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March 2008

March 31, 2008

The information contained in this summary is based on information collected by HRIC in March 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.



Protests and Petitions

Human Rights Defenders

In the lead-up to the Olympics, HRIC will be monitoring Olympics-related news in the Monthly Briefs, in addition to regular topic areas.

Beijing Households Fear Eviction before Olympics
RFA reported on March 21 that about 50 Beijing households fear forced eviction for “Olympic greening” projects. Residents in Beiding Village, Chaoyang District, were reportedly told they must move by the end of March, but they refused because of insufficient compensation. Mr. Lü, a former resident in the Chaoyang District, had his apartment forcibly demolished for “Olympic greening” projects seven years ago, but then the disputed plot of land was sold to a developer for a golf course.[1]

IOC Chief Insists Awarding Olympic Games to China Was Right
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge told Reuters on March 24 “it was right to award the Games to China,” saying the IOC had carefully studied China’s human rights situation. However, he said that the IOC is “concerned about what is happening in Tibet,” as the Olympic Games “cannot be held in an atmosphere of violence.”[2]

State Leaders to Boycott Beijing Olympics
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk reportedly said on March 27 that he will not attend the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics because of the crackdown in Tibet. Czech President Vlacav Klaus said on March 26, without giving a reason, that he would not attend the opening ceremony or any events during the Games.[3]


U.S. and EU File WTO Case against China over Financial News Service
On March 3, the United States and the European Union filed a WTO case challenging China’s Measure for Administering the Release of News and Information in China by Foreign News Agencies (announced in September 2006). The U.S. and the EU argue that this measure undermines the ability of international news agencies to sell financial information to banks, government agencies, and other customers in China.[4]

Chinese Government Censors Information on Tibetan Protests
The Chinese authorities have been censoring information on the recent Tibetan protests. In mainland China, foreign TV broadcasts including BBC and CNN reports on the protests have been partially blocked since March 14. Foreign websites, including Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and YouTube, have all been partially or completely inaccessible in China during this same period. Overseas journalists, including reporters from Hong Kong, have been briefly detained and/or turned back by Chinese police. As of March 19, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) reported that international journalists have faced related interference 30 times in Beijing, the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and Gansu Province. On March 26–28, Chinese authorities arranged a guided tour of Lhasa for 26 overseas journalists. The Guardian reported that employees at CCTV’s English service had been told to keep broadcasting images of burned-down stores and Chinese wounded in attacks; no peaceful demonstrators were shown.[5]

Chinese Media Has No Coverage on Protest at Games Torch Ceremony
The Associated Press said no Chinese media reported on the protest which took place during the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece, on March 24. However news reports worldwide covered the protest, in which protesters unfurled a black banner with the Olympic rings replaced by handcuffs.[6]

Protests and Petitions

Riots Broke Out over Possible Fujian Chemical Plant
About 10,000 residents in Dongshan Island, Fujian Province, reportedly staged a five-day protest from February 28 to March 3 upon reports that a plant would be built. The same plant was rejected by residents of Xiamen, a nearby city, in June 2007. Some protesters damaged police buildings and cars before baton-wielding People’s Armed Police arrived on the scene. Protesters were reportedly injured and detained.[7]

Petitioners Detained Ahead of and During National Conferences
Fujian petitioner Huang Caipiao (黄财漂) estimated that 1,000 petitioners were detained in Majialou, Beijing, on March 3, including Huang himself. On the same day, petitioner Lin Xiuli (林秀丽) told RFA that she was currently being detained in a “study session” in her Qingdao hometown after Qingdao police “retrieved” her from Beijing. According to Shanghai petitioner Guo Yigui (郭益贵), authorities also tried to prevent Shanghai petitioners from going to Beijing during the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).[8]

Shanghai Authorities Suspend Maglev Project Amid Protests
Shanghai mayor Han Zheng said on March 6 that a new electromagnetic train line was not on the list of major projects planned for 2008. The announcement came after residents near the proposed route of the train line staged protests, resulting from concern that the magnets could harm their health and that the train line would lower nearby property values.[9]

