China Change

Home » Rule of Law

Category Archives: Rule of Law

Announcement of the Establishment of the China Anti-Torture Alliance

February 16, 2017

 

%e9%85%b7%e5%88%91%e7%94%bb2

A Chinese farmer depicts the torture he was subjected to. Huffington Post has more in-depth reporting on the same story. Photo: New York Times

 

Torture has long been a chronic disease plaguing China’s judicial system. It is not only that nearly every case of judicial injustice in China is attended by torture, but that torture is much more widely applied than merely as a means of extracting a confession during the criminal investigation process. It’s often used as a form of humiliation, a torment of the flesh and the spirit simultaneously, with an array of methods that are unrestrained and completely unscrupulous. The goal is to have the captive or internee surrender their minds to the authorities, and so prisons and extra-judicial detention facilities — like Legal Education Bases (or centers), brainwashing classes, and shuanggui facilities — make widespread use of torture. Torture aimed to humiliate is used in a particularly concentrated way on prisoners of conscience.

In particular since the 709 arrests in July 2015, human rights lawyers and defenders have been held in “residential surveillance at a designated location,” the essence of which is identical to forced disappearances. The ad hoc nature of these internment facilities, on top of denial of access to legal counsel, has led to a rapid increase in reports of torture over the last year. When rights lawyer Li Chunfu (李春富) was released on a form of bail recently, he exhibited clear symptoms of mental breakdown; news has also emerged of cruel electric baton torture applied to Li Heping (李和平) and Wang Quanzhang (王全璋); Wu Gan (吳淦) has also made a criminal complaint, through his lawyers, of torture suffered in custody. The human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳), in particular, has narrated the details of atrocious torture he suffered through transcripts made by his legal counsel. The veracity and detail of the cruelty on display is without question, and has caused outrage inside China and abroad. Law societies and human rights groups in dozens of countries have issued denunciations, and the European Union, as well as diplomats from multiple countries stationed in China, have expressed their concern and demanded that the Chinese government conduct an immediate investigation.

What happened to our colleagues can happen to any of us, or any Chinese citizen, for that matter, hence our anxiety, grief, and rage. These human rights defenders represent the conscience of China, and yet in the 18 months of their detention, they’ve been subjected to a dozen types of torture by their own countrymen, a team of over 40 special agents who work in rotation — we simply cannot fathom it: what way is this to treat a country’s own citizens? The fact that the inhuman torture has been simply allowed to take place by the police, openly and without compunction or obstruction, begs the question: what kind of system of justice is this? What kind of political system forces humans into this depravity? What kind of political system allows these criminal torturers to act so wantonly, outside of any restriction or law?

In the face of this blatant torture, our conscience does not allow us to remain silent. We must stand up to censure it, to conquer our own fears and cowardice, and defend basic human dignity.

Together we reiterate the following articles from China’s own Constitution:

Article 33 (paragraph 3): “The State respects and preserves human rights.”

Article 35: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”

Article 41: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions regarding any state organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant state organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any state organ or functionary for violation of the law or dereliction of duty, but fabrication or distortion of facts for purposes of libel or false incrimination is prohibited.”

By implication, the Chinese Constitution prohibits torture. In addition, the National People’s Congress in September 1988 ratified the United NationsConvention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“United Nations’ Convention Against Torture”) and on November 3, 1988, that convention became effective in China.

It is thus clear that preventing and punishing torture is an unshirkable duty of the government, and a responsibility it must assume.

We believe that prohibiting torture is not only for the purpose of preventing cases of judicial injustice — it is also to grant citizens the protection of not fearing for their lives, and to accord basic dignity towards, and integrity of, their own body and minds. If, for whatever reason, torture is tolerated, then everyone in China — including police, prosecutors, judges, and currently serving or former Party and government officials — are themselves also at risk of becoming victims.                            

We believe that the torture of one is the torture of all, and that to strike terror in one is to strike terror in all.

We believe that every individual, including those who have truly committed crimes, should be treated with humanity and not be subject to torture. The prohibition of torture is the fundamental ground of a modern, civilized judiciary, and is a basic dividing line between civilization and barbarism.

For all these reasons, we the undersigned, on the basis of China’s Constitution, the UN Convention Against Torture, and a sense of common justice for Chinese citizens and humanity, hereby establish the “China Anti-Torture Alliance.”

The Alliance will be a community based on the aforementioned shared beliefs, without a formal organizational structure. It is open to all, without respect to nationality or other attachments, and may be joined or withdrawn from at will.

All kind and upstanding citizens inside or outside China, who cherish peace and seek to safeguard human rights, are welcome to join our ranks, and to reject torture wherever it appears. Our goal is to promote and supervise the actual implementation of the United Nation’s Convention Against Torture in China.  

Those who wish to join the Alliance can express their wish to do so to any of the founders of the initiative, or by sending an email to the official electronic mail address of the Alliance. Please include your first and last name, your occupation, location, and other contact information, to facilitate contact.

 

February 7, 2017

 

Founders:

Teng Biao (滕彪), lawyer, United States

Yu Wensheng (余文生), lawyer, Beijing

Liu Shihui, lawyer (刘士辉), Guangdong

Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), legal activist, United States

Hu Jia, (胡佳), citizen, Beijing

Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), lawyer, Beijing

Yuan Xiaohua (袁小华), citizen, Hunan

Chen Jianxiong (陈剑雄), citizen, Hubei

Sun Desheng (孙德胜), citizen, Hubei

Liang Bo (梁波), reporter, United States

Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), lawyer, Beijing

Wang Zang (王藏), poet, Beijing

 

Alliance email address:
fankuxing@tutanota.com

 

 

Editors’ note: As of now, over 800 Chinese lawyers and human rights defenders have signed to join the Alliance. Check out the signing sheet here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14jjifjhzVdSZ1IhqYTvXjlk02ithQ15PdvCgaOBB8aw/pub

 

Translated by China Change.

 

 

 

The Dire Consequences of the Imprisonment of Ilham Tohti

Elliot Sperling, February 5, 2017

In memory of Elliot, who passed away last week. I recovered this from my email archive, dated September 17, 2016, the day after Ilham Tohti was nominated for the Sakharov Prize. It is published here for the first time. – Yaxue Cao

 

image1-7

 

The nomination last week of the imprisoned Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is welcome recognition of the role this courageous individual has played in working for the fundamental rights of a beleaguered people, a people subject to one of the harshest regimens that China visits on any nationalities or collective groups within its borders. But the persecution of Ilham Tohti serves as an example of how China’s repressive policies create damage and danger that go far beyond its own borders. There are good reasons for international concern and outrage over Ilham Tohti’s imprisonment.

