South China Morning Post: Human Rights Activists Rounded Up

Verna Lu of South China Morning Post covers Dr. Fan Yafeng’s detention and the interrogation of Holy Mountain Institute researchers and other human rights activists.

March 9, 2010

BEIJING–After Dr. Fan Yafeng’s nine hour detention on Saturday, Chinese newspapers covered a broader series of recent strikes against human rights activists and political dissidents in China. South China Morning Post’s Verna Lu covered the story:

Publication Date: March 9, 2010  Publication: SCM  Section/PageName: News/Nws_National_2  Page No: 06  Edition/Zone: 2/1 

“Scores of rights activists rounded up or warned”

Blog post by Verna Yu, South China Morning Post

Mainland authorities have stepped up harassment of human rights activists during the NPC session, detaining a prominent legal scholar and handing an anti-abortion activist a lengthy term in detention.

At least 100 human rights advocates, lawyers and petitioners have been arbitrarily detained, put under house arrest or warned to stay quiet, according to activist Ran Yunfei , who chronicled cases from human rights websites and the social-networking tool Twitter.

Beijing-based Christian legal scholar Fan Yafeng was taken away by police on Saturday afternoon after he refused to cancel a meeting with a foreign journalist, Fan said. Police detained him for nine hours and told him the Bible classes he had been hosting had “generated noise and disturbance” in his neighbourhood.

Fan said police, who have been monitoring his movements since the start of the annual National People’s Congress session last week, summoned him over the Bible classes more than a week ago. He believed his detention was aimed at stopping him from meeting the journalist. 

Fan accused the authorities of using heavy-handed measures to maintain a facade of stability. “Our human rights, civil rights, personal freedom and freedom of association have all been infringed upon by this ‘stability maintenance system’,” said Fan, who was dismissed from the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences last year because of his rights activities. A duty officer at the Shuangyushu police station in Beijing said he had no knowledge of Fan’s detention.

A handful of human rights lawyers have also been placed under heavy police surveillance. Li Fangping, Li Heping and Jiang Tianyong separately said several police officers had been manning their front doors around the clock since early last week. 

“While they discuss law-making during the NPC, they’re putting lawyers under surveillance,” Li Heping said.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activist Mao Hengfeng has been sentenced to 11/2 years of “re-education through labour”, her husband said.

Wu Xuewei said Mao was taken into custody on February 25 after being sent back from Beijing to her native Shanghai. 

Police first gave her 10 days’ administrative detention. But they told Wu yesterday his wife had to be punished more harshly because she was guilty of “disturbing public order” on December 25 when she attended a rally outside a Beijing courthouse with dozens of petitioners to show solidarity with dissident Liu Xiaobo during his trial. 

“They can make up any arbitrary crime or evidence … No one will say anything about these illegal goings-on [during the NPC], it is deplorable,” Wu said. 

Mao, who was forced to have an abortion 20 years ago when she was pregnant for the second time, had campaigned against the one-child policy.

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