In May, American and Chinese officials met in Washington to convene the 15th session of the long-running human rights dialogue and then again, in Beijing, for a strategic and economic dialogue. Both dialogues covered many subjects but failed to yield much by way of results. The same week as the human rights dialogue, however, a spirit of cooperation was on display when a US delegation organized by Dui Hua took part in juvenile justice exchanges in Beijing and Qingdao, Shandong Province.
In California—as nationwide—women make up about seven percent of the prison population. Because of their small numbers, the plight of female prisoners is easily overlooked. This spring, Dui Hua staff members visited two women’s detention facilities in California—Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW) in Chowchilla, California, and the women’s section of the San Francisco County Jail—to learn more about this often unnoticed population.
Of the 1.6 million people in US state and federal prisons, slightly more than 100,000 are female. Although the percentage of female prisoners is small, the growth in this population is staggering.
In November 2009, Dui Hua compiled a list of 22 Uyghurs imprisoned or detained on political charges in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). A request for information about each prisoner was submitted to a Chinese intermediary organization with channels to the prison authorities in Xinjiang. This was the first time Dui Hua had ever submitted a request for prisoner information focused solely on Xinjiang.
On July 5, 2010, the American geologist and businessman Xue Feng (薛峰) was sentenced by the Beijing Number One Intermediate Court to eight years in prison for trafficking in state secrets, an “endangering state security” (ESS) crime. (Read Dui Hua’s July 4 statement about Dr. Xue’s case.) Xue has appealed the verdict, but if his appeal is rejected—which is likely, as successful appeals of ESS convictions are very rare—he will be sent to a prison in Beijing to begin serving his sentence. Xue has already endured a long odyssey in the clutches of China’s criminal justice system. Detained in November 2007, he was arrested in April 2008, had his trial open more than a year later (in July 2009), and then saw his sentencing delayed until this July.
Dui Hua completes active round of spring, summer trips; Research Manager Rosenzweig presents on Liu Xiaobo case at Hong Kong conference; advocacy work boosts media coverage, website traffic