On the heels of recent attacks in Europe, and concern about new ISIS-aligned actors outside the group’s core Middle East area, a recent report from the New America think-tank has revealed, among other things, that China’s treatment of its Muslim population is boosting radicalization: over 100 Turkic Uyghurs, Muslims from the region of Xinjiang in China’s northwest were recruited into ISIS response to the harsh state repression visited on them as Muslims and as Uyghurs in full disregard of common human rights norms. But the particularly harsh persecution of Ilham Tohti demonstrates a terrible dynamic in that process: the one-party Chinese state, by targeting moderates effectively nurtures extremism as the outlet for legitimate grievances over China’s policies.

On January 15, 2014 Ilham Tohti was spending the afternoon resting with his two young sons in his apartment on the campus of Minzu University where he taught economics. When a large contingent of police and state security agents burst through the door, suddenly and unexpectedly, waking the napping professor, his life changed forever. He was dragged from his apartment and has spent all of his subsequent days behind bars. As for legal formalities—such as they are for an outspoken liberal Uyghur intellectual in China—his trial on charges of supporting separatism, advocating violence among his students, etc.—took all of two days and produced a life sentence. And what had he really done? He had written about what had been happening in Xinjiang in a way that was markedly different from the official line; he circulated word of what he had found openly and on his own website; and perhaps most dangerously, he invited response and discussion. Though fluent and literate in Uyghur, he constituted his website as a Chinese-language venue so as to initiate dialogue between Uyghurs and Chinese. In retrospect that, as well as Ilham’s charismatic teaching, was intolerable. And so he was taken from his family and months later subjected to a kangaroo court (witnesses he asked for were not called; in contravention of Chinese law he was tried in a venue hundreds of mile from Beijing, his place of residence and the place in which his supposed crimes had allegedly been committed).

The intrinsic merit in Ilham’s activities and the egregious injustice of his imprisonment have been acknowledged internationally: he was the recipient of the PEN American Center’s Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award and just recently named one of three Finalists for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. And now he is a nominee for the Sakharov Prize.

One might be inclined to see in Ilham Tohti’s case just one more sad instance of Chinese authoritarian repression and hostility to free thought. But in the present climate of anxieties about extremism, about Islam and about terror, his case is especially significant. Given China’s record of cynical misuse of the terrorism issue to attack dissent among Uyghurs and Tibetans, observers are rightly concerned that the state’s adoption of a new, broad anti-terrorism law just this past December has set the stage for actions that will exacerbate China’s problems.

By any measure, Ilham Tohti is a moderate person. A Muslim, he is liberal in his practice and entertains close friendships across lines of nationality and religion. But from the perspective of the authorities, moderates such as Ilham—non-violent critics who operate openly—are threats and are targeted for severe repression. The ills and abuses they bring to the surface are ignored and fester. Thus, the persecution to which Uyghurs are subjected continues. Bans on beards and head scarves in public venues, coercion to violate religious prohibitions concerning food and drink, violence and incarceration as a response to dissent: this is precisely the kind of abuse that, in the absence of a moderate core seeking dialogue, lends itself to exploitation by extremists. Indeed, China seems to go after the moderates because they can be seen: they operate in the open and call for dialogue and honesty about what the state is doing. Their imprisonment leaves the field to extremists who operate below the radar; they become the only ones articulating to an aggrieved population anything contrary to the official line. For all its propaganda about fighting extremism China is actively abetting its rise: in this instance among a population that has previously been noted for its moderation and restraint. Given current anxiety about Islamist extremism, the international community ought to be horrified by what China is doing. The Islamic world, wherein this extremism is wreaking the greatest havoc should be even more alarmed—and should make the persecution of writers and intellectuals such as Ilham Tohti a prominent issue in its relations with China.

The original sin, so to speak, in modern China’s dealings with Uyghurs as well as Tibetans was its annexation of these peoples without any regard to what they wanted. (And for most it was unwanted.) This original sin and the brutal periods of Chinese rule that followed have fostered a situation in which a free, open discussion of the history of Uyghurs and Tibetan under PRC rule cannot be entertained without severe damage to the myths that are enforced as the official line. Thus, when discontent surfaces the Party finds itself structurally incapable of asking what it is doing wrong. Instead, the question becomes “Who is doing this to us?” And it answers the question by seeking scapegoats. Not long ago Tibetan disgust at the appearance in the media of fake “Chinese Lamas” produced an incoherent and irrelevant response from official quarters denouncing Tibetan separatism, something that only exacerbated Tibetan frustration at their concerns not being taken seriously. Matters in Xinjiang have brought no serious questioning of the repressive Chinese policies. When French journalist Ursula Gauthier questioned China’s deployment of the terrorism narrative to defend its actions there she was expelled from China. And Ilham Tohti, who tirelessly pursued a principled quest for dialogue and change, languishes in a prison in Xinjiang. The injustice inherent in Ilham’s case is symbolic of the way China is making extremism the only option for the disaffected in Xinjiang. It should be a primary concern of the international community.

 

Elliot Sperling is the former chair of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University and formerly the Director of its Tibetan Studies Program. He is the author of “The Tibet-China: History and Polemics.”

 

 

 

 

The Anti-Torture Work of Lawyer Li Heping That Irked the Chinese Authorities

January 25, 2017

 

709 李和平

Lawyer Li Heping (李和平) is one of China’s earliest human rights lawyers and no stranger to torture. In an interview with the artist Ai Weiwei in 2010, he recounted how he was abducted one day in 2007 by Chinese domestic security police, beaten savagely, and thrown onto a hill outside Beijing in the middle of the night. In recent years he ran an anti-torture education program in Beijing, which was likely the reason for his arrest, along with scores of other lawyers, in July 2015, in what is now known as the “709 Incident.” Last week, lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚) published his interviews with lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) detailed horrific torture the latter was subjected to during a period of “residential surveillance at a designated place” and at the detention center, yesterday the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Concern Group said that it learned from sources that Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) were tortured by being shocked with electricity. Both have been in custody for over 500 days without access to family or their lawyers. We asked a colleague of lawyer Li Heping to tell us more about the anti-torture work Li engaged in, which has now likely brought torture upon Li himself. The author of the article wishes to remain anonymous. — The Editors  

 

China, among all countries, has one of the longest histories of the use of torture. In contemporary China, torture is most often understood as merely a part of the interrogation process in criminal cases. This is directly related to the fact that the concept of “torture” as defined in the international criminal context has no clear domestic legal definition in China. In fact, the United Nations’ Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which China ratified in 1986, defines torture broadly: it includes the application of physical or psychological torture by public officials for the purpose of gaining information or confessions, and it also includes torture for the purpose of threatening, menacing, or discriminating against victims. All these forms of torture can have severely negative impacts on the body and minds of victims. So in China, many people — including lawyers who are steeped in the law — have a limited understanding of torture.