Chinese Government Crack Down in Tibet
On March 10, 2008, Tibetan monks near Lhasa marched peacefully to commemorate the 49th anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. The protest triggered several others that week, leading to an outbreak of violence on March 14, when clashes broke out between Tibetans and the PRC authorities in Lhasa. The protests and riots spread to Tibetan areas in the neighboring provinces of Gansu, Sichuan, and Qinghai over the next two weeks. Chinese authorities reported on March 31 that 19 individuals had been killed on March 14 in Lhasa. Numbers from Tibet’s government-in-exile are much higher, at an estimated 140 Tibetans killed. Chinese authorities have reported that hundreds of Tibetans have surrendered to the authorities, while Tibetan NGOs overseas have also reported raids on monasteries and private homes, resulting in the arrest of over 1,000 monks and lay persons under various circumstances. Chinese authorities have deployed large troop presences in these Tibetan areas and have cracked down heavily on the individuals allegedly involved in the unrest. Chinese officials blamed the Dalai Lama for the protests, but have not provided any proof. The Dalai Lama denies these claims, and has appealed to the international community to send an independent body to the region to investigate the causes of the unrest.[10]

Striker Reported Dead in Guangdong
A worker reportedly died in a labor protest in Guangdong Province on March 10 after she was hit by a tear gas canister. Police were sent to control the 1,000 strikers who had worked for the Li Sen (Boluo) Wood Co. Fourteen workers, including five labor leaders, were allegedly detained. RFA reported that the protest was related to the new Labor Contract Law.[11]

Protests and Military Control Spread to the XUAR
The Chinese authorities have reportedly conducted massive arrests since 1,000 residents in Hetian City, XUAR, protested on March 23 and 24. A World Uyghur Congress (WUC) spokesperson said the protest was in response to the torture of Uyghur detainees, imprisonment of political prisoners, and a lack of religious freedom. In related news, WUC said that military control had been implemented in the southern part of XUAR beginning March 10. Any gathering of three or more Uyghurs at night was to be dispersed and participants detained. The Chinese authorities had also resumed confiscating passports of all Uyghur residents in the region.[12]

Human Rights Defenders

Harassment and Other Unfavorable Treatment
Zhang Xianling (张先玲), a member of the Tiananmen Mothers, reportedly had six people posted outside her home to monitor her from March 1 to 5. Zhang was told that the monitoring would continue until the annual NPC and CPPCC meetings concluded on March 18. Tiananmen Mothers jointly issued an open letter to the two conferences on February 28. Zhang personally delivered the open letter to the General Office of the National People's Congress on February 26, but it was refused.[13]

Beijing rights defense lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪) disappeared on the evening of March 5, and was released on March 8. According to Teng, the police questioned him about his essays and activities. Teng was reluctant to elaborate on the questioning as he was warned by the police to remain quiet. He was again detained for about six hours on March 18 after expressing his intention to attend Hu Jia’s (胡佳) trial.[14]

Tibetan writer Woeser and her husband Wang Lixiong (王力雄) have reportedly been placed under house arrest in their Beijing home beginning on March 10, when the protests started in Lhasa. The couple have to seek approval for “whatever movements [they] plan to make,” Wang told RFA on March 21. As of March 31, they remain under house arrest.[15]

Trial Developments
Qingdao land rights defender Yu Jianli (于建利) was tried on March 4. Yu was prosecuted on libel charges after he posted materials concerning violent evictions online. The Qingdao authorities reportedly conducted a large scale eviction project in 2006, about two years before the city will host Olympic sailing events. Unlawful eviction tactics such as arson and cutting of electric and water supplies were allegedly used in the eviction process.[16] There has been no news of a verdict as of March 31.

Lawyer Li Fangping (李方平) said that the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court will deliver the verdict for HIV/AIDS activist and human rights defender Hu Jia (胡佳) on April 3. Hu’s trial lasted for 3.5 hours on March 18. He was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” for articles he posted online and for interviews he gave to foreign media. Hu’s wife and activist Zeng Jinyan (曾金燕), his father, eight foreign diplomats, and many of his supporters were barred from attending the trial, although Zeng and their three-month-old baby were allowed to speak with Hu for several minutes after the trial ended. Hu’s family and lawyers told the media that Hu has been subject to inhumane treatment while in detention. During the first month of his detention, Hu was subjected to continuous interrogations for six to 14 hours at times, and he was not allowed to sleep during the day. Zeng Jinyan has been under house arrest since soon after the baby was born.[17]

On March 28, Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court retried jailed democracy activist Zhu Yufu (朱虞夫). At trial, the prosecutor raised new allegations arguing that Zhu committed the crime of "obstructing execution of official duties" during the three years of deprivation of his political rights following a previous incarceration. Zhu’s wife Jiang Hangli (蒋杭莉) fears Zhu will be given a harsher sentence this time. Zhu was again sentenced to two years in prison last July following an altercation with police in which both he and his son were beaten.[18]

Land rights defender and Olympics critic Yang Chunlin (杨春林) was sentenced to five years in jail on March 24, 2008, on charges of inciting subversion of state power. Yang was arrested after organizing an open letter campaign with more than 10,000 signatures, entitled, "We want human rights, not the Olympics." Prosecutors reportedly argued that Yang Chunlin’s petition tarnished China's international image.[19]

