In the normally tightly controlled environment of the two National Conferences, any show of dissent is big news. This year, the emergence of a petition with 10,000 signatures caused controversy both at home and abroad. The petition centered around the government’s treatment of evictees who had appealed to higher authorities for help to protect their rights and benefits.
This petition was written and finalized by Beijing Scholar Yu Meisun and was signed by more than 10,000 Chinese citizens. It is titled, “The request to remove the National and Heibei Province People's Congress Representative status of Tangshan Municipal Communist Party Secretary, Zhang He.” It states as follows:
“From 1992 to 1997, in order to construct a key project for the national water conservation program at Taolinkou Reservoir in Hebei Province, 23,000 evictees have been forcefully resettled in the outer suburbs of six counties of Tangshan. The compensation and relocation benefits worth up to 60 million yuan, guaranteed by national regulations, have not been put into effect. The evictees thus lived in poverty and their situation went from bad to worse. For the past eight years they have unsuccessfully appealed to the higher authorities for help to protect their rights and benefits. Worse yet, they have repeatedly been beaten, detained, reeducated and reformed through forced labor.”
One case cited in the petition revealed that, “One of the petitioners, Li Tie, was captured by the policemen and brought to the crematorium at Yutian Province. His eyes were covered, he was shocked with an electric baton in his mouth, his fingers and his ribs were beaten to the point of fracture, his body was tied and gasoline was poured on him (it was actually water.) He was pushed into the cremation furnace and asked, “Will you appeal again or not? Otherwise, your family will not see you again whether you are alive or dead!” Four people, including Zhang Lai, Zhang Fushan, and Li Wuping, were detained in the Tangshan Hehuakeng Labor Camp and suffered from all kinds of humiliation, abuse and beating.”
Forty-year-old female peasant Liu Xiaoyan from Baigezhuang Town in Luannan County has become disabled from the repeated beating by the policemen and cadres from villages and towns every time out of a dozens of times she went to appeal. Tangshan City Committee Secretary Zhang He gave orders that no legal medical experts from any agency could examine her.
In December 2003, on the direct orders of Secretary Zhang He, agricultural worker Hao Shuqing from Qian’an City was abducted from Beijing to Tangshan by the Tangshan Police Bureau. Hao went to Beijing to reveal to the national authorities that Zhang He had accepted bribes and had covered up the crimes of his subordinate, Kan Youhe. Hao alleges that Kan had paid someone to kill the former mayor of Qian’an City, Mr. Wang. Hao was sentenced to reeducation through forced labor for one and half years. He is currently detained at Tangshan Hehuakeng Labor Camp.
During the past eight years, six people from Wang Yushu’s family have been detained several times for over 100 days because they appealed to the higher authorities that the local government had commandeered around 7.5 acres of their mountain orchards. According to the minimum regulatory standard of Hebei Province, they should be compensated with 500,000 yuan (US$60,000). But actually they only got 1,500 yuan (US$181) in total. The elderly parents were so distraught by the injustice that they passed away.
Beijing scholar Zhang Yaojie said that he often doubted the authenticity of news on the Internet. But when the petition with 10,000 signatures was put in front of him, he “had to admit that it was all hard truth.”
Translated from the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times