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Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars: A Statement on the Death of Mr. Liu Xiaobo

July 15, 2017

 

“This was a long and public slaughter.”

 

Today, Xiaobo is gone. Xiaobo, our teacher, our classmate, is gone. The courageous man who protected others’ lives at the scene of the Tiananmen massacre has perished, and the beautiful soul behind Charter 08 has passed away.

Xiaobo was a writer, a scholar, a sage, but even more he was a man who acted on his word. He is the unforgettable dark horse in literary circles. His words radiate with rational brilliance; he sacrificed his frail body for Tiananmen; he used pen and ink to calmly write his beautiful freedom-seeking articles. Years of purgatory did not change his ideas. He said at the devil’s court—I have no enemies.

Xiaobo had no enemies. But the illegitimate Chinese communist regime that murdered him sees him as an enemy. Lengthy imprisonment destroyed him physically, and the kidnapping of his family tormented him mentally. Xiaobo is gone. He is gone in solitude; he is gone in the gaze of the world. This was a long and public slaughter. This was a shameless revelry by the despotic rulers.

However, the thieves with sharp fangs and claws were fearful of the unarmed Xiaobo. They dare not demolish the cage that besieged him; they dare not speak his name aloud; they even dare not to allow him a plot for a tomb. They thought the ashes of the dead being scattered into the sea is equal to being totally crushed. But what they don’t know is that in every drop of spray blown from the crests of waves is his reflection.

Xiaobo said: “I look forward to my country being a land of free expression, where different values, ideas, beliefs and political opinions… can compete and peacefully coexist.” “I hope to be China’s last victim for the crime of free thought.” This is the poem of a martyr who died for his ideals, as well as the prayer of scholars like us.

Xiaobo is gone, but the tyrants remain. As long as we live, we will not stop resisting. Xiaobo, we will always remember your name, for your dream is ours too.

 

 


The Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS) was founded on August 1, 1989, when over 1000 Chinese student representatives from more than 200 major U.S. universities held their First Congress of Chinese Students and Scholars in USA at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The mission of IFCSS was to promote democracy in China and to protect the interests of the Chinese students and scholars studying in the United States, as a response to Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Since its birth, IFCSS had become one of the most influential overseas Chinese students groups in history. It had lobbied successfully in U.S. Congress, organized the well-known “Washington March for Chinese Democracy” in 1989, and united tens of thousands of Chinese students together for many years since 1989. However, its relevance and importance have been declining for years, even though some of its members continues to organize Memorials for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in Washington D. C. every year, and provides financial assistance to Tiananmen victims on a regular basis.

 

 

 

 

New Citizens Movement Leader Xu Zhiyong Released From Prison

China Change, July 15, 2017

 

 
Xu zhiyongDr. Xu Zhiyong (许志永), leader of the New Citizens Movement, was released from prison on July 15, after serving a 4-year sentence.

Xu Zhiyong’s defense lawyer Zhang Qingfang (张庆方) confirmed that Dr. Xu has returned home in Beijing. He was picked up earlier by the security police, a source said.

Yesterday, scores of citizens traveled to the vicinity of Kenhua Prison in Ninghe District in Tianjin where Xu Zhiyong had been imprisoned since he was sentenced in February 2014. Dr. Xu, 44 years old, is a legal scholar and the founder of Gongmeng, a civil society group that pioneered China’s “rights defense movement” and in recent years campaigned for equal education rights for migrant workers’ children in large cities, and engaged in citizen activism under the banner “Freedom, Justice, and Love.”

The crackdown on the New Citizens Movement began in April 2013. Xu Zhiyong was arrested in July 2013.

FullSizeRender

Dr. Xu Zhiyong’s essays were published last fall,  “highly recommended” by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Friends who tried to visit Xu this morning were blocked by three plainclothes security agents at the entrance of his residential compound. It’s unclear whether Dr. Xu will be placed under some kind of restriction in his movement and communications — illegal but common practices used by the Chinese government against leading dissidents.

Yesterday, activists who went to the prison to welcome Dr. Xu found that the roads around the prison were closed, allowing only inbound traffic. During the night, police raided the guest rooms of the activists. On the morning of the 15th, police stopped activists approaching the prison, telling them that Xu Zhiyong had been released already.

