Protests at Chinese Consulates    March 2006

 

LATEST UPDATE !

China frees AIDS activist  Tuesday   March 28, 2006

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese AIDS activist missing for weeks was released by police on Tuesday. AIDS activist Hu Jia returned to his home in Tongzhou on the outskirts of Beijing after being held by police and the state security apparatus at an undisclosed location for about six weeks, his wife Zeng Jinyan said by telephone.

Friends and family had tried to locate Hu but police and the state security apparatus had refused to confirm or deny if they were holding him.

"He didn't know what happened outside while he was in detention. He didn't know that the authorities did not tell his family," the wife said.

Hu was taken into custody ahead of the annual session of parliament and after going on a "relay" hunger strike to protest what he and
colleagues said was the government's hiring of thugs to beat up a civil rights campaigner in the southern province of Guangdong in February.

Hu's case had attracted the attention of the lead U.N. agency against AIDS, UNAIDS, and rights group Amnesty International. Hu has been
critical of the government's AIDS policy and its efforts to help AIDS victims and their families.


This was our Action Last Week:

Wednesday, March 22, 2006    

Protest at the Chinese Consulate in New York City   520 12th Ave. @42nd St.

We demand the unconditional release of AIDS activist Hu Jia, who disappeared one month ago, and an end to the repression against people with AIDS, AIDS activists, lawyers, rights defenders, and all those trying to make peaceful change in China.

In the past month in China, a diverse, historic coalition of AIDS and pro-democracy activists, and the lawyers that defend them in the Chinese legal system, have been beaten, harassed, and ultimately kidnapped (or as they say in China, â??detainedâ??) by the government for organizing their own symbolic hunger strikes to protest government repression of activists. At the same time, dozens of people with AIDS were held under house arrest to prevent them from reaching delegates during the just ended People's Congress.

We are in solidarity protesting the Chinese Government's detention of Chinese AIDS activist Hu Jia
and dozens of people with AIDS who have been put under house arrest by the Chinese Government.  

  more info: email Laurie of ACT UP NY   lauriewen@aol.com

New York City photographs

On Wednesday, March 22 at 12:30 pm, AIDS, GLBT, and human rights activists in New York, Washington, DC and Paris held a symbolic hunger strike in solidarity with the dozens of Chinese people with AIDS who have been harassed by authorities in recent weeks, and for Hu Jia, a Chinese activist mcurrently in his fourth week of detention. These peaceful solidarity actions will be held at Chinese embassies and consulates.



This protest includes groups ranging from Amnesty International to ACT UP, from the Student Global AIDS Campaign to GAPIMNY, for gay Asian New Yorkers, and domestic as well as international AIDS activists.  There will be a series of solidarity events on Wednesday held by AIDS and human rights groups in NYC, Hong Kong, Washington DC and Paris. Join us! Call +1 215-939-7852 for more information, internationally.

information continues below  –  with continuing updates


NEWS REPORTS

Mon Mar 20, 2006    Reuters

Mar 17, 2006 — BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese AIDS activists on Friday called for the release of fellow rights worker Hu Jia, who vanished a month ago, while his wife said she still had no idea where he was and was becoming increasingly worried.

The 32-year-old Hu went missing after going on hunger strike with several others to protest what they said was the government's hiring of thugs to beat up a civil rights campaigner.

His wife, Zeng Jinyan, told Reuters that she had been to the prosecutor's office to try and lodge a complaint that the police were holding her husband illegally.

"They told me to go to the police myself to try and sort out this problem," Zeng said by telephone, having just left the prosecutor's office.

"They asked me why he was being held but I myself have no idea. It's totally laughable."

A group of AIDS activists issued a statement calling for Hu's immediate release — if indeed he was being held by the police — adding that he may be in poor shape if he has not been getting the hepatitis medication he needs.

Another person who vanished was Qi Zhiyong, whose left leg was amputated after he was hit by a soldier's bullet during the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

The hunger strike began after rights campaigner Yang Maodong was assaulted by thugs, whom his supporters say were hired by the government, in the southern province of Guangdong on February 5.

Yang announced plans to protest against the beating through a hunger strike outside Zhongnanhai, the tightly guarded Chinese leadership compound in Beijing.

He was held for more than three months late last year for trying to help residents of a Guangdong village to vote out their elected chief over allegations of corruption in a land dispute.

Yang sent a cell phone text message on Friday saying he has been taken by plainclothes agents to Nanchang, capital of the southern province of Jiangxi, and prevented from leaving the country.

The ruling Communist Party has been tightening its grip on power and intensifying crackdowns on rights campaigners, lawyers, journalists and academics.


Mystery deepens over missing Chinese AIDS activist

Tue Mar 21, 2006    Reuters

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - The wife of a Chinese AIDS activist missing for over a month said on Tuesday she was no closer to discovering his whereabouts despite repeated requests to the police and state security apparatus for information.

