Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that the Shanghai petitioner Du Yangming has been denied family visitation rights for refusing to admit guilt and wear a prison uniform.
Du Yangming was arrested prior to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Shanghai in June 2006, and on December 18, 2006, was sentenced to two years and six months’ imprisonment on charges of provoking serious public disorder. Shanghai’s Zhabei District People’s Court found that on March 15, 2006, Du and another petitioner, Tian Baocheng, “did not pay for the use of a public toilet near the Xinhua News Agency branch office on Hengshan Road, and incited other petitioners to berate the female toilet attendant.” The court also found that on May 31, 2006, Du Yangming and Tian Baocheng and his wife did not buy tickets for a public bus, resulting in bus service interruption.
Sources in China told HRIC that on February 11, 2007, Du Yangming was transferred from the Zhabei District Detention Centre to the Shanghai Qingpu Prison. In April 2007, Du Yangming’s wife, Chen Meijuan, learned that Du had been transferred once more to the Anhui Baimaoling Prison, but the family has not received notification allowing them to visit Du since then.
Chen Meijuan has written to her husband regularly since May, but has only received two brief replies from Du. On July 10, 2007, Chen telephoned Baimaoling Prison and requested permission to visit Du. An official told her that Du was not being allowed family visits because he refused to admit guilt or wear a prison uniform. Chen Meijuan phoned again on July 25 and was told that Du had been placed in solitary confinement for being “very uncooperative.” An official advised Chen to write to Du and “persuade him to soften his attitude” and added that if Du continued to refuse to wear a prison uniform or admit guilt, he would continue to be deprived of family visits.
Du Yangming is over 60 years old and has serious health problems, including diabetes and a chronic back disorder. According to HRIC’s sources, he has been mistreated during previous detentions.
HRIC deplores the use of minor offenses to harass and punish petitioners for exercising their constitutional right to petition the government, and urges the international community to closely monitor Du Yangming’s case, including any reports of mistreatment and inadequate medical care. HRIC is deeply concerned by the Shanghai penal authorities’ practice of punishing Du Yangming by denying his family visits, and urges officials to allow family visits as provided for in both domestic law and international standards, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
For previous HRIC press releases about Du Yangming’s case, see:
“Shanghai Petitioners Imprisoned,” December 18, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/31937;
“Three Shanghai Petitioners go to Trial, Others Abused in Detention,” November 7, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/31420;
“Shanghai Petitioners Appeal to Central Discipline Inspection Committee over Renewed Crackdown,” September 15, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/30734;
“Roundup of Shanghai Rights Activists on Eve of NPC Session,” February 27, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/27307;
“Hunger Strike Detentions Continue in Shanghai,” February 17, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/27215;
“Shanghai Rounds up Petitioners for Party Plenums,” January 17, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/26639;
For other cases in which prisoners have been deprived of family visits, see:
“Petitioner Chen Xiaoming Dies under Belated Medical Parole,” July 12, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/44230;
“Elderly Activist Ill in Prison, Denied Family Visits,” June 22, 2007, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/42693;
“Imprisoned Petitioner Xu Zhengqing Denied Family Visits,” July 5, 2006, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/29473;
“Family Planning Opponent’s Sentence Extended,” January 4, 2005, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/19617;
“Imprisoned Labor Activist Threatened with End to Family Visits if Abuse is Revealed,” December 1, 2004, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/18898.