On July 13, Liu Xiaobo, the founder of China’s political opposition movements and the only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate in the world, died in custody from liver cancer, marking, some say, the end of an era and with it the hope of a gradual transition to democracy in China.

Dr. Xu is a leader of the younger generation of Chinese activists; he returns, four years later, to a much harsher environment for political opposition.

 

 


Related:

The China Manifesto – detained activist Xu Zhiyong calls for end to ‘barbaric’ one party rule, The Telegraph, January 23, 2014.

Who Is Xu Zhiyong — An Interview with Dr. Teng Biao, Part One, April 10, 2014.

Who Is Xu Zhiyong — An Interview with Dr. Teng Biao, Part Two, April 13, 2014.

 

 

 

 

The China Human Rights Lawyers Group: Statement Upon the 2nd Anniversary of the 709 Incident

The China Human Rights Lawyers Group, July 9, 2017

 

In the early hours of the morning on July 9, 2015, the Beijing-based lawyer Wang Yu and her husband and son, Bao Longjun (包龙军) and Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩), were suddenly illegally arrested by the police. Before long, Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Li Heping (李和平), Xie Yanyi (谢燕益), Zhou Shifeng (周世锋), Xie Yang (谢阳), Sui Muqing (隋牧青), Li Chunfu (李春富), Xie Yuandong (谢远东), Liu Sixin (刘四新), Gao Yue (高月), Zhao Wei (赵威), Li Shuyun (李姝云) and dozens of other lawyers and their assistants were also arrested. At around the same time, Wu Gan (吴淦 known online as “The Butcher”), an activist who was in Nanchang protesting the Jiangxi High Court’s refusal to allow a lawyer to examine the case files surrounding the “Leping Wrongful Imprisonment” case, was arrested, along with Li Yanjun (李燕军), Liu Xing (刘星), Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民), Wang Su’e (王素娥), and others, a total of 17 citizen activists in Weifang, Shandong Province. This was a prelude to the mass arrests of the July 9 sweep. Later, there were also the arrests, one after another, of Hu Shigen (胡石根), Gou Hongguo (勾洪国), Wang Fang (王芳), Yin Xu’an (尹旭安) and other rights defenders. After July 9, over 360 lawyers and citizens around the country were summoned and subjected to coercive, high-pressure interrogations. The family members of lawyers and rights activists were also implicated and subjected to constant threats and intimidation. About 40 lawyers were prevented from leaving China.

This campaign of mass arrests of lawyers began on July 9, 2015, and so is known as the “709 Incident.” After it began, those detained have for the most part been disappeared — held in secret detention (officially known as “residential surveillance at a designated place”). In January 2016, when the term of “residential surveillance at a designated place” expired, the majority of the lawyers were then formally arrested on the criminal charge of subverting, or inciting subversion of, state power. The authorities attempted to forcibly sever the legal contracts between those arrested and their own lawyers and then, entirely exceeding any legitimate power they held, assigned lawyers they controlled to the cases. In early August 2016, the Tianjin Second Intermediate Court began rapidly prosecuting and pronouncing pro forma sentences against Hu Shigen, Zhou Shifeng, Gou Hongguo, and Zhai Yanmin on charges of “subversion of state power.” The four were given prison sentences of between three and seven years. In November 2016 lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), who had been working indefatigably to try to rescue the 709 detainees, was himself put under secret detention in the Changsha 1st Detention Center.

Separately, beginning in September 2016, but particularly from February to May 2017, mass arrests of citizens in Shenzhen began. Those targeted included Gu Yimin (顾义民), Ge Jueping (戈觉平), Lu Guoying (陆国英), Hu Cheng (胡诚), Wang Jun (王军), Ding Yan (丁岩), Ma Zhiquan (马志权), Li Nanhai (李南海) and others. Their arrests was said to have been connected with their advocacy on behalf of 709 victims — a continuation and escalation of the campaign.

In January 2017, lawyer Li Chunfu (李春富) was released on probation. The long-term torture and abuse he was subjected to in custody, however, left him mentally broken. Only through the care, company, and guidance of his family did he gradually begin returning to health. Xie Yang’s lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), after visiting him in custody, published the inside details of the extreme torture that Xie Yang was subjected to. In April 2017, Li Heping (李和平) was given a suspended sentence for “subversion of state power”; when he returned home, his face was thin and pallid. He explained that he had suffered systematic, long-term psychological and physical torture in custody. The Chinese phrase “nine deaths and still alive” (九死一生) would describe it. In May 2017, Xie Yang was released on probation. When in the detention center, Wu Gan wrote a letter of complaint against the authorities, describing the torture he was put through. Nothing at all has been heard from Wang Quanzhang since his arrest two years ago; the lawyers hired by his family have yet to see him, and no one knows whether he’s even dead or alive.

