Freedom of expression

  • China: Human rights campaigner abducted, harassed and surveilled
    October 6, 2011

    On 20 June 201, four days after allegedly being prohibited from answering his phone, sending text messages, and talking to others in his office, Mr. Yao Lifa was abducted by public officials, including administrative personnel from the State school where he works in Qianjiang City, Hubei Province. The perpetrators of the abduction allegedly included the school’s vice principal and security guards who had been monitoring Mr. Yao Lifa since he was placed under residential surveillance on 20 February 2011.
    Mr. Yao Lifa has campaigned for the promotion of political participation through monitoring local elections to ensure fairness and transparency, for speaking out against corruption in local governance and the electoral processes, and for travelling in the People’s Republic of China to encourage people to run for office as independent candidates.

    On 27 June 2011, a member of Mr. Yao Lifa’s family made inquiries at the Qianjiang City Letters and Visits Bureau and the Qianjiang Public Security Bureau (PSB). This relative was told to go to the school where Mr. Yao Lifa works and was threatened with “consequences” for causing a disturbance. On 11
    July 2011, a family member and an attorney requested to see the bureau chief of the Qianjiang PSB, but were reportedly told that he was out of the office and advised to go to the Yuanlin Police Station to fill out a missing person report. There, they were allegedly told that the situation of Mr. Yao Lifa did not meet the relevant criteria for a missing person report.

    Meanwhile, on 4 July 2011, Mr. Yao Lifa had reportedly escaped from the place where he was being detained by jumping out of a window of what reportedly were the Maozui Guesthouse, Mazui Town, and Xiantao City, Hubei Province. During his escape, Mr. Yao Lifa severely injured both wrists and damaged his vertebrae. According to the source, he fled to a friend’s house in Beijing and did not have his injuries treated.

    On 6 August 2011, national security officers from the Qianjiang PSB, Beijing police and personnel from the Qianjiang Liaison Office in Beijing, allegedly arrested Mr. Yao Lifa at the friend’s home in Beijing where he had fled following his previous detention. Mr. Yao was reportedly forcibly returned to Qianjiang and then turned over to authorities at the State school where he works in order to be monitored.

    From 7 to 30 August 2011, Mr. Yao Lifa was allegedly detained in a room with very unsanitary conditions, inadequate food provision and a surveillance camera. The Qianjiang PSB reportedly admitted to a family member of Mr. Yao Lifa that they had taken him into custody, but claimed that they had done so because the family member had filed a missing person report in July following Mr. Yao Lifa’s first abduction.

    On 8 August 2011, a family member of Mr. Yao Lifa made inquiries at the Qianjiang PSB and was reportedly told there that they did not know where Mr. Yao Lifa was.

    According to the source, on 2 September 2011, early in the morning, Mr. Yao Lifa was rushed to hospital by his captors under a false name to receive treatment 3 for severe abdominal pain. On 3 September 2011, he was reportedly taken back to the CPC School before being returned home on 4 September 2011. The public authorities of the State school allegedly confiscated all medical evidence from the hospital, as well as all medication provided. On 5 September 2011, personnel from the State school where Mr. Yao Lifa works and officials from Qianjiang PSB reportedly took Mr. Yao Lifa from his home when he was about to go to hospital for a physical examination, and have since subjected him to 24-hour monitoring. He is now allegedly taken to an unknown location every day at 7:00 a.m. by personnel from the State school and returned home at 10:00 p.m., where he remains under surveillance from individuals stationed outside his house. There has reportedly been no investigation into the various cases of detention of Mr. Yao Lifa.

    According to the source, this year and in 2012, China is holding local People’s Congress elections and is reportedly concerned about the effects of the advice given by Mr. Yao Lifa to candidates and voters. Mr. Yao Lifa’s friends and family have also reportedly been subjected to increased harassment including police investigation, monitoring, restriction of freedom of movement, illegal searches on private property, and having their electricity and water supplies cut off.

  • China: Journalist taken into custody for allegedly “fabricating facts to disrupt public order
    October 6, 2011

    On August 21, police from Xinzhan District, Hefei City, Anhui Province, took into custody a journalist who goes by the name Bingyu (??), and issued him a 10-day administrative detention for allegedly “fabricating facts to disrupt public order.” Earlier this month, Bingyu had posted articles on his blog that focused on violent forced eviction and demolition in Hefei City reportedly conducted under the direction of local officials.

