Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition News and Article Release Issue: A60-O9
Release Date: April 14, 2004
Topic: OCDC Appeals to 60th UNHCHR and Releases Its 2003 Human Rights Report
Original Language Version: English (Chinese version at the end)
OCDC Appeals to 60th UNHCHR and Releases Its 2003 Human Rights Report
On April 10 and 11, 2004, during its congress in Geneva, the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition issued the following appeal to the 60th UN High Commission on Human Rights, along with its 2003 Chinese human rights condition report.
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Delegations of the United Nations' Human Rights Commission,
Although there is some improvement on the Chinese economy, however, the Chinese society suffers extreme unfairness, polarity of poor and rich, and its human rights conditions have been deteriorated.
The dissidents in China are still be detained, forced labor re-education, exile and brainwashing, even be put into psychic hospitals under false accusations, such as the well-known Chinese dissidents been put into long term detention by the Chinese government, Dr. WANG Bingzhang and Dr. YANG Jianli. Mr. WANG WanXing, who tried to publicly memorize the June 4 massacre in Beijing, had been put into psychic hospital for 12 years. Religious groups such as FaLunGong and underground Christians, and minority groups who are in search of their freedom and democracy are all severely suppressed as well.
The human rights of the average citizens in China are often violated. For example, the rights of the forced-relocation are not guaranteed. They were kicked out of their own homes by the rich and powerful. Many people failed on the all the possible resolutions and had to take their own lives as the last result. These who have failed to suicide, ended up to be sentenced. Their guilty was "to disturb the social security". Even the lawyers who defended their rights were harassed and detained, such as the well-known lawyer in Shanghai, Mr. ZHENG Enchong, was sentenced.
The unemployed workers, who lost their means of living, had to make their pleas by long time sit-in protests. The organizers are often detained.
In response to the development of the Internet technology that has contributed to break the news blockage by the Chinese government, Chinese Communists have established a massive size Internet police force. They built firewalls to block access to the websites which promoting human rights and democracy, block the un-official news and information, monitor the dissidents. More than 50 people including the well-known Internet author, Mr. DU Daobin, were detained by the government due to the articles they wrote.
We are the democracy advocating organizations, represented by Mr. WEI Jingsheng.
We believe that a democratic China is the key to a world wide democracy. We wish you will support the resolution condemning Chinese government's human rights record at the 60th UN human rights commission this year. We wish this resolution will give pressure to the Chinese government to improve Chinese human rights record and to carry out the UN human rights convents that the Chinese government had signed. Hereby, we express our gratitude to you in advance for your effort and support!
With our best regard,
The Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition
April 10, 2004
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Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition 2003 Human Rights Report on China
The Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition wants to brief you the human rights situation in China. During the last year of 2003, many changes had occurred in this world. However, there is one thing remained the same. That's that the human rights are still widely and systematically abused in China and the situation is only getting worse.
Last year, the leadership of the Chinese government and Communist Party was changed. Many people had hoped that the change of leaders would imply significant improvement of the human rights conditions. Unfortunately, the improvement did not occur. Dr. Yang Jianli, a dissident leader who has been detained for almost two years, is still not allowed to contact members of his family. Dr. Wang Bingzhang, another dissident leader lived overseas, was kidnapped to China from an adjacent country and then was arrested and was sentenced to life confinement in prison. Just this very last year, the government spokesman officially announced that it's not allowed to have opposition party in China.
This year of 2004 is the fifteenth anniversary of the June Fourth Massacre. Fifteen years ago, the Chinese government mobilized armed force using guns and tanks that opened fires towards innocent students and citizens on Beijing streets. Now fifteen years have passed, nobody knows exactly how many people were killed at that time. Fifteen year later, the fact about the victims is still remained secrecy, and is not allowed talking about. Just last month, Prof. Ding Zilin and some others people were arrested simply because they made some efforts to reveal the facts that their sons and family members were killed fifteen years ago.
Last year, Sun Zhigang, a young college graduate and a resident of Guangzhou, was beaten to death in a detention center. Mr. Sun was taken into custody just because while walking on the street of Guangzhou, he didn't carry his resident identification with him. After he was detained, he was not allowed to contact his family and ask his relatives to bring his identification to the police station.
About this time last year, for several months, the whole world was under the shadow of SARS, a highly contagious fatal disease. Some people may think this is purely a health problem. However, the fact is, the wide spread of SARS was the result of political control. When the early cases of SARS emerged, no media was allowed to report the cases, and the doctors and nurses worked in the hospital were not allowed to tell how many SARS patients they had. The reason was that during that time National Convention of the Chinese Communist Party was convened. Even when there were more than dozen people died of SARS in the city of Beijing, the government spokesman claim there were no SARS case in Beijing at all. Had not been Dr. Jiang Yanyong, a senior medical expert who bravely wrote a letter to the overseas media about the SARS cases he knew, the SARS could have been spread in the even larger scale.
The booming of Internet changed the whole world. It changed China as well. However, when deploying the Internet technique, the Chinese government is more concerned about how to maintain its control. China has by far the largest force of Internet police. Anybody who posts anything on Internet not in favor of the dictatorship could be arrested. In last year, there are more people being arrested/sentenced just because they wrote something on the Internet. More detailed cases will be mentioned in the later sections of this report.
China is not a society ruled by law. Yes there are judicial systems. Yes there are legislatures on different levels. However, the difference is that all the governments, the judicial system, the legislature are under the control of the Communist Party. The officials of the Communist Party at each government level have the final say on all the administrative, judicial as well as legislature issues.
These are just a few among the huge number of incidents of human right violations. In the following, the following are some more detailed human rights abuses in China.
Section I: Heightened Pressure and Tightened Control on Political Dissent in China
The year 2003 political stage in China is said as the beginning of the so-called Hu-Wen New administration era. People have had high hopes and enthusiasm for this new administration; especially many people have expected more political changes. However, the new administration led by CCP party chief Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao has so far failed to show any sign of political reform or policy softening. To the contrary, this new administration has steadily tightened control over political issues and applied harsher suppression on political dissidents. Here are a few examples.
