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Promoting the Constitution is illegal in China
The Epoch Times
1/6/2004



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SHANGCHENG - Shangcheng District resident Liu Jincheng, a retired school teacher, was among more than 10 Hangzhou evictees who were detained for wearing white coats emblazoned with “Promote the Chinese Constitution” in an effort to garner support for their ineffective appeal against forced evictions. (The constitution protects citizens’ rights to own homes.)

According to a Southern Weekend special report from Dec.4, 2003, during China Law Awareness Day on March 7 of this year, the Hangzhou evictees were detained by police for disturbing public order for wearing slogans such as “Every Citizen Should Protect the Constitution,” “Residential Rights Should Not Be Violated,” and “It’s Illegal to Force Citizens to Sign Eviction Notices.”

Shangcheng District resident Liu Jincheng had appealed the forced eviction more than 100 times to all levels of government since June 2000. He and others believed that wearing the messages in front of the district government office at a meeting between representatives and government officials was a legitimate act of freedom of expression as well as a great way to promote the implementation of the constitution.

The protest drew much attention from passersby, and 20 minutes later the group was forced into the Appeals Bureau by public security. According to a witness, the group’s activities were discreet and they did not obstruct traffic or disturb the meeting. However, district security and Appeals Bureau officials described the protesters as causing traffic congestion and disrupting the meeting, government offices, and social order. The Appeals Bureau clerk alleged that they were obviously pressuring the government to satisfy their unreasonable requests.

Jin Lei, another evictee, said that the chief of the Appeals Bureau forced them to remove the white coats and leave the premises. Nevertheless, Liu Jincheng rode his bike home still wearing the white coat. He said, “I’m doing this to help strengthen the resolve of others who were peacefully and legitimately promoting the constitution.” He was subsequently followed and arrested by police.

On Nov.26 Liu Jincheng filed a lawsuit requesting that the judge vow to comply with the constitution, or else step down. As a consequence, the Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court department chief maintained that Liu held the court in contempt and disrupted court order. He then announced that Liu had lost his case and was to be detained.

Professor Lin Laifan at Zhejiang University Law School thinks this case indicates that Chinese citizens are conscious of their constitutional rights and the conduct of all the protesters is an expression of their own opinions and an act of freedom of speech - their legitimate right.

But in China they are faced with imprisonment, which would not occur in other countries where freedom and democracy are protected.


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