Tag Archives: Injustice

“The Death of a Homeless Man”

The following is a translation of this post from Tiger Temple, about the ordeal and presumed death of a homeless man in Bobai, Guangxi. This post contains disturbing images and may be NSFW.

Translation

When Ren Zi called that night from a Guangxi street, he was standing beside a vagrant. His voice choking repeatedly with sobs, he said, “Good God, how can a person die like this!” I could tell even over the phone that it was very serious. I thought that if Ren Zi was making such a long distance call to me, there could only be three reasons for it: there was no one to help on the scene, calls to the government for help had resulted in passing the buck, [or] he wanted to participate in the save public welfare activities as me. I knew Ren Zi was a “give me another pound to carry” sort of public welfare worker.

After that the story, which took place in Beijing, in Bobai Guangxi and the PSB station there, on 110 [China’s equivalent of 911], and in the Bureau of Civil Affairs, goes like this…

When I made my second call to the Bobai 110 line, I heard back three things: the police have already gone, there’s nothing wrong, and vagrants fall under the authority of the Bureau of Civil Affairs, so we have already passed it on to them, the PSB doesn’t have the money [to deal with this sort of case]. The attitude of the police officer answering the 110 line was extremely poor, to the extent that calling him “overbearing/arbitrary” would not be at all excessive.

I called the cell phone of Director Zhao of the county police force again, and his attitude was great, but I only recall one sentence he said distinctly. Talking about he and his superiors couldn’t go out and do a detailed analysis [of the situation], he said, “We can’t manage it!”

Ren Zi was making even more calls from the scene; he called 110, the local police director, the Bureau of Civil Affairs, the local media, and also me seven or eight times.

Ren Zi told me repeatedly that he had been standing there for over and hour, and hadn’t seen any of the police officers the 110 line had said they “sent out”. Of course, he didn’t know that on my end I was being told, “we sent a plainclothes officer, and when they saw there was no problem, they came back [to the station].” Actually, to see whether or not there was a problem, any onlooker just had to come and it was easy to see. So I began to wonder, could Ren Zi be lying, or exaggerating the severity of the situation? The local PSB director’s assessment of Ren Zi was even more savage [than my own], “He’s made a false report…and he’s turned off his phone, so now there’s no way to verify it.” When Ren Zi heard this, he exploded. “I have nothing to do but stand here for hours? I don’t know how to go home and enjoy myself? Nothing better to do than make fake reports?” Ren Zi really wanted to explain he’d done nothing wrong. I said, what’s the use of the two of us fighting?

Ren Zi made some more phone calls to other government offices. I have records [of the calls], in total there were over ten. There was one that was very nearly successful — Ren Zi called the Bureau of Civil Affairs, and the person who answered asked, “I’ll go check it out, do you want me to bring clothes?” As soon as Ren Zi heard this, he roared, “Someone is about to die [freeze to death] and you’re asking this?!” What he absolutely didn’t expect was the person on the other line saying “Dying? If they’re dying then you need to call 120.”

In the end, the B.C.A. person didn’t come. By the time [that became clear], Ren Zi’s voice was even more filled with sobs, and I was sighing in frustration, feeling as though I was too far away to have any effect.

Later on that night, I recorded the things Ren Zi and I had said, and recorded [evidence of] the 15 calls we’d made to the PSB, the BCA, etc., on video. Then I posted it online.

The result on the scene was that an ambulance from 120 showed up four hours later, and carried off the already-stiff homeless man.

Netizen and volunteer Ren Zi stayed by the man's side throughout the entire ordeal

On the 15th around noon, I discovered that although it had only been half a day, the video I had posted online had already been completely deleted.

On the 16th, the news came from Bobai that some friends Ren Zi entrusted to go to the hospital and discreetly ask after the vagrant were told in no uncertain terms: that person doesn’t exist, that thing never happened.

Ren Zi and I agreed, the situation could not have been good.

From the 16th on, the steps outside the People’s Hospital in Bobai are quiet. The homeless, who had been gathering there for years to spend the night, were nowhere to be seen.

According to the news, the average temperature in Bobai recently has been barely 7 degrees Celsius.

