Free young mother jailed because she protested demolition of homes.

  • by: georgina shanley
  • recipient: Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

Li Huanjun cannot defend herself, her child or her neighbors. Where we have rights we have obligations. Without our help and pressure on the government of China evictions and demolitions will contine unabated. The human cost is huge with thousands of decent families  left homeless and penniless.  See video of Li and understand what she is up against.

According to Amnesty International 2013 report on China, "Sudden and violent evictions were widespread, and were typically preceded by threats and harassment. Consultation with affected residents was rare. Compensation, adequate alternative housing and the ability to access legal remedies were severely limited. In many cases, corrupt village leaders signed deals with private developers, handing over land without residents knowing. Those who peacefully resisted forced eviction or sought to protect their rights through legal channels risked detention, imprisonment and ReEducation Through Labor. Some resorted to drastic measures, setting themselves on fire or resorting to violent forms of protest".

We can help Li and go a long way to ending this inhuman policy.

Thirty-year old mother and housing activist, Li Huanjun, was arrested by 10 policemen on July 12 in Beijing. Her computer and cell phone were confiscated. Her only crime was trying to defend her home and the homes of her neighbors from demolition. She is being held in the Beijing Municipality's Bureau of Public Security.

Community leaders decided to sell Li Huanjun's home, amongst others, to developers without consulting the families who lived in the homes outside Beijing. Li Huanjun protested the proposed destruction of these homes by attempting to hand out leaflets in Tiananmen Square. She was held in detention for several days. In the meantime teams of Security stormed the homes and using fire extinguishers forced the residents out.

No compensation will be given and no adequate housing will be provided. Li Huanjun has been charged with "disturbing public order". Similar scenarios having been taking place throughout China. Free Li Huanjun now!

Dear Ambassador:

 I am deeply concerned for the welfare of housing rights activist and mother, Ms.Li Huanjun.  She was arrested on the night of 12th July by at least 10 police officers. They searched her apartment for 2-3 hours and confiscated more than 40 items, including her computer and cell phone.

        She is currently being held in Detention Center 1 of the Beijing Municipality’s Bureau of Public Security.  She has been peacefully protesting the demolition of homes against the wishes of the residents.  Properties are being sold without the consent of people who live in them. They are promptly demolished and no compensation or alternative housing is provided.

            Your government in 2011 enacted Regulations on the Expropriation of Houses on State-owned Land, and Compensation in which some protections to home-owners was offered. However, implementation of these Regulations is weak and often non-existent. The Regulations outlawed the use of violence in urban evictions and granted urban home-owners facing eviction limited protections. There was violence by the police and demolishers and no protection or compensation was offered to Li Huanjun or her neighbors.

            I ask that she be released immediately and unconditionally. She and her neighbors should be provided with adequate accommodation and compensation for their loss.

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