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Activist Who Rejected TV Confession Invites CCTV Interviewer to Be Witness at His Trial

Wu Gan, March 24, 2017

Well-known human rights activist Wu Gan (吴淦) was arrested in May 2015. After a brief period of custody in his home province Fujian, he was taken to Tianjin as part of the 709 arrests. According to a complaint filed by his lawyer, on August 1, 2015, Wu Gan was forced to participate in a video interview with CCTV host Dong Qian (董倩) in which he was supposed to confess his guilt. He refused to follow the script. Yesterday his lawyer posted online Wu Gan’s letter to Ms. Dong Qian, dated March 8. — The Editors

 

Wu Gan_via Wang Lihong

 

Dear Ms. Dong Qian,

I write this letter to you because I still have a thin thread of hope in your basic humanity. I hate all dictatorships, as well as those who help dictators, but I’m an optimist when it comes to human nature. For example, this is what the public thinks about the organization your work for: when the auxiliary building of CCTV headquarters, known as “big underpants,” went up in flames, people were ecstatic. When one of your evening news hosts got throat cancer, the public delighted in his misfortune — it seems fitting that a throat used to broadcast untruth everyday should become cancerous. Netizens nicknamed CCTV a den of debauchery where the likes of Li Dongsheng (李东生, former minister of public security) plied his trade as a pimp, sending CCTV women up to Zhou Yongkang (周永康, former security boss) to have his way with. The prime time Evening News is such a bore that netizens have turned it into a template for endless spoofing. When one day one of your own, Bi Fujian (毕福剑), made wicked fun of Maoism in his off-time, it shows what a schizophrenic place it is! I cite all of these to remind you just how CCTV is perceived by the people.

CCTV is despised not because people’s values are warped, but because this system has warped everything. It’s this system that has turned the media you work for into a tool for keeping the people ignorant, making it an accomplice for the worst evil. It’s now become a byword for lies and propaganda and a spokesperson for evil.

The only way to wash away the stain of associating with it, and to gain your own integrity and personal esteem, is to flee as soon as possible. When the anchor Du Xian (杜宪) demonstrated her own humanity after the June 4 massacre — wearing black, showing her tears on television — she received a silent national applause and respect from all. The public sees things clearly. I respectfully ask you: for such a beauty, why be a villain?

I have applied for you to be a witness in my case, and I hope you will appear in court and testify. I want you to tell the world about how I was hauled, a black hood covering my head, in front of you for an interview on August 1, 2015. Please gather your courage and conscience, and tell the public what you saw on that day. Tell everyone how I rebuked and exposed An Shaodong (安少东, security agent and interrogator) who sat diagonally from me. Tell the public what he did to me. Tell them about my back injury.

Tell them how actors were brought in to act out a script for the televised confession. I trust that you’ll show the kind-hearted side of your nature. I’m sorry that you didn’t get what you had come for because I refused to act according to their script. For my disobedience, I was punished badly by An Shaodong after being taken back to detention center. 

An Shaodong sat diagonally from me to intimidate me. I experienced for myself the inside process by which CCTV makes its news pieces, and how the station and the public security organs work hand in hand to create the news they need. Amazing country, amazing media, amazing public security agents; together they produce amazing journalism.

Finally, allow me to express my gratitude to your television station. I am very grateful that CCTV joined in when People’s Daily and Xinhua slandered me with Cultural Revolution-style propaganda while I had no freedom to speak for myself. On the other hand, thank heaven I was slandered, not praised. Or it would truly have been a stain on my reputation. How could I have lived with my head up high if mouthpieces like you said nice things about me? In 2009, when your television station and a media under People’s Daily tried to interview me about the Deng Yujiao (邓玉娇) case, I rejected it due to my germophobia. A man doesn’t keep company with evil, and this is the line I draw while going about being a human being.

Wu Gan (Super Vulgar Butcher)
March 8, 2017

 


Addendum:

Wu Gan: Urgent Request to Meet the Residential Prosecutors at the Tianjin Second Detention Center

I am Wu Gan. For over a year since my transfer to the Tianjin Second Detention Center on January 8, 2016, I have made countless requests to meet with you, the residential prosecutors from the Second Branch of the Tianjin Municipal Procuratorate. The detention center told me that they had passed on my requests but that they could do nothing as you kept declining to see me.

I need to see you, not because I want to have nice chats with you about the beauty and meaning of life, but to complain about police violations in handling my case, including torture. There is something even more important: I want to report leads about a possible voluntary manslaughter case. But you are nowhere to be found. I am not the only detainee who has trouble meeting you; other detainees have the same problem.

You are supposed to carry out your duty, which is to meet with each detainee and learn if they have been subjected to illegal treatment. But you have abdicated your legal responsibilities. This is not a matter of being lazy, but a matter of negligence.

I’m requesting this urgent meeting because time is running out, and the death row inmate in question could be executed soon. For those who are sentenced to death for something they didn’t do, the truth can never be restored. So you must meet with me as soon as possible to hear my complaint. As for whether you investigate or not, or whether or not I will suffer retaliation, you may do as you please.

I will expose more details of these matters in the future, showing the public just how prosecutors in China go about their jobs.    

Wu Gan
March 24, 2017

 


Addendum:

Lawyer Ge Yongxi: Meeting with Wu Gan                                           

Yesterday afternoon and this morning, I twice met with Mr. Wu Gan, who is being charged with “subversion of state power.” After we had discussed the case work, Wu asked about people and events outside, and he asked me to pass on his thanks to friends.  

We also talked about the issue of compromising and admitting “guilt.” Wu Gan said that, during the Two Sessions (political meetings earlier this month), the government sent two female mental health counselors to speak with him. Over and over again, they attempted to coax him into admitting guilt. Wu Gan asked the Tianjin Second Detention Center to tell the authorities that they needn’t waste their resources by sending anyone else, because these two women had failed to convince him, with facts and universal values, that what he did was wrong. He said that the fact that they were using coercion and deception to make him admit guilt is enough to prove that what he did was right — that it was good for the country and the people, and could stand the test of time.

Wu Gan reiterated his two guiding principles: first, he would never do anything unscrupulous; second, he would never sack his own lawyers and retain lawyers designated by the government.       

Wu Gan said that he has gained more than he has lost during the ordeal of the past nearly two years. He was able to reflect on many aspects of his past experiences; he learned how to triumph in the midst of devilish cruelty; he learned how to live close quarters and long term with all sorts of criminal suspects, but not sunk to their level.

We both enjoyed our conversation and wished we had more time. Around lunchtime we said our goodbyes and ended our meeting at the repeated urging of several police officers.

Ge Yongxi (葛永喜)
March 24, 2017

 


Related:

Bill of Indictment Against Rights Activist Wu Gan, January 12, 2017

Wu Gan the Butcher, a profile by Yaqiu Wang, July 22, 2015

 

 

 

‘The Ball Is in Your Court!’ Questions for the Hunan Procuratorate Regarding Its ‘Independent Investigation’ into Xie Yang’s Torture

Chen Jiangang, March 22, 2017

 

Chen Jiangang_Fujian

Chen Jiangang

The public didn’t know until yesterday that ambassadors from 11 countries wrote a letter to China’s Minister of Public Security on February 27, 2017, expressing their grave concern over recent reports of torture of human rights lawyers, and China’s use of secret detention known as “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL). In light of our knowledge of this letter, China’s massive smear campaign beginning on March 1 — two days after the letter was received — becomes much more disturbing. China made lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) “confess” on camera that he had made up the reports of Xie Yang’s (谢阳) torture; Jiang was forcibly disappeared on November 21, 2016, and subsequently placed under RSDL, and thus could not have made those statements of his own volition, raising the concern that he has also been tortured. Chinese state media further hinted that Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), Xie Yang’s defense lawyer, worked with Jiang to further the fabrication. Since then, lawyers Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing (刘正清) have been denied several requests to meet their client Xie Yang, and Chen is worried that Xie Yang may be tortured again. Meanwhile, Chen himself has been under significant pressure to keep his mouth shut, and officials from the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau and the Chaoyang District Justice Bureau have frequently warned of trouble, and requested talks. Today they are conducting an “inspection” of his law firm. “If I can only use my mouth for eating but not for speaking,” Chen said, “you may as well ask me to be a pig or a dog.” We are concerned about lawyer Chen Jiangang’s safety and the reprisals that will inevitably befall him. We remain concerned about Jiang Tianyong and Xie Yang’s circumstances and that of the 709 lawyers and activists still in custody in Tianjin. — The Editors

 

On March 3, China Central Television published a story titled “The Truth Behind Lawyer Xie Yang’s Claims of Torture: An Intricate Fabrication” (《律师谢阳“遭遇酷刑”真相调查 酷刑是故事加细节想象出来的》) in which Yang Zhizhong (杨志忠), a prosecutor in charge of internal supervision of criminal enforcement in the Hunan Procuratorate, was quoted saying that no torture of the Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang have taken place during his time in custody.

