Summons / Arbitrary detention / Harassment - CHN 003 / 1005 / OBS 103

28/10/2005
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has been informed by Human Rights in China (HRIC) that the six co-founders of "Green Watch" (lüse guancha), an environmental civil society group, were summoned by the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB) on October 19, 2005.

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), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.

Brief description of the situation:

According to the information received, Mr. Tan Kai, Mr. Lai Jinbiao, Mr. Gao Haibing, Mr. Wu Yuanming, Mr. Qi Huimin and Mr. Yang Jianming informally founded Green Watch after having monitored the situation in Huashui Town in Dongyang City, Zhejiang Province, in April 2005. Their initiative followed complaints by local residents that a chemical factory was causing serious environmental pollution, in particular severe water pollution that was destroying crops and causing birth defects. Protests by the villagers in late March and April culminated in a violent conflict with local police on April 10, 2005, in which more than 400 police officers were reportedly deployed and many people injured. One member of Green Watch, Mr. Lai Jinbiao, was placed under criminal detention from April 12 until May 11, 2005, on the charge of "illegally providing intelligence overseas". Charges were dropped following his release.

According to the information received, these summons were issued after that the group opened a bank account at a branch of Bank of China in Hangzhou under Mr. Tan Kai’s name in mid-October, in preparation for fundraising efforts to meet its funding requirement. Indeed, in order to operate lawfully as a local organisation in China, the founders of Green Watch are obliged, amongst other requirements, to come up with 30,000 yuan (3,074 euros) in funding capital.

However, according to the Regulations for the Registration and Management of Social Organisations issued by China’s State Council, the founders of Green Watch are not allowed to raise funds, as long as the organisation is still not legally established, which places Green Watch in an extremely difficult situation, since it cannot pay the amount requested.

Soon after that, on the morning of October 19, 2005, the group’s members were summoned to the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau and to the Jianggan and Xihu PSB dispatch stations, according to their residential addresses.

Mr. Tan Kai would reportedly have been placed in criminal detention, while the others were released later that same day. At this point, charges held against Mr. Tan Kai are not known.

The Observatory expresses its concern for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Tan Kai, as well as for the security of Mr. Lai Jinbiao, Mr. Gao Haibing, Mr. Wu Yuanming, Mr. Qi Huimin and Mr. Yang Jianming. The Observatory underlines that those facts contradict article 13 of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly on December 9, 1998, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to solicit, receive and utilise resources for the express purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms through peaceful means, in accordance with article 3 of the present Declaration".

Action requested:

Please write to the Chinese authorities, urging them to:

i. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Tan Kai, as well as of all human rights defenders in the country;

ii. release Mr. Tan Kai immediately, in the absence of any valid charges against him;

iii. put an immediate end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Tan Kai, Mr. Lai Jinbiao, Mr. Gao Haibing, Mr. Wu Yuanming, Mr. Qi Huimin and Mr. Yang Jianming, as well as against all human rights defenders in China;

iv. ensure that Green Watch be authorised registration;

v. conform with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular 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", its article 12.2, which stipulates that "the State shall take any necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or 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", as well as above-mentioned article 13;

vi. conform with the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and with other international instruments binding the Peoples’ 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

President Hu Jintao, People’s Republic of China, c/o Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Chemin de Surville 11, Case postale 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Genève, Suisse, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail: mission.china@ties.itu.int

Minister of Justice of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Fusen Buzhang, Sifabu, 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, Li Zhaoxing Buzhang Waijiaobu, 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, Ch. De Surville, CP 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Suisse, e-mail: mission.china@ties.itu.int, Fax : +41 22 793 70 14

***

Geneva-Paris, October 28, 2005

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

The Observatory, a joint 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: observatoire@iprolink.ch

Tel and Fax FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / + 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and Fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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