FTtimes: China detains dissidents ahead of US visit

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing


Published: November 14 2009 15:27 | Last updated: November 14 2009 15:27


Chinese police have detained dozens of dissidents and political reform advocates ahead of US President Barack Obama's first visit to China, according to family members and human rights activists.


The crackdown comes as human rights groups worry that Mr Obama, who arrives in China on Sunday, will play down China's poor human rights record in order to get cooperation from Beijing on issues such as climate change, trade and the economy.


The Financial Times has independently confirmed the cases of four Chinese activists who have been detained over the past two days in preparation for Mr Obama's visit.


At least 30 other activists who were expected to join one dissident in applying for the right to protest have also likely been detained, according to activists. They provided more than a dozen names of people whom they said had been detained.


"We get the impression Obama doesn't want to talk about human rights on this trip, but it is precisely because of his visit here that these people are being rounded up and detained right now," Ai Weiwei, a prominent Beijing-based artist and social commentator, told the FT on Saturday.


"We're not asking him to give us human rights, but he's coming here to make deals and advance US interests, and we think if he doesn't talk about the real conditions here then he shouldn't come."


Civil liberties groups heralded the election of Mr Obama in 2007, after years of criticising George W. Bush over Guantanamo, secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons and other alleged human rights abuses.


In recent months, however, human rights groups have soured on the Obama administration's stance on human rights. One turning point came in February when Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, said human rights could not "interfere" with Sino-US co-operation on "the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis, and the security crisis". Her comments, which were made in Asia before a trip to China, were castigated by human rights activists.


Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, said Mr Obama "should not give China a free pass on human rights".


"One-quarter of humanity � as well as the rest of the international community � deserves better," she added.


In one of the cases confirmed by the FT, Yao Lifa, a democracy campaigner was detained near his home in the town of Qianjiang, Hubei Province, on Saturday morning while out for a walk with his baby daughter. Security officers took Mr Yao and his daughter into custody and later released the child to her mother, according to Yao Yao, the campaigner's 26-year-old son.


The authorities told Mr Yao's relatives that he was being placed under administrative detention for "a few days" because "an important visitor" was coming to China. Mr Obama arrives in the country on Sunday. Mr Yao was previously detained in January after the US consulate in Wuhan, Hubei province, invited him to attend a party celebrating Mr Obama's inauguration.


In a separate incident, Zhao Lianhai was detained around midnight on Friday by Beijing public security officers, according to activists and family members.


According to one witness, more than a dozen police came to Mr Zhao's home and presented him with a detention warrant. When Mr Zhao pointed out that the warrant did not state a cause for his detention, one of the officers wrote "provoking an incident" on the warrant and took him away in handcuffs. The police also confiscated two computers, cameras, hard drives, recorders, business cards and mobile phones.


Mr Zhao became an accidental activist after his own child fell ill from drinking melamine-tainted milk powder last year. Family members say he angered the authorities by organizing online support groups for other parents of victims who are seeking compensation from the Chinese Dairy Association and the manufacturers of the tainted milk products.


Mr Zhao, whose five-year-old son is still suffering from the effects of drinking the poisoned milk last year, has been detained on at least one other occasion.


Zeng Jinyan, wife of the imprisoned human rights activist Hu Jia, told the FT on Saturday that security officers had warned her that they would come to her apartment in the afternoon to explain how her movements would be restricted during the upcoming "sensitive time".


Ms Zeng, who has a two-year-old child, said she was hoping she would only be placed under house arrest rather than taken into custody so that she could care for her child.


"They're becoming much stricter all the time, especially around sensitive anniversaries and visits," said Ms Zeng. "This is our daily life now."


Three independent sources said Qi Zhiyong, the veteran activist who lost a leg during the suppression of student protests near Tiananmen Square in 1989, had been detained after applying for official approval to hold a protest during the presidential visit. Mr Qi could not be reached on his mobile phone on Saturday.