“The entire mission of our criminal enforcement supervision division is to protect the legal rights of detainees, so we took it upon ourselves to form this eight-person investigation team to conduct an independent investigation,” he said on camera. “Through our investigation, we found that these four claims of ‘torture’ can be said, absolutely, to be false.”

As Xie Yang’s defense counsel who published the transcripts of Xie Yang’s torture, I submit the following points of fact, clarification, and questioning to the Hunan Procuratorate, which I hope it will examine and respond to.

  1. Xie Yang’s Defense Counsel Has Not Seen the Report

The official China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast briefly flashed an image of the Hunan Procuratorate’s report, titled “Investigative Report Regarding Claims by Xie Yang and His Defense Attorney of Torture, Forced Confession, and Abuse During Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location and in Custody at the Detention Center” (《关于谢阳及其辩护人反映谢阳在指定监视居住和看守所羁押期间受到刑讯逼供、虐待等问题的调查报告》, henceforth “the report”). Judging from the title, the Hunan Procuratorate opened an investigation into the reports of torture of Xie Yang as a result of Xie Yang’s complaint and that of his defense counsel. In that case, shouldn’t they contact Xie Yang’s defense counsel, the individuals who made public the transcripts? Shouldn’t the conclusion of the report be communicated to Xie Yang’s defense counsel? Xie Yang’s two lawyers, Chen Jiangang (陈建刚) and Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), have not received either oral or written notification concerning the investigation or been subject to questioning by the Hunan Procuratorate. Neither have they even seen a single complete page of the final report.

The Hunan Procuratorate claims that it produced its report to refute allegations by Xie Yang’s defense lawyers, yet it hides the report from those lawyers. Why? Did you go to all that trouble just to flash half a page for one second on CCTV?  

  1. How Was the Report Independent?

From Xie Yang’s case file that I read, Xie Yang was charged with “opposing the Party and opposing socialism.” The indictment of Xie Yang accuses him of publishing “many speeches attacking and defaming the government, judicial organs, and the state justice system.” That is to say, Xie Yang is the attacker, the criminal suspect, and the Communist Party, government departments, and judicial organs, are the victims. The two stand in an oppositional relationship. Thus, the following questions arise:

i. The Hunan Procuratorate is lead by the Party, is it not?

ii. The individuals who participated in the investigation are Party members, are they not? (If any prosecutor at the Hunan Procuratorate is not a Party member, please come forward and refute me.)

iii. The Hunan Procuratorate is a judicial organ, is it not?

If the answer to any of the above three questions is in the affirmative, then there can be no such thing as an “independent investigation,” because the Hunan Procuratorate and its prosecutors are all parties to a dispute with Xie Yang. You don’t get to be a referee when you are a competing athlete.  

  1. Please Publish the Report

The official broadcast says that Western media began reporting on the prosecution of Xie Yang in October 2016, that Xie Yang’s defense lawyers published two “Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang” on January 19, 2017, and that the Hunan Procuratorate began its own investigation on February 17. But as of today, this investigative report has not been published as far as I know.

Please publish the entire text for public scrutiny. The ball is in your court!

Regarding the Western media reports: in its video, CCTV only showed a few reports by overseas Chinese-language media outlets around October 11, 2016. But mainstream media organizations in the United States, England, France, and Spain only began to report on Xie Yang torture following my transcripts published on January 19, 2017. Perhaps it’s precisely because of the massive international response that the government has gone all out attempting to irrationally and speciously refute it.

 

jiang-tianyong-%e5%9c%a8%e9%95%bf%e6%b2%99%e7%9c%8b%e5%ae%88%e6%89%80%e5%a4%96

Jiang Tianyong, the day he was disappeared after visiting Xie Yang’s wife and children in Changsha on November 21, 2016.

 

  1. Please Clarify the Legality of ‘Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location’

Given that the Hunan Procuratorate has produced an “independent” investigation which exculpated the Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau, please make public your findings of the legal grounds on which the Changsha public security authorities held Xie Yang in the National University of Defense Technology’s (国防科技大学) guesthouse for retired cadres, at 732 Deya Road, Kaifu district, Changsha.

Please also provide the legal basis on which Xie Yang’s family members were not notified during this period of captivity.

Please also provide the legal basis on which Xie Yang was prohibited visitation from his family members, and access to his legal counsel, during this period of captivity.

What’s also interesting, and suspicious, is CCTV’s brief shot of some brand new small plastic stools — the kind elementary school students use — in the supposed room in which Xie Yang was held during the “residential surveillance” period. Was the room featured in the shot the same room in which Xie Yang was held? Were those plastic stools the same ones used in the “dangling chair” torture that Xie Yang described? Xie Yang was never asked anything on camera.

For my rebuttal on this question, please consult item 11 in my article “How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light.” It needn’t be rehashed here.

  1. Please Make Public the Interrogation Video Made During Residential Surveillance

According to Article 19 of “SPC, SPP, MPS, MSS, MoJ, and the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPCSC Regulation on Several Questions Concerning the Implementation of the CPL” (《最高人民法院最高人民检察院公安部国家安全部司法部全国人大常委会法制工作委员会关于实施刑事诉讼法若干问题的规定》), and Article 121 of the “Criminal Procedure Law” (《刑事诉讼法》), as well as Article 203 of the “Public Security Criminal Complaint Regulations” (《公安刑诉规定》), as well as the fact that Xie Yang stood accused of the crime of “subversion of state power,” all interrogations of Xie Yang are required to have been fully recorded. Moreover, this audio and visual recording must be “from beginning to end, with no interruptions or alterations of integrity. It is not permitted to selectively record, or to edit or redact the film.”

As public prosecutors with the Hunan Procuratorate, you are surely aware of these regulations, and surely you know that the most direct way of ascertaining the truth of the matter is to directly consult those interrogation recordings.

Have you watched and listened to the recordings?

If you have not accessed the recordings, why not?

If the public security authorities said that they do not have the recordings, then this would be a serious violation of the law. How do you intend to deal with it?

In your report, did you include discussion of whether or not you have examined the full recordings of the interrogation sessions?

  1. Have You Questioned the Potential Torturers?

I will repeat once more that it seems, judging by the headline of your report, that you began the investigation after reading the transcripts. Thus, please answer this: of the nearly 50 individuals accused of torture — including  Li Feng (李峰), Li Kewei (李克伟), Wang Dehua (王德华), Hu Yunfeng (胡云峰), Wang Tieta (王铁铊), Zhu Heng (朱恒), Ye Yun (叶云), Xie Leshi (谢乐石), Zhou Liang (周浪), Yin Zhuo (尹卓), Qu Ke (屈可), Li Yang (李旸), Zhou Yi (周毅), Zhuang Xiaoliang (庄晓亮), Yuan Jin (袁进) — did you perform any investigation of any of them at all?