Mr. Du Daobin, a well-known Internet writer, was arrested in October 2003, with the charge of " the subversion of government" merely for his advocacy of political reforms and criticisms of government corruption. He has since been in custody without trial. Mr. Du's case prompted a public campaign, with thousands of signatures from all walks of life, demanding a clear definition of the "crime of subversion". The appeal has not only been totally rejected by the authorities but the organizers of the campaign, including Dr. Liu Xiaobo, have also been subjected to stricter house watch, mobility limitation, and even harassment.
This is only one of much similar cases. In the year of 2003, many detentions and sentences took place for merely expressing one's views.
One example, in May 2003, four young Beijing citizens known as "Four Gentlemen", Mr. Xu Wei, Mr. Yang Zili, Mr. Jin Kehai, and Mr. Zhang Honghai, were sentenced to long prison terms ranging from 8 to 10 years. The "crime" these "Four Gentlemen" committed was nothing but what was written in the Chinese constitution - freedom of association. All they did was forming a group for informal discussion debating among themselves about social issues.
Another example, on October 2003, Mr. Ouyang Yi, a schoolteacher in Sichuan province was put on trial for his peaceful and by any standard very moderate appeal to the Chinese government for a rehabilitation of the peaceful June 4th 1989 democratic movement cracked down by government armed forces with bloodshed. Although a verdict is yet to be heard from Chinese court, Mr. Ouyang Yi is more likely to be sentenced harshly.
A quick, random and incomplete search and pick from just one credible Internet journal specialized in Chinese affairs reveals the following names, in addition to the above three:
1. Mr. Li Dawei, a Gansu province resident, was sentenced to an 11-year prison term in August 2003 for his association with the CDP and some foreign human rights organizations.
2. Mr. Sang Jiancheng, a Shanghai resident, was arrested for his appeal to punish corrupted officials and bring them to justice. Mr. Jiang Lijun, a Liaoning province resident, was sentenced to 4 years for publicizing his political views on the Internet.
3. Mr. Luo Yongzhong, a Jilin province resident, was given a similar prison term as Mr. Jiang Lijun for the same type of "crime".
4. Mr. Guo Qinghai, a Hebei province citizen, got similar treatment as the two above for spreading "subversive" words on the Internet.
5. Mr. Yan Jun, a Xi'an teacher, was arrested for Internet "crimes" similar to the above cases.
6. Mr. Zhao Changqing, again a Xi'an citizen, was sentenced to 5 years for appealing for political reforms and release of political prisoners.
7. Mr. Li Zhi, a Sichuan province resident and local government official, was sent to jail for, again, his "subversive" Internet "crimes".
8. Dr. Xu Yonghai, a Beijing MD, was arrested Nov 2003 for his appeal to stop forced relocation.
9. Mr. Lu Jiaping, a Beijing citizen, was put under house arrest since Feb 2004 for his articles criticizing former Chinese president Jiang Zemin.
This list, reflecting the true political reality under the so-called Hu-Wen New administration, can only go on and on because it has been becoming longer and longer with every day passing by.
Evidences are ample and compelling that political regression or setback is taking place in today's China. While existing wrong cases are yet to be resolved and corrected, new ones are being created and wronged even more everyday.
One of the seemingly "new" gestures of the Hu-Wen administration in 2003 was its claim of subjecting the Communist party and the government to the Chinese constitution. Partially encouraged by such a gesture, some Chinese constitutional scholars, experts and activists, including even former CCP propaganda minister, attempted to hold a Constitutional Reform symposium in the summer of 2003. However, such a modest move, in line with the Hu-Wen call for restoring and respecting the supreme authority of the Chinese constitution and placing it above any political power, met only with a stone wall from the Hu-Wen administration. Not only was the symposium miscarried, but the organizer, Mr. Cao Siyuan who is one of the best-known constitutional experts and advocates in China, was sternly warned and closely watched. In Mr. Cao's own words, he now "is under the greatest pressure since June 4th 1989." Mr. Cao's words tell us how far back the Hu-Wen New administration has gone in limiting Chinese people's political freedom.
It is our conclusion that political freedom as one of the human rights essentials has been and continues to be taken away by the Chinese government. The room of free public expression is getting smaller and rights of dissent severely cut thin, and all these were done in the name of national stability and security. It is our prediction that human rights conditions in China will continue to deteriorate in a foreseeable future in spite of the so-called New administration, which does not differ at all from its predecessor in its obsession with the totalitarian power over all Chinese political processes. Therefore, any voice, word, or action, deviating from, needless to mention challenging, the CCP's political line will not be tolerated no matter how liberalized the Chinese economy has become.
In fact, just as we are writing this report, it is reported that on March 28, 2004, Chinese police took Prof. Ding Zilin, the courageous leader of Tiananmen Mothers, away from her Wuxi home in Jiangsu Province. Reported also is that the same thing happened to a few others in different places and their homes were searched without warrant, although they were released later.
Finally but briefly, we want to bring to the world's attention that, in addition to general human rights setbacks, the Chinese government in the past year also stepped up its repression on Chinese Muslims, targeting especially Xinjiang in the name of international anti-terrorism campaign. This issue needs the international community to watch closely. We fear that the rights of Chinese Muslims can easily be violated in the anti-terror name, which may mislead the world into believing that the Chinese authorities' suppression of Chinese Muslim is justified.
Section II: Another harsh year for the Chinese workers
Chinese workers issue is a big and complex issue. Here, we just focus on three aspects. For more information, please visit our website at www.chinalaborunion.org where we update frequently about news from China and analysis on human rights in China, especially on Chinese workers, and their activities and rights to form unions.