  • Burma: Anti-dam activist arrested
    October 6, 2011

    Police in military-dominated Burma on Tuesday arrested a man who staged a rare protest against a controversial Chinese hydroelectric power project, an official said. “A 46-year-old man was arrested this afternoon near the Chinese Cultural Office as he tried to stage a solo protest,” said a government official who did not want to be named. The office is part of the Chinese embassy in Rangoon.

  • Burma: Photographer sentenced to 18 years imprisonment
    October 6, 2011

    A Rangoon court on Wednesday added 10 years to the sentence of Burmese photographer Sithu Zeya on charges of violating the country’s draconian Electronics Act. Sithu Zeya had originally been sentenced in May 2010 to eight years in prison for violating the 1957 Unlawful Associations Act, accused of having contact with illegal organizations, as well as a charge of violating the Immigration Act. The 21-year-old photographer was arrested on April 15 last year and detained in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison after photographing the aftermath of the bomb blasts that shook the traditional New Year’s water festival in Rangoon, killing 10 people and injuring 170.

  • Mongolia: Editor of daily paper detained
    September 29, 2011

    Reporters Without Borders today voiced “great concern” about the imprisonment for the past two months of Dolgor Chuluunbaatar, editor of the daily Ulaanbaatar Times, and said it feared he had been “tortured and forced to sign confessions.” It called on the government to prove otherwise.

    He was arrested in the capital, Ulaanbataar, on 24 March and accused by the Sukhbaatar district court of illegally privatising the paper. Reporters Without Borders is also concerned about the arrest on 27 April of another journalist, who was accused of libelling a minister.
    Mr. Dolgor Chuluunbaatar was released on bail on 28 July 2011.

  • Mongolia: Journalist under investigation for criminal defamation after complaint of Minister of Nature, Environment and Tourism
    September 29, 2011

    Globe International (GI) is deeply concerned over defamation charges brought against publicist and journalist A. Baatarkhuyag.

  • China: HRD and daughter facing immediate eviction
    September 29, 2011

    On 7 June 2011 at approximately 12pm, human rights defender Ms Zeng Jinyan received a phone call from her landlady asking her to immediately vacate the apartment in which she is living with her three year old daughter in Yantian District, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province.
    During the phone call, the landlady told Zeng Jinyan that she had been under severe pressure from the local authorities for a week demanding that she force Zeng Jinyan to leave the apartment. Zeng Jinyan had moved to the south eastern city of Shenzhen in April 2011, following a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment by police in Beijing, where she had been based for many years. Zeng Jinyan’s daughter is attending a kindergarten in Shenzhen. Zeng Jinyan fears that similar pressure will now be placed on any other landlord from whom she attempts to rent an apartment. Zeng Jinyan’s husband, human rights defender Mr Hu Jia, is due to be released on 26 June 2011 following three and a half years’ imprisonment on charges of ‘inciting subversion of state power’

  • China: Three HRDs abducted
    September 29, 2011

    Human rights defenders, Ms Li Tiantian, Mr Liu Shihui and Mr Yuan Xinting, remain missing following their disappearances three months ago amidst a Chinese government crackdown in response to anonymous calls for protest posted online in mid-February 2011.

    Ms Li Tiantian was released on 24 May 2011 following three months’ enforced disappearance.

  • China : Journalist sanctioned for reference to Ai Weiwei in op-ed
    September 29, 2011

    The outspoken Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily has disciplined a journalist following a commemorative May 12 editorial on the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The opinion piece made references to detained artist Ai Weiwei, according to Hong Kong University’s China Media Project and the Tokyo-based Asahi newspaper. Ai documented the plight of the earthquake victims in his multimedia works – one can read filmmaker Alison Klayman’s description of Ai’s earthquake-centered work on the CPJ website this month.

    The journalist, Song Zhibiao, was not fired, but “side-shuffled” from his post, the Media Project said. Internal transfers or demotions are a common punishment for outspoken journalists

  • China : Human rights lawyer abducted
    September 29, 2011

    One of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers, Li Fangping, remains missing three days after he called his wife to say he was being led away by state security police, apparently the latest target of a crackdown on dissent.
    Li disappeared on Friday, the same day that Chinese authorities released his friend and fellow rights lawyer, Teng Biao, whose secretive detention for over two months was raised in Beijing last week by Michael Posner, the US’ top diplomat on human rights.
    Li, a slightly built and gently spoken Beijing lawyer who has taken on many politically contentious cases, appears to be another target of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) campaign to stifle dissent, which has led to the arrest, detention or informal jailing of dozens of dissidents, human rights advocates and grassroots agitators.