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People's Republic of China: torture / ill-treatment: Yu Zhijian, Li Wangyang, aged 36, worker, Zhang Jingsheng and other political prisoners at Hunan province no 1 prison

, N° d'index: ASA 17/036/1995

In a letter smuggled out of Hunan no. 1 Prison, a prisoner of conscience, Yu Zhijian, has alleged routine use of beatings and ill-treatment of political prisoners, and of the likelihood of "disastrous consequences" for himself when the letter is published. The letter, dated 23 May 1995 and in the form of a petition to the National People's Congress, gives information about beatings of two prisoners, Li Wangyang and Zhang Jingsheng. It contains details of 12 political prisoners; another 41 political prisoners reportedly asked to be represented in the petition but were too fearful to give their names. The Chinese authorities have questioned the authenticity of the letter. AI believes that there is cause for action because of the seriousness of the allegations and because of past report of ill-treatment of prisoners in Hunan province (cf. ASA 17/55/92).

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 17/36/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 132/95 Torture / Ill-treatment 9 June 1995
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA Yu Zhijian
Li Wangyang, aged 36, worker
Zhang Jingsheng
and other political prisoners at Hunan province No.1 Prison
In a letter smuggled out of Hunan No. 1 Prison on Chishan Island, Hunan Province,
a prisoner of conscience has told of the routine use of beatings and
ill-treatment in the prison, and of the likelihood of the "disastrous
consequences" that its publication may have for him.
In his letter, dated 23 May 1995, Yu Zhijian represents 54 political prisoners
imprisoned for their activities during the pro-democracy movement in 1989.
The letter takes the form of a petition to the National People's Congress (NPC),
and gives two examples of the beatings and ill-treatment that it alleges are
commonplace at Hunan No. 1 Prison:
- Li Wangyang, sentenced in 1990 to 13 years' imprisonment for "counter
revolutionary propaganda and incitement" was reportedly beaten up in late
January 1995 by a guard who took him to a small room and beat him so severely
that one of his teeth was knocked out.
- Zhang Jingsheng, a prisoner of conscience and veteran pro-democracy dissident
imprisoned in December 1989 for 13 years for "counter revolutionary propaganda
and incitement" had his mouth forcibly taped up in March 1995 by a guard for
teaching his cell mate to sing a prison song he had written.
The letter contains the names and case details of 12 political prisoners who
are all serving sentences ranging from 10 years to suspended death sentences.
Another 41 political prisoners asked Yu Zhijian to represent them in the petition
but were too fearful of reprisals to have their names published. Yu Zhijian
reiterates his belief that his actions in 1989 were peaceful expressions of
opinions and not "counter-revolutionary sabotage". The letter requests that
the NPC ensures that the new Prison Law (promulgated in December 1994) be
implemented so that "political prisoners no longer receive frequent beatings".
The letter also calls for an improvement in prison conditions and for a review
of the cases of 34 prisoners tried in the repressive climate tainted by the
4 June 1989 crackdown. It also calls for the early release of the political
prisoners, a number of whom are suffering from chronic Hepatitis B.
The Chinese authorities have responded to the letter by questioning its
authenticity. Amnesty International believes there is cause for action because
of the seriousness of the allegations in it, and in view of past reports of
the ill-treatment of prisoners in Hunan Province (see Torture in China, ASA
17/55/92, December 1992, pp 20-25).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Yu Zhijian was arrested with two others, Yu Dongyue and Lu Dechang, on 23 May
1989, exactly six years from the date of the letter. All three were charged
with "counter revolutionary sabotage" and "counter revolutionary propaganda
and incitement" for allegedly throwing paint at a portrait of Mao Zedong in
2
Tiananmen Square and distributing political leaflets, 11 days before the 4
June 1989 crackdown.
Yu Zhijian was sentenced to life imprisonment and the other two received 20
and 16 year sentences. All three have reportedly been ill-treated while in
prison and held in solitary confinement for very long periods. By early 1992
Yu Zhijian was reported to have become very thin and to be in a poor condition.
There have also been persistent reports that both Li Wangyang and Zhang Jingsheng
have been ill-treated throughout their time in prison. Zhang Jingsheng,
well-known among political prisoners for his prison songs, was held in solitary
confinement for a period following a hunger-strike.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/airmail letters either
in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at reports that Li Wangyang, Zhang Jingsheng and other
prisoners at Hunan No.1 prison have been ill-treated;
- urging that an impartial investigation be launched into the reports and that
those found responsible for the beatings be punished and the results of the
investigation be made public.
- seeking assurances that Yu Zhijian, the 12 other prisoners who were mentioned
in the letter and the remaining 41 who supported it not be discriminated against
in any manner and in particular that they not be subjected to punishment,
pressure or intimidation for this peaceful appeal;
- expressing concern that Yu Zhijian and others have been sentenced for the
peaceful exercise of fundamental human rights, in violation of international
standards, and urging that all prisoners of conscience be released immediately
and unconditionally.
APPEALS TO
Premier of the People's Republic of China
LI Peng Zongli
Guowuyuan
9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie
Beijingshi 100032
People's Republic of China
Telexes: 210070 FMPRC CN or 22478 MFERT CN
Faxes: + 86 10 512 5810 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Telegrams: Premier Li Peng, Beijing, China
Salutation: Your Excellency
Director of the Prison Administration Department (formerly the Reform-Through
Labour Administration) of the Ministry of Justice
YAO Yunhui Juzhang
Laodong Gaizao Gongzuo Guanliju
14 Dongchang'anlu
Dongchengqu
Beijingshi 100741
People's Republic of China
Telegrams: Director, Prison Adminstration Department, Justice Ministry,
Beijing, China
Salutation: Dear Director
Governor of the Hunan Provincial People's Government
Yang Zhengwu Shengzhang
3
Hunansheng Renmin Zhengfu
7 Wuyizhonglu
Changshashi 410011
Hunansheng, People's Republic of China
Telexes: 98182 CSPG CN (Please forward to Yang Zhengwu Shengzhang)
Faxes: + 86 731 47850
Telegrams: Governor Yang Zhengwu, Changsha, Hunan Province, China
Salutation: Dear Governor
Chief Procurator of the Hunan Provincial People's Procuratorate
ZHANG Shuhai Jianchazhang
Hunansheng Renmin Jianchayuan
Changshashi
Hunansheng
People's Republic of China
Telexes: 98182 CSPG CN
Faxes: + 86 731 47850
Telegrams: Chief Procurator, Provincial People's Procuratorate, Changsha,
Hunan Province, China
Salutation: Dear Chief Procurator
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of People's Republic of China accredited
to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 25 July 1995.

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