1. Laid-off Workers
In the year of 2003, there were still over 30 million laid-off workers in the cities all over China, affecting direct family members of over 100 million. Many of the workers were laid off because of their factories were sold to private owners, who usually have business interests with officials in charge of the selling-out. Since the new owners have "official background", they usually took over the factories with much less the real value and gave very little to compensate those being laid-off. In July 2003, a factory in Kaifeng, Henan was sold to private owners. The true value of the factory was estimated to be at least 10 million yuan. It was sold for 950 thousand yuan. Worse, yet, the new owner paid only 150 thousand yuan and used the 800 thousand yuan that should be paid to compensate laid-off workers as the purchasing payment.
In November 2003, over 7,000 workers from an auto part manufacture plant in XiangYang, Hubei went to the streets to demonstrate against a private buyout of their plant. The workers protested that many of them would be laid off with little compensation and the others' salary and benefit would be cut significantly after the takeover.
The life of laid-off workers is very hard. Many of them could not afford basic food and clothing. On Oct. 1, 2003, the Chinese National Day, a laid-off worker from Hubei, Mr. Yang, PeiQuan, poured gasoline on himself and light it up in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. He had tried everyway to live by asking help from all levels of government agencies, but he finally lost any hope and chose to die like this.
On one hand, the Chinese government-controlled media did all they could to cover up and not report workers protests around the country. It is believed that thousands of workers protests have taken place annually. On the other hand, the Chinese government continues its harsh treatment of self-organized workers. Over 20 laid-off workers were arrested during a protest staged in Suizhou, Hubei in February 2004. A laid-off worker from XiuShui, JiangXi, Mr. Xu, Gao Jin, was jailed for 4 months and house arrested for 6 months because he established a Laid-off Workers Association trying to get local laid-off workers together to help each other.
In May 2003, after over 13 months detention (which is illegal by the government's own law), the 2 laid-off worker leaders from Liaoyan, Liaoning, Mr. Yao, FuXin and Mr. Xiao, YunLiang, were sentenced 7 and 4 years prison term by the Chinese government. Recent report revealed that their treatment in JinZhou Prison was very harsh and their health had deteriorated significantly. Yet the government repeatedly refused their appeals for an "out of prison treatment".
2. The Life of Migrant Workers
There are over 100 million migrant workers in nowadays Chinese cities. These migrant workers are almost all from poor places in the countryside and thus they are also called "peasant workers". They do the hardest and dirtiest jobs in the cities, yet treated as second-class citizen and live at the lowest level of the metropolitan community.
Migrant workers usually work under unsafe or even toxic environment. According to the official statistics in 2003, there were 25 million migrant workers working without any protection at places where toxic air and / or excessive dust were constantly present. Each year, there were more than 10 thousand accidents of being poisoned at work associated with countless injuries and deaths. In the summer of 2003, over 30 migrant workers from the city of ShaoXing, Zhejiang were dead because of long-hours outdoor working under extremely hot weather.
Migrant workers usually work long hours with very low pay. Yet their pay at is often delayed for many months or even years. A migrant worker at a restaurant in Baotou, a big city of Inner Mongolia, worked over 12 hours everyday and was paid only 150 yuan per month. An official report revealed that, the amount of unpaid salary to migrant workers was as much as 10 billion yuan in the entire country as of 2003. This means very significant for many who came from poor countryside where annually house income was less than 2000 yuan. Tragic accidents happened often when asking for unpaid salary but being refused. Among these, Mr. Li, ZiHao from Henan tried to suicide by criminating himself in January 2004; Mr. Hu, WeiGuo from Hubei jumped off from a high building in Beijing one day after the New Year of 2004; and Mr. Xu, DianPin from Heilongjiang, was beaten and severely injured by his employer in December 2003. An official report pointed out that there were over 100 suicide accidents involving unpaid migrant workers in the Pearl River delta region during 2003.
The migrant workers have very little help from the government and there is no independent labor union to protect the rights of migrant workers, and as a result, their rights are often severely violated and they have no place to go for justice. Migrant workers are required to pay for a "temporary residence card" in order to stay in the cities they work. Their children have trouble to get into local schools (usually asked to pay more to the school; many were rejected for admission).
3. Worker's Health and Safety
The year of 2003 is one of the worst years for worker's health and safety. One government report revealed that accidents and death at work increased by 16% compared with 2002. There were 13,283 deaths from January to October 2003. The sad fact is that most of the accidents could be avoid if proper health and safety measures were taken.
One of the worst accidents is the explosion of a natural gas well in Kaixian, Cngqing on December 23, 2003. Because of low quality drilling mud was used during drilling and unqualified technical personnel was unable to control the accident at an early stage, over a thousand people were killed during the accident (mostly by hydrogen sulfide gas poisoning) and more than 10 thousand people were injured.
Death rate from underground coalmines remain to be the highest in China than the rest of the world. It was estimated by a Chinese expert stated that there were at least 5000 miners dead from underground accidents each year.
According to Shanxi government report, there were 153 coalmine accidents in the province during 2003, 496 people were dead. Among these, a single underground gas explosion accident claimed 62 lives at Xiaoyi city coalmine on March 22. The owner of the coalmine was informed many times that the health and safety measures at the mine were out of date and that production should be held until improvement was made. The warnings were, however, ignored and the workers were ordered to continue working. In other cases, 48 people were killed in an underground explosion accident at Jianxi Coalmine in Jiangxi on November 14, 2003; one accident at JiXi coalmine of Heilongjiang on February 23, 2004 killed 32 lives with 5 missing; an underground explosion at the Wangjiazhai coalmine in Guizhou took 24 lives with 2 missing.
Section III: Chinese peasants who try to survive at the bottom of the society
The issues of Chinese peasants, in the essence, are the lack of land ownership, citizens' rights, and basic human rights. These issues are shown as the legislators' discriminations, the law enforcers' violation, and the judicial personnel's contempt of the peasants' human rights.
I. Exorbitant taxes and levies constitute the heaviest burden for China's peasants, whose products were robbed ruthlessly, and some of whom were forced into hopeless situations.