In the post 709 Crackdown period, some people believe that the community of human rights lawyers had been dealt with a destructive blow. Some have been delighted at that prospect, some withdrew, and others have changed course. The 709 incident itself, however, has become the occasion for a number of human rights lawyers to shine through. Those who stuck through when besieged with crisis and danger on all sides are benchmarks for legal professionals in China — they’re the group who most care, most pursue, and are most willing to exert themselves for freedom, democracy, rule of law, fairness, and justice in China.

The 709 incident has also revealed a number of legal scholars and professionals, both embedded in the state system and outside it, who wear the garb of “men of the law” but who in fact trample the rule of law, helping to suppress democracy activists, and who hamper China’s democratization. Doing so, they’ve now become obstacles, trying to block up the wheels of history’s progress. Among them are some “experts,” “professors,” and “scholars” who, in their ivory tower, act like kept propagandists for those in power, defending the Party’s anti-democratic, anti-liberty, and anti-rule of law behavior. They sell out their consciences for money; they’ve abandoned the basic ethics of human beings, and they’re simply washing up after the evildoers. There are also a group of official lawyers who work at the command of the security apparatus. They too cloak themselves as “men of the law,” but the role they play is that of the stability maintenance agent, defending those trampling on the rule of law. History will testify the truth about them, and their names will put to shame in the course of China’s democratization.

History will also remember another group of people from the 709 incident: the family members of 709 victims. Especially the wives of Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang, Xie Yang, Xie Yanyi, Gou Hongguo, Zhai Yanmin and others. Their images of carrying bright red buckets with names of their husbands  impressed all of us. The work of these wives on behalf of their husbands persisted throughout the 709 crackdown.

The 709 incident was a premeditated, large-scale, coordinated attack by the authorities on the human rights defense movement, the most severe over the last several years. The daily withering of civil society in China under such repression is a fact — but as long as there are abuses of human rights, human rights lawyers will not be absent. We believe that those who’ve been through the 709 test won’t give up on defending human rights. Instead, they will more tenaciously, wisely, and fearlessly assume the mission that the era demands of them.

The 709 incident shows that when the ignorant and powerful come to confront human rights defenders, they act without mercy or feeling or any restraint. The forced confessions they extract simply reflect their apprehension and guilty conscience in the face of the law, and in the face of a citizenry that is waking up every day. They desperately need human rights lawyers to acknowledge allegiance and openly confess guilt so they can then use that to further repress the rest of the citizenry.

The international community, lawyers, the family members of victims, citizens, and people of conscience throughout society, have always been supporters of 709 victims. Those ensnared by the 709 crackdown have borne witness to the false promise of the rule of law in China with their suffering. The awakening of citizen consciousness and the development of civil society are inevitable parts of the road to a modern democratic civilization; lawyers are a crucial force on this path toward the rule of law. They should not become the targets of attack, elimination, and persecution.

The human rights lawyers who have been arrested are not the troublemakers in Chinese society, but instead the people who seek out solutions. They assume it upon themselves, and they summon up their own courage, to put the questions that plague Chinese society on the table and hope for a lawful path to their resolution. History makes clear that liberty, democracy, and the rule of law don’t fall from the sky; those in power won’t limit it of their own accord, nor will they proactively let go of their own vested interests. Using the law to resist, to strive for freedom, promote democracy, and realize the rule of law is an effective path. In this process, the sacrifices and exertions of the resistors are worth it.

Upon the second anniversary of the 709 incident, we thank the attention of everyone on the 709 incident, and we thank everyone who has worked to free the persecuted. We won’t be discouraged; we’ll continue striving to defend human rights. We hope that everyone continues to pay attention to the cases of Wang Quanzhang, Jiang Tianyong, and Wu Gan, among others. We also express our concern over the condition of Liu Xiaobo. Constitutional democracy has not yet been realized, and citizens must continue to strive. Before the arrival of dawn, there will be harsher suppression and worse persecution, but they will not stop the sun from rising, and the light of constitutional democracy will radiate everywhere in China and heal this wounded land.

