China: Disappearance of Mr. Chen Guangcheng

27/04/2012
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by Human Rights in China (HRIC) about the disappearance of Mr. Chen Guangcheng, a prominent self-taught human lawyer involved in denouncing the extensive use of violence by the authorities of Linyi city, Shangdong province, in relation to birth planning policies who has been under house arrest since September 2010 [1], as well as of Mr. Chen Guangfu, his older brother.

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

New information :

According to the information received, on April 26, 2012, Mr. Chen Guangfu’s wife overheard one of the guards watching Mr. Chen Guangcheng’s home, which is about 200 meters away from Mr. Chen Guangfu’s home in Dongshigu village, Shuanghou township, Liny, saying on the phone, “Chen Guangcheng is no longer here”. On the same day, Mr. Chen Guangfu was taken away in the late evening by unknown persons. Since then, no further information could be obtained regarding Messrs. Chen Guangcheng and Chen Guangfu’s whereabouts.

Moreover, on April 27, 2012, early in the morning, Mr. Chen Kegui, Mr. Chen Guangcheng’s nephew, was awoken by footsteps outside his home and heard his mother shouting, “What do you want?”. He subsequently took two kitchen knives for self-defence and went out. In the front yard of their house he saw several people, including Mr. Zhang Jian, Shuanghou Township head, who is in charge of the enforcement of Mr. Chen Guangcheng’s house arrest. When Mr. Zhang Jian saw Mr. Chen holding the knives, he ordered the men who were with him to beat Mr. Kegui with wooden sticks. To repel the attacks, Mr. Chen Kegui fought back in self-defence and then all men fled. Afterwards, he called the police to report the incident, but the latter did not come on the spot.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Chen Guangcheng and Chen Guangfu and urges the Chinese authorities to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity, disclose their whereabouts and immediately release them.

Background information  [2]:

On March 11, 2006, Mr. Chen Guangcheng was arrested with other militants by local police officers for “disturbing traffic”. Before he was arrested, Mr. Chen had been campaigning against the Linyi city authorities’ recurrent use of violence for the implementation of the Government birth quotas.

On August 24, 2006, Mr. Guangcheng was sentenced to four years’ and three months’ imprisonment for “intentionally disrupting traffic” and “inciting material destruction”. While in prison, he was denied appropriate medical care.

On September 9, 2010, Mr. Guangcheng was finally released from prison after having served over four years of imprisonment for his work exposing human rights abuses in Linyi city . However, despite having served his full sentence, he and his family were subjected to extrajudicial house arrest under very harsh conditions. On February 8, 2011, Mr. Guangcheng and his wife, Mrs. Yuan Weijing, were beaten by national security officers from Linyi city and police from Shuanghou town at their home and were subsequently prevented from seeking medical treatment. The beating was reportedly related to the release of a videotape detailing the illegal house arrest and the abuses he and his family suffered during this period.

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. Chen Guangcheng and his relatives Messrs. Chen Guangfu and Chen Kegui, as well as of all human rights defenders in China;

ii. Take prompt action in order to disclose the whereabouts of Messrs. Chen Guangcheng and Chen Guangfu, and ensure their immediate release, since their detention seem to only aim at sanctioning Mr. Chen Guangcheng’s human rights activities;

iii. Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the above mentioned acts against Messrs. Chen Guangcheng and Chen Guangfu, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iv. Put an end to the harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Chen Guangcheng, his relatives, 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. Wen Jiabao, 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. Dai Bingguo, 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. Meng Jianzhu, 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

* Ambassador He Yafei, 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: mission.china@ties.itu.int;

* Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Avenue de Tervuren, 463 1160 Auderghem, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 663 30 10 / + 32 2 663 30 17 / +32 2 771 14 97 / +32 2 779 43 33; Fax: +32 2 762 99 66 / +32 2 779 28 95; 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, April 27, 2012

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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