In Shandong Province, the peasants were burdened with as many as 52 different taxes, which ranked first in the country. The peasants of Hubei Province have to pay 50 different taxes, 48 for Jiangxi and Henan peasants, and 45 for Anhui and Hebei. The average per capita income of the peasants in Shandong Province was 860 yuans, but was reported as 1,400 yuans by the provincial government. The average income of the peasants in Henan was 680 yuans, but was reported as 920 yuans.
According to the data published by the National Suicide Prevention Program of China, there are approximately 287 thousands suicides each year in the mainland of China, with peasants accounted to over 80% and pesticide as the main method.
II. Large tracts of land were taken over by local authorities with little or no compensation and then resold at high prices, resulting loss of land, house, work, and survivability of peasants. The collusion of governmental officials and businessmen in plundering the peasants has created huge gaps of wealth between the rich and the poor and intensified conflicts between the two groups. Countless peasants are being cheated, defrauded, and harmed. The basic human rights are being grossly neglected and abused by local officials. Currently, there are about 40 million landless peasants, with number still growing at over 2 million per year.
44 hectares of vegetable land was taken away from the Xiakanzi Hamlet, Beiling Village, Yuhong District of Shenyang City, only ended up being a garbage dumping ground with overgrown weeds.
The villagers of Hongqi and Fenghuang Villages of Zigong City had complained to higher authority about a huge case of deceiving the peasants but failed in their efforts. The better lands of these villages was taken over by a high-and-new technology development park without consulting the peasants or obtaining approval from relevant agencies. Over 30 thousands peasants are living in dire conditions and are facing a very bleak future.
There are over 600 development zones and parks of various types in Zhejiang Province, which occupied huge amount of land, but could not be developed due be lack of resources. Large tracts of lands are being idled, yet countless peasants lost the land they depended on without reasonable compensation. This phenomenon has caused numerous violent confrontations.
III. The rights-saving activities of peasants, characterized by complaining to higher authorities, have been largely ignored by courts and governments of every level. The officials are protecting each other, making justice unattainable to the peasants. Unjust cases related to peasants are all over the country, while the judicial system has done very little to remedy the situation.
In Sudi Hamlet, Ningde Region, Fujian Province, 25 villager groups complaint about damages caused by the construction of Muyang Creek Hydroelectric Plant since 1978. For 25 years, they grievance had been ignored. Because of the 19 hectares of land taken from them, over 4800 peach trees and over 100 metric tons of crop production had been lost. In addition, the flood of the plant's spillway had destroyed buildings and one hectare of rice field. Still, for 25 years, they had been assessed agricultural tax for the land they no longer had without any compensation.
In Hongqi and Fenghuang Villages, Zigong City, the homes of four peasant representatives, Liu Zhengyou, Chen Shoulin, Mao Xiulan, and Xie Shuiming, were demolished and their properties were looted. They have been homeless since then.
IV. Police brutality.
In May, 2003, construction on a farmland taken by the government of Xinchengzi District, Shenyang City, Liaoning Province was stopped by villagers, so the government sent in police to arrest the activists. On May 28, several police vehicles arrived at villager' homes. The police handcuffed three villagers of Xiaojia Hamlet and brought them to the district detention center. On the 29th, over 100 police vehicles arrived at two hamlets. Over 600 police officers, with batons in hands, severely beaten every villager happened to be in sight and took away 3 villagers.
In June, 2003, 25 years-old Li Xuedong of Xinji Hamlet, Ling County, Dezhou City, Shandong Province, was arrested by police for suspected cow stealing. He was then beaten to death after only two days in custody. To cover it up, the Public Safety Bureau claimed that Li committed suicide by jumping off a building.
V. The legal rights of peasants are violated. Neither medical protection nor education guarantee are enjoyed by peasants.
Over 1000 fishermen of Yongchuan City, Sichuan Province were asked to have their appendixes removed by an employment agency. According to a fisherman name Zhou, if one refused to have the appendectomy, not only would he lose the opportunity to work overseas, but also have the 1000 - 2000 fee payment forfeited. So most of them had to have their perfectly normal appendixes removed.
The 5 years-old son of a peasant, Chen Xianfu, had third-degree burn over 98% of his body. Because Chen could not afford the medical treatment, he had to let the child die. 29 poor counties of Hubei Province had eliminated education add-on fees and education fund raising previously assessed to the peasants. However, the county treasuries could neither guarantee the full wage of the teachers nor pay the teachers' allowance and substitute teachers wages, so many teachers sought outside employment. Without the teachers, many schools had to be closed.
VI. The grassroots governing power is not controlled by peasants, who are have tremendous difficulties replacing the local officials not acting on their best interests. In Jingzhuang Hamlet, Fanlou Village, Feng County, Anhui Province, Mr. Xu Yongfeng, the new hamlet head elected by the peasants, was murdered. The police found that the prime criminal of the case was Mr. Chen Fangpeng, the Party Branch Secretary of the hamlet. It was him who plotted the murder and hired a killer carried it out.
In the evening of February 20, 2003, over 200 villagers of Daju Hamlet, Ninghai County, Zhangjiang Province were casting their lawful ballots for the new head of the hamlet committee. However, the election was crushed by over 100 fully armed riot police sent by the township government, because the election was not conducted with the leadership of the local Party branch, which was not a requirement of the People's Republic of China Law on Organization of Villager Committees.
Section IV: Repression of religious and spiritual freedom
The Chinese government continued its harsh and notorious repression of religious freedom throughout the years of 2002 and 2003. Religion freedom has been under increasingly tightened control, even though China signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1998 with the former ratified in February of 2000.
Throughout the years of 2002 and 2003, unapproved religious and spiritual groups remained under scrutiny and repression. Although there was no significant change in the central Government's official policy toward religious freedom, frequent statements by senior leaders on the need to "strengthen religious work" (or increase supervision of religious groups by the Government) lead to harsher persecution against house church members and Falunggong practitioners.
