EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 17/31/97
UA 162/97 Ill-treatment / Health concern 5 June 1997
PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINAYAO Zhenxiang, aged 37
Two brothers detained in a labour camp near Shanghai are reported to be ill
and to have been denied adequate medical treatment. Reports that family members
have been denied access to Yao Zhenxiang and Yao Zhenxian since October 1996
and April 1997 respectively have heightened concern for their well-being.
Both men were arrested in April 1996 and are held at the Dafeng penal farm
in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai. Their family recently petitioned the
authorities in Beijing to look into their case and improve their treatment.
According to the family, both brothers were severely beaten by police after
their arrest in April 1996. Yao Zhenxiang’s wife was allowed to see her husband
on 15 October 1996, for the first time since his arrest. She subsequently
reported that his face was covered with scars and he had great difficulty moving
his left hand due to the beatings, and that both he and his brother were in
poor health. Yao Zhenxiang has been denied family visits since then and no
investigation is known to have been carried out into his reported ill-treatment.
His older brother Yao Zhenxian is reported to have gone on hunger-strike at
the labour camp in April 1997 to protest against being deprived of his right
to correspondence. His family has been denied access to him since then and
his current situation is not known.
Yao Zhenxiang, a businessman from Shanghai and long-time supporter of the
democracy movement in China, fled China in 1994 following a crackdown against
members of the Shanghai Human Rights Association, and sought refuge in France.
He returned to China in 1996 after receiving assurances via Chinese
representatives in France that he would not be arrested, but he was sought
by police upon his return to Shanghai. He was arrested in April 1996 and accused
of “illegally crossing the borders of the state” and “broadcasting and making
copies of” pornographic material. This latter charge, according to the family,
is totally unfounded. His brother Yao Zhenxian was arrested at the same time
and accused of helping him.
In late July 1996, the authorities issued a detention order against Yao Zhenxiang
assigning him to three years’ “re-education through labour”, a form of
administrative detention imposed without formal charge or trial, to be served
in a forced labour camp. His brother Yao Zhenxian was assigned to two years’
“re-education through labour”. Both were reportedly denied the right to appeal
against their sentences.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express/airmail letters in
English, Chinese or your own language or your own language:
- calling for an immediate investigation into the situation of Yao Zhenxiang
and his brother Yao Zhenxian, held at the Dafeng farm, Jiangsu province, who
are reported to be in poor health and to have been denied medical treatment
as well as visits from their family for periods of seven months and two months,
- calling for an impartial judicial investigation into reports that both were
severely beaten by state security officers following their arrest in Shanghai