In late February, Jia Jianying (贾建英), wife of jailed democracy activist He Depu (何德普), issued two open letters, one to the warden at the prison where He was detained, and another to the annual conferences of the NPC and CPPCC. The letters address He’s ear and high blood pressure problems and call for his release for medical care if the prison hospital is unable to treat him. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2003 on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” after joining an open letter signed by 192 dissidents calling for political reforms.[20]

Authorities at the Qiqihar Labor Camp informed the son of petitioner Liu Jie (刘杰) that Liu resumed eating on March 2. Liu had staged a hunger strike for five days in protest of her Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) sentence. On March 4, Liu’s husband reportedly told her lawyer that the Nongken Intermediate People's Court in Heilongjiang Province had refused to file a case concerning Liu’s administrative litigation application against her RTL sentence. Liu, the organizer of a public letter with over 12,000 signatures, was sentenced to 18 months of RTL in November 2007.[21]

It was reported on March 24 that anti-corruption writer Lü Gengsong (吕耿松) has appealed his conviction for “inciting subversion of state power.” Lü believes that the Court's decision contravened the rights of citizens to enjoy freedom of expression protected under China's Constitution, as well as under international human rights law. Earlier this month, on March 2, Lü’s wife Wang Xue'e (汪雪娥) published an open letter online before the annual national conferences, expressing concerns for Lü’s deteriorating health in prison and calling for earlier Lü’s earlier release.[22]



[1] Zhang Liming [张丽明], “50 Villagers in Beiding Village, Beijing Refuse to Sign Olympics Relocation Agreements” [北京朝阳区北顶村五十户村民拒签奥运拆迁协议], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 21, 2008,

[2] Karolos Grohmann, “Awarding Games to China Was Right Move: Rogge,” Reuters, March 24, 2008,

[3] Lin Letong [林乐同], “Czech President and Polish Prime Minister to Boycott Olympics” [捷克总统波兰总理决定不出席北京奥运], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 28, 2008,

[4] “Europe and U.S. Take China to WTO over Financial News Services,” Associated Press, March 3, 2008, available at

[5] Josephine Ma, “HK, Foreign Media in Guided Tour of Lhasa,” South China Morning Post, March 27, 2008; “News of Tibet under scrutiny,” CNN, March 19, 2008,; Matthew Davis, “China Cracks Down on Protest News,” British Broadcasting Corporation, March 18 2008,; Tania Branigan, “State TV Switches to Non-Stop Footage of Chinese Under Attack,” The Guardian, March 18 2008,; Jonathan Richards, “China Blocks YouTube, Yahoo! over Tibet,” The Times Online, March 17 2008,; “China Blocks YouTube After Videos of Tibet Protests Are Posted,” Associated Press, March 17, 2008, available at 17youtube.html?_r=1&ref=technology&oref=slo.gin.

[6] “Mainland Media Ignores Protest at Games Torch Ceremony,” Associated Press, March 26, 2008.

[7] Edward Cody, “Protest over Factory Spreads in China,” Washington Post, March 4, 2008,; Joey Liu, “Chemical Plant Plan Enrages Islanders,” South China Morning Post, March 3, 2008.

[8] Han Qing [含青], “Petitioners in Beijing Intercepted; Over a Thousand in Custody in Majialou” [在京访民被拦截 马家楼1000多人在押], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 3, 2008,; Ding Xiao [丁小], “Shanghai Authorities Violently Stopping Petitioners During ‘Two Conferences’” [两会期间上海当局暴力截访], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 5, 2008,

[9] Geoff Dyer, “Protests Suspend Work on Shanghai Maglev,” Financial Times, March 6, 2008,; “Shanghai Residents Stop Maglev Protest,” Associated Press (via, March 1, 2008, available at 2008/03/01/shanghai_residents_stop_maglev_protest/.