As of the end of 2003 the accumulated number of death of FaLunGong practitioners from government persecution amounted to 570. There were 27 deaths in January alone in Helongjiang, Liaonin, Shanxi, Shichuan and other provinces. The trade of the diseased FaLunGong practitioners was across all walks of life: workers, peasant, salespersons, journalists, engineers, retired teachers and retired government officials.
Luo Zhixiang was an engineer working in Guang Zhou. He was arrested January 20, 2002 and died from a fall from the top of building on December 4, 2002. Besides there have been at least five hundred practitioners convicted to serve jail sentences just because of their belief in FaLunGong and more than one thousand were send forcefully to mental hospitals and even more were sent to "reeducation camp".
The suppression of Christians continued also. Even though the Constitution provides for freedom of religious belief, the government harasses constantly religious practice not direct under control of the government. Only practices at places designated by the government are allowed.
Offences related to membership in unapproved religious groups are classified as crimes of disturbing the social order. The secret investigations carried out by the Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China (CIPRC) also prove this. Protestant house churches and the underground Roman Catholic Church are targets of the offences, as well as several other folk's religions in China. In many areas, security authorities used threats, demolition of unregistered property, extortion, interrogation, detention and at times beatings and torture to harass leaders of unauthorized groups and their followers. Unregistered religious groups that preach beliefs outside the bounds of officially approved doctrine (such as imminent coming of the Apocalypse or holy war) or groups that have charismatic leaders often are singled out for particularly severe harassment.
Many religious leaders and adherents have been detained, arrested, or sentenced to prison terms. Local authorities also use an administrative process to punish members of unregistered religious groups. Citizens may be sentenced by a non-judicial panel of police and local authorities to up to 3 years in reeducation-through-labor camps. Many religious detainees and prisoners were held in such facilities during the period covered by this report. In July 2002, three underground Catholic priests from Baoding, Hebei province were reportedly sentenced to 3 years in a labor camp for engaging in "cult" activities. In the same month, a number of children were detained for attending an illegal catechism class in Dongan village, Fujian Province. The nun who organized the course was held for 15 days. On December 8, 2002, Gouxing "Philip" Xu was arrested in Shanghai for unlicensed preaching and sentenced to 18 months re-education-through-labor. In January 2003, the official Beijing People's Security Daily reported that police in Neixiang County, Henan Province raided three churches and detained at least 176 members of the banned "Full Scope Church." Shortly before Easter 2003, Father Zheng Ruipin of Changli, Fujian Province and 18 students at an underground Catholic seminary were detained for a month after police raided their school. In May 2003, a second priest was detained and reportedly beaten in the same town. In June 2003, 12 Christians in Funing County, Yunnan Province were detained for 15-20 days for disturbing social order when they reportedly tried to register their underground church with local officials.
Legal proceedings involving Gong Shengliang, founder of the unregistered South China Church, and several other leaders continued during the period covered by this report. A few hours after being released from prison, four female church members were rearrested. According to friends, Xiang Fengping, Meng Xicun, Li Yingping and Li Xianzhi were planning to press charges against prison officials who tortured them and forced them to sign false statements against Gong Shengliang. They were detained in order to prevent a lawsuit and have been sentenced to 3 years reeducation-through-labor.
In Hebei, where an estimated half of the country's Catholics reside, friction between unofficial Catholics and local authorities continued. Hebei authorities have been known to force many underground priests and believers to choose between joining the official Church or facing punishment such as fines, job loss, and periodic detentions and, in some cases, having their children barred from school. Some Catholics have been forced into hiding. The whereabouts of underground Catholic Bishop Su Zhimin, whose followers reported that he was arrested in 1997, remained unclear, despite repeated inquiries from the international community on his status. Underground Catholic sources in Hebei claimed that he still was in detention, while the Government denied having taken "any coercive measures" against him. Reliable sources reported that Bishop Su's auxiliary bishop, An Shuxin, as well as Father Han Dingxian in Hebei and Father Li Hongye of Henan remain under detention. A priest in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, was reportedly detained on June 16, 2003 when preparing to administer sacraments to a dying Catholic. According to several nongovernmental organizations (NGO's), a number of Catholic priests and lay leaders were beaten or otherwise abused during the period covered by this report.
Protestant church members in some parts of the country complained that central government support for local crackdowns on Fujian-based Shouters and Hubei's South China Church had created a sense of intimidation in their communities.
Some underground Catholic and Protestant leaders reported increased pressure to register their congregations after the December 2001 Central Committee Work Conference on Religion.
Section V: Forced Relocation and Deny of Appealing
Forced relocation and violent evictions have erupted throughout China in the last few years fueled by land-hungry developers who seek to redevelop inner-city neighborhoods into higher-density, luxury apartments. The massive real estate development has been associated with government corruption, forced relocation, violent eviction, fuelling social discontents and humanitarian disaster, such as demolished homes with property damages and personal injuries, homeless and suicidal protests. In China, disputes related to development in urban areas have seen a drastic increase. Zhu Ying, researcher with the Chinese National Appeals Bureau's Research Division, said that the number of appeal letters related to demolition and relocation are going up every year. By the end of August, they had received 11,641 letters on this matter, a 50% increase over the same period last year. During the first eight months of 2003, 5,360 people had visited the appeals bureau in person, a 47% increase over last year. Forced relocation and insufficient compensation is a growing problem often leading to protest and social unrest. Many of those evicted are low-income families, who cannot afford to move due to unfair payment.