You are determined to tell the public that the torture of Xie Yang was fabricated, but to this date you have not provided the text of the report you wrote.

The CCTV report included nothing about the investigation of these individuals, but instead included remarks by his cellmates. Xie Yang was not transferred to the detention center until January 9, 2016. How would his cellmates have knowledge of torture that took place earlier?

 

Chen Jiangang changsha e二看外

Left to write: lawyer Liu Zhengqing, Chen Yixuan and Chen Jiangang outside Changsha 2nd Detention Center, where Xie Yang has been detained, in January 2017.

 

  1. Would the Procuratorate and its Loyal Journalists Please Consult a Calendar?

The CCTV report notes that Xie Yang “sleeps nine hours a night,” does physical exercise, and that he’s perfectly healthy. The detention center even gives him physicals. The journalist remarks: “Our reporter observed that Xie Yang walks with a steady stride and climbs stairs without difficulty.”

I advise the Hunan Procuratorate and the obedient CCTV journalists to pick up a calendar with one hand and grope around for your conscience with the other.

i. Regarding the time and location

The torture and forced confessions reported by Xie Yang and his legal counsel took place between July 12, 2015 and January 8, 2016. Xie Yang was being held in the retired cadre guesthouse of the National University of Defense Technology. The “investigation” by the Hunan Procuratorate and its journalists took place in the latter half of February 2017 — over a year later. The two locations are also dozens of kilometers apart. Does the fact that Xie Yang was able to “walk with a steady stride and climb stairs without difficulty” in February 2017 somehow prove that a year ago he was not savagely beaten, suffocated with cigarette smoke, forced to sit on a stack of stools with his legs dangling until they swelled up, deprived of sleep through endless questioning, deprived of water, and so on?

ii. The injury to Xie Yang’s legs

During his torture, Xie Yang’s legs suffered severe swelling. But he has been out of that black jail for 13 months now. When the Hunan Procuratorate and the CCTV journalists saw him, he could walk normally. How can that logically result in the conclusion that he was not tortured?

iii. The improvement in Xie Yang’s conditions

The first time lawyer Zhang Zhongshi (张重实) met with Xie Yang at the Changsha No. 2 Detention Center, he heard with his own ears the disciplinary officer Yuan Jin berating and slugging Xie Yang before the meeting. Zhang then lodged a complaint against the detention center and Yuan Jin, and the authorities transferred the officer out. Xie Yang made clear on many occasions that his conditions began to improve once he was allowed access to a lawyer. Even so, he still suffered unjust treatment. For instance, he was limited to spending 600 yuan a month to buy food and daily necessities, a restriction not placed on other detainees.

We are very happy to know that Xie Yang is now allowed to sleep and is in good health. But that does not prove that he was not tortured and beaten in a black jail a year ago.

  1. CCTV Journalists: Please Let Xie Yang Speak

In the CCTV interview, Xie Yang is permitted to say only a few sentences: “I’m wearing a wool sweater,” “I’m in good health,” “I sleep nine hours at night, and the detention center gives us health checkups,” “I called ‘120’ [China’s emergency number] because I was sick,” and so forth. Nowhere does he deny that he was tortured.

Hunan Procuratorate and CCTV journalists, please ask Xie Yang on camera: “Were you tortured to give a confession? Are the transcripts published by your defense lawyers accurate?” These are the two fundamental questions you should actually be investigating.

  1. There is a True Version of Events

CCTV, Phoenix TV, QQ TV, Hunan TV and other media outlets have been running headline reports about “fake news” in the Western press, using Cultural Revolution-style language. Good journalists report truthfully wherever they are. If media purposefully fabricates news, conceals the truth, deceives the public, and dumbs-down the public, then they’re shameless media whose journalists have little dignity or conscience. 

I look forward to the response of the Hunan Procuratorate and of the media organizations that have attempted to blot out the truth.

 

Chen Jiangang
March 5, 2017

 

 


Related:

How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light: Lawyer Chen Jiangang Rebuts China’s Smear Campaign, Chen Jiangang, March 3, 2017

Co-opting Trump, Chinese State Propaganda Brands Torture Revelations ‘Fake News’, March 8, 2017  (with English subtitle)

Statement by Lawyers Representing Jiang Tianyong Regarding the Global Times Interview, March 1, 2017

‘In the Event That I Lose My Freedom’: A Statement by Lawyer Chen Jiangang, March 4, 2017

Xie Yang’s Handwritten Statement on January 13, 2017

 

 

 

Co-opting Trump, Chinese State Propaganda Brands Torture Revelations ‘Fake News’

China Change, March 9, 2017

 

On March 1, Chinese state-run print and television media launched a massive campaign to discredit reports that human rights lawyer Xie Yang was severely tortured during his detention, from July 11, 2015 to the present. The propaganda apparatus paraded on camera Jiang Tianyong, another human rights lawyer kidnapped by state security in November 2016, “confessing” that he had fabricated the details of torture to capture the attention of Western media and governments, who are said to be implacably biased against China. Jiang Tianyong is believed to have been tortured to subjection. The next day, the official Weibo account of the Chinese Communist Party’s Youth League trotted out a four minute video that, in addition to repeating the same smears, made cynical deployment of several one-liners from President Donald Trump to add a veneer of legitimacy to the attack. China Change uploaded the video to YouTube for preservation, and added subtitles so viewers can examine Party propaganda in its rawest form. 

 

 

Since last August, the Chinese propaganda apparatus has pumped out a series of similar video productions that have reached tens of millions of viewers on domestic social media platforms. Such videos have charged that the goal of the United States is to incite a color revolution in China to topple the Communist regime. The conspiratorial anti-U.S. narrative used to be dismissed by China watchers as hawkish cries from the Party’s radical fringe, but by now it should be clear that this discourse in fact lies at the core of Party ideology. 

These videos include:

‘A Notice to Foreign Forces: We’ve Captured Jiang Tianyong!’ — Video Denigrates Human Rights Lawyer, December 22, 2016

Another Chinese Propaganda Video Ties Mainland Rights Defense Activism, Protests in Hong Kong, and the Syrian War Into One Anti-U.S. Narrative, December 18, 2016

China Smears Foreign Diplomats in Another 4-Minute Video, As Trials of Rights Lawyers and Activists Continue in Tianjin, August 4, 2016

China Claims Rights Lawyers and Dissidents Are Part of Vast American Conspiracy in 4-Minute Video, August 3, 2016

 


Related:

After Four Detainees of the ‘709 Incident’ Are Indicted, Chinese State Media Name Foreign News Organizations, a US Congressman, & Three Embassies in Beijing as ‘Foreign Anti-China Forces’, China Change, July 15, 2016

 


The torture of Xie Yang: 

How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light: Lawyer Chen Jiangang Rebuts China’s Smear Campaign, Chen Jiangang, March 3, 2017

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (1) – Arrest, Questions About Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (2) – Sleep Deprivation

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (3) – Dangling Chair, Beating, Threatening Lives of Loved Ones, and Framing Others

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (4) – Admit Guilt, and Keep Your Mouth Shut, January 22, 2017

 

 


World media reports about the torture of Xie Yang following the publication of the transcripts:

Punches, Kicks and the ‘Dangling Chair’: Detainee Tells of Torture in China, New York Times, January 20, 2017.  

Document of Torture: One Chinese Lawyer’s Story From Jail, WSJ China Real Time, January 20, 2017.

A broken lawyer and a hawkish judge cast deep pall over China’s legal system, Washington Post, January 21, 2017.

Beijing Breaks Lawyers, Wall Street Journal editorial, January 22, 2017.

Abogados chinos se movilizan contra el Gobierno tras conocerse torturas, EFE, January 22, 2017.

‘Your only right is to obey’: lawyer describes torture in China’s secret jails, The Guardian, January 23, 2017.

China must respect lawyers’ human rights, a letter by 29 international lawyers, judges and jurists, The Guardian, January 23, 2017.

