By China Change, published: May 18, 2014
In Guangzhou, renowned rights lawyer Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) was criminally detained on May 16, for “provoking disturbance,” according to weiquanwang, a primary website reporting on China’s rights defense events.
His wife told weiquanwang that, around 10 o’clock Friday evening, seven or eight police officers entered her home, displaying a search warrant and notice of criminal detention. The police searched the home for about two hours during which, lawyer Tang Jingling and his wife were told not to move and not to make or answer phone calls.
The police took away Tang Jingling, his desktop computer, laptop, three cell phones, some books, and holiday cards from friends.
During the days leading up to Friday’s detention, Tang Jingling had been summoned by the police several times. They asked him not to participate in any activities commemorating the Tian’anmen Movement anniversary.
On Thursday, May 15, another human rights lawyer Liu Shihui (刘士辉) was confirmed to have been criminally detained in Shanghai after going missing for two days. Shanghai police acknowledged to friends who had been searching for him that he is currently detained in the Pudong New District Detention Center but didn’t reveal the allegations against Liu.
Also on Thursday, the police searched the home of another rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), according to the minshengguancha website (民生观察). Around one in the afternoon, seven police officers, mostly in plainclothes, came to his home when only his mother was present. They looked in every room, including the kitchen and storage room, and after that they even searched storage caches in the staircase on each floor from the first to the fifth.
Jiang Tianyong told minshengguancha that it looked like the police came knowing what they wanted to look for and were determine to find it.
It’s unclear what each of the three lawyers did to have triggered the searches and criminal detention. Tang Jingxing’s recent tweets showed a postcard to the recently sentenced labor activist Wu Guijun (吴贵军), and reported incidents of protests in Hubei and Jiangxi.
“Provoking disturbance” is known in China as the “pocket crime” (口袋罪): it works like a pocket into which the government can put anything, arbitrarily and gratuitously.
According to China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, Tang Jingling “was attorney and defense counsel for the lawsuit against persecuted villagers in the Taishi Village recall incident in August 2005.” Because of it, his lawyer’s license has been suspended. However, he has remained active in the rights movement as a legal adviser in a wide range of cases across China.
Tang Jingling is known for his tirelesspromotion of a non-violent civil disobedience movement. “Disobedience is a direct contestation of values between dictatorship and freedom. It occurs in each person’s mind and is externalized in one’s actions,” he wrote in a guide to the movement. “The road to China’s freedom has to start with you, from each and every citizen who is willing to take up the responsibilities.”
Lawyer Liu Shihui and Jiang Tianyong have also been similarly disbarred for their work but have remained among the most active advocates of the rights movement. Jiang Tianyong was one of the four lawyers recently detained and then released in Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang province (黑龙江建三江) where they tried to seek the release of Falungong practitioners from a black jail known by the name “Legal Education Center.”
All three of them, Tang Jingling, Liu Shihui and Jiang Tianyong, was among the few hundred who was disappeared during the Jasmine crackdown in the early spring of 2011 and subjected to torture.
On Twitter, the Guangzhou-based rights lawyer Sui Muqing (@suimuqing88) reported that, Friday evening, Wang Qingying (王清营), a young professional working in corporate planning, was also criminally detained in connection with Tang Jingling. Yuan Xinting (袁新亭), another associate of Tang Jingling cannot be reached by friends.
In recent weeks, China has detained several dozen politically active citizens as the 25th anniversary of the Tian’anmen Movement approaches. Without any sign of “disturbances,” the Chinese regime again hit the panic button again as they did in the spring of 2011, throwing the law out of the window. Well, it’s always been a sham anyway and they don’t pretend otherwise.