Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Chinese officials are employing abusive tactics against a large group of people involved in protests against urban redevelopment programs in Shanghai.
Around 85 protesters were arrested on September 30 while visiting Beijing for purposes of petitioning the central government over unjust conditions surrounding clearances and compensation of displaced residents. Since being forcibly returned to Shanghai, the arrestees have remained in detention in various detention centers throughout the city.
According to sources in China, the detainees have been subjected to various acts of physical and psychological oppression in an effort to dissuade them from further protest on the redevelopment issue. In addition, petitioners who are not in detention have also been subjected to various coercive tactics, such as being followed by several police officers whenever they leave their homes. HRIC has learned of the following specific cases:
œ 14 petitioners from Shanghaifs Luwan District are being detained at 668 Quxi Road, where the windows have been boarded over, and they have been forced to write a pledge not to participate in any more protest or petitioning activities. Those who have protested the coercion, including Shen Yongmei and Xu Zhengqing, have been brutally beaten. Shen and others began a hunger strike on October 7.
œ On October 8 police went to a hostel in Anhui where petitioners Zhu Donghui, Chen Daili and four others were staying and took them to a police station after inspecting their identity documents. Police released Zhu and the others on October 9, but declined to return their identity documents, obliging the group to remain in Anhui indefinitely.
œ On the morning of October 8, while Mao Hengfeng and her three children were out for breakfast, police officers arrested them and took them away in a police vehicle. Maofs children were later released, but Mao remains in detention in a former Custody and Repatriation center in Yangpu District, and she began a hunger strike on October 9.
œ Hong Kong resident Shen Ting, who has been petitioning on behalf of her Shanghai-based parents and jailed lawyer Zheng Enchong, arrived in Beijing by train on the evening of October 8, only to be detained by Customs officers for more than two hours. After she was released, she was followed by three police vehicles.
HRIC deplores the pressure tactics Shanghai authorities are employing against these petitioners. HRIC president Liu Qing says, gItfs bad enough that these people have had to suffer the loss of their homes and property, but it is intolerable that the authorities are imposing these oppressive tactics without any legal justification against people who are entirely innocent of any crime.h HRIC calls for the Shanghai authorities to desist from all further coercion of the petitioners and their families.