Un avocat chinois révèle des tortures subies en détention, Le Monde, January 24, 2017.  

“Te haremos sufrir de la manera que nos apetezca”, El País, January 24, 2017.

In China, torture is real, and the rule of law is a sham, Washington Post editorial, January 27, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Xie Yang’s Handwritten Statement on January 13, 2017

March 7, 2017

On February 28, 2017, and then again on March 6, police in Changsha refused to allow the defense counsel of detained human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) to meet with him. In between, starting March 1, China’s state propaganda apparatus launched a smear campaign telling the world that the widely-reported torture of Xie Yang was a fabrication. Former lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), who had been disappeared on November 21, appeared on state television confessing that he had somehow made up the torture details. The authorities’ specious narrative makes it abundantly clear who is doing the fabricating. The smear campaign clearly aims to rein in the defiant human rights lawyers and to misinform the world. Given this, there is now a credible fear that Xie Yang could be subjected to torture once again, and that the authorities could force him to make false statements about the transcripts. In light of this, one of Xie Yang’s lawyers, Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), who interviewed Xie Yang and made the transcripts public, has released a personal statement of Xie Yang, prepared in January for an occasion such as this. — The Editors

 

Xie Yang statement, Jan 13, 2017

 

I, Xie Yang, hereby state the following today:

Today I once again met with my defense lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), and what I write here is entirely accurate and written without coercion. I hereby state that I am completely innocent of any and all the charges.

During the 18 months since I was taken into custody on July 11, 2015, I’ve suffered abuse and torment, but I have never admitted guilt, because I am not guilty.

If, one day in the future, I do confess — whether in writing or on camera or on tape — that will not be the true expression of my own mind. It may be because I’ve been subjected to prolonged torture, or because I’ve been offered the chance to be released on bail to reunite with my family. Right now I am being put under enormous pressure, and my family is being put under enormous pressure, for me “confess” guilt and keep silent about the torture I was subject to.

I hereby state once again that I, Xie Yang, am entirely innocent.

 

Xie Yang

January 13, 2016

 


Related:

Statement by Lawyers Representing Jiang Tianyong Regarding the Global Times Interview, Chen Jinxue and Qin Chenshou, March 1, 2017

How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light: Lawyer Chen Jiangang Rebuts China’s Smear Campaign, Chen Jiangang, March 3, 2017.

 

 

 

‘In the Event That I Lose My Freedom’: A Statement by Lawyer Chen Jiangang

Chen Jiangang, March 4, 2017

 

chen-jiangang-liu-zhengqing-chen-guiqiu

Left to right: Chen Jiangang, Liu Zhengqing, and Chen Guiqiu (Xie Yang’s wife) outside Changsha 2nd Detention Center in December, 2016. 

 

 

1.   I cherish life. I want to live to see the universal values of democracy, liberty, rule of law, and human rights realized in China. I want to see a constitutional system of government established in China. If these things don’t happen I’ll die without peace. I cherish my family. I want to see my children grow and live in freedom and health. For all these reasons, I will not kill myself. If something unexpected happens to me, please know that it will absolutely not be because I committed suicide.

2.  I have committed no crime. I will never, of my own volition, assent to any illegal interrogation, and nor will I level false charges against or attempt to frame anyone. Any written, oral, or video confession, self-degradation, or accusation against other people will only have been made under the circumstances that I have been deprived of liberty, am under duress, or am being tortured and threatened. Those are the only circumstances under which I could be forced to say such things, and none of them will be true.

3.  I’m simply a man of flesh and blood. If I’m put to the agonies of torture, I cannot guarantee that I will not submit. Through my years of work as a defense lawyer, I have learned of many cases of torture in China and the unspeakable cruelty involved. If I am tortured and made to submit, everything I say will be made up. None of it can be taken as evidence toward the accusation, conviction, or defamation of any person.

4.  If I lose my freedom and end up on television revealing the name of any of my friends, please forgive me. Those won’t be my own words or my will. By that stage I will have been turned into nothing but a prop. Please forgive me.

5.  I take complete responsibility for every character in the two transcripts I made of the meetings with Xie Yang (谢阳), as well as for any other transcripts that have not yet been made public. As for the groundless lies made by the shameless state media that the transcripts describing torture were fabricated, I have already thoroughly rebutted them in my essay “How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light.”

6.  My children, your father loves you.*

 

Chen Jiangang (陈建刚)

2017-03-03

 

*Chen Jiangang has two children, six and two years old.  – Translator’s note  

 


Related:

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (1) – Arrest, Questions About Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (2) – Sleep Deprivation

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (3) – Dangling Chair, Beating, Threatening Lives of Loved Ones, and Framing Others

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (4) – Admit Guilt, and Keep Your Mouth Shut, January 22, 2017


How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light: Lawyer Chen Jiangang Rebuts China’s Smear Campaign, March 3, 2017  

Statement by Lawyers Representing Jiang Tianyong Regarding the Global Times Interview, March 2, 2017.

 

Translated from Chinese by China Change.

 

 

 

 

How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light: Lawyer Chen Jiangang Rebuts China’s Smear Campaign

Chen Jiangang, March 3, 2017

When lawyer Chen Jiangang published the “Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang,” the revelations of torture garnered a great deal of attention in the international press and legal profession. To name a few among the many media and professional organizations that covered the transcripts or lamented the lawlessness of Chinese authorities: The Washington Post, the American Bar Association Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, El País, Agencia EFE, The Guardian, The Irish Times, Brussels Diplomatic, and Le Monde. Twenty-nine respected lawyers and judges from around the world penned a letter demanding that China respect the rule of law, while the European Union issued a rare statement expressing concern over the reported torture of human rights lawyers. In the upcoming UN Human Rights Council meetings, China is due to answer inquiries by experts. On March 1, state media began a coordinated, all-out smear campaign, claiming that the torture of Xie Yang was a story fabricated by Jiang Tianyong and Chen Jiangang. Who is lying? China’s human rights lawyers, or state media?  – The Editors

 

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Chen Jiangang

 

 

1.  I’m Part of the ‘709’ Incident

I myself am an individual who’s been affected by the 709 arrests and prosecutions. Sometime in late July, 2015, when I was dealing with a trial in Mengcheng, Anhui (安徽蒙城), I was taken away by state security agents on two occasions for a talking to and a warning. I was told not to do anything about the detention of lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) and others. They told me not to write articles or accept interviews. These two agents weren’t malicious about it, and they even told me privately that they called me in simply to carry out the order that  wherever a given lawyer happened to be, the local domestic security police would process it, and that all the information about the given lawyer was provided by Beijing. Sure enough, during the summons, I saw that the two domestic security officers had several A4 pages with my personal information on them, including that of my family.

Of course, I wasn’t arrested, which was quite unexpected.

Given that I myself had been implicated in the 709 case, and because I expected that I was also going to be rounded up, I wasn’t very keen on representing 709 detainees. Furthermore, I’d given up all hope in the judicial system of this tyrannical regime. The legal system in a dictatorship is simply a tool of control — it has nothing to do with justice. When the judicial system becomes a “knife handle” for the Party, human rights lawyers become helpless fish on the chopping block. As for criminal defense and its techniques, what can they be but an object of ridicule for dictators? Since my head was filled with this sort of pessimism, I didn’t pay much attention to the news of Xie Yang (谢阳) being tortured. I reposted it on social media like everyone else, but avoided feeling too much pain about it, because I felt helpless. I had learned long ago that there was no evil deed, and no act too immoral, for this dictatorship. With such a sense of utter despair, I didn’t even enquire about how the details of torture came out, even though later I learnt that it was Xie Yang himself who managed to get the information out of prison.  

I did agree to represent lawyer Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), upon the request of his wife Yuan Shanshan (原珊珊), but he was forbidden to engage lawyers of his own choosing, and the authorities had assigned him a lawyer. I went to Tianjin twice to try to meet him, to no avail, and so I wasn’t able to represent him after all.