The 32-year-old Hu Jia went missing after going on a hunger strike with several others to protest what they said was the government's hiring of thugs to beat up civil rights campaigner Yang Maodong in the southern province of Guangdong in February.

"I've worked so hard, but there is still no news," Hu's wife, Zeng Jinyan, told a news conference in a Beijing hotel room. "I have no idea what to do."

Hu had been under house arrest on and off since January and needed permission from state security agents to even leave his home.

He went on a 24-hour hunger strike on February 6 and was placed under house arrest again on February 11, Zeng said.

Hu has been critical in the past of the government's AIDS policy and for not doing enough to help sufferers and their families.

"We thought he might be released after parliament met, but no," said his wife, adding that Hu had previously been beaten up by plainclothes police.

The government put many rights activists under house arrest or sent them back to their home provinces in the run-up to the annual full session of parliament this month.

"I would be a lot calmer if they just came out and admitted either they have him, or don't have him," she said.

The slightly-built Zeng said she was told by police and state security that they have no information on where Hu is, and no idea what happened on the day he vanished. There was no sign of a struggle at the couple's home that day.

Hu suffers from hepatitis, and attempts to take medicine and clothes to a local police station in the hopes he might be there, have been refused, his wife said.

RULE OF LAW

The prosecutor's office has also refused to accept a formal complaint accusing the police of illegally holding Hu, and the Beijing petitions office has not responded either, his wife said.

Adding to the mystery, a stranger returned Hu's credit card on March 11 but then ran off, Zeng said.

Though there is no obvious state security or police presence at the family residence now, Zeng said her Internet and telephone services were being interrupted.

A spokesman for China's foreign ministry said he had no information on Hu's case, which has attracted the attention of Amnesty International and UNAIDS.

"China is a country ruled by law and Chinese judicial departments dealing with those who breach the law is a matter of China's sovereignty," Qin Gang told a regular news conference when later asked about the continuing arrest of dissidents.

Another person who vanished at the same time as Hu was Qi Zhiyong, whose left leg was amputated after he was hit by a soldier's bullet during the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

(Additional reporting by Lindsay Beck)


  MARCH 22: AIDS ACTIVISTS, STUDENT GROUPS, HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS
             JOIN SYMBOLIC HUNGER STRIKES IN CHINA

                                                               AIDS POLICY PROJECT   www.aidspolicyproject.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kate Krauss, (English) +1-215-939-7852 (cell)
NYC: Laurie Wen, (English or Chinese), + 1 212-691-7332; on-site
cell:+347-210-8544 (lauriewen@aol.com)
DC: David Bryden 202-549-3664 (cell)
Paris: Khalil Elouardighi (English or French): +33 6 6315 3882

March 22: Protests in New York, Washington, and Paris

Activists from AIDS groups, student groups, and human rights organizations will hold symbolic hunger strikes in New York City; Washington, DC; and Paris on Wednesday at 1 pm EST (Paris event, noon local time) in solidarity with Chinese activists who have been imprisoned by the authorities when they organized similar hunger strikes to protest beatings and detention of Chinese activists and their attorneys. As many as 12 prominent activists and several supporters are currently in detention, including renowned AIDS activist Hu Jia, who most recently served as director of Loving Source, a Beijing NGO that supports AIDS orphans.

Participants in today's actions come from groups ranging from the Global AIDS Alliance to Amnesty International to the Student Global AIDS Campaign. The actions will take place at the Chinese embassies and consulates in each city (addresses are listed below). Each group will present a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao during the action. The letter is signed by a broad-based coalition of international HIV/AIDS, development and human rights organizations, along with over one hundred university professors and other individuals. The letter calls for China to immediately release activists who were detained for participating in the peaceful hunger strike.

Address of Chinese Consulate in New York:
520 12TH Avenue, New York, NY 10036, USA

Address of Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC:
2300 Connecticut Ave., N.W., (Near DuPont Circle)

Address of Chinese Embassy in Paris: 11, av. George V, 75008 Paris

In China, participants have posted photographs of themselves on the internet fasting in a "virtual" grassroots protest. Western activists will also post their photographs on the web, joining the Chinese protest.

Said Kate Krauss, founder of the AIDS Policy Project, "The Chinese government continues to intimidate, beat, and imprison many of its leading lights: Its smartest AIDS experts, its best reporters and lawyers. But the practice of rounding up and detaining everyone who disagrees with you isn?t a sustainable strategy over the long run for a world leader. We are asking the Chinese government to release these hunger strikers immediately and respect China?s constitution.?

In mid-February, a respected group of Chinese public officials and media leaders issued a letter calling on the government to restore freedom of expression. There has also been a crackdown on freedom of the press; about two dozen reporters are currently in detention, and one died of a police beating in early February.

Some activists have simply disappeared, and police have refused to release information to their families about their whereabouts.

