Name: Yu Dihong (余弟宏)
Hometown: Shangcheng city, Henan Province
Detailed information and legal analysis can be found in the case files or Urgent Appeals, please see the files section on your right.
HUMAN RIGHTS WORK & BACKGROUND
Yu Dihong is a peasant and farmer who took part in a series of local petitions and protests related to unfair taxation and withholding of proper compensation to locals for farmland appropriation in Fushan (township in Henan Province) in late 2001 and early 2002.
Information provided by fellow protester Lv Huangyin indicates that the protests were in reaction to several actions by local authorities including the appropriation of farmland and the withholding of compensation, the levying of higher taxes which the peasants were unable to afford, as well as abuses and violations related to the single-child policy.
Confrontations with authorities began when the Fushan government tried to levy heavy taxes and fees on villages in the county who were barely surviving in the first place. Local farmers found that even after handing over all their produce, they still could not afford to pay all of the charges demanded by the village government. The locals were forced to petition the provincial and central government, and a group decided to report the situation to the Henan province Farmer’s Burden Supervisory Office. An official there provided the group with Communist Party Central Committee Documents No.13 and No.65 and asked them to let their fellow peasants know that it obliges local governments to levy and collect their charges via the correct procedures and strictly outlaws using force. Where locals cannot afford to pay the charges the document obliges local government to consider reducing or waiving charges. Litigation should be undertaken only against those who can pay but refuse to do so.
The group returned to Fushan village and spread this news, providing some hope of survival to the impoverished local farmers. The farmers then organised themselves in order to study the contents of Documents No.13 and No.65 in detail, building a sense of trust in its ability to protect their legal rights.
When local officials arrived in Fushan village to collect their taxes, they were met by angry farmers who prevented from doing so. The next time the officials brought more personnel with them and were again rebuffed. The third time around a hundred members of the various security and law enforcement agencies within the county descended on Fushan village, many bearing firearms. Hundreds of local farmers confronted the security forces and demanded that a representative of the county government admit that the copies of Documents No.13 and No.65 they held were genuine, to read their contents aloud and admit their actions were illegal. The confrontation continued for a day and a night until the security forces tried to break the lines of peasants with their vehicles. The farmers could only defend themselves by throwing a hail of stones at the security forces and their police cars. At least 10 police cars were pushed into a ravine and wrecked. Many farmers suffered injuries during the ensuing violence.
The matter was petitioned by the farmers and did receive government attention, which prevented the local security forces and officials from taking further action against them until these detentions. No official was punished as a result of the Fushan incident.
It is known that Mr. Yu participated in these events, however it is not known to what extent or if he was involved in the destruction of the police vehicles. At the time, Mr. Yu and other protesters were not arrested or detained. Mr. Yu was living as a farmer from the time of these incidents until his recent detention.
On January 2, 2010 Yu Dihong was formally arrested and charged with the crime of interfering with the execution of public duties. As of January 11, 2010, his case was still at the indictment stage; Mr. Yu is now detained at the Shangcheng City Detention Center.
As the authorities were not forthcoming with the details behind this charge, Yu Dihong’s relatives used 6000RMB borrowed from friends and neighbors in order to find out from people close to the case the reason for the detention, and have since heard that he is being held as a result of having allegedly participated in the Fushan Incident in January 2002, a mass protest by villagers and farmers against corrupt local officials. Human Rights Defender Lv Huangyin also participated in these events (and provides the account above).
Relatives have since heard that Yu Dihong’s case has been secretly passed to the Procuratorate along with Lv Huangyin’s case. There are also said to be 5 other peasant rights acitivists under arrest in Shangcheng on similar charges, including a Yu Dijiu (余弟九), possibly a relative of Yu Di Hong and possibly on the run from arrest.
We believe that Yu Dihong is currently without legal representation. However, Lv Huangyin has legal representation and has had meetings with his lawyer in which he explained he suspects their detentions are a result of the appropriation of the returning farmland to forestry compensation they were due by local officials (see below). The local Procuratorate have been uncooperative, refusing to release the case files to the lawyer.
In a recent development, in mid-January 2010 Shangcheng PSB officers, assisted by local officials, arrived in Fushan village to check up on local residents using photographs for identification purposes. Whilst in the village the PSB officers waved their guns around in a threatening manner, but in the end did not detain any residents. The purpose of their visit seems to have been to scare local residents and also to find out who was not at home so that warrants can be issued for their arrest.
The maximum punishment for the crime of interference with the execution of public functions is three (3) years imprisonment. According to regulations, only very serious crimes can justify the issue of arrest warrants.
- Reason: Participation in a mass protest in Fushan, Henan in January 2002, where his friend and activist Lv Huangyin (吕皇银) organized opposition to illegal taxes and levies by the local government.
- Date of detention: December 29, 2009
- Date of arrest: January 2, 2010
- Place of detention: Shangcheng city detention center, Henan province
- Charge: 'Interfering with the execution of public function'
- Legal counsel: Wang Quanzhang (王全章) for Yu Dihong, Li Fangping and Liu Xiaoyuan for Lv Huangyin
- Current status: Appeal filed
- Court/date of trial: September 13, 2010
- Date of verdict: September 21, 2010
ALL UPDATES SINCE POSTING
- December 31, 2010: Lu Huangyin was released on December 28, meaning that both Yu Dihong (released November 28) and Lu Huangyin are now free after serving 12 and 11 months respectively. Both say they will continue their petition-related activism.
- September 21, 2010: Yu Dihong and Lv Huangyin was both sentenced on the charge of 'Interfering with the execution of public function'. Yu received an 11 month sentence, and Lv 1 year. Yu is set for release on November 28, Lv on December 28.
- May 11, 2010: Yu Dihong is allowed access to his legal counsel. Suffering from continues beatings from other inmates, who also steals his food. Is in a very depressed mood.
CHINESE URGENT ACTION WORKING GROUP
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