 

July 9, 2017

 
————————————-

The China Human Rights Lawyers Group was founded on September 13, 2013. It is an open platform for cooperation. Since its founding, members of the group have worked together to protect human rights and promote the rule of law in China through issuing joint statements and representing human rights cases. Any Chinese lawyer who shares our human rights principles and is willing to defend the basic rights of citizens is welcome to join. We look forward to working with you.

Chang Boyang (常伯阳) 18837183338
Liu Shihui (刘士辉) 18516638964
Lin Qilei (蔺其磊) 18639228639
Tang Ji Tian (唐吉田) 13161302848
Yu Wensheng (余文生) 13910033651

 

 

 

Two Years on: An Update on Lawyer Wang Yu, the First 709 Detainee

China Change, July 7, 2017

 

“Wang Yu (王宇) was at home by herself that night, having just seen off at the airport her husband Bao Longjun (包龙军), and their son Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓軒). A group of men began idling about outside her home, and when she yelled out asking who they were, they shrank away and kept quiet. About an hour later, when she was unable to raise her husband and son on the phone, and just beginning to get anxious, the lights in her apartment suddenly went out. Her internet was also cut. The harsh buzz of an electric drill shattered the silent darkness and within a few minutes the lock had been drilled out, falling to the ground. A gang of men rushed in, shoved her onto the bed, and snapped a cold pair of handcuffs on her hands, twisted behind her back. She was hooded and hauled out into a waiting vehicle, then taken to a facility whose location is unknown to this day. There, they drew a circle around Wang Yu’s spot on the bed: for several weeks, she had to sit with her legs crossed in the circle, and if she left it would be screamed at or beaten.”

— Lawyer Wen Donghai describes how Wang Yu was taken away on July 9, 2015.  

 

Wang Yu hooligan sparrow

In the documentary Hooligan Sparrow, lawyer Wang Yu is shown handing out the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in2013.  Photo: Hooligan Sparrow website

 

 

When China Change reported lawyer Wang Yu’s disappearance in the small hours on July 9, 2015, two years ago, little did we know what was to follow. She was the first of over 300 human rights lawyers and activists across China who, in the coming days, would be detained, disappeared, temporarily rounded up, and interrogated. Eventually more than two dozen were placed under the notorious “residential surveillance at a designated place,” (指定居所监视居住) and over the last two years they have gone through torture and family trauma, and some have been released. At least three more — Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Wu Gan (吴淦) and Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) — remain in custody. None, whether released or not, have been truly free. The campaign is known as the 709 Crackdown.

Wang Yu and her husband Bao Longjun were released on probation in August 2016. They live in Beijing, but they’ve now been sequestered in a public housing block in Ulan Hot, Inner Mongolia, and are being held under tight control. For nearly a year, until recently, no one has seen Wang Yu or her husband in public. It’s like they’ve disappeared from the face of the earth.

Wang Yu visit_709

Left to right: Li Yuhan, Wang Yu, and Wen Donghai

In late June, Wang Yu’s defense lawyers Wen Donghai (文东海) and Li Yuhan (李昱函) were able to visit Wang Yu and Bao Longjun, along with their son, in Inner Mongolia. After of nearly a year of probation, the whole family’s freedom is still severely restricted. There are three surveillance cameras set up in the corridor outside their door, and bugs have been planted throughout their apartment (they’re aware of this because the Security Police immediately know what they’ve been saying to one another). There are also guards on duty outside their building, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever they leave home, at least two security agents follow them. Their range of activities in Ulan Hot is highly limited — they leave home either to buy groceries and basic supplies, or else to visit Wang Yu’s parents who also live in Ulan Hot.

If they want to go to Beijing (where they actually live) or Tianjin (where Bao Longjun’s parents live), they have to submit an application to the Security Police. When they get there, the local Security Police follow them around, and keep them under extremely tight control.

Legally, Wang Yu and Bao Longjun are still on “probation”; Wang Yu’s probationary period ends on July 22, while Bao Longjun’s expires on August 5. The law states that during the period of probation they are required to report to the local public security bureau to account for their movements. The measures taken against them, however — house arrest, 24 hour surveillance, being followed wherever they go — are all illegal.