In China people can own their home, but not the land. The communist state claims to have the ownership of all lands. Problems arise when the State gives or sells the use of that land to developers for a new construction project. Those developers usually obtained their land deal, not through an open bid process, but rather through corrupted government officials by offering kickbacks. Very often, the developers are relatives or business partners of government officials. When a development project is authorized, the existing homeowners on the land become victims. They rely on the compensation for their soon-to-be-demolished house to buy somewhere else. However, the compensation is usually much below the fair market value that it is too low to purchase a similar home in the same community. Sometimes the family is simply dispatched to a location with long commute distance, worse or no school, and few community facilities. Those homeowners who refuse to relocate without a fair compensation typically have no chance or channel to negotiate or appeal, but rather to be forced of their home by violence or disconnecting utility service. Because of those developers are backed by powerful government officials, the victims cannot get a fair legal assistance. In the contrary, the law enforcement is often used to evict homeowners or to suppress protests in favor of those developers. In a worst case, an eviction lawyer, Mr. Zheng Enchong is sentenced to three years jail term in Shanghai for helping the victims of forced relocation. The following cases are only a few examples of Chinese human rights violations in this area:
Zhu Zhengliang, a farmer from Anhui, set himself on fire in front of Tiananmen Square on September 15 due to frustration with the forced condemnation and demolition of his residence. Zhu was from Rongcheng Town in Qingyang. He had just built a new house on his old property, and since it's difficult for a farmer to raise enough money to build a house, emotionally he couldn't accept its forced demolition. Even Xinhua News Agency, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese government, had to admit that appeals regarding forced demolition happened occasionally, and sometimes these appeals turned violent. The reason lies in that the implementers of the relocation and demolition do not always conform to the regulations and seriously violate the legal rights of the owners and tenants to be relocated. Sometimes the local government even assists the developer in carrying out such unfair condemnation and relocation with the excuse of developing an urban area. The Xinhua article said that in order to attract development, some local government provides unfair favors for developers. They force residents to move with the excuse of the consideration of public interest. In this whole process, the property owners and tenants are the powerless ones and have no ability to negotiate a fair settlement with the developer.
In Shanghai, Xu Hanlin and his wife were awakened by a knock at the door. Before they could answer it, a demolition crew had kicked the door in, started to throw their furniture out in the rain and slammed sledgehammers through the walls. When Xu tried to stop them, a worker planted a boot in his stomach. The Xus are among tens of thousands of people who have been told that they have to vacate their homes this year to make way for burgeoning Shanghai's new highways and skyscrapers. The warren of simple brick-walled houses where they lived until last month stands on land that has been sold to developers--who have yet to decide what to build.
October 2003, several hundred farmers who are being forced to relocate to make way for a resort and tourism project in China have reportedly held a demonstration to protest inadequate compensation. The AFP news agency says farmers from five villages in Yanta district led a protest last Tuesday by about 1,000 rural residents outside the Shaanxi province Communist Party headquarters. About 400 farmers held another protest on Monday - demanding the government properly compensate them for their loss of farmland and homes.
Hong Kong-based Ming Pao newspaper reported that on the night of September 19, 2003, in Haidian District in Beijing, one family's home was broken into by a gang of men brandishing wooden cudgels. The family of three was tied hand and foot, their eyes and mouths covered, and they were carried out of their home. Within 40 minutes, bulldozers flattened their home. Minutes later their house and all their possessions were reduced to rubble. The gang was hired by building contractors. After the dust had settled, a passer-by found the family and called the police. Developers who are demolishing existing structures to rebuild on state-owned land are growing increasingly violent in their efforts to convince residents to quietly accept the city's paltry relocation compensation and abandon their homes. "Stick gangs," gangs of thugs armed with clubs, are often dispatched into areas slated for redevelopment to intimidate residents into leaving. The government's indifference has further encouraged the developers' behavior. Because the government desperately needs the cash it gains by selling the land to developers, it turns a blind eye tow the developers' violently illegal tactics. In this case, the homes to be demolished are under the jurisdiction of the Haidian district government, which offers residents compensation at the rate of 4.300 yuan per square meter. However, the market price for residential property in the area is 6, 000 yuan per meter. Residents who leave their homes cannot afford new dwellings in the neighborhood, and thus might lose not only their homes, but also their jobs and friends.
When one family decides not to cooperate with the government's scheme, it threatens both the government and the developers. This family of three decided not to move after negotiations with the developers failed. They instead appealed to the Beijing Land Resources and Building Management Bureau. They were informed that their case was under review and that the demolition deadline would be extended until November 1, when the bureau would make a decision on the appeal. However, the family was thrown out that very night and their home was immediately leveled.
On August 21, 39-year-old Wang Biao killed himself in a relocation office of Nanjing,
Jiangsu province, in protest against being evicted. Some residents have launched legal actions against local authorities, with little success. For centuries, an appeal to the "high officials of the national capital" has been a way to deal with grievances in China. Meanwhile, most of the evicted are joining a growing impoverished underclass.
Feb 11, 2004, a woman was injured during a forced eviction in Dalian, Liaoning Province, with more than 40 people participating in the force eviction of seven families, according to eyewitnesses at the scene. Xinjing News reported that on Feb. 6, a construction company sent four or five vans with over 40 people to demolish residences near Yushi Street in Ganjingzi, Dalian City. Construction crewmembers broke windows, peeled off the tile from the roof while residents still occupied the houses. Several residents said all of their furniture was destroyed with many valuable electronic items buried in the ruins after their homes were flattened. The homeless evicted resident stood in the cold with their children for a long time after the destruction. Demolition crews beat a few of those evicted, injuring one woman.
On October 28 the Shanghai Second Intermediate People's Court sentenced lawyer Mr. Zheng Enchong to three years in prison on charges of "illegally providing state secrets to entities outside of China." As defense lawyer who represents those being evicted, Zheng helped many people who had suffered personal injury or property loss as a result of forced relocation. Mr. Zheng Enchong raised awareness inside and outside of China of the serious problems connected with these redevelopment projects and other instances of social injustice. The authorities' persecution of Mr. Zheng Enchong for his courageous and conscientious actions sends a chilling message to other defenders of social justice, as well as giving a green light to those officials and business interests who conspire with impunity against the welfare of displaced residents and other underprivileged people.
