On the eve of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30)
Published: August 29, 2015
“Such fear and panic do not beset these lawyers and their families only; they beset the entire Chinese society.”
Honorable Mr. Guo Shengkun (郭声琨),
We don’t know if you will be able to read this letter, but we are writing it regardless in the hope that you may. We do not want to let slip the slightest hope.
Since July 9th, our loved ones have been disappeared, and they include 17 lawyers, their assistants, and law firm staffers, as well as 6 rights defenders. Their disappearances all followed the same pattern: the people who took them away, either in Beijing or Tianjin, claimed that they were “Tianjin police.” They were taken away for allegedly “provoking disturbances” or merely for “committing a crime” without any specifics; and following their forced disappearance we have had a hard time to get them lawyers. Lawyers who expressed desire to represent them were visited by security police who threatened them against any involvement.
Those of us who have been able to hire lawyers for our loved ones have seen that when the lawyers attempted to meet their clients according to procedures, the Tianjin police denied that they had taken away our loved one.
When a terrorist attack is perpetrated, a terrorist group will come out and claim responsibility for it. When the police system of the People’s Republic of China disappears its citizens, shouldn’t it make a statement and say something?
On July 18, our loved ones appeared on CCTV’s morning news. We were flabbergasted to find that, while we still hadn’t received any written notice about them, they were already found guilty on TV without a trial. Is this a demonstration of “governing the country according to the law” emphasized by our General Secretary Xi?
Finally, as we searched tirelessly for our loved ones, there were words that a task force was in charge of our loved ones and that Tianjin police don’t know much about it. We managed to find out their alleged crime (or the vagueness of it), and we were told that an official notice would be delivered to us.
But 50 days have passed since the disappearance of our loved ones. So far, only relatives of 5 lawyers, their assistants and 2 rights activists have received notices from the police, and relatives of the rest of the 16 have received nothing. Where have the notices been sent? Even if they were sent to the hometown addresses on their ID cards, they should have long arrived. Those who received detention notice still don’t know where their loved ones are detained, and there is no knowing when they will have access to lawyers. Only one has met with a lawyer once and no more since then.
In short, 23 PRC citizens have been disappeared, some for as long as 50 days by now, and the public security apparatus you head have had no intention to honor our lawful rights to information.
Why? Since China has been flaunting “governing the country according to the law,” we wonder: Is the law the government acts on the same as the promulgated law? Words fail to express our anxiety and helplessness.
We wonder: whether it’s the high ranking public security officials or the rank and file police officers, don’t you have parents, a wife or husband, and children? You don’t know what it is like until the same thing happens to you? Forgive me for making such a connection, but it indeed has happened to members of your system.
Families and friends keep asking for news about our loved ones. And the only thing we can tell them is that we have received nothing from the public security.
Outside the gate of the Preliminary Investigation Squad of Tianjin Hexi Detention Center, the two-year-old son of lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) asked his mother: “Where is Daddy?” Bao Mengmeng (包蒙蒙), teenager son of lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) texted her mother’s colleagues who have not been disappeared: “When can I see my parents?” The five-year-old daughter of lawyer Li Heping (李和平) asked, “Why is daddy still not home?”
Faced with these questions from children, we hope you understand how we feel: “We don’t even know where they are, let alone when they will come back.”
Over the years, Chinese police are known to the world for extracting confessions through torture in the investigation stage. Even though China has long ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture, we have little faith that the law will protect the safety of our loved ones when the authorities would not even acknowledge their whereabouts.
We grew up watching TV programming extolling the New China. Now we think about it and we cringe: What is this? To tell you the truth: At home we fear even knocks on the door. People at the door who claim to be checking our water meter, delivering a package, fixing water pipes are least likely robbers (if they are we can at least call 110), and most likely someone who is a disguised secret police of the People’s Republic of China, and a 110 call wouldn’t get you help.
Such fear and panic do not beset these lawyers and their families only; they beset the entire Chinese society.
We look forward to the public security system observing the law when handling cases.
1. Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭), wife of Li Heping (李和平)
2. Zhao Fengxia (赵凤侠), mother of Bao Longjun (包龙军)
3. Wang Quanxiu (王全秀), older sister of Wang Quanzhang (王全璋)
4. Li Wenzu (李文足), wife of Wang Quanzhang (王全璋)
5. Liu Shengxian (刘圣贤), father of Liu Sixin (刘四新)
6. Bi Liping (毕利萍), wife of Li Chunfu (李春富)
7. Xie Yuanfeng (谢远凤), younger sister of Xie Yuandong (谢远东)
8. You Minglei (游明磊), husband of Zhao Wei (赵威)
9. Gao Liang (高亮), younger brother of Gao Yue (高月)
10. Fan Lili (樊丽丽), wife of Ge Ping (戈平)
11. Ai Huixin (艾回新), mother of Wang Fang (王芳)
12. Liu Yinchai (刘银钗), mother of Monk Wangyun (望云和尚林斌）
13. Tong Yanchun (佟彦春), mother of Wang Yu (王宇)
August 29, 2015, on the eve of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30).