In Bobai, will there no longer be any homeless?

Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng “Missing”

It is with a heavy heart that I point you in the direction of these stories. Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer who ChinaGeeks contributor Chris Hearne wrote about back in March of 2009, is missing.

Gao, a Nobel Prize nominee, has been in custody since last February, but when his brother asked for information about him in September, he was told by authorities only that Gao “lost his way and went missing”.

Mr. Gao is an adult, a well-traveled and well-respected lawyer, not a toddler. He lost his way? Went missing? A highly politically sensitive prisoner just up and wandered off, and they haven’t managed to track him down? Hardly likely. During Gao’s previous incarceration, he was tortured for nearly a month, and told that if he spoke of the torture he would be killed. After his release, he wrote a letter detailing his ordeal.

From the New York Times:

In an interview from New York on Friday, Ms. Geng said she was stunned to learn that the police said they could not account for her husband’s whereabouts. “If he’s alive, let us see him,” she said through tears. “If he’s dead, tell us where his body is.”

That Gao has been secretly executed certainly seems possible — much more possible than that he escaped or somehow wandered off, as the police have suggested. That no one will tell Gao’s family of his real fate is truly the lowest form of cowardice.

I suppose, having tortured (and probably killed) the man, they’re just moving on to torturing his wife and children.

Liu Xiaobo, Drifting With the Tide

Westerners worldwide will wake up tomorrow with gifts under their Christmas trees. Liu Xia will wake up tomorrow — for her, December 26th — with the knowledge that Christmas brought her an empty home for the next eleven years. On December 25th, Liu Xiaobo (Liu Xia’s husband) was sentenced to eleven years in prison for “inciting to subvert state power,” or in other words, writing this.

Liu probably foresaw this outcome when he was writing the document in question — called Charter 08 — for he wrote within it, “we should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.” Liu will also be denied his political rights for an additional two years after his release in 2020. One suspects the dark irony of this is not lost on him, though it may be lost on his captors.

Liu’s conviction was a foregone conclusion — having indicted him, it would have been internationally embarrassing for him to be found innocent — but his sentence was not. While his crime can be punished with up to fifteen years in prison, he could have been sentenced more lightly. Eleven years is a slap in the face to the other co-signers of Charter 08, and a warning shot across their bow. Liu’s lawyers plan to appeal, but there isn’t a lot of optimism about Liu’s prospects for an early release.

The government has also taken steps to stop people from discussing the case online, reportedly ordering all Chinese search engines to block the search term “11 years”. Nevertheless, netizens are discussing the issue and showing their support. They are even — as is their wont in times like these — using puns to express implicit support for Liu Xiaobo:

For example, there are many posts in this forum that include or consist solely of the phrase: “随波逐刘”. This is a pun on the Chinese expression “随波逐流” which literally means “follow the waves, pursue the flow”, or figuratively: “drifting with the tide.” But flow (流 liu2) sounds like Liu Xiaobo’s surname (刘 Liu2) and the Chinese word for “waves” (波 bo1) is also part of Liu Xiaobo’s given name. So, when written as “随波逐刘”, it might be loosely translated as “Follow Xiaobo, Pursue Liu” or “Drift with Liu Xiaobo”.

One netizen writes:

In the West, today is the day of the coming of Christ, and we are pacing outside heaven’s gate, unsure of whether we should go in, whether we can go in. If there is a God, I don’t understand why you never extend your favor to the the deeply distressed people of the earth…

Where is the hope, where is the window? I can’t see it, can’t hear it.
Eleven years later, at the crossroads of fate, I choose to ‘drift with Liu Xiaobo’ [随波逐刘]

Shortly after that post was made, the forum was closed. Attempting to load it prompts this message:

Sorry, in accordance with the relevant legal regulations and policies, this forum has been temporarily closed.

Twitter, though, is unblockable, in the sense that it is already blocked but a growing community of netizens uses it anyway. Expressions of support have also been growing there, where users have added yellow ribbons to their pictures in solidarity with Liu Xiaobo, and have begun tagging tweets with #freeliuxiaobo. Other tweets on the subject can be found by searching for the judge’s first name.Facebook groups and the like also exist, and are likely to grow in membership in the coming days.

