frontiers, “Two cyber-dissidents receive harsh prison sentences, another released,” 9/17/04)

Petitions and Protests: Forced Relocations/NPC Meeting/Official Brutality

NPC Meeting:
An estimated 36,000 petitioners were detained in the basement of the Shijingshan Gymnasium in Beijing during the first few days of September. The detentions were apparently spurred by a desire to ensure public order in advance of a meeting of the Central Committee of the 16th Party Congress. The petitioners, whose complaints included land disputes, forced evictions and unpaid wages, claimed the frequency of the arrests and level of brutality in the pre-NPC meeting detentions was unprecedented. (HRIC, “Massive Crackdown on Petitioners in Beijing,” 9/8/04)

Yan Zhengxue, a well-known artist and dissident, was secretly detained by police from the Zhejiang Province State Security Bureau on September 14th, in an apparent effort by the authorities to prevent trouble during the meeting of the Central Party Committee of the 16th Party Congress. (HRIC, “China Detains Prominent Artist and Dissident,” 9/15/04)

Forced Relocations:

Three hundred and eighty police and hired thugs bulldozed three homes in Wanli Village, Fujian Province on September 8th despite protests from local residents. Four villagers were arrested in the raid and one elderly man, Jiang Zongzhong, attempted suicide by igniting a propane cooking tank as the authorities came to demolish his house. A fireman prevented Jiang from killing himself. (HRIC, “Protesting Peasants Under Siege in Wanli Village,” 9/9/04)

Official Brutality:

Enraged residents of Hebian village near Guangzhou retaliated against security guards in a public park on September 20th, after an elementary school boy was beaten by park guards who suspected him of stealing money from visitors. Thirty people were hospitalized, one critically, before 200 riot police restored calm. (AFP, “Thirty hospitalized after villagers clash with security guards,” 9/22/04)

Religious Persecution

During the month of September, HRIC recorded two incidents in which Falun Gong practitioners were mistreated.

Sixteen Falun Gong practitioners accused a Hong Kong court of mistreatment on September 3rd after it failed to rule on their appeal for a full year. The group was convicted on minor charges and ordered to pay small fines for causing an obstruction during a protest last year. In their appeal, the practitioners claimed the arrests were a violation of free speech. (AP, “Spiritual Group Criticizes Lengthy HK Court Appeals Process,” 9/3/04)

Sarah Liang, a reporter with New Tang Dynasty Television, was rebuffed by a Mainland sports spokeswoman during a press conference with Chinese gold medalists in Hong Kong on September 6. Liang said she suspected political censorship connected to the station’s reported Falun Gong affiliation. (AP, “Falun Gong Follower Tried to Query China Official in HK,” 9/6/04)


The Ministry of Labor and Social Security released a study reviewing labor in the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta, Fujian Province and Zhejiang Province, which was published on the State Council Information Office’s Web site on September 8th. The study concluded that poor wages and working conditions, as well as increased job opportunities in the central and inland provinces, were the main reasons for the labor shortage in the southern coastal regions, which mainly affected manufacturers in the toy, shoes and textiles industries paying less than 700 yuan a month. (SCMP, “Labour shortage bites in the south,” 9/9/04

Official Corruption: Charges, Convictions and Reforms

During September, HRIC noted reports of two people charged or put on trial for alleged corruption. Another two people were convicted on corruption charges and one person was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). By comparison, in August HRIC noted a report of one person under investigation for official corruption.


Chen Manxiong and Chen Qiuyuan, former top officials at a government economic development agency charged with stealing 420 million yuan in public funds, went on trial in Zhongshan in early September. They had fled to Thailand to escape prosecution, but were repatriated. No decision has yet been rendered in their case. (AP, “Trial of Chinese Couple Accused of Embezzlement Begins,” 9/8/04)

Liang Feng, the former head of the Guangzhou Marine Fishery Co., went on trial September 6th at the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on charges of corruption, smuggling and embezzlement. Despite the allegations and pending verdict, Liang was elected to the Guangzhou Agricultural Bureau of the city’s People’s Congress. (SCMP, “Cadre elected despite corruption investigation,” 9/8/04)

Expelled from CCP:

Tian Fengshan, the ex-minister of land and resources, was expelled from the CCP in the week of September 20th because of charges that he took five million yuan in bribes. His expulsion came as the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection vowed to erradicate corruption even among top officials. (AFP, “Corruption watchdog vows to spare no one in war on graft,” 9/21/04)


Wang Liming, Miao Ping and Wang Xiang from the China Construction Bank, and Liang Shihan from the Bank of China, were executed on September 14th after they were convicted of stealing a total of $15 million. The convictions and executions came amidst a high-profile campaign against financial crime. (Reuters, “China Executes Bank Employees in Fraud Crackdown,” 9/14/04)

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