In recent years it has become known to the public that torture has been employed in many criminal cases to procure confessions. Public reports of exonerations — including in the Hugjiltu case in Inner Mongolia, the Nie Shubin case in Hebei, the Yang Ming case in Guizhou — show that in every single case of this kind, torture was used. Clearly, the use of torture is one of the key reasons for these false convictions and grave injustices. If torture is reduced, then the number of unjust and false convictions is also likely to decrease commensurately.

As a way of helping more lawyers better understand torture and equip them with more information about torture, Li Heping and a number of criminal defense lawyers took a leading role in promoting the idea of “Prohibition of Torture” (禁止酷刑). From around 2009, Li and a few other Beijing-based lawyers, began to work with the UK-based NGO The Rights Practice, advocating and promoting inside China the idea of prohibiting torture. This work included organizing small-scale legal salons, large-scale law symposiums, drafting anti-torture handbooks, raising the profile of specific cases of torture, and more.

 

xie-yang-%e4%b8%be%e7%89%8c

 

We began at a fundamental level, discussing the definition of torture in small group setting, then the key articles of The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. We compared the clauses in the convention to China’s own laws, and in doing so, discovered the problems with Chinese law, and proposed means and strategies for dealing with them.

Through a few years of work, many lawyers who attended these discussions gained a much deeper understanding on the prohibition of torture. The lawyers were able to provide numerous ideas for judicial reforms that would prohibit torture, including changes to the detention center system, the right for lawyers to be present at interrogations of their client, exclusion of illegally-obtained evidence, audio-visual recording of suspect interrogations, and many other institutional safeguards and reforms. Some of these suggestions for reform have already been implemented, while others — like the right for lawyers to be present at interrogation, or the exclusion of illegally-obtained evidence — still require a lot of work at the procedural and practical levels.

Lawyers need to pay constant attention to these issues and continue to promote them. What is gratifying, however, is that many individual cases of convictions obtained via torture in custody ultimately resulted in a commutations or amended, non-guilty judgements, after lawyers began advocating around them.

Of course, the project has not been entirely smooth going. Li Heping and other main participants were subject to long-term pressure from the authorities, and the police regularly called them in for “drinking tea,” threatening and intimidating them. Sometimes the police would warn the lawyers off attending a particular event, or prohibit them from meeting a visiting foreign dignitary, among other demands.

In early 2011, a number of lawyers were among scores of activists who had been forcibly disappeared across the country, and when they were released a few months later, they exposed how they were tortured during their disappearance.

In July 2015, a nationwide campaign targeted human rights lawyers, and Li Heping was among those taken into custody. To this day he still has not been tried. According to publicly available information, a number of lawyers, after being arrested, were put under residential surveillance at a designated location (指定居所监视居住), during which time they were subjected to extremely severe torture. The Hunan lawyer Xie Yang, for instance, was beaten by police and put through exhausting interrogations and sleep deprivation. Li Heping’s younger brother, Li Chunfu (李春富), was detained for 530 days, during which time he suffered severe psychological damage. These cases make clear that torture remains an extremely serious problem. Everyone needs to pay attention to the issue, including, of course, the international community.“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We believe that while advocacy for the prohibition of torture will remain full of risks, more and more lawyers will stand up and say “no” to torture. Through the efforts of lawyers, torture in China will occur less and less, and those who have carried out the torture will receive the punishment they’re due.

 

 


Related:

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.

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

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

Cataloging the Torture of Lawyers in China, China Change, July 5, 2015.

 

Translated from Chinese by China Change.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Xie Yang, Chen Jiangang, January 21, 2017

 

xieyang-and-wife

Xie Yang and wife

 

Continued from Part One and Part Two

 

[The interview began at 2:49:55 p.m. on January 5, 2017.]

Chen Jiangang (陈建刚, “CHEN”): Let’s continue.

Xie Yang (谢阳, “XIE”): Okay.

CHEN: Other than not letting you sleep, were there other ways they used to coerce you?

XIE: Yes. They have a kind of slow torture called the “dangling chair.” It’s like I said before—they made me sit on a bunch of plastic stools stacked on top each other, 24 hours a day except for the two hours they let me sleep. They make you sit up there, with both feet unable to touch the ground. I told them that my right leg was injured from before, and that this kind of torture would leave me crippled. I told all of the police who came to interrogate me. They all said: “We know. Don’t worry, we have it under control.” Some also said: “Don’t give us conditions—you’ll do what we tell you to do!”

CHEN: What next?

XIE: No one had any sympathy for my situation. They just deliberately tortured and tormented me. Every day, I had to sit there for more than 20 hours, both legs dangling in such pain until they became numb. Afterwards, my right leg began to swell from top to bottom. It was summer, and my thigh and calf were both severely swollen.

CHEN: After your leg began showing symptoms, did they stop interrogating you and provide you with any medical treatment?

XIE: No. That went on for more than 20 hours a day. They just gave me some Chinese medicine to rub on my legs.

CHEN: Did you ask for time to rest because your right leg was swollen?

XIE: Sure, but it was no use. Yin Zhuo (尹卓), Zhou Yi (周毅), Qu Ke (屈可) and the other police who interrogated me were deliberately trying to torment me—they even said so clearly. Making someone sit on a “dangling chair” for 20 hours a day is a kind of slow torture. It causes lumbar pain and pain in the legs, but it’s slow and doesn’t leave any external injuries. When you add sleep deprivation to that, this is a way to torture people that doesn’t cause external injuries and doesn’t leave any scars.

CHEN: Considering the sleep deprivation and the “dangling chair,” were the transcripts of your interrogations and the statements you signed factual?