That the case is a travesty of justice is undeniable. It may not be unconstitutional, though. The Chinese Constitution states:

Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.
Article 35

Unfortunately, it also states:

Citizens of the People’s Republic of China, in exercising their freedoms and rights, may not infringe upon the interests of the state, of society or of the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens.
Article 51

It is the duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to safeguard the security, honour and interests of the motherland; they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.
Article 54

In any event, the results of the case are deeply discouraging. The tactical announcement of the verdict on Christmas — the time when foreigners are least likely to be paying attention — proves that the government is at least a bit shameful about it, too, or at least fearful of international meddling. There will still be meddling, of course — US officials have already denounced the verdict and called for Liu Xiaobo’s freedom — but the Chinese government has never before buckled under this kind of pressure, and is not likely to start now. And the outcry will certainly be muted by the impending holiday in the West.

For those interested in the outcrying — and know that I count myself among you — I urge a modicum of caution. Let us recall that it was not China that arrested and sentenced Liu Xiaobo, but people, and that it is not China that we oppose, but the cowardly actions of these people. Whatever systemic evils exist, they exist because people put them there, and we must not judge or condemn en masse, else we risk violating justice just as Liu Xiaobo’s captors have.

Let us also remember that beyond the political posturing, there are smaller tragedies here. This Christmas, we think of Liu Xia in her home, alone. She has barely seen her husband for a year, and will see him less, if at all, in the next eleven. China has robbed itself of a patriot, but it has also robbed a man of eleven years of freedom, and a wife of her husband. Liu Xia may not be the biggest story here, but she more than anyone — perhaps more than Liu himself — will bear the weight of this eleven year sentence.

(Many of the links in this story came from the China Digital Times, which is also probably your best source for up-to-the-minute information on the case).

Yan Xiaoling, Legal Questions, and Reporting Injustice

For some time now, lawyer and blogger Liu Xiaoyuan has been following the case of three netizens (You Jingyou, Fan Yanqiong, and Wu Huaying) accused of framing/falsifying information because they published an article on the internet about the lethal gang rape of Yan Xiaoling. The post attracted widespread interest online and was posted on many popular Chinese internet portals. Unfortunately, the official verdict came down on Yan Xiaoling as having died from pregnancy-related complications rather than gang rape, and according to the police, the post about the rape was “purely rumors”. According to Liu Xiaoyuan, the libelous part of their post was probably the first part, where they name several police officials by name as being complicit in the administration of the KTV establishment where, according to the post, Ketamine was openly sold, prostitution was encouraged, and Yan Xiaoling and possibly other girls were raped to death. At the end of their post, they call for netizens to report the incident to officials and “punish severely these conscienceless police bandits!”

There are lots of strange things about the case. For one, the evidence from a local hospital of Yan Xiaoling’s death there after the incident (whatever happened) comes from a “Diagnostic Certificate” rather than a “Death Certificate”, which seems odd; furthermore, this was only given to Yan Xiaoling’s mother seven months after her death. She has been seeking audience with higher-ups to look into the event for a year. She maintains that she was raped to death; but the police cite her death as complications from ectopic pregnancy, citing the autopsy report. (The previous two paragraphs are all based on information from this post by Liu Xiaoyuan)

(For more background on the case and a translation of the original post, see ESWN, but be warned it contains a pretty gruesome and probably NSFW postmortem photo of Yan Xiaoling.)

In any event, the netizens who wrote the posts about this were arrested, which raises some interesting legal issues. Is posting something untrue on the internet “false accusation” if the writer believes it is true? Furthermore, does making a post on the internet really count as a false accusation or is it just an expression of suspicion, given that it’s not at all formal. Certainly, plenty of other untrue things have been posted online without the authors behind them going to jail. Beijing lawyer Su Zhanjun wrote quite a lengthy post on the legal implications of the “framing” charge on Liu Xiaoyuan’s site, concluding that “if suspecting someone of something falls under the category of falsely accusing them, then this society truly is terrifying.”

