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HRIC Press Conference on April 21, 2006

April 19, 2006


HRIC will convene a press conference at 11 a.m. on April 21, 2006, at the New York office of Human Rights in China. Coming at the end of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s trip to the U.S., HRIC will provide a preliminary assessment of the trip with a focus on the human rights implications. The press conference will also provide an opportunity for media to interview Lu Decheng, a Chinese dissident recently released from Thailand to Canada. Lu Decheng arrived in the U.S. today to testify before the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations.

In May 1989, Lu Decheng, Yu Dongyue, and Yu Zhijian together splattered paint on the portrait of Mao Zedong that hangs over Tiananmen Square. The mental and physical abuse that these three were subjected to reflects ongoing Tiananmen-related crack-downs and Beijing’s hard-line treatment of critical voices in China. Dissidents, petitioners, and other human rights defenders continue to be subject to mistreatment in prisons, psychiatric institutions, and other places of detention.

Background

Lu Decheng, Yu Zhijian and Yu Dongyue were convicted of counterrevolutionary incitement and sabotage and condemned to some of the harshest sentences given to 1989 democracy activists. Lu was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment and released on January 25, 1998. In August 2004, Lu went to Thailand, in part to bring international attention to the treatment of Yu Dongyue in prison. According to HRIC sources, the Thai authorities arrested Lu Decheng in Bangkok on December 12, 2004 while he was meeting with other Chinese democracy activists. Until his release, he was held under threat of deportation in the custody of Thai authorities.

Yu Dongyue was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. He was released on February 26, 2006, seriously mentally ill after being regularly tortured and forced to spend long periods in solitary confinement in prison. His family now faces punitive medical costs for his rehabilitation and care.

Yu Zhijian was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was paroled early in September 2000, but was recently detained briefly for participating in the hunger strike in support of lawyer and human rights defender Gao Zhisheng.


For further information, please contact:
Sharon Hom at (212) 239-4495
Feng Congde at (212) 981-1022