2. About Me and Jiang Tianyong

Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) is a good friend of mine and a human rights lawyer that I have enormous respect for. He’s been arrested and tortured on multiple occasions, and had eight of his ribs broken in Jiansanjiang. In Nanle county, Henan (河南南乐) in 2014, the authorities mobilized a group of village women to knock him to the ground, pelt him with rocks, bash him with a wooden stool, and rip up his clothes. And in 2011 he was slapped so savagely by state security officers that one of his eardrums was ruptured. Though we knew each other well, we didn’t really stay in touch. He was always in the middle of something sensitive and hard to reach by phone. I hadn’t seen him since the New Year of 2016, when we had a meal together. The last I heard from him was at some point between November 15 and 21, 2016. I published the article “Thoughts on Zhang Sizhi” (《张思之论》) on my blog on November 15. He left two comments, the first pointing out a typo and the second saying “it’s an extraordinary piece.” At the time I didn’t know it was Jiang who’d left the message. I asked who it was, and there was no response, and by the time I found it was him, the news was out that he’d been disappeared on November 21. So it was a complete lie when Global Times claims that I was in the know when Jiang Tianyong — as the paper claims — “fabricated” Xie Yang’s torture.

3. Being Hired by Xie Yang’s Family

In mid-December 2016, I received a call from Xie Yang’s wife. She told me that  lawyer Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), one of Xie Yang’s lawyers up to that point, had been forced to withdraw from the case, and that Xie hoped that I would take his case. She reminded me that I might face enormous pressure and even violent reprisal, and that I should think it over carefully. Xie Yang had been detained for 18 months and he was now personally asking me to defend him — there was no way I could I say no.  

On December 19, I went to Changsha for the first time, I signed the contract with Xie Yang’s wife and went to the Changsha Second Detention Center to submit the paperwork. I was working with lawyer Liu Zhengqing (刘正清); he went first to request the meeting, and I came shortly behind. I knew that there was little chance that I’d be allowed to see Xie Yang, so my job was to ensure that the paperwork was properly filed and to await their decision. If they decided that I couldn’t be a defense lawyer for Xie Yang, then, just like Lin Qilei before me,  there was nothing we could do but vent our frustration. The overriding role of the law in China is to be used as a tool to suppress and control the people.

The Changsha Second Detention Center rejected my documents but took down my legal license number (执业证号码) and my cell phone number. I explicitly requested that they provide an answer within 48 hours, but the officer at the reception said that he doesn’t make decisions, and that the higher-ups would be handling it. I then left Changsha.

4. An Obstacle Course for a Meeting

On December 22, slightly over a month after Jiang Tianyong was taken into custody, I came to Changsha for the second time, went to the detention center, and asked to meet with my client. I first submitted the paperwork to the officer in charge of handling meetings, and he verified my legal license number and began going through the red tape. But when he saw Xie Yang’s name, he said immediately: “I can’t make a decision. You need to see the boss.”

This officer called one of his superiors, then told me to go to the second floor to see the director. Upon seeing the director, I was told the following:

1. Meetings with clients must be conducted according to the law. They were willing to allow a meeting, but I had to obey their regulations. If any rule was violated, the meeting would be immediately terminated. He suggested that we make a gentleman’s agreement, and I readily assented and assured him that I would follow the rules and that he could set his mind at ease.

2. The director suspected that on December 19 when Liu Zhengqing met with Xie Yang, I made my way to the corridor outside the meeting room without gaining the appropriate permission, and warned me that if I am to meet Xie Yang, if there is anyone in the corridor who sees or communicates with him, the meeting would be immediately terminated. I promised the director that I’d lock the door during our meetings.

For my part, I don’t know what gave rise to his description of this little incident on the 19th. On that day I simply submitted the paperwork and left. I never went to the second floor where the meeting room is located, and didn’t know why he thought I had. Later, I realized that the order of events was probably this: When Liu Zhengqing met with Xie Yang, they didn’t close the door; one of Xie Yang’s former colleagues was walking past and saw him, and then when he went back to his office he left a note about the encounter on his law firm’s WeChat group, saying that he’d seen Xie Yang. Then, this was copy-pasted by another lawyer to a chat group I was in, to which I added: “I was outside at the time.” Though I wasn’t clear in my comment, and the “outside” I was referring to was downstairs, it was just this one little sentence that aroused the director’s suspicions. And yet, how did he even know about it? In any case, this made clear to me that, as far as I’m concerned, I have no such thing as privacy. This incident was proof of it.

3. After meeting with the director, I thought Xie Yang and I would be able to meet. But no. The officer at the reception told me that I had to speak with the deputy director of the detention center. I then went back to the second floor and received another round of warnings from the deputy director, who rattled off a bunch of policies and how they were all for the good of Xie Yang and so on.

After these three obstacles, I was finally able to meet Xie Yang.

5. The First Meeting With Xie Yang

Xie Yang and I met at about 10:30 a.m. on December 22, 18 months after he was detained. His hair was getting long and he had grown a beard. He was clearly dispirited. He was escorted in wearing the blue prison uniform, carrying his case files, with a guard on either side. When he saw me his face lit up: “Jiangang, you came!” He was seated, his handcuffs taken off and placed on a stool, and as the two officers left I asked them to close the door because the room was freezing.

When the police left, I cupped my hand with a fist and said to Xie Yang: “Brother, you’ve suffered!” He asked how I came; I explained that I’d just been in Jinan sitting in a hearing about the suspension of Li Jinxing’s (李金星) law license, and that Wen Donghai (文东海) bought me a train ticket to come here, and that I came with Old Sui (隋牧青), who’s waiting outside. When I got this far, Xie Yang broke into tears. The fact that so many people outside were thinking of him and worrying about him moved him deeply.

We exchanged thoughts about the 709 affair. He said he’d seen the forced confession of Zhou Shifeng (周世锋), and roughly knew the circumstances of Wang Yu and others. I said that “of all the lawyers arrested in the 709 crackdown, you’re the only one to be represented by his own attorney.” He replied: “Then I need to save a final bit of dignity for lawyers in China!” These words he spoke through tears, and we grasped one another’s hands through the iron grating, both of us now crying. The time passed quickly and it was soon noon. We agreed to continue that afternoon.

In the afternoon I went to the court with Xie Yang’s wife to submit the paperwork for me to be registered as the lawyer of record, then hurried to the detention center to meet again. Xie Yang and I discussed case defense strategies and ideas. He was very self-confident, and wanted to explain the truth of everything in court, to set the whole case out for all to see. But I was full of sorrow. Can we actually do that? Can we, brother?

Let me pause and explain the layout of the meeting room.

The room we met in was called the “No. 2 West Meeting Room,” and it was given over for Xie Yang’s exclusive use. The police in charge of the administrative procedures for meetings had come and stuck up a sign saying “Reserved for Xie Yang Case.” To the right and left behind where I was seated there were cameras, and then there was another, above left, facing me — those were the three cameras that I could see. Because of the director’s warning, as soon as I entered the meeting room, I locked the door. When another lawyer, having left an electronic swipe card in the room, came back to retrieve it, I handed it to him through the window rather than open the door and break the gentleman’s agreement between myself and the director. Before I entered the room, I placed my cell phone and briefcase in the storage cabinet as required.  However, I found that not every lawyer was held to this requirement. Many others brought their briefcases in, or would speak on their phone as they mounted the stairs. But I didn’t dare.