Well said. It’s also hard to imagine that there isn’t at least some truth to what the netizens posted, as an anonymous democratic party [a Chinese democratic party, not the American Democratic Party] member writes in this open letter to the local secretary now in charge of handling the case (via Liu Xiaoyuan, our translation):

Dear Secretary Sun Chunlan,

As a member of a democratic party, I’ve been closely following the “framing netizens” case’s investigation, to see whether the rights granted to citizens in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China will be protected or not, and whether Secretary General Hu’s [promise] of “making people the focus” will be fulfilled or not.

That you were appointed the secretary should be a good thing to the three defendants; as you used to be the head of a group of workers you most understand the situation of the [common] people, understand their frame of mind, and are able to protect them. The facts of the case are clear; there are only people reporting injustice because injustice exists. They [those reporting injustice] are people of conscience, [you] should not use your power to harm them further and hurt the hearts of the whole nation’s people.

Freedom of speech is the root from which the development and prosperity of a nation and a people springs. [People’s] thinking cannot be liberated until speech is free, and free thinking is the greatest power in developing productivity. Secretary Sun, you may understand this logic much better than many others; now we focus on what must be done.

In truth, your appointment [as secretary] was where the change in this case started from, I hope you can implement Secretary General Hu’s governing principle of “making people the focus”, accord with the principles of the Constitution, resolve this case in a way that is harmonious with the people’s hearts and opinions, safeguard the image of the Party, safeguard the dignity of the Constitution, and turn Fujian into a harmonious society!

Most Sincerely,

A Democratic Party Member
December 5, 2009

The sentence “there are only people reporting injustice because injustice exists” was highlighted in red on Liu Xiaoyuan’s blog, and was also the title of his post. It is, I think, a pretty valid observation. Whether or not Yan Xiaoling actually died from being raped, it seems as though something fishy was going on, to put it lightly. And there’s no one living in China who would doubt that there might be police officers in league with local gangsters and shady KTV bars.

If the allegations are true, it’s one of the most disturbing cases we’ve heard about in some time. And if they aren’t, given the widespread belief that they are on the internet, the police and government might indeed do well to heed the feelings of the people and produce some more evidence that nothing unjust happened instead of locking up the people trying to start discussions about the case.

AIDS Patient: “Return My Freedom! Return My Rights!”

The following is a translation of this post on Wang Keqin’s blog

Translation

At this moment, a scarce hour away from the 22nd international AIDS day, as I sit here writing this headline a friend of mine with AIDS is sitting in his home being watched by seven or eight people from the government. He sent a call for help by text message, saying “I’m being held in my hometown; I’ve lost my freedom!”

At the time I received the text in my office, I was receiving six representatives for over 140 people infected with AIDS and/or hemophilia who are seeking media attention, crying out: “please give us compensation and return our fundamental freedoms!”

Let’s talk about the friend with AIDS who’s lost his freedom. His name is Tian Xi (“Happiness Tian”); he’s got such a lively and joyful name, but his destiny seems less positive.

In 1995 [or perhaps ’96 or ’97, Wang Keqin’s post has contradictory dates and numbers in different places] in Gulv town in Henan province, 9-year-old Tian Xi accidentally got a slight concussion, and in the county hospital nearby, received blood transfusions.

[Wang Keqin goes into more detail, but long story short, Tian Xi had contracted HIV from the blood transfusion. Then Tian Xi takes over, giving his own account of more recent events.]

Treatment and compensation has been continuously delayed, there has been no effective resolution.

At 9 AM on the morning of November 11th, 2009, I was at a hospital with two female patients who also contracted HIV from blood transfusions presenting a petition asking for justice. At 11, I was called away by someone from the local health department, and a government official came and took me away. The two women (Zhao and Cao) were taken away by the police. I was taken to a Beijing guesthouse.

On the 22nd, I was taken back to my home from Beijing by someone from the local government, ostensibly for the purposes of negotiating a settlement.

From the 23rd to the 26th, I met with people from the bureau of health, the county head for the health bureau, an associate dean from the hospital where I was infected, but we still weren’t able to reach an agreement about treatment and compensation.

On the 26th, on a pedicab on my way to the station to return to Beijing, I was suddenly joined by two strangers, who took me to a red Changhe car with the license plate “豫QDA518” [豫 indicates it is a Henan plate], saying we’d first go to the Madian City Train Station and then go to Beijing together.