Mr. Zheng has provided legal advice to residents in Shanghai who have suffered forced relocation and violent eviction. The authorities' failure to provide either public consultation with affected inhabitants in planning the redevelopment of portions of the city or a fair assessment procedure for determining compensation has led to peaceful protests by affected residents. Residents are often offered insufficient compensation to allow them to obtain other housing in the city, or, as in the situation leading to the lawsuit, are moved to remote districts that have poor transportation. Since early March of this year, police have dispersed a number of peaceful protests, and have forcibly sent protesters back upon their arrival in Beijing. More than ten persons who involved in repeated protests against Shanghai's redevelopment and relocation scheme are expected to be sentenced to "Re-education through Labor" on charges of "illegal assembly." These protesters were among approximately 85 people whom Shangai Police rounded up on 29 September 2003 while they were in Beijing to petition the authorities over forced relocations, unjust conditions attached to the redevelopment projects, and inadequate compensation of the displaced residents.
Section VI: Unfairness to Women
In china, the government claims that woman shares equal rights with men, however there is none of independent organization or media that monitors or protects basic interests of Chinese women. Just like other human rights violation in China, woman right abuses also have no signs of improvement in 2003, particularly in the following four aspects harassing Chinese woman daily life.
1. Violence against women
Violence, such as beating, rape and physical abuses against women remains one of the most despicable violations of women's human rights by policemen, prison guards and other Chinese government law enforcement personal.
On November 20, 2003, Ms. Wu Ai, a vice president of Dapo County, Jilin Province in northern China, was pulled out, with only underwear on, from her hotel room by policemen and beaten in front of hotel guests and employee.
Even female teenage could not be immune from violence. On Sept. 28th, 2003, a high school student in Hunan province was gang raped to death by local policemen. As the crime was exposed to the public, the local government issued an ordinance to its outraged residents and victim's classmates, banning any public discussion, appeal for justice and Internet exposure.
II. Violations Resulting from Family Planning Policy
In order to reverse the trend of higher birth rate encouraged by Chinese dictator Mao Tsetung and CCP in late 1950s and early 1960s, Chinese government has imposed one child family planning policy. Various inhuman methods are used by the local officers to comply with the rule, such as forced use of contraceptives, mandatory sterilization and forced abortion for pregnant women who already have one child. Many lives are lost every year due to medical accidents of risky termination of pregnancy for 7 or 8 months embryos. Whoever tries to have a child beyond the quota subjects to severe fines or lose all the economic benefits, in some extreme case, could be put into jail. Recently, a Chinese lady named Zhang Lin, living in city Bengbu, Anhui province, appeals through Internet for public help because she was badly mistreated by the government because of her second "illegal" childbirth.
III. Violations Against Female Children
The one-child policy, in conjunction with the traditional preference for male children, has led to a resurgence of practices like female infanticide, concealment of female births and abandonment of female infants. Neglect of female infant life even happens in government police department. In July 2003, a captured thief was rejected her request by the policemen to take care of her female infant who was left home alone. A few days later this female infant was found dead.
IV. Discrimination in Employment and Education
Open discrimination against women in China has continued to grow. According to PRC government surveys, an estimated 70 to 80% of workers laid off as a result of downsizing in factories have been women. At job fairs, employers openly advertise positions for men only, and university campus recruiters often state that they will not hire women. The discrimination of rights on education for women also gets worse. Based on official statistics, about 70% of illiterates in China are female, as a major contributing factor leading to higher rate of crimes and prostitution. However, the Chinese government shows no sign of proper regulations and interference to stop this trend.
As we have observed that rights violations in China remain systematic and widespread. The Chinese government continues to suppress dissenting opinions and maintains political control over the legal system, resulting in an arbitrary and sometimes abusive judicial regime. The lack of accountability of the government and the Chinese Communist Party means that abuses by officials often go unchecked.
Under such circumstance it is indispensable for the international society to condemn the Chinese government's records on women rights and help improving living conditions of Chinese women.
Section VII. HIV/AIDS in China
I. In 2003, the spreading of AIDS in China has maintained its unabated rush. The lost of control to this rapid propagation of AIDS is due to severe negligence of its duty by the Chinese authority. The containment of AIDS by the Chinese authority is neither guaranteed by laws, monitored by the society, nor assured by the medical system, which is the result of ignoring the health and medical conditions of Chinese people and of ignoring the rights of AIDS patents by the Chinese authority over a very long period. The AIDS issue in China is, in essence, a human rights issue.
According to the official statistics, China had seen 1 million AIDS patents so far, 220 thousands of them had already lost their lives. Currently, China has 840 thousands AIDS virus carriers, with 80 thousands have already shown AIDS symptoms. The number of AIDS virus carriers reported by the Chinese authority during the first half of the year has increased 20.3% over the same period of the previous year, while the number of AIDS patents has skyrocketed by 140.1%. According to estimates of the United Nations, the figure could reach 10 million by 2010, making China the country with the most AIDS patents.
In recent years, the number of AIDS virus carriers in Beijing has been increasing by 50% a year, as disclosed by the Feng Xiaohong, the Deputy Director of the Beijing Health Bureau. By September 2003, 1561 AIDS virus carrier had been discovered in Beijing, including 143 cases of AIDS patents, which ranked number 7 in China. Sexual transmission was the main cause.
According to Feng Liuxiang of the Health Department of Guangdong Province, the number of AIDS cases has entered a period of rapid growth. The number of AIDS virus carriers in the province has exceeded 30 thousands, which ranked the fourth among the provinces of the country, only behind Yunnan, Xinjiang, and Guangxi. According to officially published figures, Guangdong Province had accumulative totals of 4532 cases of AIDS virus carriers, 172 AIDS patents, and 40 AIDS-related deaths, which accounted to approximately 15% of the actual AIDS population.
The Shangcai county of Henan Province has been a well-known AIDS county, but the Xincai County is even worse. In addition, there are counties of Zhoukou, Nanyang, Xinyang, Kaifeng, Shangqiu, Leihe, Xuchang, Pingdingshan, and Hebi. AIDS has spread all over Henan Province.