Groups signing on to the protest letter include Human Rights Watch, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, AIDS Policy Project, Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group, the Committee for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Association, and China Labor Watch. Health and development groups from Europe, Africa and Mexico have also signed on.

Leading China scholars, including Professors Theodore De Bary, Jerome Cohen (NYU), Andrew Nathan (Columbia University), and Perry Link (Princeton) have also lent their names.

The AIDS Policy Project (www.aidspolicyproject.org), founded in 2002, is a US- based AIDS NGO that works in solidarity with AIDS activists in Africa and Asia and supports effective funding mechanisms for addressing the epidemic.

-30-

    download (pdf)   LETTER TO CHINESE PRESIDENT HU :
                           RELEASE HU JIA, AND THE OTHER DISSIDENTS


Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China
c/o Zhou Wenzhong
Chinese Ambassador to the United State
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear President Hu:

As scholars, lawyers, and human rights advocates, we, the undersigned, write to express our grave concern about the reports of recent abductions and detentions of our colleagues—lawyers and rights defenders in China who are engaged in a peaceful hunger strike.

We understand that a number of Chinese human rights defenders who supported or participated in a hunger-strike that started February 4, 2006 are being arrested or have gone missing. We urge you to clarify their exact whereabouts, ensure their safety, and release them unless they are charged with a recognizably criminal offense.

It has been reported that Gao Zhisheng, a prominent defense lawyer, launched the hunger-strike to protest recent beatings and detentions of human rights activists and their defense lawyers. Showing their solidarity, dozens of supporters from various parts of China have quickly joined the relay hunger-strike in turn. On March 4, police detained Gao Zhisheng in Beijing.

Multiple reports describe the detention and abduction of several of those who have participated in or supported the hunger-strike. China does not permit independent human rights groups to work openly in the country, and the following list is based on available information:

HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia, who was closely followed by police until he disappeared on February 16. Police have repeatedly refused to give his wife information about his detention.

Qi Zhiyong, a pro-democracy activist, went missing at around 11pm on February 15. He reportedly sent a text message to friends at the time saying that he was being kidnapped.

Zhao Xin, executive director of the Empowerment and Rights Institute, a Chinese human rights NGO, has been detained in Yunnan. His family was given no formal notice of his detention, but police warned his father not to tell anyone about his detention.

Yu Zhijian, a pro-democracy activist who was prominent in the 1989 demonstrations, joined the hunger strike; he has been charged with subversion.

Artist and activist Yan Zhengxue was taken away by police on February 12, after his meeting with Gao Zhisheng.

Mao Hengfeng, a Shanghai-based activist, who was detained by police on February 13. The police reportedly refused to disclose to her husband where she was being detained.

Shanghai housing rights activist Chen Xiaoming was detained on February 15 or 16 by police, who cited his participation in the hunger strike.

Wen Haibo and Ma Wendu, assistants to Gao Zhisheng, who were reportedly detained on February 16 and interrogated for 48 and 20 hours respectively before being placed under tight police surveillance in their homes.

Ouyang Xiaorong, a computer software programmer who also went to Beijing to assist Gao Zhisheng with the hunger strike, was reportedly detained at the same time.

Shanghai police detained housing rights activist Ma Yalian on February 15. Professor Wang Lizhuang, who has been active in protesting forced evictions in Shanghai, was detained by police on February 21.

In Guangxi, lawyer Yang Zhaixin has been placed under house arrest.

Anhui activist Hou Wenbao was detained on March 1, the same day he announced plans to join the hunger strike.

We are also concerned about reports from many regions of the country of the beatings, intimidation, and harassment of rights defenders and supporters of the protest.

The right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to peacefully protest, is a fundamental human right protected both by China's Constitution and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China has signed. A hunger strike is a peaceful form of protest. As scholars, lawyers, and human rights advocates, we urge you to ensure that our colleagues in China are able to enjoy their right to freedom of expression.

We call on you to ensure that all human rights defenders, including those named above and others supporting or participating in the hunger-strike, are allowed to continue their peaceful activities without fear of arbitrary detention, harassment, or other human rights violation.

We appeal to you for clarification of the exact whereabouts of those reported abducted, missing, or detained. We ask that you guarantee their safety and that you release them immediately unless they are charged with a recognizably criminal offense.

   Yours sincerely,

    
                   see the long list of signatories
                                   and SIGN-ON at
 www.aidspolicyproject.org


information and updates continuing


see also

 Past Troubles with AIDS Awareness by the Chinese Government

       more  AIDS activists "gone missing" by Chinese Government

       Continued Suppression of Chinese People with AIDS

       Chinese AIDS Activist Wan Yan Hai  Detained
       China's Ministry of State Security views his research and reports that revealed
       the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Henan Province as an exposition of "state secrets"

            Wan Yan Hai has since been released

 

 

 

 


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