"The Olympic Games have been a terrible blow to ordinary citizens, they have turned our lives upside down. That is how we feel, but we cannot say it aloud"
Yu, a resident of the historic quarter of Qianmen, Beijing
In April 2001, when Beijing was chosen to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Chinese authorities promised to improve the country’s human rights situation. However, with only a few months until the Games begin, serious human rights infringements continue to be reported throughout the country. The victims of these human rights violations include many activists, journalists, lawyers, or ordinary citizens daring to denounce abuses, some of which are directly linked to the Olympic Games and the town which will be hosting them.
As part of the demolition and rebuilding programme in preparation for the Games, many families have been forcibly evicted, most of them without due process and compensation for the destruction of their homes, as has often been the case in the historic quarter of Qianmen.
On 18 December 2004, Ye Guozhu was sentenced to four years imprisonment for "provoking a fight and disturbing the social order". He had requested in due form to organise a demonstration together with other victims of forced evictions. In 2003, the municipality of Bejing had destroyed the restaurant he owned with his brother, Ye Guoqiang, as well as their homes, in order to make way for construction work for the Olympics. Their families have not received any compensation.
According to reliable information, Ye Guozhu, currently detained at Chaobai prison, has been repeatedly tortured. He was suspended from the ceiling by his arms and beaten by police officers before being transferred to prison. Since then, he has been experiencing severe back pains. In 2004, he was reportedly tortured over a period of four months in another prison, apparently for refusing to admit his "guilt". In particular, he was allegedly beaten with electro-shock batons, subjected to beatings during a "disciplinary period", forced to spend prolonged periods in painful positions and bound with handcuffs and shackles which injured him. His health, which was not good before his imprisonment, deteriorated dramatically as a result of this torture. According to our information, he is not receiving the medical attention he needs.
His 25-year-old son, Ye Mingjun, and his 47-year-old brother Ye Guoqiang, were also arrested by the Beijing police at the end of September for "inciting subversion”. Detained incommunicado, they are also at risk of being tortured and abused.