The spreading of AIDS in Henan Province during the past year was very severe, which could make the province the next high AIDS incidence area. According to the official data, during the first half-year of 2003, the number of AIDS virus carriers in the province had increased to over 700, which showed an obvious upward trend. Current, the potential AIDS patent population of Henan Province could be as high as 30 thousands. Prostitution is the main channel of AIDS propagation in the province. There are indications that AIDS has been spreading from prostitute customers and drug abusers to ordinary people. The cumulative total of AIDS virus carriers reported in Fujian Province has reached 435, with 2 college students, which are the first cases of college students infected with AIDS virus disclosed in China.
II. The abuse of the rights of AIDS patents could be summarized as following:
1. AIDS virus has been spread by government-operated, unsafe blood-collecting facilities, yet the Chinese authority has provided neither treatment nor compensation to those infected by AIDS virus directly or indirectly via blood selling. The authority has not brought charges to the responsible officials either.
2. The freedoms of speech, gathering, association and the rights-to-know of the AIDS patents and their supporters have been suppressed.
3. The human rights abuse in the forced-drug-rehabilitation institutes.
4. The discrimination of AIDS virus carriers by the governmental agencies and employees, including state-operated hospitals and clinics.
5. The mandatory monitoring of the propagation of AIDS virus instituted by the governmental agencies invaded the privacy of AIDS patents.
6. The impossibility of obtaining treatment by patents, and other issues of the inadequately funded and difficulties-burdened medical care system of China.
III. As the number of AIDS-related deaths increased, the number of AIDS orphans has grown dramatically. The discrimination against and abandonment of AIDS orphans by the society has become a problem with growing severity. Not only the AIDS patents are marginalized by the society, so are orphans of them.
According to the China Office of the United Nations Children Fund, China has 40 - 50 thousands AIDS orphans, and it's predicted that this number will grow to 150 thousands by 2010. If the Chinese authority could not control the propagation effectively, the number may reach 250 thousands. However, the majority of local officials and governments are not aware of, nor care about, the conditions AIDS orphans are in.
In Houyang Hamlet, Shaodian Village, Shangcai County of Henan Province, there are over 100 orphans who parents were killed by AIDS. To provide care to these children, two brothers, Cheng Dongyang and Cheng Xiangyang, of the hamlet established a Caring School with their own yard and house, to provide preschool education and lunch to the orphans. However, because the brothers have accepts several interviews with the press, and disclosed the severity of the AIDS epidemic in the area, and so embarrassed the local authority of Henan Province, their permit of the school was revoked, the school was closed, and the orphans were dispersed. In addition, they were warned not to give interviews to the press numerous times. Only the government could change the fate of the AIDS orphans, but it had done preciously little.
IV. In China, many peasants are infected with AIDS virus via blood-selling activities encouraged by the government, which is the biggest AIDS scandal of the world. The government bears undeniable responsibility. However, many AIDS patents in China could not obtain any hospital treatment or psychiatric counseling. The rights of AIDS patents and high-risk population have been violated again and again. Many villagers of the AIDS villages, during their actions of demanding their entitled rights, were arrested by the police.
Henan is one of the provinces in China with the most severe AIDS situation. In Xiongqiao Village of Shangcai County alone, there are about 700 AIDS virus carriers among the 3000 villagers, with around 400 showing AIDS symptoms. The local authorities were deeply corrupted, and had been holding back allowance allocated for medicine to the AIDS patents. Many villagers have been complaining to the authorities in droves. In June of 2003, despite the fact that villagers of Xioangqiao Village had not received assistance from the government for a long time, the Shangcai police arrested 13 villagers. During the arrest of those people, the police cut power supply and phone lines to households of villagers, destroyed TV's and windows, and beaten villagers, including children.
V. To cover up the truth about the spreading of AIDS in China and the negligence of the Chinese authority, the authority has blockaded all media and web reports on AIDS patents in China, so deprived the right to know of the people. The government does not treat AIDS as a public health crisis, which would be made clear to the people, but rather as a scandal needed to hide. The Chinese authority has been unwilling to accurately monitor and account the spread of AIDS and refused the participation of the United Nations in the investigation.
Mr. Wan Yanhai, an activist for the rights of AIDS patents have been criticizing the Chinese authority for ignoring, and even covering up, the AIDS situation. He was detained for close to 1 month for disclosing the AIDS situation in Henan Province on the Internet.
A former official, Mr. Ma Shiwen, of the Health Bureau of Henan Province was arrested for suspected disclosure of the local AIDS situation. He was accused of disclosing state secrets for alleged disclosing of official document on AIDS prevention of the province and was jailed for over 6 months.
Ms. Gao Yaojie, a retired doctor, was well known as "the No. 1 person for fighting AIDS in Henan without governmental support" for her individual actions on AIDS prevention and care. She was the first person who disclosed that many peasants in Henan Province was infected with AIDS virus due to blood selling and was awarded the 2001 Jonathan Mann Award from the Global Health Council.. However, the Chinese authority barred her traveling to US to receive the honor. Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, expressed his regret publicly about this incident.
VI. The ineffective combat of the illegal drugs by the authority resulted the spread of AIDS among the high-risk population.
The illegal drug situation in China is extremely dire, with severe issues of drug making and trafficking. 80% of the drug produced in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia arrived in China through the China-Burma borders. Penetration of opium produced in Afghanistan is very significant as well. Drug making with the mainland has spread to over 20 provinces. The market of illegal drugs has been expanding continuously, with drug varieties growing with time. In last year, there are more than 1.05 million drug-abusers on record. People of age 35 and under have become high-risk population of drug abusing.
Among more than 50 thousand randomly-sampled AIDS virus carriers, 55% were infected through intravenous-injection of illegal drugs. 80% of drug-abusers have involved in prostitution, through which those infected by intravenous-injection again spread the virus to others.