Arbitrary detention - CHN 007 / 0806 / OBS 097

Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed of the arbitrary detention of Mr. Zan Aizhong, a writer and member of the Independent Chinese Pen Association.

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 the People’s Republic of China.

Brief description of the situation:

According to the information received, on August 11, 2006, Mr. Zan Aizhong was arrested for "spreading rumours and disturbing social order", and was given a seven-day administrative detention order under the Security Administration Punishment Law.

Mr. Zan had given interviews and written articles denouncing religious persecution after police demolished a protestant church in Xiaoshan District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, on July 29, 2006. The incident caused more than 50 injuries, and two Christians were detained.

On August 4, 2006, Mr. Zan was taken in by the police for questioning, his office was searched, and his computer confiscated. Police then warned Mr. Zan not to leave Hangzhou. On August 9, 2006, Mr. Zan publicly called upon the head of Hangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau, Mr. Wu Pengfei, to discuss with him the urgency of reporting the truth to the public. He also went to the police station to hand in the open letter.

On August 10, 2006, Mr. Zan Aizhong was fired from his position as a journalist for the China Ocean News (Zhongguo haiyang bao) and on August 11, he received his administrative detention order.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Zan Aizhong, and calls upon the Chinese authorities to conform with its international human rights obligations, commitments that were reaffirmed by China on the occasion of its election as a member of the new United Nations Human Rights Council.

Actions required:

Please write to the Chinese authorities urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Zan Aizhong;

ii. Ensure the immediate release of Mr. Zan Aizhong and put an end to any kind of reprisals against him, as well as against all human rights defenders in China;

iii. 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", article 9c) which states that "everyone has the right [...] to offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms", and article 12.2, which states 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";

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments signed by the People’s Republic of China, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), that China has publicly declared its intention to ratify.


 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, Swtzerland, Fax: +41 22 7937014, E-mail:

 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:

 Ambassador, Sha Zukang, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China, Ch. De Surville, CP 85, 1213 Petit-Lancy 2, Suisse, e-mail:, Fax : +41 22 793 70 14

 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:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the People’s Republic of China in your respective countries.


Geneva-Paris, August 16, 2006

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:
Email :
Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

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