Name: Zhang Jinfeng (张金凤)
Hometown: Jinan city, Shandong province
Affiliation(s): Chinese League of Victims (中国冤民大同盟).
Human Rights work and background
Note: Case reopened October 2010.
Zhang is a long-time grassroots activist and organizer who first came in contact with human rights issues when she participated in the 1989 student-led protests that swept the country. Her participation would land her three month in detention. In 2007 Zhang started paying attention to the extensive forced evictions and demolition of people's homes in and around Jinan city, Shandong province. After collecting information, often through recording with photos and videos she started producing information on the development regarding forced evictions and publish those reports online. She also joined Hong Kong-based group Chinese League of Victims (中国冤民大同盟) which provides advocacy for increased legal protection for petitioners and disadvantaged groups.
According to the organizations leader, as reported by Human Rights in China (the NGO), Shen Ting (沈婷), the group has about 80,000 members, and Zhang had collected signatures from people suffering forced evictions for the organization.
Zhang, as many activists in China, became committed to working to address human rights violations in general after being persecuted for trying to address perceived violations against herself. Since starting her activism, Zhang has been harassed by local police, had her homes searched, her computer confiscated, and has been detained several times.
Ahead of the 2009 National People's Congress Zhang collected petitioner files and submitted them to several different members of congress. Zhang has also continuously since 2007 assisted petitioners in both filing petitions, as well as providing legal counselling on how to address failed petitions through the court system. Zhang is a key member in the petitioner community in central Shandong, which is focused around the provincial capital city, Jinan.
Note: Zhang is set for release on December 27, 2010.
In the early morning of March 5, 2009 Zhang organized and led a protest in Jinan city, gathering about 500 people to the city's Quancheng Square to protest the governments refusal to properly handle and process petitions and the government's forced demolition of homes and eviction of its people without proper compensation. Zhang also, as she often does at rallies, worked to document the protest, taking pictures and videos. The rally also corresponded with the the Chinese League of Victims (中国冤民大同盟) holding its congress in Hong Kong, which was being held on March 5 because of the Chinese National People's Congress (China's parliament) opened that day as well in Beijing.
Zhang was detained at roughly 10 am the same morning, while at the rally, along with several others. Everyone by Zhang were released shortly after. Zhang's home, which she shares with long-time boyfriend Zhang Zhongxiao (张忠孝) was raided the same day, as well as on March 10, with Police confiscating documentation, her computer, cellphone, and camera.
On March 17, Police at Wuyingshan police station in Jinan city's Tianqiao district, where Zhang was held during the duration of her detention, visited Zhang Zhongxiao and told him that Zhang had been “sentenced” to 1 year and 9 month of Re-education through labor camp for “illegal assembly” and “disturbing social order”.
In April the same year Radio Free Asia reported that Zhang Jinfeng had been placed in solitary confinement.
On June 25, Beijing Gongxin Law Office attorney Liu Peifu (刘培福), which has offered his legal services to assist Zhang Jinfeng, accompanied by Zhang Zongxiao, Ni Wenhua, and Li Hongwei traveled to Jinan to visit Zhang Jinfeng. According to Liu, everything seemed to be proceeding smoothly at the reception office, until an order came that no visit would be permitted. The stated reason was that a case of Type 1 H1N1 flu had been detected in the province, and that in order to protect the health and safety of the prisoners no visits would be allowed.
Previously Zhang Jinfeng had been permitted to write her relatives a letter a week, but no letter was received since May 15, and her family was worried that this may indicate something wrong with her. Since Zhang's incarceration, her long-time boyfriend Zhang Zhongxiao has furthermore been denied visiting rights at least twice. Furthermore, a letter Zhang Jinfeng wrote to the Jinan Intermediate People's Court as part of an appeal was, according to the court, never delivered. Any appeal must be made within 60 days of sentencing, a deadline that was not met as the letter never arrived (or was ignored). The original appeal, which according to the court was never delivered, was within that time frame.
On August 2, 2010 Zhang was allowed to meet legal counsel Liu Peifu (刘培福) for the first time after being sent to the work camp. She informed Liu she had not been allowed any visitors for over a year.
Zhang have been held at Jinan City Forced Labor Camp and is set for release on December 10, 2010.
All updates since posting
- December 7: Zhang released from labor camp three days in advance of set release date (December 10).
- August 20: Allowed to receive legal counsel. First visit of any kind allowed for over a year.
CHINESE URGENT ACTION WORKING GROUP
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