The surveillance of our meetings was extremely strict. On one occasion the door on Xie Yang’s side suddenly opened and a police officer came in, saying that on the monitor Xie Yang’s mood didn’t seem right, and “has he been crying?” Another time, Xie Yang wrote down the phone number of his former legal assistant, asking me to pay back, as soon as possible, a few thousand yuan that he had borrowed before he was arrested. I looked at the number, then thought that I could get it later another way, so I gave the slip of paper back to him. But this exchange was caught by the cameras, and two police came in and demanded the paper that Xie Yang had shown me. They grabbed all the case files on both sides of the grating, dumped them on tables, and began searching through them. When I was leaving that day the deputy director of the facility asked me specifically about this incident, and I told him the truth: Chinese New Year was nearly upon us, Xie Yang owed this person money, if he didn’t pay it back it would bother him to no end, so he asked me to pay them back.

After this incident, whenever Xie Yang or I made to look at materials or case files, I would hold the paper up above my head to ensure that the cameras got a clear view. If the police monitoring the conversation still objected they could come in anytime and see for themselves.

One time, one of the police at the reception, after seeing me coming to visit every morning and afternoon, remarked “It doesn’t look to me like you’re up to anything — you’re just chatting!” Right — just chatting. If we didn’t just chat, how would I have been able to find out all that happened over the last 18 months?

xieyang-and-wife

Xie Yang and wife Chen Guiqiu

6. A Rough Transcript of the Interview on December 23, 2016

We continued our meetings on December 23. Having just looked up the notes I made after that meeting, I append them below largely unaltered. Xie Yang said to me: “Jiangang, let me tell you roughly what happened after I was detained. Don’t make notes. Just listen so you’ll know the outline, and then we’ll go over it in detail.” I made notes, stopping now and then and asking him for clarification. He’d always say, “Let me talk first, then we we will go into details.” I did make some initial notes as he spoke, which would serve as the basis for my interview with Xie Yang on January 4-6, 2017. They are as follows:

On July 11, 2015, I was staying at a hotel while traveling for a case. In the early morning hours, there was a knock at the door. A voice said that it was public security police. I opened the door, and they presented me with a summons for “gathering a crowd to disturb order in the workplace” (聚众扰乱单位秩序). The agency that issued the summons was the Hongjiang Municipal Public Security Bureau.

They brought me to their station, whereupon agents from public security in Changsha carried out the interrogation. They asked what my views were on Wang Yu’s case, whether I’d accepted interviews with foreign media, and so on. At this point I objected. They kept me locked up and, later, they came to coax me, and I signed a transcript of the session.  

In the afternoon, a superior named Li Kewei (李克伟) came and said that my answers were superficial and that I had to redo it. I refused. They kept me there, and in the evening took me to the Changsha Public Security Bureau.

Li Kewei demanded my cell phone password. He’d been threatening me constantly, from when we got on the road from Hongjiang to Changsha, saying that my case is a big one, that they’re representing Party Central in handling it, and if I don’t cooperate then my wife, my parents and siblings, friends, and everyone around me will all be implicated. I said that you can investigate me or anyone you want.

As soon as we got out of the car in Changsha two police came along, one named Zhou Liang (周浪), the other Yin Zhuo (尹卓). They took me to room 207 of the National University of Defense Technology’s (国防科技大学) guesthouse for retired cadres. By then it was the afternoon of July 12. Wang Tieta (王铁铊), the head of the Sixth Squadron at the Changsha Domestic Security Bureau, came to speak with me. He began by making threats. He said that he could guarantee that I would get “reasonable” rest, but that unfortunately there was no legal definition for what counted as “reasonable.” So, in his words, “If we think that two hours sleep a night is reasonable, then it’s two hours sleep. If we think that one hour is enough, then it’ll be one hour. If we think that 20 minutes suits you, then it’ll be 20 minutes.” I got to sleep at about midnight that night.

I was rousted out of bed at 6:30 a.m. to be handed off to the first of five interrogation shifts they had set up. The first shift had me from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; the second from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; the third from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.; the fourth from 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. These were the first four teams. The fifth was from 3:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., but they didn’t interrogate. Along with these main shifts of interrogation there were three shifts of chaperons, two people each shift, working on eight hour rotations.

The number of police in each shift wasn’t fixed. Sometimes it was two, sometimes three, sometimes five. But only two people signed off on anything. They would ask me about what I’d written. I said that anything I’ve got to say is posted online, and they can look it up for themselves — it’s all public. They took turns interrogating me.

The fourth shift was supposed to go from 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m., but Yin Zhuo liked to question me until 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. I was woken up every day at 6:00 a.m., so I got about over an hour of sleep a night.

Yin Zhuo said to me in front of the others: “I’ve come especially to make your life hell. I sleep very well during the daytime, and when night comes I’m going to torture and torment you until you lose your mind.” At that moment, a sense of dread seized my heart. I had no idea what would happen. This sleep deprivation lasted three days, and by then I was about to fall apart. When they asked about my friends, I was so exhausted that I simply cried.

Yin Zhuo said that lawyer Zhang Lei (张磊) had been arrested right after his wife had a baby. They also threatened my own family. I just lost it and cried and cried.

Until about July 15 or 16, they forced me to make a list of every person I had contact with from the 2012 to 2015, and which cases I was involved in. I had to put it all down in detail. I was so exhausted that I said I simply couldn’t do it.

Three or four of them, including Yin Zhuo, Zhou Liang, and Zhuang Xiaoliang (庄晓亮), came in, pinned me to the table, twisted my hands behind my back and cuffed them, then began pounding me. The door and windows of the room I was being kept in were shut tight. They said that I could yell all I wanted. There was no one around, and no one would hear me scream.

When Yin Zhuo and Zhou Liang were interrogating and torturing me, the officers in the chaperon shift would leave. When they were done, Yin Zhuo would tell them to come back and make sure I didn’t fall asleep. They sat and stared at my eyes, and if I shut them they’d come and shake my chair. I couldn’t get any rest all night, and a whole day would pass in this manner.

I said: “If you keep this up, you’re going to kill me. The case against me is just a case — you should at least have some humanity.” On July 16 they let me sleep for an hour or two, just so I’d be able to write for them when I woke up. I told them that I’d written everything I could, and that I don’t remember everything over the past two years, and that I’d rather die.

They took out my phone and computer and started looking through the messages I’d posted to chat groups and friend circles, because I have a habit of sending out updates of what I’m doing and which cases I’m handling. They told me to write all that down.  When I was done, they said it was not good enough. So they kept torturing me.

Zhuang Xiaoliang said: “It’s mainly up to your attitude. Your case is big — the No. 1 case. Do you think this is a mistake and that you can go to Beijing and lodge a complaint against us? Do you think Beijing doesn’t know what we’re doing to you? If we want to hurt you, we can do what we like.” Both Yin Zhuo and Zhuang Xiaoliang said this sort of thing.

I was facing the threat of death. When they beat me, they would drag me away to a blind spot for the cameras and slug me hard. Sometimes they beat me in front of the cameras. I wondered if they were going to beat me to death, then fake a scene so it looked like I’d killed myself.

After five or six days of this I was basically paralyzed. I couldn’t open my eyes, and my entire body throbbed in pain. I told them that I would write whatever they wanted, and I’ll sign whatever they wanted me to.

They looked up some of the case information related to Zhou Shifeng and Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民) and forced me to write that out. I wrote whatever they said. That’s how those interrogation transcripts came about.

During the six months I was locked in that guesthouse, they beat me like that on about five or six occasions. They also used other torture, such as the “dangling chair” (吊吊椅). That’s where they would stack up plastic stools and make me sit on top so that my feet would hang there. They made me sit like that every day for over a month during the interrogations. My legs eventually swelled up, starting at the calves and going up to the thighs. I couldn’t even walk at the time. They basically turned me into a cripple.

I asked that they take me to the Liuyang Orthopedic Hospital (浏阳骨科医院), because I was worried that this abuse would leave me with a permanent injury. They refused. Instead they gave me a little spray canister of Yunnan Baiyao [a traditional Chinese medicine], and after about a month the swelling went away.

