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Shanghai Clearance Protesters Prevented from Traveling to Beijing

May 20, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned of the arrest of a group of more than 150 people attempting to petition central authorities in Beijing over clearance and redevelopment of their Shanghai neighborhoods.

The protesters, many of whom have made previous unsuccessful attempts to present petitions, were met by a large number of police officers at the Shanghai train station and prevented from boarding the train for Beijing. A few were released soon afterward, but at least 80 were believed to still be under detention at the time of this press release.

According to sources in Shanghai, the protesters arrived at the Shanghai train station on the morning of May 20 and bought tickets for next train to Beijing. Local public security officials, however, had learned of their plans, and police officers from 19 districts were deployed to the train station to await their arrival.

Among the detainees was a Hong Kong resident, Shen Ting (Sam Ting), who was helping her mother, Mo Zhujie, resolve difficulties arising from the destruction of her home in a clearance operation.

“Protests over urban redevelopment projects seem to be growing rather than abating,” said HRIC president Liu Qing. “The Chinese government has said that it believes physical survival is the most important human right, but too often officials turn a blind eye to the real suffering caused by the inequitable compensation and arrangements provided for people affected by urban renewal projects.”

HRIC once again urges Chinese officials to resolve the issues arising from urban redevelopment, rather than harassing and punishing the protesters who bring these problems to light.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495