December 8, 2005

"We Could Disappear At Any Time"

Retaliation and Abuses Against Chinese Petitioners

Map of the People's Republic of China................................................................................................
I. Summary......................................................................................................................................................
Recommendations................................................................................................................................
II. Research Methods................................................................................................................................
III. The Petitioning System......................................................................................................................
The Petitioning System in Theory and Practice...........................................................................
Lack of Effective Remedies...............................................................................................................
Why do Petitioners Persist?................................................................................................................
Recent Reforms......................................................................................................................................
May 1, 2005 Regulations......................................................................................................................
Case Study: "I'll stop petitioning when I die"..............................................................................
IV. Abuses against Petitioners at the Local Level............................................................................
Police Abuse and Other Official Violence.....................................................................................
Corruption...............................................................................................................................................
Forced Eviction and Resettlement...................................................................................................
Failure of the Courts and Other Dispute Resolution Mechanisms......................................
Retaliation and Reprisals for Local Complaints..........................................................................
V. Abuses Against Petitioners in Beijing.............................................................................................
A. The "Retrievers"...............................................................................................................................
The Impact of the May 1 Regulations.......................................................................................
Case Study: "They did all this to keep me from petitioning"............................................
B. Arbitrary Detention of Petitioners Without Trial...................................................................
Reeducation Through Labor........................................................................................................
C. The Role of Beijing Police.............................................................................................................
Case Study: "I'm going to tell the national leaders what happened to me"..................
D. Violations of the Right to Freedom of Assembly................................................................
Jailing of Individuals for Applying for Permission to Protest...........................................
Protests by Petitioners.....................................................................................................................
E. Restrictions on and Harassment of Activists.........................................................................
F. Conditions in the Petitioners' Village.........................................................................................
Case Study: "We will drag this out until you're dead"..........................................................
Appendix: List of imprisoned and detained petitioner activists.................................................
Acknowledgements...................................................................................................................................