There was another torture, using smoke. They would sit people behind, in front, and to the left and right of me, and each of them would have four or five lit cigarettes in the hand, burning away. Then they would blow the second-hand smoke into my face, making me weep, gag, and suffocate. They would do this to me at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. each day, torturing me. I screamed out to Heaven and Earth for help, to no avail.  

They also refused to give me water. They said: “We’ll give you water whenever we feel like it.”  They would often not give me water for over 10 hours at a stretch.

They did a number of things to deliberately torment me. They’d leave hot food to go cold before letting me eat. For example, they would leave lunch on the floor until 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., then serve it to me cold.  

They used all of these methods for the first week or so, and after that, having found it quite effective, they canceled the later two shifts.

During the later interrogations, if they didn’t like my attitude they’d threaten me: “Xie Yang, do we need us to put you back in the oven?” Or they would say: “Xie Yang, if we want to kill you, it would be very simple. Killing you is the same as killing an ant!”

I had terrible constipation, and needed fruit to relieve it. They used this to blackmail me. They would make me write things, and only if they were happy would they give me fruit. When I couldn’t write, they would type it up on a computer, print it out, and make me sign it.

On October 24 my whole body shook. I don’t know why. I had a cold sweat, and started to get extremely scared about my condition. I told them that I needed to go to hospital. They reported to Ye Yun (叶云, political commissar of the Changsha Domestic Security Bureau’s Sixth Squadron), who came and said that he couldn’t allow that, but could arrange for medics to come examine me. I didn’t trust their doctors, so I ran to the window and screamed out: “I’m Xie Yang, a lawyer, I’ve been locked up here by the Changsha domestic security police! They haven’t told my family! Please tell my wife that I’m sick and need medical treatment!” There were people walking past, and I yelled out my wife’s name, work unit, and phone number, and told the pedestrians to call her.

That night at 9:46 p.m. Ye Yun used his cell phone to call 120. [China’s emergency service]

While waiting for first aid to arrive, a large, physically powerful man turned up. He was not wearing a uniform. He used one hand to pin me to the wall, and the other to slap me hard across the face, forehand and backhand, again, and again, and again. The pressure on my chest alone was unbearable. I couldn’t speak and could hardly breathe, and on top of that I was being pounded in the head. He knocked me half unconscious.

About 20 minutes later the ambulance came. First, domestic security wouldn’t let them examine me, and called them outside for a word. Later, a young medic surnamed Wang came in and inspected me — a very cursory examination. There was no treatment, no medication. He just said “the case requires further observation” and left.

Yin Zhuo brought me to a place in the apartment outside the view of the camera and said: “Xie Yang, you’ve been a lawyer for only three years. You couldn’t have done too many wicked things even if you did it every day, so all you have to do now is implicate Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱) and Cai Ying (蔡瑛), and we’ll release you on bail. This is what the boss says.” He went on and on trying to talk me into it.

I said that I had little contact with Yang Jinzhu, I’d only eaten a meal and had a drink with Cai Ying, and that I had no idea what they’d done.

They also wanted me to implicate more lawyers involved in the Jiansanjiang incident. They promised me that if I implicated others, I would be released on bail, and that reporting malefactors is recognized by law as “merit,” and so on.

No matter how much they wanted me to write this, I wouldn’t write it. I cannot harm other people. They said that they can just write it themselves and have me sign it. I told them not to do that, and that I haven’t even had much contact with those people. They showed me a letter that Liu Jinbin (刘金滨) had written to me.

The above are the notes I made while listening to Xie Yang on December 23. I left Changsha that night.

7. Making the First Transcript of Interviews

I made the first transcript of the interviews from January 4-6, 2017.

Let me first discuss the connection between myself and Liu Zhengqing. Old Liu and I have known each other for years, but this was the first time we worked together on a case, and Xie Yang is a mutual friend and colleague. Xie Yang thought highly of my writing skills and urged me to be the first defense counsel, and to work together with Old Liu. Old Liu is half bald, and the hair that’s left is grey. His face looks like it’s seen an age, like he’s over 70. All this imperceptibly adds to his prestige and the power of his speech. Actually, he’s the same age as lawyer Zhao Yonglin (赵永林) — they were both born in 1964.

We agreed that Old Liu would take care of filing complaints, while I’d be the one to write them up. Xie Yang is a stubborn fellow — if he wants to do something, I can’t talk him out of it. I’m the younger one in the relationship, and will oblige the older one — not the other way around. This is where Old Liu came in handy.

Xie Yang’s wife knows his character very well, and she knows that Old Liu is able to overpower Xie Yang. On the afternoon of January 4, I went in first to see Xie Yang while Old Liu went to the court to hand over the paperwork. After that he came to join me in the No. 2 West Meeting Room at the detention center. Xie Yang was in a rage at the police falsifying evidence and lying, and he was about to blow up. At the meeting room, Xie Yang and I were talking, Old Liu said to Xie Yang: “Listen to me, Xie Yang. You’ve got to listen to our advice. Don’t act rashly. You’ve been locked up for a year and a half, and you don’t know what’s going on on the outside. Don’t think that you’re so great. Right now your wife has left a far better impression on the world than you. Your wife said that if you didn’t listen to us, she’d dismiss Jiangang and not let him come anymore….” Xie Yang fell silent for a  good while. In the end, he mumbled reluctantly: “I authorized my wife to engage or fire lawyers, as a way of resisting government designating lawyers for me, not as a way to contain me….” But in the end Xie Yang accepted our ideas.

We then started working on the transcript. Old Liu sat by, I asked questions, and Xie Yang answered, one after another. The surveillance cameras should have caught the entire process very clearly.

From the afternoon of the January 4th (Wednesday) until Saturday afternoon, we made the transcript. Because of the character input method I was using, it was easy to input time — I hit ‘s’ and ‘j’ and it would give a timestamp, so I’d output the time at the beginning and end of the sessions.

Men don’t cry easy. But over those three days, Xie Yang and I both shed tears regularly, again showing the effect of an evil system in destroying human nature, as well as the sins and tragic brutality that come along with government power that acts with impunity. During the sleepless nights that followed I would recall scenes from our conversation. Xie Yang, in his prison garb, mussed hair, scraggly beard, exhausted with no lustre in his eyes, described how he worried that he’d be beaten to death and that his family wouldn’t know where he died. As he wept, I reached out to him and began weeping too. When describing how the security agent Yin Zhuo and others threatened the lives of his wife and daughter, saying they were going to stage a car accident to kill them, Xie Yang cried again. I stopped typing and thumped the table hard and repeatedly with a closed fist.

By Friday morning the transcript of the first interview was finished, and Xie Yang I went over it. After lunch I made a copy at a copyshop outside the detention center and asked Xie Yang to sign it when I saw him in the afternoon.

This was how the first transcript came about.

8. Making the Second Transcript of Interviews

On January 12 to 13, 2017, Xie Yang and I met again, and again transcribed the interviews. The Q and A process was again all carefully captured by the surveillance cameras in the room. On the afternoon of January 13, Xie Yang verified the transcript with a signature.

It’s worth noting that when I arrived for our January 13 meeting, I carried 5-8 visitation permit letters in a folder as I always did. I left the folder in the storage cabinet, but when I came back in the afternoon, they had all vanished. I broke out into a cold sweat — without these letters, I couldn’t visit Xie Yang, and every visitation usually requires several letters. Every time I left for a meeting, I would check twice to make sure. Where were they? I checked to see if there were any surveillance cameras with a view of the storage cabinet, and it seemed there were none. I asked one of the police officers whether there was a camera with a view of the cabinet, and he rebuffed me with: “If you’ve got a problem go ask the boss. I don’t know anything.”

I was just so fortunate, however, to have one last letter, left over from a visit in the Weihai detention center in Shandong. I found it in a courier envelope. This letter saved me. Xie Yang and I successfully met on the afternoon of the 13th, and he signed off on the transcript.

