Another Beijing Olympic Human Rights Defender Arrested

By Xinyu, Radio Free Asia
July 12, 2008 Updated: July 12, 2008

Sources have confirmed that another Heilongjiang Province-based human rights defender, Yuan Xianchen has been arrested on charges of “inciting subversion of state power” more than a month ago. Lawyers have criticized the authorities for not showing any legal document to his family.

Back in March of this year, Yang Chunlin, a former human rights activist in Heilongjiang Province was sentenced to five years imprisonment and two years deprivation of political rights for championing his cause with the slogan, “We don't want the Olympics, we want human rights.” Other human rights representatives who joined Yang in the Beijing Olympic boycott were also suppressed by the authorities alongside Yuan.

Yuan's wife, Ms. Zhang, gave confirmation to the reporter of the news last Wednesday.

Zhang said, “I was arrested at the same time when my husband was arrested. I was summoned after they searched our home on May 27, and was released on July 2. I was arrested without any charges being laid. Eight days later, I was charged with 'inciting subversion of state power.' Procuratorates then changed the charges to 'protecting criminals.' I was released on bail just several days ago.”

Zhang continued, “When we were told a month ago that my husband would be arrested, I gave him 600 Yuan and asked him to flee our home. Even so, he still couldn't avoid being arrested in Beijing. He was detained in Beijing and transferred to the First Detention Center on June 30.”

When asked if they received any legal documents, Zhang replied, “Right now, the authorities haven't given us any documents at all. We were supposed to get a notice before the detention. I asked for one after I was released, and still haven't got anything. There were no legal documents for either arrest.”

Beijing Lawyer Li Heping stated that the authorities took many inappropriate actions in the case. For example, police arrested Yuan and his wife without any legal documentation. They had no evidence to support the charges against Yuan's wife. She was initially detained for “disturbing social order.” The charges were then changed to “subversion of the state power,” and later were changed once again to “protecting criminals,” on which she was released on bail.

Zhang told the reporter that she would work with her lawyer to take legal actions to solve the issue.

In an interview last year, Yuan told the press that he would devote the rest of his life to promoting democracy in China. He would follow in Yang's footsteps to promote the concept of democracy to common citizens and hope that more Chinese people would be awakening. He also provided legal advisory services to local farmers.