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Case Update: Imprisoned Activist Ye Guozhu's Release Delayed on Eve of Olympic Games

July 26, 2008


Human Rights in China strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of jailed housing activist Ye Guozhu (叶国柱) who was due to be released on July 26, 2008.

The arbitrary detention of Ye Guozhu after completion of his four years sentence demonstrates the extreme measures the Chinese authorities will resort to in order to maintain social control during the Olympics.
— Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC

According to Ye's brother, Ye Guoqiang (叶国强), the Xuanwu branch of the Beijing Public Security Bureau (北京市公安局宣武分局) informed the family on the afternoon of July 26 that Ye Guozhu is under criminal detention for suspicion of gathering a crowd to disturb public social order.

"The arbitrary detention of Ye Guozhu after completion of his four years sentence demonstrates the extreme measures the Chinese authorities will resort to in order to maintain social control during the Olympics," said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. "This should be a wake-up call to the international community to address the human costs of the Olympics lock-down underway by the Chinese authorities."

Ye Guozhu is now being held in the Beijing Xuanwu Detention Center (北京宣武区看守所). Ye's brother said the authorities refused to explain how Ye Guozhu could gather a crowd to disturb public order while in prison. Ye Guoqiang believes they intend to block possible foreign media contact with his brother and will keep him in custody at least until after the Beijing Olympic Games have ended. Ye Guoqiang was also warned to keep a low profile.

This should be a wake-up call to the international community to address the human costs of the Olympics lock-down underway by the Chinese authorities.
— Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC

On July 24, Ye's brother Ye Guoqiang told HRIC that the Beijing Chaobai Prison (北京市监狱管理局清河分局潮白监狱) had instructed Ye Guozhu's ex-wife, Wang Lanzeng (王兰增), not to come to the prison on July 26 because Ye had already been taken away by a branch office of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. After two hours of calling different authorities, Ye Guoqiang finally received confirmation that the Xuanwu Branch Office had taken away Ye Guozhu. But the authorities refused to disclose the location and length of his detention.

Three generations of Ye's family were evicted from their Beijing home in May 2003 to make way for Olympics-related construction. This eviction of nine individuals left several family members homeless because the compensation they received was not enough for a new home. Later appeals for additional compensation were unsuccessful, and Ye Guoqiang, out of frustration, attempted suicide by jumping from a bridge near Tiananmen Square on National Day in October 2003. He was then sentenced to two years in prison.

On August 24, 2004, Ye Guozhu and others sought permission for 10,000 people to demonstrate against forced Olympics evictions. Three days later, he was detained on suspicion of "disturbing social order" and other public order offenses. Following a trial in December 2004, Ye Guozhu was found guilty of "picking a quarrel and making trouble" and sentenced to four years in prison. In September 2007, Ye Guoqiang and Ye Guozhu's son, Ye Mingjun, were criminally detained on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power" after protesting in front of the Xuanwu District Government building. While they were later released, Ye Guoqiang remains under surveillance.

As of July 26, Ye Guozhu has served his full sentence in accordance with Chinese law. HRIC urges the international community to call on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ye.


For more information on Ye Guozhu, see:

  • "The Impact of the 2008 Olympic Games on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in China," Statement of HRIC Executive Director Sharon Hom to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (highlighting the situation of Ye Guozhu and other individuals who raised Olympics-related concerns), February 27, 2008, http://cecc.gov/pages/hearings/2008/20080227/hom.php;

  • HRIC Statement, "Crackdown on Activists Prior to NPC Meeting," February 26, 2004, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/9372;
  • HRIC Statement, "Crackdown on Dissidents for National Day," October 02, 2003, http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/11655.