Case CHN 250708.1
Follow-up of case CHN 250708
Arbitrary detention/ Fear for safety
Geneva, 08 August 2008
The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has received new information in the following situation in the People's Republic of China.
The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source and Antenna International, member organisation of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, that Mr. Xie Changfa has been formally arrested on “inciting subversion to state power” on 2 August 2008. Mr. Xie Changfa is currently detained at Changsha City Detention Center.
According to the information received, Mr. Xie Changfa is a veteran democracy activist based in Changsha City, Hunan Province. In 1998, he was reportedly imprisoned for organizing China Democracy Party Hunan Branch. On 10 June 2008, Mr. Xie Changfa met up with another member of China Democracy Party, Mr. Yue Tianxiang, and was allegedly subsequently put under tightened monitoring. In late June, he was taken into detention by the National Security police from Changsha Public Security Bureau (PSB) Yuhua Sub-division.
According to the same information, Mr. Xie Changfa’s arrest is believed to be related to his activities associated with the China Democracy Party, as police searched his home and confiscated copies of the bylaws and publicity materials of the China Democracy Party.
The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the safety of Mr. Xie Changfa, who, according to the information received, was arrested and detained solely for his peaceful political belief and his rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. OMCT fears that he may be subject to torture and ill-treatment. OMCT recalls that China is a State party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. OMCT urges the authorities to conform with China’s international human rights obligations, commitments that were reaffirmed on the occasion of its election as a member of the new United Nations Human Rights Council.
Reminder of the Situation
According to the information received, on 25 June 2008, the Yuhua branch office of the Changsha PSB detained Mr. Xie Changfa on ground of “suspicion of subverting state power”. His brother, Mr. Xie Changzhen, and a teacher surnamed Wu were also detained. Mr. Xie Changzhen was reportedly released on 17 July 2008 to await trial as he was not charged with a serious offence, while Wu was reportedly released earlier.
Furthermore, on 9 July 2008, Tianjin National Security police reportedly detained Tianjin-based dissident, Mr. Lü Honglai, while he was out visiting friends. On 14 July 2008, Mr. Lü’s wife, Mrs. Li Jiyan, went to the Tianjin Municipal State Security Bureau and was reportedly only told by authorities that Mr. Lü Honglai was “under investigation by the relevant department”. His current whereabouts are unknown. His wife reportedly asked but the authorities did not provide with any information.
In recent weeks, authorities have reportedly stepped up efforts to detain, arrest, and harass numerous rights activists and dissidents in the name of Olympics "security”.
Please write to the authorities in the People’s Republic of China urging them to:
Please also write to the embassies of the People’s Republic of China in your respective country.
Geneva, 08 August 2008
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
 In China, the police usually carry out arrests without a warrant, the official arrest taking place subsequently.
 See 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), latest urgent appeals on www.omct.org.