Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Dear Ambassador Cui:
I am personally concerned for the welfare of housing rights activist and mother Ms. Li Huanjun. She was arrested on the night of July 12th, 2013, by at least 10 police officers. They searched her apartment for 2-3 hours and confiscated many items, including her computer and cell phone.
To my knowledge, she is currently being held in the Beijing Municipality’s Bureau of Public Security in Detention Center 1. She has been peacefully protesting the demolition of homes resulting from the forced evictions of residents. Properties are being sold without the consent of people who live in them, which are then subsequently demolished to make room for new construction and private development. Many people are left with nowhere to go, as they are not appropriately compensated (sometimes not at all) and are not provided with alternative housing.
In 2011, the Chinese government enacted regulations on the expropriation of house on state-owned land, in which some protections to home-owners were offered. However, implementation of these regulations is weak and often non-existent, and they seem to be kept on the books only for the sake of appearance. The regulation outlawed the use of violence in urban evictions and granted urban homeowners facing eviction some limited protections. However, there was violence on behalf o the police and demolition crews. No protection or compensation was offered to Li Huanjun or her neighbors. They were forcibly removed from their homes without recourse, and had to endure the pain of seeing their lives destroyed.
I ask that she be released immediately and unconditionally. The government should take immediate action to find a solution to this wrong-doing.
I would appreciate a prompt response on this issue.