In a related situation, Feng Zhenghu, an activist from Shanghai who provided legal advice to people in human rights cases, has been stranded in Tokyo's Narita airport for 11 days because Beijing, which regards him as a "troublemaker", will not allow him to return to the country even though he holds a Chinese passport.


Mr Feng, who has refused to leave the airport and return to Japanese soil, said he was suing Air China and Northwest Airlines in Japanese courts for allegedly refusing to carry him to China because of opposition from Beijing. He has been turned back from China on eight occasions.


"I hope Mr Obama will pay attention to the human rights situation in China during his visit there," Mr Feng told the FT by telephone from Narita airport on Saturday.


"The Chinese government will say this is an internal matter but when a country violently forces its citizens into exile in another country then this becomes an international matter and the business of the whole international community."


A Chinese government official responsible for dealing with the foreign media declined to comment and also refused to provide contact details for a spokesman who could address the claims.


The news of the detentions comes days after Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the China's use of secret prisons to detain dissidents and other people they want to keep under control.


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北海政府强抢村主任公章 刑拘维权村民

作者:冬雷 文章来源: http://crd-net.org/Article/Class53/200911/20091103213037_18084.html

Summary: Elected Village Head Ren Xukun from Baihutou Village, YIngtan, Beihai City in Guangxi, was forced to run away from his home after local village committee building was tore down by local government with the police force. Local government tried to take over the land from Baihutou Village, which was resisted by the village committee through election to protect their collective property. 10 people were detained when villagers gather together to resist the government's attempt of taking their land by force.


(维权网义工冬雷报道)113日,本网义工联系到广西省北海市银滩镇白虎头村村委主 任许坤,他在电话中讲述了村委大楼被当地政府出动警力强制拆毁,自己现在被迫外逃躲 避不能回家,两名村民仍然受伤在医院治疗,8名村民已经被当地警方以"涉嫌妨害公务罪" 刑拘的不幸遭遇。


许先生说:"自从1027日,我们村集体财产德福楼被强拆,随后的1030日,北海银滩 区政府出动二、三百名警察、武警、保安及政府工作人员,开着大型拆迁机械,又到我们 村强行拆毁我们的村委大楼。我们几百村民自发前往维护集体财产,但遭到了暴力殴打, 打伤了我们20来名村民,其中一位85岁高龄的吴春满老汉现在还在医院抢救,另一名妇女 也还在医院治疗。政府当场抓走了10人,后来放了2人,到目前为止,包括在医院治疗的 两人,共8人被以'涉嫌妨害公务罪'刑事拘留。目前村民代表被银海区银滩镇政府派的一 批社会闲杂人员跟踪、监控,医院也被严密监控着。我所住的楼下被一批人把守着,我在 村民掩护下今天外逃出来,以便为维护村民权利奔走。"许坤先生最后一再对外界朋友的 关心声援表示感谢。


下面是许坤给外界发出的公开信,陈述了虎头村遭遇强拆的经过。 白虎头村的父老乡亲们,关心白虎头村的朋友们: 你们好,我是许坤,是广西北海市银海区银滩镇白虎头村的村委主任许坤。虽然现在村委 会大楼和村里的集体资产德福楼都被强拆了,虽然村民代表大会委托我保管的村委会印章 被银滩镇政府的官员抢走了,虽然由我保管的一些重要资料也在1030日的强拆中丢失了 ,没权没粮的--连扎脚的地方都没有。但我还是要对你们说,我还是白虎头的村委主任, 这个位子是你们依法选我的,是十分光荣和十分神圣的,因此,我仍然要履行我的竞选诺 言,仍然要尽自己的能力为白虎头村服务,以最大的可能当好这个村长。