As we were about to move out of the county via the borderline tollbooth, the strangers got a call from Zhao Xinyue, the secretary of the Party discipline committee, and I was taken back into town.

That day, a man of uncertain identity turned up at the eastern entryway of the alley my house is in, and a black Santana [car] with the license plate 豫Q63007 follows and watches [me]. The red Changhe car is at the western entrance. Later I learned that they are people from the local government “protecting stability”, in total there are around ten watching me in shifts.

Now I’m without hope for effective treatment or just compensation, my freedom of movement has been constrained; the situation is that there’s no way for me to leave the county!

[Wang Keqin takes back over, writing a bit about Tian Xi’s character (good, charitable, gentle) and his worsening medical condition (“What I worry about most is whether he’s able to take medicine on time!”) He then writes:]

Tian Xi gave me the phone number for Li Heling, a local government leader: 15139646669. I called them, and they said, “We’re in the process of getting him treatment!” I said, he doesn’t have any medicine to take tonight. They said, “I don’t understand the situation, we will work on figuring it out tomorrow.”

“Am I a Master Criminal?”

This is a translation of this post by Liu Xiaoyuan.

Translation

Yesterday afternoon, I suddenly received a phone call from a government department. The person [calling] knew my personality, and didn’t adopt the same measures as last year, [instead of] making me come speak with them in person, they called me and chatted with me for nearly half an hour.

The cause of this disaster was, again, my blog.

Around a month earlier, Wang somebody had sent me an email talking about the strange case of his mother. [She was] unceasingly writing appeals of a case to the higher-ups, and eventually some center decided that rather than coming to some kind of compensation agreement, she would just not be allowed to report to the authorities. After this agreement was made, his mother continued to complain to authorities. If she wasn’t running to high courts, then she was going to the supreme court. Many years of reporting to courts had given the district court a headache, and they finally reported a case of blackmail and extortion to the local PSB office.

Hearing this story from him, I was very shocked, and asked him to send the relevant supporting evidence. After receiving the evidence, I wrote a blog post commenting on the situation. The strangest part of the case was that it ended up being tried at the came court that had reported [the “blackmail”], so there was obviously a serious problem with the case. It’s as if I were to accuse you of blackmail, and then I was also the one to judge you. If the “victim” is [the one judging the case] can the outcome be just and impartial? This violates the Code of Criminal Law’s stipulation on the [victim] withdrawing [i.e., not being involved in the judging of a case].

[Having written] this kind of exposing-the-true-nature piece, I was subjected again to “speech education” a month and a half later, which was unexpected. But I wonder, if other people weren’t demanding it, would the Beijing government department still be “educating” me?

They asked me whether or not I was acting as a representative in the case. I said I had not accepted it [the case] and that the parties involved had chosen a lawyer from Shandong. They said, this is a sensitive case and if you’re going to serve as a representative you need to handle it according to the law. Why I couldn’t understand was: why would a case involving law enforcement departments become a sensitive case?

I know that when representing someone in a so-called sensitive case, you must first pass government approval. They still said gravely, if you weren’t representing anyway, it’s still better not to speculate, lest the media find out and start speculating, too.

I said, if the media wants to pay attention and speculate about things, I cannot control that, it’s their business. Writing a blog post with my commentary is exercising freedom of speech. I wrote two posts about this case, that wouldn’t just turn into rampant speculation, would it? If a reporter reads it, thinks it’s newsworthy and heads out to collect more information, that isn’t my fault! The real “master criminal” is not me, but the people who create cases like this!

If they could deal with the case according to the law, and remove the plaintiff from judging the case according to the law, I would have no way of calling anything into question. Of course, their meaning was that if I didn’t write a blog post, a reporter wouldn’t be able to see it, and thus won’t go off to interview and report. Only looking at it from this angle am I a “Master Criminal”.

Their searching me out to speak with me came from good intentions. They advised me: next time, be a little more discreet, don’t write this kind of blog post. I said, when I see or encounter injustice and inequality, if I don’t even dare to speak about it, ignore it, adopt a superior attitude as though I were above it, those who enforce the law unjustly will achieve even more of their dreams. If they’re afraid the people will criticize and call things into question, then they should just not do anything illegal!