XIE: There was no way to match the facts. They weren’t happy with what I wrote and made me rewrite it. Every time they didn’t like my answer to one of their questions, they would keep asking me again and again. They clearly told me: “We’ve got all the time in the world. You’re in residential surveillance for six months. If you don’t behave and obey, we’ll continue to torment you.”

They wanted answers to fit their three options—fame, profit, or opposing the Party and socialism. I could only choose from those options. To get it over with sooner, I wrote whatever they wanted me to write. Later, I completely broke down. It got to the point where I was crying as they questioned me and had me write statements. I really couldn’t write anymore. I told them to type something up and I’d sign it, no matter what it said. I didn’t want to go on living. I couldn’t take it anymore—I just wanted to sleep for a little while.

CHEN: Did anyone beat you?

XIE: Yes, I was beaten many times by Zhou Lang (周浪), Yin Zhuo, Zhuang Xiaoliang (庄晓亮) and some others.

CHEN: When and why did they beat you?

XIE: They said I wasn’t being cooperative in the way I was writing statements. They wanted me to write according to what they wanted, even if it didn’t match the facts at all. They tried to force me, and I refused. There were other times when I was simply too tired and I couldn’t even pick up the pen. Mostly it was during the fourth shift, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. When I couldn’t write, they would beat me.

CHEN: How would they beat you?

XIE: Several of them would come over and pull me up. Then they’d split up the work: one or two would grab my arms while someone used their fists to punch me in the stomach, kneed me in the stomach, or kicked me with their feet.

CHEN: Was there a camera in the room?

XIE: Yes, there was, and it should have been working normally. Every time they beat me they would drag me to a blind spot just below the camera where it couldn’t capture what they were doing. I knew what they were thinking, so each time they beat me I would deliberately move to a spot where the camera could see what was going on. Later, Yin Zhuo said to me: “You think the camera is going to help you? I tell you, we control the camera, so don’t think it’ll do any good for you to be in its view. This is a case of counterrevolution! Do you think the Communist Party will let you go? I could torture you to death and no one could help you . . . .”

CHEN: Did those beatings lead to any injuries?

XIE: There were no external injuries—they just wanted to cause pain. They’d mainly target the lower body, from the stomach down, so there’d be no visible injuries.

CHEN: Did you give in after being beaten by them?

XIE: Yes, I wanted to be done with the interrogations as quickly as possible, even if it meant dying. So whatever they wanted me to write, I wrote. I also signed a lot of interrogation transcripts that they typed up. They didn’t let me make any suggestions, let alone make changes. At first I demanded to make changes, because the transcripts were all lies. But they didn’t agree and said I was being dishonest. Later, I could only sign the transcripts. Whatever they wanted to type up, they would type up. I had no right to make any objections or changes.

CHEN: Were there other ways that they tortured you or caused you discomfort?

XIE: Yes. Between the 13th and the 19th, they also used smoke to torture me.

CHEN: Can you explain what that entailed?

XIE: There were several people among the police who interrogated me who weren’t the ones mainly responsible for the interrogation. But eventually their shifts would come up. A couple of them would sit on either side of me, and each would light some cigarettes and put them together. The two of them would puff on the cigarettes and then blow the smoke toward my face while I was forced to sit there. All of the breathing space around my head was smoke. I said: “It’s not too appropriate for you to do that, is it?” They said: “What can you do about it? We’ll smoke like this if we want!” So they kept on “smoking” me like that. It wasn’t to force me to confess; it was just to torment me and make me miserable.

After the first seven days, they figured I’d already been tormented. So later when they’d make me sign interrogation records, if I didn’t cooperate or raised objections or asked for changes, they’d say: “Xie Yang, do you need to be sent back to the furnace for a while?” They were threatening to torture me again. They also said: “Xie Yang, we’ll torture you to death just like an ant.”

CHEN: What else did they say to you?

XIE: From start to finish, they used my family and child to threaten me. They said: “Your wife is a professor at Hunan University–surely she must have ‘economic problems’? [e. g. corruption] If you don’t cooperate, we might be forced to expand this matter. If you don’t come clean and explain things clearly, we’ll go after your wife without a doubt.”

They said: “And we know your brother’s a civil servant, a minor official. Surely he has some problems we could investigate? And we know you have a nephew who has bright prospects and works at the Hunan Bureau of Letters and Visits. Is he really that clean? Don’t force us to go and investigate them.”

They also threatened my children, saying: “Your daughter Xie Yajuan is a student at Bocai Middle School in Changsha. If her classmates and teachers knew that her father was a counterrevolutionary, could she even raise her head up? How could she ever get a job as a civil servant in the future?”

CHEN: What else did they say?

XIE: Yin Zhuo and the others also threatened the lives of my wife and children. The exact words were: “Your wife and children need to pay attention to traffic safety when they’re out in the car. There are a lot of traffic accidents these days.”

CHEN: Did you ask what he meant by that?

XIE: No, I knew what it meant. I was extremely scared then. They used my wife and children to threaten me [starts to sob]. I said: “If that’s what you want to do, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve answered all of your questions truthfully. I’m locked up here. If that’s what you want to do, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

CHEN: What then? Did they say anything else?

XIE: They said a lot. For example: “We know all about how many women you have out there. Don’t make us tell your wife—it would have an impact on your family.” I said, if you’ve found something go ahead and tell my wife. They thought I was just like them.

CHEN: What else?

XIE: They threatened to investigate my friends. Yin Zhuo said: “It would be easy for us to expand the scope of our investigation. We have plenty of resources. If you don’t cooperate with us, we can investigate your friends one by one and put them through the wringer. We’ve got the resources and we have our methods. In this case, there’s no limit to how far we can take the investigation—that includes your law firm, your friends and colleagues. We’ll go after whomever we please and deal with them however we want.” This type of threat permeated the entire interrogation process, especially during the first seven days.

CHEN: And then? What else did they say?

XIE: They mainly used my children to threaten me [starts to sob]. Yin Zhuo said: “We’ve arrested a bunch of lawyers. Lawyer Zhang Lei (张磊) has been arrested in Zhejiang.” I cried for a long time when I heard that. Zhang Lei had a newborn baby at the time I was arrested, just over a month old. I was very sad when I heard that Zhang Lei had been arrested and cried for a long time because I was worried both for his child and for mine.

CHEN: What next?

XIE: Zhuang Xiaoliang and Yin Zhuo said to me: “We’re mainly looking at your attitude. Your case is the number one case up above. You think you can go to Beijing and file complaints about mistakes we’ve made—don’t you think Beijing knows we’re putting you through all this? We’ll make you suffer any way we please!”