在我当选北海市银海区银滩镇白虎头村委会主任一年来,所发生的事情特别是在最近发生 的事情几乎超出我的承受能力。2009413日下午,村民代表大会决定由我保管的村委 会印章被银滩镇的领导抢去,村委会的正常工作秩序遭到了破坏,使我无法依照法律的规 定执行村民代表大会的决定。公章被抢后,我和村民代表大会方反映报案均没有答复。公 章最后由银滩镇政府指定冯君团、林章海、杨元芳等保管。冯君团、林章海、杨元芳他们 获得村委会公章后,在2009429日,在没有经过村民代表大会同意和我不知情的情况 下和北海市土地储备中心签订合同,盖章领取所谓的"补偿费",严重违法法律的规定,损 害我们村的集体利益。对于这点,我本人和村民代表大会多次声明,我是白虎头的村委主 任,是这个村的法人代表,没有我的签字的合同白虎头村一律不予承认,我当时能为大家 做的也只能做到这里。


我上任后,一直履行我的竞选承诺,要为白虎头村争回就业用地,依照法律和有关政策的 规定,政府征我们的地是要为我们留就业用地的,如果没有就业用地,我们白虎头村的村 民就会变成无地的居民,我们几千老老少少今后的就业、生活怎么办?我们的子孙后代怎 么办?为此,我多次上访并和政府多次交涉,连友农市长亲口答复我,要我找出征地要留 有就业用地的法律依据,我把有关法律依据和政策交到银滩镇政府,银滩镇政府的负责人 说,许坤,我们给你白虎头村解决就业用地问题,你是不是可以叫他们签字?我说解决我 们村的就业用地和村民签字同意拆迁是两回事,但不管怎么说,在就业用地问题上,政府 的立场终于有所松动。


关于拆迁方面的,没有签字的村民有不少选择了行政诉讼来和政府讲道理,村民们能用法 律去维护自己的合法权益,是我们白虎头村的光荣,证明我们白虎头村的村民是讲道理的 ,是遵纪守法的,作为村委会主任,我没有理由不支持他们,为此,我作为案件的代理人 坐在了法庭上,和政府对簿公堂。案件的一审全部判我们输,二审在中级人民法院,大部 分案件未有开庭,只审了一案,按照行政诉讼法的规定,上诉案件最迟不能超过4个月结 案,但现在案件在北海市中级人民法院已经6个月了,前几天,我们去催法院结案,法院 说,案件已经审出来了,但案情重大,他们不敢结,已经报广西壮族自治区高级人民法院 。我们无从知道中级法院所说的是不是真的,但有一点可以肯定的,如果我们没有道理, 法院可以依据事实和法律判我们输的,法院可能不敢结案吗?


1027日,我们村的得福楼被强拆了;1030日,我们村的村委大楼也被强拆了。在强拆 前,我请有关政府官员出示强拆的手续,他们说第一没有,第二不用。在强拆村委会大楼 的时候,有几百村民到场维护,有近20个村民在为了保护集体财产被打伤,还有10个被抓 进公安局,现在出来4个,有6个被送进了监狱,听说其中3个被刑事拘留,3个被行政拘留 (到3号时,已经证实包括那两名在医院治疗的共被刑拘了8人)。他们爱护集体不顾个人 安危的精神令我十分感动,许坤尽力了,你们尽力了。在此,对被打伤的村民以及家属表 示慰问,并在此向社会告白,只要我许坤还在位一天,我都要尽自己最大的努力去搭救你 们,为你们讨公道!


根据城市房屋拆迁行政裁决规程第十八条规定,未经行政裁决,不得实施行政强制拆迁。 政府要强拆得福楼,必须要经过行政裁决程序,必须作出行政强拆决定书,然后才能强拆 。现在一无行政裁决书,二无强拆通知书,三没有给搬迁的时间,四没有为我们村考虑办 公地点,说拆就拆了,合不合法律我们知道,拆我们村委大楼的人知道,社会也知道!


蒋万芝为自己做好了"被拘捕""被躲猫猫""被自杀"的留言,有风声说可能要抓我,因 此我也想在这里先为我自己找好辩护人,看看是否有律师愿为我以后提供辩护。


被跟踪,没什么的;被抢公章,有点难受;村委会大楼被拆,还真的伤心了!想依法想做 一个好的村委会主任,想为村民实实在在办点事,咋就这么难!?