I told them, me writing a blog post calling an injustice into question really isn’t the same as serving as a [legal] representative or a “savior”; I have neither the ability nor the sense of righteousness. By my personality dictates that if I see or encounter this kind of thing, even if I have “absurd complaints” I will post them. Nothing can be done about this, except for completely closing my blog.

This case has already been granted an open session in court, perhaps because of how I exposed it; it has been given over to an external court to handle, the original court has withdrawn. I heard a reporter saw my blog post, and begun researching the case. From this we can see that I really have become a “Master Criminal.”

Comments

I’ll take the sofa, support lawyer Liu, freedom of speech!

I strongly support the government perverting the laws, these days a government that doesn’t pervert the laws isn’t a government.

Why does the media have to report something for [the courts] to follow the correct procedure?

China these days is too sensitive…

Ha ha! After ha haing, I’m speechless…

“They Beat Me Until I Was Screaming in Pain”

This is an original translation of a part of this post from 24 hour blogbus. What we’ve translated here are the words of a Zhao Xinhua, a housewife whose family was beaten and whose home was destroyed by masked men in league with the police.

Translation

On April 13th, 2009, at around 8pm, my famly was sitting around when suddenly local cadres burst into the room with dozens of steel-helmeted, masked men. They showed no documentation, and didn’t say a word. Two masked me took me (Zhao Xinhua), tied me arms, twisted my neck down to the ground, and kicked and punched me. Another man grabbed my hair and used it to slam my head to the ground, they beat me until I was screaming in pain. Later, they dragged and beat me two hundred meters outside of my house to the door of the police van. Some six or seven others dragged Lu Qingwen, who had just been sleeping, out of bed, held him to the ground, and kicked and stepped on him, then beat him savagely with nightsticks. After that, they put him in irons, dragged him down five flights of stairs and into the street, where they beat him again. They tore his shirt and vest and dragged him the two hundred meters to the police car. We were stuffed in. They didn’t let us sit in seats, we sat on the floor. Dragging our feet, we were taken from our homes barefoot.

More terrifying is that they took our 14 year old son Lu Yongpeng, held his hands behind his back, and kicked and beat him until he was crying and screaming, holding him in the door of the police car. I dearly love my son, and said the child has already broken bones, please let him go, but they just beat him more.

Active-duty serviceman Feng Haiyang was beaten by masked men in cooperation with the police, handcuffed, tasered, and arrested.

My sister’s son Feng Haiyang, a 23 year old active-duty member of the 92054th army in Fujian, also lives with us, and thus had a uniform and military nametag in the house. Around 9 at night, he reported to law enforcement with his mother that our house was about to be bulldozed, but that there were still valuables inside. He asked whether they might report this to higher authorities so that we can get our valuables out, or maybe you can save the house. These pleas were all refused. Feng saw the house demolished with his own eyes. Furious, he pushed through the police lines to enter [the demolitioner’s office], whereupon he was held to the ground and beaten by six or seven masked workers. They hurt him everywhere, until he couldn’t move, at which point he was dragged out and held to the ground while his cell phone was stolen. Finally, they dragged him 200 meters to the police van, squeezed him in, and then attacked him with electrified clubs.

Comments

According to the introduction, businessmen were cooperating illegally with the police in the area to evict people and destroy houses, which could then be replaced with new buildings. One gets the impression that the family had no warning whatsoever previous to the home invasion and beating, but I’ll admit I didn’t have time to do more than skim the rest of the article. For the sake of perspective, though, the very end of her post is worth translating: “Today, I [still] truly believe the government was founded for the people. Business was not reformed and opened for illegal real estate practices, so I continue to seek redress, and ask the government to quickly resolve this problem.”

From my perspective, it seems like these stories pop up on Chinese blogs every day or two; on the other hand, the blogs I read are selective, and I’m likely to skip over blog posts about puppies and sunshine. So what do you think? Is this just some local hooligans, or evidence of a much deeper problem, or both? And do you think Zhao will have any luck getting help from the government?