Neither Wang or Bao are currently allowed to work, and their subsistence is paid by the Security Police.  

Their son, Bao Zhuoxuan, was a high schooler in Beijing when his parents were detained. Over the past two years, he was also put under short-term house arrest and long-term surveillance, and forced to live with his maternal grandmother in Inner Mongolia. In October 2015, after two family friends tried and failed to spirit him out of China, the young man was put under even tighter control. Bao is 18 this year and still in senior high-school. His parents still hope he can go overseas to study, but they are not sure how long their son will continue to be barred from moving freely. This is notwithstanding the fact that all the measures taken against him are simply illegal and immoral.

In their meeting with Wang Yu, both lawyers secured a new signature from her authorizing them as her official legal representatives.

On March 30, 2016 when she was in prison, Wang Yu underwent surgery for breast cancer. Last August she was awarded the inaugural International Human Rights Award given by the American Bar Association.

We are certain that Wang Yu, like many others ensnared in the 709 Crackdown, was tortured in custody, and we have yet to hear the details of the horror.

 

 


Related:

A Human Rights Lawyer’s Notes on the ‘709 Incident,’ Two Years on, Wen Donghai, July 6, 2017.

To American Bar Association With Regard to ABA Human Rights Award to Wang Yu, August 6, 2016.

The Vilification of Lawyer Wang Yu and Violence By Other Means, July 27, 2015.

She was a quiet commercial lawyer. Then China turned against her. Washington Post, July 18, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing the Inaugural China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day

July 4, 2017

 

709群像 2017 big black big

Cartoon by @baduicao

 

 

China’s human rights lawyers have since 2003 become one of the most active and effective forces in the country advancing the ideals of universal values, because of their unique role and professional positions. Their work defending the civil rights and liberties of Chinese citizens extends from the internet to the streets, from courtrooms to jails. They’ve fought hard to promote the rule of law and democracy in China.

As prominent representatives of Chinese lawyers, human rights lawyers have been the target of the Chinese government’s persecution since the beginning of the rights defense movement. They’ve had their licenses to practice law revoked, they’ve been followed, threatened, publicly slandered by state media, abducted, disappeared, sent to forced labor camps, imprisoned for lengthy periods, and tortured. Persecution has become commonplace.

The persecution of rights lawyers in China reached its peak on July 9, 2015, when hundreds were detained and interrogated; the crackdown is now known as the “709 Incident.” The barbarism, cruelty, and absurdity with which the Chinese Communist Party began persecuting 709 lawyers and activists, and the torture and humiliation they suffered, has shocked the world. The 709 lawyers’ own defense attorneys and supporters have put up courageous resistance. The unyielding support and advocacy by the wives of human rights lawyers, through smiles and tears, have become iconic images.

The 709 Incident isn’t over, yet it has already left a profound mark on the development of Chinese civilization. It’s far reaching political and historical significance will become clearer in time.

The date of July 9 must become one that we remember and mark from now on. For this reason, we call for the establishment of July 9 as “China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day.” To inaugurate the occasion we will hold an event in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the bravery, wisdom, and will to resist exhibited by human rights lawyers in China. We’ll recall their suffering and sacrifices, demand accountability for the crimes committed against them, whether by the regime or individuals, and call for the international community to continue monitoring their plight and advocating on their behalf.

We firmly believe that someday in the future, in a constitutionally-governed, democratic, and free China, we’ll mark July 9 as a day to honor and celebrate human rights lawyers, and it will become a day that belongs to all of China’s lawyers.

Plans for the Inaugural Chinese Human Rights Lawyers’ Day are as follows:

Location: 1701 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
(Taipei and Hong Kong events to be announced later.)