Later, I was mulling it over: is it me who forgot where I put the visitation letters? Or was it something else? On February 28, when Liu Zhengqing came to Changsha and requested a meeting, he was rejected. The reason was explicit: you’re not allowed to meet because the special investigation team has taken Xie Yang away for interrogation. Interrogation has no time limit,  and there’s no time allocated for a meeting with lawyers. During all this back and forth, a black satchel of Liu’s also mysteriously went missing. Once I heard this, I no longer wondered about the reasons for the disappearance of those visitation letters of mine.  

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Jiang Tianyong

9. The Lies of the Global Times

Global Times has no shame. Its article “Exposing the truth behind the ‘torture of Xie Yang’: Making up lies to pander to the West” (《揭秘“谢阳遭酷刑”真相:为迎合西方凭空捏造》) didn’t even have a byline. If there’s no byline, how can anyone be held accountable? Who takes responsibility for the truth and accuracy of the reporting? Only garbage media without any sense of shame behave in this manner.

I am an independent lawyer. I work and operate freely and independently. I am not subject to the manipulation or constraints of anyone, and I take full responsibility for the accuracy of every character of the transcripts that I have made and published. Global Times has concocted far too many fake stories, so it thinks that other people do the same. It doesn’t seem to know that truth does exist.

Though Jiang Tianyong and I are good friends, he wouldn’t make up rumors and have me repeat them. Nor would I ever do that. Just because Global Times “reports” by following political directives doesn’t mean everyone else is doing the same.  

The last time I saw Jiang Tianyong it was two or three days after New Year’s day in 2016, when he, Li Jinxing (李金星) and a few others went out to eat. I hadn’t seen him since then. Our communication, whether via phone or email, had been even sparser.  He hardly ever answered the phone, didn’t use WeChat, and was hard to get ahold of in person. I’m also not used to getting around the internet firewall on my smartphone, so there are almost no communication records between us. It was only after he was apprehended that I found the two messages he’d left for me. The date was between November 15 and November 21. Global Times has no shame when it claims that Xie Yang’s defense lawyer [me] and Jiang Tianyong fabricated claims of torture.

Global Times is a Party mouthpiece. It has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with propaganda.

10. The Phoenix Television Interview of Jiang Tianyong and Xie Yang

I have the greatest sympathy for the plight and vulnerability of Jiang Tianyong who, in the hands of those scum, can’t control his own fate. Jiang Tianyong was tortured on numerous occasions, and he made multiple statements denigrating himself. Having experienced the barbaric torture first hand, he told friends that, if he’s tortured, he may very well submit to their demands, because the methods they use are beyond what any human can withstand. An examination of Xie Yang’s testimony makes this clear. Thus, I feel for Jiang Tianyong in the same manner that I feel for Wang Yu and others. They are brave warriors, they are victims of a tyranny, and they are the light of dawn at the end of the night.  

In all of the interviews Xie Yang gave, he never denied the torture he experienced. Xie Yang said that when he demanded someone call 120 for a doctor, it was due to his own illness, not because he’d been beaten. That’s what he said in the interview, and it does not negate the fact that he was tortured.

He said on camera that he now gets about nine hours sleep a night, and this seems to be the situation currently — but it does not negate the torture he suffered during the six months of “residential surveillance at a designated location” a year ago. Also, he repeatedly said that the improvement in his conditions of detention was because his lawyers lodged a complaint against abuse, not because the detention center has always been so generous.

It’s similar to when researchers say that during the great famine of 1958, millions died, and then the fifty-cent commentators say that in the year 2000 everyone can afford to eat their fill. Are these two things related? Does one negate the other?

Xie Yang is now healthy and can walk and climb stairs normally — but do these facts have any logical relation to the six months of torture he experienced after July 11, 2015? Does the fact that he can climb stairs now negate the fact that he was subjected to severe sleep deprivation?  

Xie Yang seems talkative in the Global Times interview. He might have spoken about the torture and then the improvement, except that he was not informed of the cynical use of the interview. I’d be surprised if Global Times has any credibility anywhere in the world.

11. The Hunan Procuratorate’s ‘Investigation’

The so-called investigation by the Hunan Procuratorate was neither fair nor just. In totalitarian China, all of the powers of the judicial, procuratorial, police, and public security organs are one, and those in power can do whatever they want. In Xie Yang’s case, he was accused of the crime of opposing the Party and opposing socialism. The investigation was conducted by the Party, the review was carried out by the Party, the trial will also be presided over by the Party. Now that Xie Yang’s torture has become an international scandal, the investigation was again done under the leadership of the Party. Everything is handled by the Party — in other words the Party is the player and the referee at the same time. This scandalous power structure is sacred in China and must be preserved and praised. It’s always for repression, never for truth, fairness, or justice. The “investigation” then is a coverup, and another attack on Xie Yang and his defense counsel.

Let’s examine their facile logic. One of the prosecutors said they did an experiment: they found someone who was slightly shorter than Xie Yang, sat him on a stack of five plastic stools, and found that his feet could still reach the ground, supposedly thus proving that Xie Yang was lying.  

In Xie Yang’s transcript, he said they used “a number of plastic stools stacked atop one another,” and that he was forced to sit on top, “leaving my legs to dangle.” Did he specify how many stools were used and the size of the stools? If 5 stools were too short for feet to dangle from, would 10, or 20 be high enough?

12. The Surveillance Camera

The evidence with the most probative value, of course, is that which is recorded by video camera. According to a long-standing law, individuals charged with political crimes must have their interrogations recorded. But in Xie Yang’s case files, there is no surveillance recording, and in its place is a note by the investigators: “Due to the decrepitude of the equipment, there was no recording of the interrogation.” If the equipment was not functional, then you shouldn’t have conducted the interrogation.  Has anyone been sold on these shameless lies?

13. Gratitude to Lawyer Zhang Zhongshi

One individual I have come to respect deeply when dealing with 709 cases is lawyer Zhang Zhongshi (张重实). I can’t match his exertions, and I couldn’t bear what he regularly withstands. Zhang Zhongshi was the first defense attorney that Xie Yang’s wife hired. His law firm and family are in Xiangtan (湘潭), Hunan. He’s traveled from Xiangtan to Changsha over 100 times to take care of Xie Yang’s case. He visited every single related government office, and on each occasion affected a respectful, solicitous demeanour, quietly putting up with their insults and bullying, all for the purpose of just being able to meet his client, Xie Yang. So-called “residential surveillance at a designated location” should not be a black jail; the detainee should be able to freely meet their own attorneys and family members — but the lawyers have been stripped of all these rights. After six months in a black jail, Xie Yang was formally arrested, but still the authorities prevented his meeting with lawyers in the name of “endangering state security,” and “interrogation by prosecutors.”

Xie Yang’s wife told me that on one occasion, a junior police officer clad in a black uniform looked at Zhang Zhongshi and rebuked him: “You’re a lawyer but you don’t know the law?” But Zhang didn’t return fire on this upstart, who was young enough to be his son or daughter. He simply kept the smile on his face and patiently explained what the law actually stipulates. I couldn’t have done this. Xie Yang couldn’t have done it. Many of us couldn’t have done it.

Zhang Zhongshi was not alone. Lawyer Cheng Hai (程海) in Beijing, lawyer Lin Qilei, lawyer Yu Wensheng (余文生), and lawyer Ma Lianshun (马连顺) in Henan, as well as others, have all persevered and persisted. I have to acknowledge that I couldn’t have done what they have done.

To lawyer Zhang, I give my gratitude — and so does Xie Yang.  

 

Chen Jiangang

March 2, 2017

 

 


Related:

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (1) – Arrest, Questions About Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (2) – Sleep Deprivation

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (3) – Dangling Chair, Beating, Threatening Lives of Loved Ones, and Framing Others

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (4) – Admit Guilt, and Keep Your Mouth Shut, January 22, 2017

 

Translated from Chinese (《陈建刚律师:会见谢阳前后》) by China Change.