List of Lawyers, law staffers, and rights activists who have been disappeared since July 9:
17 lawyers, assistants and law firm staffers:
1. Wang Yu (王宇), Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Taken away at 4:00 am on July 9, 2015. Held incommunicado for over 50 days already. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “provoking disturbances” and “inciting subversion of state power.”
2. Bao Longjun (包龙军), husband of Wang Yu, Beijing. Unreachable since 3:00 am, July 9. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power” and “provoking disturbances.” Police denied lawyers of meeting with Bao on August 28 and was told that Bao is “suspected of the crime of harm the national security.”
3. Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Beijing, Fengrui Law Firm. Unreachable since 13:00, July 10, 2015. Criminally detained for allegedly “provoking disturbances” and “inciting subversion of state power.” Home in Beijing searched by Beijing police on August 5.
4. Liu Sixin (刘四新), administrative assistant at Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Unreachable since 8:45 am, July 10, 2015. Held in Tianjin Hexi Detention Center for allegedly “provoking disturbances.”
5. Xie Yuandong (谢远东), intern lawyer at Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Taken away from home on July 10, 2015, and placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” on the same day.
6. Li Heping (李和平), Beijing. Taken away at 14:00, July 10. Coersive measures used against him.
7. Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), Beijing. Summoned for a talk in the afternoon of July 10, 2015. Taken away in the morning of July 12. Home raided on the same day around noon. Coersive measures used against him.
8. Zhou Shifeng (周世锋), Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Taken away at 7:30 am, July 10. Criminally detained.
9. Huang Liqun (黄力群), Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Taken away at 8:30 am, July 10. Criminally detained.
10. Sui Muqing (隋牧青), Guangzhou, Guangdong. Taken away at 23:40, July 10, 2015. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power.”
11. Xie Yang (谢阳), Hunan province. Taken away at 5:40 am, July 11. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “disrupting the court” and “inciting subversion of state power.”
12. Professor Chen Taihe (陈泰和), Guangxi Autonomous Zone. Criminally detained on July 13, 2015, at Guilin Third Detention Center for allegedly “provoking disturbances.” Lawyer Tan Yongpei (覃永沛) met with him once on July 16 but has been denied of meeting since.
13. Zhao Wei (赵威), a.k.a. Kaola, Beijing, assistant to lawyer Li Heping. Taken away at 17:00 on July 10, 2015. Criminally detained in Tianjin Hexi Detention Center for allegedly “provoking disturbances.”
14. Gao Yue (高月), Beijing. Assistant to lawyer Li Heping. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “provoking disturbances” and “inciting subversion of state power.”
15. Li Shuyun (李姝云), Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Taken away by police at 11:30 on July 10, 2015.
16. Li Chunfu (李春富), Beijing, younger brother of Li Heping. Taken away by Tianjin police around 22:00 on August 1, 2015 and home raided.
17. Wang Fang (王芳), accountant at Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Unreachable since 8:30, July 10, 2015.
5 Rights Activists:
1. Gou Hongguo (勾洪国), a.k.a. Ge Ping (戈平), Tianjin resident, taken away in Beijing in the morning of July 10, 2015, by Tianjin police. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “provoking disturbances.” On August 24, the authorities changed allegation against him to “inciting subversion of state power.”
2. Liu Yongping (刘永平), a.k.a. Lao Mu (老木), Beijing. Detained on July 10, 2015. Placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for allegedly “provoking disturbances.”
3. Hu Shigen (胡石根), Beijing. Disappeared on July 10, 2015.
4. Lin Bin (林斌), a.k.a. Monk Wangyun, Fujian. Taken away around noon on July 10 in Chengdu airport. His temple Jiuxian Zen Temple in Fujian was raided on July 9, and on August 16, his mother was evicted from the temple.
5. Jiang Jianjun (姜建军), Dalian, Liaoning. Criminally detained on July 12 for “provoking disturbances” and released after 37 days in custody.
中文原文《13名被强迫失踪人士家属致中华人民共和国公安部部长郭声琨先生的公开信——写在8月30日国际强迫失踪日前夕》, translated by China Change.