Time: 10:00 a.m. July 9 (Eastern U.S. time)

Format: Exhibition of photographs, screening of a new documentary film about Chinese human rights lawyers, luncheon, discussions, and a march — broadcast online to the world

Social media tags: #709lawyers  #中国人权律师节

Organizers:

Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (Hong Kong)
China Change (U.S.A)
Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers(U.S.A)
Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network (Taiwan)
China Aid  (U.S.A)
Initiatives for China (U.S.A)
International Association of People’s Lawyers(Netherlands)
Humanitarian China (U.S.A)
Institute for China’s Democratic Transition (U.S.A)
Day of the Endangered Lawyer (Netherlands)
Taiwan Association for China Human Rights (Taiwan)
New School for Democracy (Hong Kong)
The International Observatory for Lawyers at Risk (OIAD, Europe)
Visual Artists Guild (U.S.A)

Contacts:

Teng Biao:       Tel: (617)396-6099     Email: tengbiao89@gmail.com
Yang Jianli      Tel: (857)472-9039    Email: yangjianli001@gmail.com

 


关于举办首届“中国人权律师节”活动的通告

 

中国人权律师群体,自2003年来已经成为中国大陆民间最活跃的抗争力量之一。从法庭到监狱,从网络到街头,他们为捍卫公民自由和人权,为推动中国走向法治和民主,付出了艰苦的努力。

作为中国律师群体的优秀代表,人权律师从维权运动之初开始,就一直受到中国政府的各种严厉打压:吊销律师证、跟踪、威胁、公开污名化、绑架、秘密失踪、劳教、长期监禁和酷刑,无日无之。

以2015年7月9日为标志的709事件,将对人权律师的迫害推向了一个顶峰。中共当局对人权律师镇压之野蛮、残酷、荒谬,“709律师”和活动人士所承受的酷刑、羞辱和磨难,震惊世界。“709律师”、他们的辩护律师和支持者们,进行着勇敢的抗争;尤其是709律师的妻子们的奔走呐喊,她们的微笑与泪水,在无数关注中\国命运的人们心中,已定格为这个时代最令人动容的形象。

709事件还未结束,就已经在中国文明进程上写下浓重的一笔。其深远的政治意义和历史意义,将随着时间的推移,愈加彰显。

7月9日这个日子由此也必将成为一个不可磨灭的纪念日。我们在此倡议将7月9日设立为“中国人权律师节”。2017年7月9日,我们将举办“首届中国人权律师节”系列活动,庆祝中国人权律师的勇气、智慧和抗争;记住他们的苦难和付出;记录和追究政府和个人所犯下的罪行;推动国际社会对中国的人权状况予以持续关注和支持。

我们坚信,在未来的某个7月9日,我们将在一个宪政法治、自由民主的中国,庆祝这个不仅仅属于人权律师、也将属于全体中国律师的节日。

“首届中国人权律师节”活动计划

【时间】2017年7月9日 美东时间上午10点

【地点】美国华盛顿 1701 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
(香港、台湾活动计划另行通知)

【形式】图片展、纪录片放映、聚餐、讨论会、游行、全球连线与直播。

【社交媒体标签】#中国人权律师节 #709lawyers

【主办】

中国维权律师关注组(香港)
改变中国(美国)
声援中国律师委员会(美国)
台湾支持中国人权律师网络 (台湾)
对华援助协会(美国)
公民力量 (美国)
国际人民律师协会 (荷兰)
人道中国 (美国)
中国民主转型研究所 (美国)
国际危难律师日 (荷兰)
台湾关怀中国人权联盟 (台湾)
华人民主书院 (香港)
危难律师国际观察(欧洲多国)
视觉艺术家协会 (美国)

【联系】

滕   彪  电话:(617)396 6099;  Email:tengbiao89@gmail.com
杨建利  电话: (857) 472 9039;  Email: yangjianli001@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Approaching the ‘International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,’ a Request to OHCHR and IBA to Address the Torture of Chinese Human Rights Lawyers in the 709 Crackdown

China Human Rights Lawyers Group, June 23, 2017

 

This year, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is partnering with the International Bar Association (IBA) to mark the annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture” on June 26. Through storytelling, social media campaigns, and a panel discussion, they hope to advance their “shared ambition for the absolute prohibition of torture.” This year and the year before, we have begun to learn, with horror, about the torture of Chinese human rights lawyers during the 709 Crackdown. Below is a letter from the China Human Rights Lawyers Group addressed and delivered to OHCHR and IBA. — The Editors

 

To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the International Bar Association:

In the early morning of July 9, 2015, Chinese police began a campaign of mass arrests, interrogations, and warnings against human rights lawyers and rights defenders. Dozens of rights lawyers and other activists were detained; hundreds of lawyers, scholars, and citizens were called in for “chats” and warnings by the police; dozens of lawyers and citizens were prevented from leaving the country.

