Alert: New guide on best practices to protect detained children from torture
China
19.12.06
Urgent Interventions

Follow up: sentencing of three petitioners to prison terms

Case CHN 101106.1
Follow up to case CHN 101106
Sentencing/ Fear of ill-treatment

Geneva, 19 December 2006

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has received new information regarding the following situation in the People’s Republic of China.

New Information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source[1] of the sentencing of three petitioners, Mr. Du Yangming, Ms. Wang Shuizhen, and Mr. Tian Baocheng to prison terms on 18 December 2006.

According to the information received, the three petitioners appeared in Shanghai’s Zhabei District People’s Court on 8 and 9 November 2006 on charges of “causing a disturbance”. Mr. Tian Baocheng and Mr. Du Yangming were sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and Ms. Wang Shuizhen to one year. Mr. Tian Baocheng’s wife, Ms. Zhang Cuiping was earlier sentenced to one-and-a-half years of Reeducation Through Labor (RTL).

According to the same information, the judgment against Mr. Tian Baocheng states that on 15 March 2006, Mr. Tian Baocheng and Mr. Du Yangming disturbed public order by refusing to pay for the use of a public toilet near the Xinhua News Agency branch office in Hengshan Road, and for instigating other petitioners to berate Xinhua employees. Although the alleged offence occurred in March 2006, Mr. Tian Baocheng and Mr. Du Yangming were not detained until 2 June 2006, around the time of the intergovernmental Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Ms. Wang Shuizhen was reportedly convicted and sentenced for attempting to attend a memorial for late Party secretary Zhao Ziyang in Beijing in April 2006.

All three petitioners have previously served terms of imprisonment or RTL for their petitioning activities, and have suffered physical abuse in detention.

OMCT has no further information regarding Mr. Duan Huimin, a Shanghai petitioner, arrested and ill-treated beginning of November 2006.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the above mentioned petitioners, especially for Mr. Du Yangming, Ms. Wang Shuizhen, Mr. Tian Baocheng and Ms. Zhang Cuiping and calls for their release in the absence of valid charges. Furthermore, the International Secretariat of OMCT urges the Chinese authorities to conform with China’s international human rights obligations, commitments that were reaffirmed on the occasion of its election as a member of the new United Nations Human Rights Council.

Reminder of the situation

According to the information received, Mr. Du Yangming, Ms. Wang Shuizhen, Mr. Tian Baocheng and Ms. Zhang Cuiping, four petitioners, were reportedly detained and charged in connection with their activities around the time of the meeting of the intergovernmental Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in June 2006. Furthermore, two Shanghai petitioners, Ms. Duan Chunfang and Mr. Duan Huimin, have been subjected to ill-treatment after being arrested in November 2006.

According to the information received, Mr. Du Yangming, 60 years old, was detained on 2 June 2006, after police came to his home and took him away for questioning. Mr. Du Yangming has been reportedly petitioning the authorities for years over the demolition of his former home. He has previously spent 18 months in Reeducation through Labor (RTL), and has been put under criminal detention three times, during which he reportedly suffered serious physical abuse.

According to the same information, Ms. Wang Shuizhen was detained on 5 June 2006 while on her way to accompany lawyer Zheng Enchong's wife, Jiang Meili, to Tilanqiao Prison to await Zheng's release upon completion of his three-year prison sentence on charges of revealing state secrets overseas. Ms. Wang Shuizhen was formally arrested in early July 2006. She previously served two years in prison for "causing a disturbance" when in April 2003 she refused to undergo ideological training as ordered by her local housing committee chairman.

It is also reported that Mr. Tian Baocheng and his wife Zhang Cuiping were detained on 2 June 2006, after which Mr. Tian Baocheng was formally charged with "causing a disturbance" on 8 July 2006, and his wife Zhang was sentenced to 18 months of RTL. Both Mr. Tian Baocheng and Ms. Zhang Cuiping had previously served terms of RTL in 2003, and during his detention, Mr. Tian Baocheng was reportedly subjected to serious physical abuse that resulted in the loss of two teeth and multiple injuries to his head, chest, arms and legs.

According to the same information, Mr. Du Yangming, Mr. Wang Shuizhen and Mr. Tian Baocheng were scheduled to appear in Shangai’s Zhabei District People court on 8 and 9 November 2006 on charges of “causing a disturbance”. Mr. Du Yangming, Ms. Wang Shuizhen and Mr. Tian Baocheng cannot afford a lawyer and are reportedly being defended by court-appointed counsel. However, family members reported that they have been unable to talk to or meet with the lawyers. Ms. Wang Shuizhen's husband reportedly requested a copy of the indictment against his wife from her lawyer after the court refused to provide it to him. The lawyer reportedly also refused to assist him, saying, "That's up to the government - don't bother me!"

Furthermore, two Shanghai petitioners, Ms. Duan Chunfang and Mr. Duan Huimin, have been subjected to ill-treatment after being arrested. Ms. Duan Chunfang and Mr. Duan Huimin, who are brother and sister, went to Beijing to petition the central authorities at the beginning of November 2006. Early on the morning of 3 November, a dozen plainclothes police officers reportedly burst into the guesthouse where they were staying and took them away. While in the police van, Ms. Duan Chunfang felt ill and asked to be allowed to sit near the window. Police officers reportedly responded by yanking her hair.

According to the information, when Mr. Duan Huimin saw what was happening to his sister, he tried to move near her, only to be pulled from the vehicle and beaten by more than 10 police officers. Mr. Duan Huimin was then handcuffed and forced into the rear of the vehicle. Ms. Duan Chunfang and Mr. Duan Huimin were kept separate on the train back to Shanghai, and Ms. Duan Chunfang was unable to find her brother upon arrival. According to the same information, Mr. Duan Huimin was seen on the train with obvious injuries, and he has reportedly been placed under criminal detention on accusations of assaulting a security officer with a weapon. Mr. Duan's parents spent all day and night outside of the detention center trying to see him, until police finally forced them to return home.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in the People’s Republic of China urging them to:

  1. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Du Yangming, Ms. Wang Shuizhen, Mr. Tian Baocheng and Ms. Zhang Cuiping;
  2. Order the immediate release of Mr. Du Yangming, Ms. Wang Shuizhen, Mr. Tian Baocheng and Ms. Zhang Cuiping in the absence of valid charges that are consistent with international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;
  3. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses:

  • President Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China, c/o Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; 2300 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20008, USA, Fax: +01 202 588-0032
  • President Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China, c/o Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Chemin de Surville 11, Case postale 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Genève, Swtzerland, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail: mission.china@ties.itu.int
  • Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Fusen Buzhang, Sifabu, 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu, Beijingshi 100020, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6529 2345
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Li Zhaoxing Buzhang Waijiaobu, 2 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Beijingshi 100701, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6588 2594, Email: ipc@fmprc.gov.cn
  • Ambassador, Sha Zukang, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Ch. De Surville, CP 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Suisse, e-mail: mission.china@ties.itu.int, Fax : +41 22 793 70 14
  • Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Avenue de Tervuren, 463 1160 Auderghem, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 663 30 10 / + 32 2 663 30 17 / +32 2 771 14 97 / +32 2 779 43 33; Fax: +32 2 762 99 66 / +32 2 779 28 95; Email: chinaemb_be@mfa.gov.cn

Please also write to the embassies of the People’s Republic of China in your respective country.

***

Geneva, 19 December 2006


[1] Human Rights In China (HRIC); not a member of the SOS-Torture network.

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