[10] Audra Ang, “China: Tibet Arson Suspects Caught,” Associated Press, March 31, 2008, available at; “Police Confirm Identities of 14 Civilians Killed in Lhasa Riots,” Xinhuanet, March 31, 2008,; Lobsang Wangyal, “Fresh Tibet Protests Reported as Diplomats Visit,” Agence France-Presse, March 29, 2008, available at chinaunresttibetrights_080329205930;_ylt=AjRZu5coKyGeRD6TyAPLWytPzWQA; David Barboza, “660 Held in Tibetan Uprising, China Says,” New York Times, March 27, 2008, 27tibet.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin; Bill Savadove, “Students Protest Quietly in Beijing,” South China Morning Post, March 18, 2008; Aileen McCabe, “Dalai Lama Fears 'Cultural Genocide' in Tibet,” Vancouver Sun, March 16, 2008, 4fe8392c-8cdf-4863-b44c-fe1672abc8e7&k=51713; “Tibetan With Family in Lhasa Says Cars on Fire in Tibet in Latest Protest,” Associated Press, March 14, 2008, available at; Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, “Death toll rise to 79, over 1200 arrests and more than 100 disappear in Tibet,” March 25, 2008,

[11] Lee Kin-kwan, “Guangdong Detains 14 as Strikers Protest Reported Death,” Radio Free Asia, ed. Sarah Jackson-Han, trans. Luisetta Mudie, March 13, 2008,

[12] Xin Yu [心语], “One Thousand People Protest in Hetian City, XUAR” [新疆和田市近千人抗议 餐厅至今不能正常营业], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 31, 2008,; Shi Shan [石山], “Military Control Implemented in Southern XUAR: World Uyghur Congress” [新疆南部实行军管?], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 17, 2008,

[13] Shen Hua [申铧], “Yao Lifa and Zhang Xianling Under House Arrest During ‘Two Conferences’” [姚立法、张先玲两会期间被软禁], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 5, 2008,; Xin Yu [心语], “Zhang Xianling Encounters Authority Supervision and Restriction of Other Activities” [张先玲遭当局监视并限制其行动], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 2, 2008,

[14] Human Rights in China, “HRIC Statement: Violent Assaults on Rights Defense Lawyers Must Stop,” March 7, 2008,; “Chinese police release human rights lawyer,” Associated Press (via MSNBC), March 8, 2008, available at; Zhang Min [张敏], “Additional Report on Hu Jia’s Trial” [胡佳案开庭侧记], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台],

[15] Ding Xiao, “Tibetan Writer Under House Arrest in Beijing,” Radio Free Asia, March 21, 2008,

[16] Fang Yuan [方媛], “Representative of Qingdao Evictees Yu Jianli Stands Trial” [青岛拆迁户维权代表于建利案开庭审理], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 4, 2008,

[17] “China Verdict on Dissident Hu Jia Due Thursday: Lawyer,” Agence France-Presse, March 31, 2008, available at chinarightsdissidentsentenceoly2008_080331203716; _ylt=ArHRIvYyKnZGCLBGJNfkK.1PzWQA; Ding Xiao [丁小], “Hu Jia's Lawyers Reveal Details of the Trial Proceedings” [庭审律师辩护受阻 胡佳受不人道对待], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 21, 2008,; Human Rights in China, “HRIC Statement: Politicized Trial of Rights Defender Hu Jia Guts Freedom of Expression in China,” March 18, 2008,; Benjamin K. Lim, “China Dissident Hu Jia Pleads Not Guilty at Trial,” Reuters, March 18, 2008,; Ding Xiao [丁小], “Police State that Hu Jia's Apartment, Currently Under Police Surveillance, Will Be ‘Unblocked’ After Two Conferences” [警称胡佳家将解封 人权劣迹下待观察], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 3, 2008,

[18] Feng Riyao [冯日遥], “Dissident Zhu Yufu and Son's Retrial Complete; Awaiting Verdict” [朱虞夫父子案重审后等待宣判], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 28, 2008,

[19] Human Rights in China, “HRIC Statement: Five-Year Sentence of Olympics Critic Not Human Rights Progress,” March 24, 2008,

[20] Human Rights in China, “HRIC Case Update: Families of Lü Gengsong and He Depu Appeal to National People's Congress,” March 3, 2008,

[21] Feng Riyao [冯日遥], “Liu Jie Not Granted Filing for Administrative Suit” [刘杰申请行政诉讼不予立案], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 5, 2008,; Feng Riyao [冯日遥], “Petitioner Liu Jie Ends Hunger Strike; Resumes Eating After Five Days” [黑龙江女访民刘杰在劳教所绝食五日后恢复进食], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 3, 2008,

[22] Qiao Long [乔龙], “Lü Gengsong Appeals, Says the Judgment Violates China's Constitution and International Conventions” [吕耿松上诉 指判决违国家公约], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 24, 2008,; Human Rights in China, “HRIC Case Update: Families of Lü Gengsong and He Depu Appeal to National People's Congress,” March 3, 2008,; Xin Yu [心语], “Dissident Writer Lü Gengsong's Wife Asks that NPC Pay Attention to Lü's Case” [异议人士吕耿松的妻子致信人大希望关注吕案], Radio Free Asia [自由亚洲电台], March 3, 2008,