Whether they were charged with the crime of “subversion of state power,” “inciting subversion of state power,” or the more pedestrian “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” all were subjected to the coercive criminal penal measure known as “residential surveillance at a designated place,” based on the claim that they were a threat to national security.

Residential surveillance at a designated place is a compulsory criminal procedure that was specified, codified, and integrated into China’s “Criminal Procedure Law,” modified in 2012 and implemented in 2013. In the implementation of this procedure, Chinese police have been abusing the relevant clauses, using it to put subjects under completely secret control, torturing them, and acting without accountability and restraint.

The torture that 709 lawyers have been subjected to during residential surveillance at a designated place has been made clear in the transcripts of interviews of lawyer Xie Yang provided by his defense counsel Chen Jiangang. One can also listen to the accounts by Li Heping’s family and friends who visited him after he was given a suspended sentence. One can infer it from the psychological breakdown suffered by Li’s brother, Li Chunfu, after he was released on probation. One can observe it from the articles published by lawyer Li Shuyun and legal assistant Zhao Wei. One can can get a sense of it from the few choice descriptive phrases used by lawyer Xie Yanyi after he was released on probation.

Wang Quanzhang, another lawyer arrested in the 709 Crackdown, has been in detention for nearly two years now, and not a single piece of news has emerged about his condition. Even whether he’s dead or alive is unclear — and those who care for him are extremely concerned that he has been put through, or is now being put through, extreme torture. Lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who worked hard to try to gain the release of his colleagues and rights defenders detained in the 709 arrests, has been denied access to legal representation for over seven months now. Reports that he is being tortured emerge periodically. In late May 2017 a statement bearing Jiang’s signature stated that Jiang had dismissed his defense counsel, causing grave concern that Jiang had been, and was now being, subjected to torture.

Chinese police have never actually established that these human rights lawyers and rights defenders are guilty of any crime whatsoever. The authorities have force-fed them medication, tortured them physically, devastated them psychologically, and gone after their loved ones, solely for the purpose of breaking their will, making them confess guilt on national television, accepting the judgement against them, and thus completely driving them away from the rights defense field in China.

The human rights lawyers and rights defense activists targeted in the 709 Crackdown should be protected by all the safeguards afforded by the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The plight of rights defenders in China, in particular human rights lawyers, has become more and more grim in recent years. With a series of new laws being rolled out — including the State Security Law, the Foreign NGO Law, the Charity Law, the Criminal Law Amendment (No. 9), and the Anti-Espionage Law — they have been completely hemmed in and trapped. Now, they could lose their freedom at a moment’s notice, be spirited away to a secret detention facility, and put through brutal torture.

No individual, nor any country in the world, is an island unto itself. Concern for others is the same as concern for oneself. Protection of human rights, opposition to torture, and concern for victims of torture, should be extended across ethnic and racial boundaries. These were precisely the founding principles behind the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture.

As Chinese human rights lawyers, we respectfully request that you convey concern for the Chinese human rights defenders who have not yet been detained and tortured; that you monitor and speak out about China’s violations of the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture; and that you follow the news of regular violations of human rights in China, and help the human rights lawyers and other rights defenders who have been put in danger.

                  

China Human Rights Lawyers Group (中国人权律师团)

June 23, 2017

Contact persons:

Chang Boyang (常伯阳) 18837183338

Liu Shihui (刘士辉) 18516638964

Lin Qilei (蔺其磊) 18639228639

Tang Jitian (唐吉田) 13161302848

Yu Wensheng (余文生) 13910033651

 

 

Attached: A brief introduction to the China Human Rights Lawyers Group

The China Human Rights Lawyers Group was established on September 13, 2013 as an open platform for lawyers to connect and work together. Since its founding, the China Human Rights Lawyers Group has used joint public statements, involvement in specific human rights cases, and a range of other means to protect human rights and promote the rule of law. Chinese lawyers who support the ideals of human rights and are willing to safeguard the basic rights of Chinese citizens can join the group through an existing member by making a statement affirming these commitments. Promoting the rule of law and safeguarding human rights are the tireless pursuit of the China Human Rights Lawyers Group. We look forward to working together with you.

 

 


Related:

Letter to World Leaders by ‘709’ Family Members Includes Emerging Details of Horrific Torture, March 1, 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