CHEN: Was your ordinary access to food and drink ensured while you were in residential surveillance in a designated location?

XIE: No, they deliberately didn’t let me drink water. At 11:30 a.m. someone would deliver food, but each time they wouldn’t let me eat and deliberately dragged on and didn’t let me eat until after 1 p.m. By that time, the food was already cold.

They didn’t let me drink water during their interrogations. If I wanted a drink, I needed to request permission but they wouldn’t let me drink. They’d deliberately put water in front of me, but they wouldn’t let me drink any—that sort of thing. They’d put the water in front of me, but they used control over one of my basic needs—the need to drink water—to make me miserable.

Once I was so thirsty that I started drinking from a bottle of water they’d put in front of me. Zhou Yi snatched it away and started beating me, saying that I’d tried to attack a police officer.

CHEN: During the period of residential surveillance in a designated location, other than beatings, threats, the “dangling chair,” sleep deprivation, and smoke in your eyes, were there other methods they used to coerce you?

XIE: They also tried to induce me to implicate and frame other people. They said they wanted me to inform and expose.

CHEN: Explain what happened.

XIE: It was probably the middle of August 2015. The first round of concentrated interrogations was over. Because I couldn’t take the torture anymore, I’d signed anything they wanted me to sign. That was over. Yin Zhuo and the rest now wanted me to implicate and frame other people. Yin Zhuo said to me: “Xie Yang, you’ve only been a lawyer for three years. Even if you did bad things every day during that time, it wouldn’t amount to much. If you implicate other members of the Human Rights Lawyers Group (人权律师团), you’d be performing meritorious service and could get lenient treatment. You could implicate Liu Weiguo (刘卫国), Liu Jinxiang (刘金湘), Chen Jiangang, Zhang Lei, Qin Yongpei (覃永沛), Zhu Xiaoding (朱孝顶), Pang Kun (庞琨), Chang Boyang, (常伯阳), Ge Wenxiu (葛文秀), Sui Muqing (隋牧青), Wen Donghai (文东海), Cai Ying (蔡瑛), Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱), or Hu Linzheng (胡林政). Inform on any one of them, and you’ll be performing meritorious service. We’ll report it up to our superiors and get you released on bail.”

CHEN: How did you answer?

XIE: I said there’s no organization called “Human Rights Lawyers Group”—it’s just a chat group, not an organization. I said I’m an independent person and don’t take orders from anyone. I don’t have a lot of contacts with other lawyers and haven’t had too many interactions with the lawyers you’ve named. I don’t have anything to offer you. I refused to frame other lawyers.

CHEN: Besides implicating other lawyers, did they want you to inform on anyone else?

XIE: Yes, Yin Zhuo also named a number of citizens, like Ou Biaofeng (欧彪峰) in Changsha and Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民) in Beijing. There were a bunch of other names that I didn’t recognize. Yin Zhuo and the others wanted me to inform on and frame them. They brought in a bunch of documents on Ou Biaofeng for me to look at in order to get me to implicate and expose him. They prompted me to try and get me to say what communications I’d had with them, what sorts of cases I’d handled with them, and that sort of thing. I refused.

CHEN: What did Yin Zhuo say after you refused?   

XIE: He was very disappointed. After another week, he came to see me and said: “Forget about the others. We’ve asked the main responsible persons in the Changsha Domestic Security Unit. They said if you can report on and expose things that Hunan lawyers Cai Ying (蔡瑛) and Yang Jinzhu (杨金柱) did—even one of them is enough—they’ll give you lenient treatment and we can release you on bail.”

CHEN: How did you reply?    

XIE: I said I wanted to perform meritorious service but that I hadn’t had much interaction with Yang Jinzhu and hadn’t ever seen him in Changsha. I said I wanted to report on and expose any wrongdoing, but I didn’t really know anything about him and didn’t have any materials to give them. As for Lawyer Cai Ying, I said even though I knew him we hadn’t worked together and I didn’t have any materials on him either. I said we’d only eaten a few meals together and had a few drinks—no interaction beyond that.

CHEN: That was the second time you refused Yin Zhuo. What did he say?

XIE: Yin Zhuo said he was giving me a chance and I was squandering it. He said I was asking for punishment by not accepting the opportunities he was offering me.

CHEN: Let’s stop here for today and continue again tomorrow.

 

(The interview concluded at 4:56:06 p.m. on January 5, 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 (4) – Admit Guilt, and Keep Your Mouth Shut, January 22, 2017

 


Chinese original 《会见谢阳笔录》第一份 and 《会见谢阳笔录》第二份. Translated by China Change.

 

 

 

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

Xie Yang, Chen Jiangang, January 20, 2017

 

xie-yang-4

Xie Yang

 

Continued from Part One

 

(The interview started at 9:23:32 a.m. on January 5, 2017)

Chen Jiangang (陈建刚, “CHEN”): Today Lawyer Liu Zhengqing (刘正清) had to go back. Let’s continue our interview.

XIE: Okay.

CHEN: At the time you were put in Room 207, you hadn’t slept for all of the 11th and half a day on the 12th—that’s at least 30 hours. Did you ask for time to sleep? Were you tired?

XIE: Very tired! But they always had someone coming in, so I couldn’t even shut my eyes.

CHEN: Describe what happened after you got to the room.

XIE: After I got to the room, police kept coming in one after another to ask me questions. No one showed any identification, wore a uniform, or told me who they were. Sometimes there were two of them, sometimes three, and sometimes more than that. They never stopped coming to ask questions. Sometimes it lasted around a half-hour, sometimes more than an hour. They made no records of the interrogations. In any case, they didn’t let me sleep. When they left, there was always someone by my side. When the interrogators left, the “chaperones” (陪护人员) would be there. On the first day, the chaperones basically weren’t around, though. Plainclothes police kept coming in to question me—I was constantly being interrogated.

CHEN: What questions did they ask you?

XIE: They asked about my family background, my social ties, how many women I had, how much money I made a year. They also asked about the Qing’an case (庆安案). Things like that. They never took notes or wrote up a statement. I found out later that more than 40 people were responsible for interrogating and investigating me, start to finish.

CHEN: What time did that kind of questioning end on July 12?

