Enforced disappearance of Messrs. Yao Lifa and Lu Banglie - CHN 006 / 1007 / OBS 127

11/10/2007
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by “Chinese Human Rights Defenders” (CRD) about the enforced disappearance of Messrs. Yao Lifa and Lu Banglie, two activists promoting local democratic elections in Hubei Province.

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), requests your urgent intervention on the following situation in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Brief description of the situation:

According to the information received, Mr. Yao’s son, who is currently in the United States of America, has not been able to reach his father on his cell phone since October 10, 2007, when he was informed by some of his father’s friends that Mr. Yao was taken into custody by police on October 1 and has since been out of contact.

In addition, the whereabouts of Mr. Lu Banglie are also unknown. His home phone seemed to have been set to the busy signal for the last several days, and there has been no answer from his cell phone.

Messrs. Yao and Mr. Lu are known for their strong involvement in favour of democratic governance at rural-township level. Former representatives to the local People’s Congresses, they were both blocked from seeking re-election because of their activities promoting free and fair elections in the country. Both have been constantly harassed and kept under surveillance by the police.

In 2006, Mr. Yao published a book, titled I Accuse: the Road to Politics by a Member of the People’s Congress, exposing the persecution of many independent candidates running for election to local People’s Congresses. The book was banned. Most recently, in September 2007, Mr. Yao and a large number of teachers demanded the administrative removal of Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, the Party Secretary of Hubei Province. Because of his leadership in this action, Mr. Yao had been warned and summoned by the police several times before his disappearance. This action might be the real reason for his disappearance.

In October 2005, Mr. Lu, a farmer from Zhijiang in Hubei Province, had been beaten for trying to assist Taishi villagers in Guangdong Province in impeaching a village chief suspected of corruption.

According to the information received, their arrests take place in the context of a current wave of repression against Chinese dissidents, in the perspective of the 17th Communist Party Congress to be held on October 23, 2007.
The Observatory expresses its deepest concern regarding both activists’ enforced disappearance and fears for their physical and psychological integrity as they are at risk of being subjected to torture or ill-treatment by the security forces.

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 Messrs. Yao Lifa and Lu Banglie;

ii.Take prompt action in order to locate them, make public his whereabouts, and ensure their immediate release since their detention is arbitrary as it merely aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iii.Put an end to the harassment against all human rights defenders in the People’s Republic of China;

iv.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”;

v.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:

- President Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China, c/o Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; 2300 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20008, USA, Fax: +01 202 588-0032;
- Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Sifabu, Wu Aiying, 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Chaoyangqu, Beijingshi 100020, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6529 2345;
- Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Buzhang Waijiaobu, Mr. Li Zhaoxing, 2 Chaoyangmen Nandajie, Beijingshi 100701, People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 6588 2594, Email: ipc@fmprc.gov.cn;
- Ambassador Sha Zukang, 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, October 11, 2007

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. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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