Target: Zhao Zhixin Juzhang, Director of Wuxi City Public Security Bureau
Goal: Ensure that five activists in custody are treated in accordance with international human rights standards, and launch a comprehensive investigation into their allegations of torture
The Chinese government recently arrested five activists on the charge of “gathering crowds to disturb social order.” The activists have been imprisoned for an inordinate amount of time according to Chinese legal standards, and four of them have allegedly been tortured. Sign the petition demanding that the Chinese government immediately ensure the safety of all five detainees and pursue a full and impartial investigation into all allegations of ill-treatment.
Ding Hongfen, Qu Fengsheng, Shen Aibin, Shen Guodong, and Yin Xijin were all arrested for their roles in releasing prisoners from a so-called “black jail.” The “jail” was actually a guesthouse operated by a private security firm, which was illegally holding five petitioners on the behalf of local authorities. In the days following the incident, over sixteen of the thirty people involved in the rescue mission were arrested for “gathering crowds to disturb social order,” a charge which carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.
So far, lawyers for Ding Hongfen, Shen Aibin, Shen Guodong and Yin Xijin have claimed that their clients suffered torture as a result of police attempts to gain confessions. According to his lawyer, Ding Hongfen has not yet made a confession, but Shen Guodong’s lawyer says his client was forced to confess after being hung from a ladder by his wrists. There is no information on Yin Xijin or Shen Aibin’s confessions. Furthermore, another activist who was released on bail, Xu Haifeng, claims she was tortured while she was in custody.
Chinese law is very clear about how long suspects may be held while the state decides whether or not to prosecute. All five activists have been held for an unlawfully lengthy amount of time, and with allegations of torture being tossed around it is unlikely they will be safe in state custody. Sign the petition and demand that the Chinese government treat the prisoners in accordance with international human rights standards and investigate their allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
China has a responsibility to both its own people and the global community to comply with international human rights standards–which is why news of the detentions of Ding Hongfen, Qu Fengsheng, Shen Aibin, Shen Guodong, and Yin Xijin comes as such a disappointment and disgrace. I demand that you ensure the safety of the prisoners in your custody and strongly urge you to launch a serious investigation into their allegations of state-endorsed torture.
The five activists were arrested in June 2013 after staging a successful raid on a “black jail,” a guesthouse where five petitioners were being held illegally by a private security firm on behalf of local authorities. Although sixteen of the thirty people involved in the incident were arrested, only Ding Hongfen, Qu Fengsheng, Shen Aibin, Shen Guodong, and Yin Xijin remain in custody. Four of the five have accused their interrogators of torture, and another detainee, Xu Haifeng, who has since been released on bail, also claimed she was tortured while in custody.
Torture is never acceptable. As a world leader, China must not only comply with international human rights standards but should help set the tone for other nations. Using torture as an interrogation technique is a shameful black mark on the Chinese legal system. I therefore demand that you ensure the fair treatment of Ding Hongfen, Qu Fengsheng, Shen Aibin, Shen Guodong, and Yin Xijin by keeping them safe from torture and ill-treatment, providing them access to medical care, and allowing them contact with their families and lawyers. Furthermore, I exhort you to pursue a full investigation into all allegations of state-sanctioned torture.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: longtrekhome via Wikimedia Commons