March 19, 2010
BEIJING- Christian petitioner Shen Peilan was illegally arrested on March 7, 2010, and held captive for nine days by officers from the Bureau of Letters and Petitions. Shen was abducted early in the morning, while she was having breakfast near Beijing southern train station. After her disappearance, friends from church she had been visiting called on local human rights activists and lawyers to search for her in Beijing.
After nine days of searching, Attorneys Liu Peifu and Yang Huiwen found Shen Peilan on March 16th, held captive at the Xianggang Hotel in Songjiang. She had been illegally detained without warrant, and interrogated. The attorneys immediately contacted the Beijing police; at 4:00 PM, the Songjiang Chedun police station sent officers and rescued Shen Peilan from the hotel. There has been no word concerning how the officials from the Bureau of Letters and Petitions were treated for their crime.
Shen Peilan is a well-known human rights activist and petitioner from Shanghai. She has helped many citizens lodge complaints against the local government and been targeted for persecution in the past for exposing corruption in the local government. Shen had been traveling to Beijing to lodge a formal complaint after 200 local officials destroyed her home without cause earlier this year. Her local petitions went unaddressed, prompting her trip to Beijing. Shen’s captors intended to prevent her from meeting with higher level officials, and thereby exposing their crimes.
Arbitrary detention by governing officials is not an unheard of practice in China–however, according to Chinese law, local government bureaucratic offices do not have the authority to arrest or detain prisoners, unless sanctioned and led by public security, or social affairs bureaus (religious, ethnic, etc.). Therefore, the Petition Bureau officials actions were highly illegal, violating the Chinese Constitution, prompting immediate action by the Beijing police.
ChinaAid denounces the unjust detention and abduction of Shen Peilan. We thank the Beijing attorneys, church members, and police who pursued Shen and were able to rescue her. We urge the Beijing authorities to investigate and enact justice, according to the law, in regards to the officers from the Bureau of Letters and Petitions.
Beijing Attorneys Rescue Christian Petitioner from 9-Day Abduction