XIE: It continued until 7 p.m. Then they said an official was coming to see me. It was Wang Tietuo (王铁铊), head of the Sixth Division of the Changsha Domestic Security Unit—he was the so-called “official.” He came to tell me to confess and admit my crimes. He also said: “This is a designated place for residential surveillance. We will ensure reasonable time for you to rest. But the law doesn’t specify what ‘reasonable’ means—this is up to us. If we think two hours of sleep a day is enough, then you get two hours to sleep. If we think one hour is enough, you get one hour. If we think half an hour is enough, you get half an hour. If we think five minutes is enough, then you get five minutes.”

CHEN: What else did he say?

XIE: I asked them how they, as police, could interpret the law like that? Wang Tietuo said: “You’re now under residential surveillance in a designated location. Your only right is to obey. You need to understand your own identity: you’re a criminal suspect.”

CHEN: What next?

XIE: Wang then said things to intimidate me, the gist of which was that it would be bad for me if I didn’t obey them. In sum, he was threatening me. Wang and several others spoke to me like that for several hours up until midnight. By that point, I’d been awake for over 40 hours and was incredibly tired. They let me sleep then.

CHEN: How long did you sleep?

XIE: Until 6:30 a.m. on the 13th, when they woke me.

CHEN: What took place on the 13th?

XIE: Let me explain. During the seven days from the 13th to the 19th, I had contact with two types of people: either interrogators or chaperones. The interrogators would come in five shifts every 24 hours to question me. The chaperones worked in pairs for three eight-hour shifts. But when the interrogators came in, the chaperones would leave—they weren’t present.

CHEN: Can you give more detail about the interrogators’ shifts?

XIE: The first shift lasted from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The second went from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Shift three went from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The fourth shift lasted from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. And shift five went from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m.

The first four shifts involved endless interrogation, but they didn’t ask questions during the fifth shift. They said it was to give me time to sleep. I was supposed to sleep from 3 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., but that was just what they said. I didn’t get the full 3½ hours because the fourth shift would always deliberately drag things on until after 4 a.m. They’d let me sleep for a while, but I’d be woken up at 6:30 without question. I was only able to get a bit more than two hours of sleep a day.

CHEN: Do you remember the names of the people who interrogated you?

XIE: There was Zhou Lang (周浪), Qu Ke (屈可), Yin Zhuo (尹卓), Li Yang (李阳), Zhou Yi (周毅), and Zhuang Xiaoliang (庄晓亮). There were others, too—more than a dozen in all. Those are the ones I remember; I don’t know the others. They never showed me any identification or told me their names. They didn’t wear police uniforms. From July 13 until July 19, those were the people who interrogated me. Five shifts. At least three people would question me in the first four shifts, so at least 13 people. I don’t know most of their names, and the transcripts they made aren’t in the case file.

CHEN: Can you describe in detail how they interrogated you?

XIE: First let me tell you what happened overall on the seven days from the 13th to the 19th. I’ve seen the case file—there are a lot of interrogation transcripts from before the 19th, but they didn’t put any of them in the case file. Because I was under residential surveillance in a designated place, I was actually being secretly detained by them. My family didn’t know where I was and no lawyers could come see me. They controlled everything in the room, including me. I was completely under their control—they could treat me anyway they pleased.

During the interrogations, they’d have me sit on a plastic stool, the kind without any back that you can stack up, one on top of another. They stacked four or five of them, so that it was kind of tall. My feet couldn’t touch the ground when I sat on it, and my legs hung down like this. They demanded that I sit up straight and rigid, both hands on my knees, head up and chest out. I wasn’t allowed to move.

CHEN: You weren’t allowed to move even a bit—to stretch your back or turn your head?

XIE: No. Zhou Yi told me: “If you move at all, we can consider you to be attacking us and we can use whatever means we need to subdue you. We’re not gentle with people who attack police officers.” That’s how they threatened me with violence if I moved at all—they’d call it an attack on the police if my face twitched or I lowered my head. I had to ask for permission to drink water or use the toilet.

CHEN: How did you have to request permission?

XIE: I’d have to say: “Request permission to drink water” or “Request permission to use the toilet.” I needed their okay to take a drink of water, otherwise I’d get no water. They’d make me go long periods without letting me have any water.

CHEN: Please continue.

XIE: They made me sit there and asked me questions. Each time there would be three or four of them—one right in front, asking the questions; another facing me, to the right; and one behind me, keeping a close eye on me. If I got tired and tried to stretch or move my head, the guy behind me would immediately hit me and berate me, telling me to “sit up straight.”

CHEN: What else?

XIE: They asked me questions, and I answered. They were never satisfied and so they’d yell at me and tell me to “reflect” and “be straight” with them. They said: “We have documents and already know everything about you. Don’t pass up the chance we’re giving you here . . . .” They weren’t happy with the majority of my answers to their questions, so it went on like that with them reprimanding and intimidating me, sometimes even insulting me.

CHEN: Did they record your answers accurately?

XIE: They were taking notes at the time, but I can’t say whether they kept an accurate record. Looking now at the procuratorate’s case file, I don’t see any of the transcripts from my first seven days of interrogation.

CHEN: You said they threatened and insulted you. What did they say?

XIE: Each day’s interrogation was full of these kinds of threats, insults, and reprimands. It was too much! Yin Zhuo was the one who came to interrogate me from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. every day. After 3 o’clock he was supposed to let me sleep. Assuming that I fell asleep right away, that meant I’d be able to sleep 3½ hours every 24 hours. But each time Yin Zhuo would deliberately drag things on until after 4 a.m. He once said to me: “I sleep very well during the day. Then I get so excited every night at this time because I get to torment you. You see, I’m going to torment you until you go insane. Don’t even imagine that you’ll be able to walk out of here and continue being a lawyer. You’re going to be a cripple . . . .” I was terrified at the time, not knowing what might happen to me.

CHEN: Talk about your physical condition. How long were you tormented like that?

XIE: It was like that every day from the 13th to the 19th, they tortured me and wouldn’t let me sleep. Every night, Yin Zhuo would say to me: “Xie Yang, you’ve been here so long now, have you ever heard a sound outside? These walls have been specially constructed so that no sound can travel outside. This is not a place where you can say whatever you want. It’s a place where you say what we want you to say. Don’t think you’ll get out of here and be able to file a complaint. Let me tell you, filing a complaint will do you no good. This case comes from Beijing. We’re handling your case on behalf of Party Central. Even if we were to kill you, they wouldn’t find a single piece of evidence to prove it was us who did it.”

