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Hunger Strike Detentions Continue in Shanghai

February 17, 2006

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned of a further string of detentions in Shanghai apparently related to participation in lawyer Gao Zhisheng’s hunger strike against official repression and violence.

Gao Zhisheng’s hunger strike, begun earlier this month, has apparently raised increasing alarm within the Chinese government as it has gained support across China. A number of well-known Beijing activists, including Hu Jia, Qi Zhiyong, Wen Haibo, Zhao Dagong, Ma Wendu and Ouyang Xiansheng, have been reported missing over the past few days.

Sources in China told HRIC that at least five long-term petitioners in Shanghai have also been detained or have gone missing since announcing their intention to participate in the hunger strike beginning on February 15:

  1. Mao Hengfeng was detained on the evening of February 13 by police officers from the Public Security Bureau’s Yangbo District Daqiao Dispatch Station. When her husband went to the dispatch station to inquire after Mao, police reportedly told him that Mao was being held under “residential surveillance” on the basis of an administrative decision issued on February 13 finding her guilty of “causing a disturbance in a public place.” Mao’s husband pointed out to the police that under Chinese law, “residential surveillance” is not to be used to completely deprive an accused person of his freedom of movement, and asked where Mao was being held, but police refused to provide him with further information.
     
  2. On February 14, police officers from the PSB’s Zhabei District Zhijiangxi Dispatch Station asked Du Yangming, a petitioner in his 60s, to accompany them back to the police station for questioning. When he found himself instead held for an indeterminate period of time in the basement of a nearby hostel, Du went on hunger strike in protest. According to HRIC’s sources, police worried that Du would suffer injury to his health because of his advanced age, and on February 17 transferred him to another hostel nearer to the dispatch station.
     
  3. On February 15, police detained petitioner Ma Yalian at the home of a friend in a village in Shanghai’s Minxin District. Shortly after the friend returned home from work, police arrived at his door with a search warrant and carried away all of Ma’s personal belongings and papers. Ma had been under constant surveillance since being released from 10 days of unlawful detention at the beginning of February. Friends have expressed worries about Ma’s physical condition, which has deteriorated over the course of several recent detentions.
     
  4. Earlier this week, HRIC reported that petitioner Fu Yuxia was detained on February 15, two days after a visit to her home by an official from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai that coincided with a visit by several other petitioners planning to take part in the hunger strike. On February 17, a police officer from the PSB’s Luwan District Dispatch Station informed Fu’s family that she was being held under "residential surveillance," but declined to state where Fu was being held.
     
  5. One of the petitioners who was visiting Fu’s home at the time of the consul’s visit, Chen Xiaoming, was also detained on February 15. Police from the PSB’s Luwan District Dispatch Station carried out a search on Chen’s home that same day and took away two computers and a quantity of documents.
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

A number of other petitioners have been placed under surveillance or virtual house arrest since beginning their hunger strike, including Tian Baocheng and Chen Enjuan. Other people who voiced their intention to participate in the hunger strike were reportedly detained temporarily and warned not to take part in this "political activity" or they would suffer the consequences.

HRIC protests the detention and harassment of these petitioners for nothing more than the peaceful expression of their views. The crackdown is especially reprehensible given that these activists were expressly protesting official repression and violence. HRIC calls for all detainees to be released immediately, and for the termination of surveillance and house arrest against other hunger strike participants and activists.