China: Ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Shu Xiangxin

New information
CHN 001 / 0116 / OBS 006
Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatment /
Judicial harassment
People’s Republic of China
January 12, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention on the following situation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary detention, judicial harassment, and ill-treatment of prominent rights defence lawyer Mr. Shu Xiangxin, Director of the Shandong Xuzhou Law Firm. Mr. Shu has been actively involved in defending petitioners whose property rights had been violated in several rural provinces.

According to the information received, on January 8, 2016, Mr. Shu appeared before the Licheng District First Instance Criminal Court, Licheng District Court House, in Ji’nan. Accused of defamation, he was sentenced to six months in prison and his lawyer’s licence was revoked.

During the trial that lasted for only thirty minutes, neither of Mr. Shu’s defence lawyers were permitted access to the court room, and only Mr. Shu’s wife was allowed to be present as an observer. Although Mr. Shu was denied his right to have legal counsel present during the trial, he stated his intent to appeal the court’s sentencing. His lawyers have applied for parole on bail, but this request has illegally been ignored by the authorities.

Mr. Shu’s physical condition also seems to be deteriorating, as he is reportedly being denied access to proper medical care while in detention. A medical examination conducted on January 6 and 7 showed that Mr. Shu was suffering from thrombosis, muscle atrophy, and an effusion on his brain. On January 8, he was also suffering from tinnitus in his left ear, and had great difficulty hearing. Witnesses reported that during the trial on January 8, Mr. Shu’s physical condition was so weak that he was not able to walk into the court room without assistance. Until now, Mr. Shu has not received adequate medical treatment and is still subjected to ill-treatment in detention.

In addition, the Observatory has also received reliable information that Mr. Shu’s eighteen year-old daughter was attacked and beaten outside the court house just before the start of Mr. Shu’s trial. Reportedly, the attacker was the son of Mr. Zhou Yujie and Ms. Wang Junzhi, the plaintiffs in the case against Mr. Shu. Mr. Shu’s daughter was transferred to the hospital by ambulance. At the time of writing this Urgent Appeal, she remains in hospital and is being treated for a concussion. There have been no reports of any investigation being conducted by the authorities into the beating.

The Observatory condemns the judicial harassment of Mr. Shu, including his arbitrary arrest, the denial of his right to access legal counsel, and the charges and sentencing against him, which seem aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights work. The Observatory calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Shu and drop all charges against him.

The Observatory is also deeply concerned regarding the allegations of ill-treatment and torture against Mr. Shu, and calls on the authorities to provide him with appropriate medical treatment, and to fully investigate the allegations of torture and ill-treatment by the police.

Background information [1]:

On January 2, 2016, the Jinan police in Shandong province issued a notice of arrest for Mr. Shu Xiangxin. Mr. Shu was taken to the Hongjialou police liaison office at Lixia Police Department before being transferred to Jinan No. 2 Detention Centre.

When Mr. Shu’s defence lawyers were finally allowed access to him on January 4, after he had spent two days in police custody, they observed that he had several injuries. Mr. Shu informed them that while in detention, police officers demanded he engage forced labour. When he refused, he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment by the police, including being punched and dragged, left out in the cold, and humiliated. Mr. Shu also described being hanged from an iron bar of a second floor staircase with only one leg reaching the floor, and being left in that position for about eight hours without access to food, water or a bathroom. Despite crying out in pain, he stated that no police officer came to his aid and he finally lost consciousness.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in the People’s Republic of China, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Shu Xiangxin, as well as his family and of all human rights defenders in China;

ii. Release Mr. Shu Xiangxin immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary, and drop all charges against him;

iii. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment against Mr. Shu as well as into the attack against his daughter, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

iv. Put an end to the harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Shu Xiangxin, as well as against all human rights defenders in the People’s Republic of China;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially
- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and
- Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the People’s Republic of China.

Addresses:

• Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Guojia Zongli, The State Council General Office, 2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 65961109 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
• Ms. WU Aiying, Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Sifabu, 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu, Beijingshi 100020, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6529 2345, minister@legalinfo.gov.cn / pfmaster@legalinfo.gov.cn
• Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Waijiaobu, 2 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Beijingshi 100701, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6588 2594, Email: ipc@fmprc.gov.cn
• Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang, Gong’anbu, 14 Dongchang’anjie, Dongchengqu, Beijingshi 100741, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216
• H.E. Mr. Wu Hailong, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Chemin de Surville 11, P.O. Box 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail: chinamission_gva@mfa.gov.cn
• Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Avenue de Tervuren, 1150 Woluwe Saint-Pierre, Belgium,Tel: +32-2-7711497, 7711495; Fax: +32-2-7792895; Email: chinaemb_be@mfa.gov.cn

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the People’s Republic of China in your respective country.

Geneva-Paris, January 12, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
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