I was quite terrified then [starts to sob]. My family and lawyers had no idea where I was. If they tortured me to death, my family wouldn’t even know [sobs]. This was the second time in my life that I’d been threatened with death. The first time was in Dongshigu Village [hometown of Chen Guangcheng], and this was the second time. It was the same thing all over again: suddenly I disappear and no one knows where I’ve been kidnapped to.

CHEN: How tired were you after deprived you of sleep like that? Did you eventually give in?

XIE: There’s no way to describe that state of not wanting to go on living. On the third day, I broke down. A complete mental breakdown. Yin Zhuo and the others came to interrogate me that night, and they were deliberately trying to torment me. I was already mentally disturbed and began to cry. I begged them to let me sleep for just a few minutes, but they refused and continued to torment me. They wanted me to write my statement, but I told them I really couldn’t do it—I couldn’t even pick up the pen. I tried to rest my head on the table, but they grabbed my collar and pulled me up. Yin Zhuo, Zhuang Xiaoliang and two others pulled me up and said: “If you’re not going to write, then tonight you don’t get to sleep!” That must have been the early morning of the 16th. So, like that, I was forced to sit there for a full 24 hours without sleep, not even the two hours of sleep. At daybreak the next day, they continued their interrogation.

CHEN: All of the statements and transcripts from that time, did these accurately reflect your own views?

XIE: Of course not! I had to write my confession according to their demands. If I didn’t, they would torment me to no end. But I couldn’t always write to their satisfaction.

Yin Zhuo gave me three choices for how I should explain my actions as a rights lawyer: “Either you did it for fame, for profit, or to oppose the Party and socialism.” Looking at the case file now, many of the things I wrote or the interview transcripts they kept were not included. They said those documents were no good because they didn’t fit with those three explanations. In one interview I said that I handled cases in a legal way, but they thought that this didn’t fit with the three options they’d given me and forced me to write something myself.

The truth is that I handled cases in a legal way, and that I took on cases when I saw injustice being done. But they wouldn’t let me write down this sort of truth, so it won’t show up in any of my written statements.

Since they’d set out three options, I could only smear myself. I did it for fame and profit, to oppose the Communist Party and the current political system—those words are in there. I had no right to choose whether to write them or not or sign my name to them. All I could do was write, sign. Whatever was written or whatever is in the transcripts, I had no choice. I could only choose from the three options they gave me—fame, profit, or opposing the Party and socialism.

CHEN: So, what’s your evaluation of the interrogation records and your written statements in this case? Are they truthful?

Xie: They’re not truthful. I wrote and signed them according to the demands of Yin Zhuo, Zhou Yi, Qu Ke and the others, under torture and in a state of wanting to die.

CHEN: Let’s stop here this morning and continue in the afternoon.

 

(The interview concluded at 11:24:22 a.m. on January 5, 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 (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

 


Chinese original 《会见谢阳笔录》第一份 and 《会见谢阳笔录》第二份. Translated by China Change.

 

 

 

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

Xie Yang, Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing, January 19, 2017

In a series of interviews, the still incarcerated human rights lawyer Xie Yang provided a detailed account of his arrest, interrogations, and the horrific abuses he suffered at the hands of police and prosecutors, to his two defense lawyers Chen Jiangang (陈建刚) and Liu Zhengqing (刘正清). This revelation, and the extraordinary circumstances of it, mark an important turn in the 709 crackdown on human rights lawyers. This group, seen as the gravest threat to regime security, has not been crushed, but instead has become more courageous and more determined. This is the first of several installments in English translation. — The Editors

 

 

xieyang-%e8%bf%ab%e5%ae%b3%e5%90%8d%e5%8d%95

 

Date: January 4, 2017, 3:08:56 p.m. (interview start)

Location: Interview Room 2W, Changsha Number Two Detention Center
Interviewee: Xie Yang (谢阳, “Xie”)
Interviewers: Lawyers Chen Jiangang (陈建刚) and Liu Zhengqing (刘正清) (“Lawyers”)
Transcription by Chen Jian’gang

 

Lawyers: Hello, Xie Yang. We are Chen Jian’gang and Liu Zhengqing, defense lawyers hired by your wife, Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋). Do you agree to these arrangements?

XIE: Yes, I agree to appoint you as my defense counsel.

LAWYERS: Today, we need to ask you some questions regarding the case. Could you please take your time and describe the circumstances of your detention and interrogation?

XIE: I was picked up in the early morning hours of July 11, 2015, at the Qianzhou Hotel in Hongjiang City, Hunan (湖南怀化洪江市托口镇黔洲大酒店). As I was sleeping, a bunch of people—some in plain clothes and others in police uniform—forced their way into my room. They didn’t display any identification but showed me an official summons for questioning before taking me away to the Hongjiang City Public Security Bureau. Everything I had with me, including my mobile phone, computer, identification card, lawyer’s license, wallet, bank cards, and briefcase were confiscated. When they got me downstairs, I saw there were three cars waiting. They sent around a dozen or so people to detain me.

LAWYERS: What happened next after you got to the Hongjiang City Public Security Bureau?

XIE: It was around 6 a.m. when we arrived at the station, at the crack of dawn. Someone took me to a room in the investigations unit and had me sit in an interrogation chair—the so-called “iron chair.” Once I sat down, they locked me into the shackles on the chair. From that point, I was shackled in whether or not they were questioning me.

LAWYERS: Did anyone at the time say that you had been placed under detention or arrest? Why did they immediately shackle you?

XIE: No, no one said anything about placing me under any of the statutory coercive measures. They just shackled me right away, and that’s how I stayed for over three hours. No one cared—they just left me shackled like that.

LAWYERS: What happened next?

XIE: Sometime after 9 a.m., two police officers came in. Neither of them showed me any paperwork or identification, either. I could tell by their accents that they weren’t local police from Hongjiang. They hadn’t been among the group that detained me, so they must have come later.

LAWYERS: What questions did they ask you?

XIE: They asked me whether I’d joined “that illegal organization the ‘Human Rights LAWYERS Group’” (人权律师团) and some other questions about the Human Rights Lawyers Group. I said that as far as I knew there was no organization called the “Human Rights Lawyers Group.” They said there was a chat group on WeChat, and I said I was a member of that group. They said: “The lawyers in that group are anti-Party and anti-socialist in nature.” Then they asked questions about who organized the group, what sort of things it did, and so on.

LAWYERS: How did you answer them?

