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HRIC Condemns Arrest of Ding Zilin and Others

March 29, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) strongly protests the recent arrest of “Tiananmen Mothers” Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping, and is raising their cases with governments and UN human rights bodies.

According to sources in China, Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping were each arrested in their homes by National Security police on March 28. Ding Zilin was at her home in the outskirts of Wuxi, Jiangsu province on March 28 when shortly after 11 a.m. three police officers took her away without presenting any legal documentation. Five more police officers subsequently arrived, and without presenting a search warrant carried out a thorough search of Ding’s home, confiscating a number of letters and other items.

Zhang Xianling was apprehended in her home on March 28 at 9:45 a.m. by police officers Tian Gang and Zhang Li. The two police officers presented a warrant stating that Zhang Xianling was being detained under Article 50 of China’s National Security Law. After Zhang was led away, another group of police officers arrived and searched her home, confiscating a number of items, including a batch of T-shirts produced by Hong Kong organizations to commemorate the 15th anniversary of June 4th. Police told Zhang’s husband, Wang Fandi, that the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign and the Tiananmen Mothers as a group were reactionary organizations through which entities inside and outside of China were conspiring to harm national security and to incite subversion of state power. On that basis, police transferred Zhang Xianling’s arrest warrant to a criminal detention warrant, which under the terms of Chinese law indicates that the Chinese authorities intend to hand down summary sentences.

Huang Jinping was likewise arrested in her own home by National Security police bearing an arrest warrant. A group of police officers bearing a search warrant subsequently searched her home.

Ding Zilin was formerly a professor at Beijing’s Renmin University. Her 17-year-old son, Jiang Jielian, was killed by People’s Liberation Army soldiers during the violent official crackdown against protesters in Beijing on June 4, 1989. Ding Zilin was the first of the family members of the June 4th victims to step forward and tell the international media about the death of her son. From that time forward Ding began collecting information about the victims of the violent crackdown, and calling for the Chinese government to make appropriate legal reparations. Over the past 15 years Ding Zilin has become the most prominent spokesperson for victims’ families in revealing the truth and demanding justice.

Zhang Xianling is another key spokesperson for the victims’ families. Her 19-year-old son, Wang Nan, was also killed by PLA soldiers on June 4th. Huang Jinping, another active campaigner, lost her 30-year-old husband, Yang Yansheng on June 4th.

In Hong Kong a video CD was recently released presenting the testimonies of six family members of June 4th victims, including Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping. This video CD has been taken by members of the Hong Kong-based support group, the Tiananmen Mothers Campaign, to Geneva to present to the Commission’s Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Some observers believe the intention to present this VCD to the UN was the impetus for the arrests of Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping.

HRIC condemns the use of the legal process as a tool of political persecution against Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping. “Although Ding Zilin and other Tiananmen Mothers have suffered for more than ten years with the knowledge of the unlawful deaths of their family members, their actions and demands for justice have remained peaceful, reasonable and within the law at all times,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “For the Chinese government to arrest these women for no reason after killing their loved ones just as senselessly is an act of cruelty almost beyond human comprehension.”

HRIC calls for the immediate release of Ding Zilin, Zhang Xianling and Huang Jinping, and the cessation of any further suppressive action against them. HRIC executive director Sharon Hom, who is currently in Geneva for the 60th Session of the UN Human Rights Commission, is requesting a meeting with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights to raise the case of Ding and the others and express HRIC’s concern. HRIC urges the international community to bring its strongest pressure to bear on the Chinese government to ensure the release and fair treatment of Ding, Zhang and Huang.

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