Case History: Kou Yanding
On 14 February 2015, human rights defender Ms Kou Yanding was released from police custody in Beijing, where she had been held since her detention on 9 October 2014.
Kou Yanding is a disabled rights activist, an author and an editor of independent documentaries. For over 20 years, Kou Yanding has been advocating for the rights of the disabled and following the devastating earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008, she established a number of groups to support disabled artists and other survivors.
On 14 February 2015, human rights defender Ms Kou Yanding was released from police custody in Beijing, where she had been held since her detention on 9 October 2014. The human rights defender was escorted back to her home city of Tai'an, in Shandong Province.
There are currently no further details regarding the conditions of the human rights defender's release. Kou Yanding had been charged with “creating a disturbance”, and it is believed this accusation may have related to support shown by the human rights defender to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Two months after their detentions by police in Beijing, the whereabouts of human rights defenders Mr Huang Kaiping and Ms Kou Yanding remain unconfirmed. On 10 October 2014, both human rights defenders were separately detained, reportedly on charges of “creating a disturbance”. Since that time, neither defender's family has received any formal notification or documentation regarding their detention. While it is believed that Kou Yanding is being held in Haidian District Detention Centre in Beijing, the whereabouts of Huang Kaiping are unknown.
On 5 December 2014, Huang Kaiping's wife, Ms Zhou Qinghui, issued a statement on a social networking site in protest against the continued lack of information about her husband's detention. Likewise, Kou Yanding's family has not received any information about her detention, and family members and lawyers who have visited and called detention centres and police stations in Beijing in search of information have been repeatedly stonewalled. Article 83 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China states that within 24 hours of the detention of their relative, a family member must be notified, except in cases where it is impossible to give notice or in cases involving terrorism or endangering state security.
According to Zhou Qinghui's post, on the afternoon of 10 October 2014, police officers from the Haidian Branch of the Beijing Public Security Bureau arrived at the offices of The Transition Institute and led Huang Kaiping away. That same day at around 10.30 p.m., police searched the couple's home and confiscated a number of items, including a computer and books. Having still received no formal notification of her husband's detention, on 15 October Zhou Qinghui went to a number of detention centres and police stations in Beijing searching for information, but all she was told was that Huang Kaiping was being detained in Beijing, but she was not informed of her husband's specific location. Since then, despite repeated efforts, she has had no further success in tracking down her husband's whereabouts.
Kou Yanding was detained on the evening of 10 October as she boarded a train leaving Beijing. She had only returned to Beijing that morning, having spent the previous two days in Hong Kong following a period of time in Taiwan. The specific reason for her detention is unknown.