XIE: I said that almost all the members of this group were lawyers and that it was a group set up by people with a common interest. I said it was a place for us to exchange information and that there was no organizer—everyone was independent and equal and there was no hierarchy of any kind. It was only a group for exchanging information and chatting amongst each other, sometimes even cracking jokes and things like that.

LAWYERS: What then?

XIE: Then, one of the officers asked whether we’d publicly issued any joint statements or opinions regarding certain cases in the name of the “Human Rights Lawyers Group.” I said that we had and that this was an act we took as individuals and that we signed as individuals, voluntarily.

Then they asked whether I was willing to quit the Human Rights Lawyers Group. I said that, first of all, since I hadn’t joined any organization called “Human Rights Lawyers Group,” there was no way I could leave it. Then they asked whether I’d be willing to quit the “Human Rights Lawyers Group” chat group. I said that I had the freedom to be part of the chat group and that they had no right to interfere.

LAWYERS: What happened after that?

XIE: They told me the Ministry of Public Security had passed judgment on the chat group known as the “Human Rights Lawyers Group,” saying that there were anti-Party, anti-socialist lawyers in the group. They said they hoped that I could see the situation clearly and that I’d be treated leniently if I cooperated with them. This lasted for more than an hour. They finally said: “Leaders in Beijing and the province are all involved in this case. If you quit the Human Rights Lawyers Group, you’ll be treated leniently.” I asked what they meant by “leniently.” They said I should know that lawyers from the group were being questioned throughout the country and said that there was a possibility that I’d be prosecuted if I continued to refuse to come to my senses.

LAWYERS: What then?

XIE: At the time I thought they’d only brought me in for a talking-to and to see whether I’d agree to quit the group. But I continued to say that the group was only a chat group. They made me give a statement to sign, two pages long, regarding the chat group. The summons said they were investigating “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a work unit,” but there was no mention of that in the statement. They also asked me about some of the cases I’d been involved in, such as the Jiansanjiang case (建三江案) and the Qing’an shooting case (庆安枪击案). I told them I’d taken part, and they asked me who’d instructed me to do so. I said I went to take part in those cases of my own accord and that no one had instructed me to do anything. What’s more, I said that I’d been formally retained as a lawyer in those cases and that this fell within the scope of ordinary professional work. I’ve since seen my case file, and that statement isn’t in it.

LAWYERS: What happened after you gave your statement?

XIE: After I gave my statement, they said they were relatively satisfied with my attitude and they needed to report to their superiors. They also said that I should be able to receive lenient treatment. Then they left.

About 10 minutes or so later, sometime after 10:30, another police officer came in. He introduced himself as Li Kewei (李克伟) and said he was the ranking officer in charge of my case. I asked him how high a rank, and he drew a circle with his hand and said: “I’m in charge of this entire building.” I guessed he might be the chief or deputy chief of the Changsha Public Security Bureau. I later found out that Li Kewei was the head of the Domestic Security Unit at the Changsha Public Security Bureau.

LAWYERS: What happened then?

XIE: He told me he was not dissatisfied with my attitude. He said I’d only touched very lightly on my own actions and hadn’t “reflected” on things “deep enough in my heart.” He said: “You have to give a new statement, otherwise you won’t get any lenient treatment from us.”

I told him that I was disappointed in the way they were going back on their word. I asked what sort of “reflection” would qualify as “deep enough in my heart”—what was his standard?

He said: “We’re in charge of setting the standard.” I said that if they were in charge of the standard, then there was no way for me to assess it. I told him I was extremely disappointed by their lack of sincerity and that I was unwilling to cooperate with them.

LAWYERS: What happened next?

XIE: Another officer brought in my mobile phone and demanded that I enter the PIN so that they could access my phone. I told them they had no right to do that and I refused. I later found out that this officer was from the Huaihua Domestic Security Unit. He’s someone in charge of my case, but I don’t know his name.

LAWYERS: Then what happened?

XIE: Li Kewei said they weren’t after me and that he hoped I would change my attitude and cooperate with them. Then it was lunchtime. After lunch, there was no more discussion until 5 or 6 p.m. The police had an auxiliary officer stay with me. He didn’t let me sleep at night and kept me shackled like that up until daybreak. For the whole night, the auxiliary officer kept a close eye on me and didn’t let me sleep. As soon as I closed my eyes or nodded off, they would push me, slap me, or reprimand me. I was forced to keep my eyes open until dawn.

LAWYERS: What happened at dawn?

XIE: It must have been after five in the morning when five or six men burst in. Some were in plain clothes and some in uniform. They brought a faxed copy of a Decision on Residential Surveillance and had me sign it. After I signed, they brought me to a police car and took me away.

They drove me all the way to Changsha to a building that housed retired cadres from the National University of Defense Technology (国防科技大学). It was at 732 Deya Road in Kaifu District (开福区德雅路732号) — I saw this in my case file. I had no idea what sort of place it was when they brought me in. I only knew it was in Changsha, but I didn’t know where exactly.

In the car there was a police officer named Li Feng (李峰). I later learned he was from the Domestic Security Unit of the Hunan Provincial Public Security Bureau. He told me I’d already squandered one opportunity and said he hoped I would seize the next one and actively cooperate with them during my period of residential surveillance in a designated location. He said if I did, he’d report up to his superiors and seek lenient treatment for me. I thought that everything I’d done had been above board and I didn’t need to hide anything. I told them the PIN on my mobile phone and he was looking through my WeChat messages the whole ride over. He became very familiar with all that I’d done.

LAWYERS: What then?

XIE: It was about noon on July 12, 2015, when we got to the place in Changsha where they held me. They took me to that hotel and we entered through a side door. There were two police officers on either side of me, each grabbing hold of my arms and pressing on my neck to push me forward. They took me to a room on the second floor, which I later learned was Room 207. It was a relatively small room, with a small bed, two tables, and two chairs. There was a camera in the upper left corner as you entered the room.

LAWYERS: What happened after you went in?

XIE: After they brought me in, they had me sit on the chair. Three people stayed with me. None of them were police. I found out later that they were “chaperones” (陪护人员).

 

(The interview concluded at 4:54:45 p.m. on January 4, 2017.)

 

 


Related:

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

 


Media coverage of the Xie Yang torture and the 709 crackdown:

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.

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

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

 


Chinese original 《会见谢阳笔录》第一份 and 《会见谢阳笔录》第二份. Translated by China Change.