China Change

Home » Posts tagged '709 crackdown'

Tag Archives: 709 crackdown

Updates on 709 Lawyer Wang Quanzhang’s Circumstances and Impending Trial From His Lawyer and Wife

July 19, 2018

 

Lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), who was disappeared on July 15, 2018 in the Chinese Communist Party’s infamous 709 Crackdown on human rights lawyers, has been held incommunicado for just over three years now. Until recently, almost nothing was known about him, including where he was being held, the conditions under which he was being held, and what charges are likely to be brought against him. Whether he was even dead or alive was unknown until recently. Following are two updates on his situation translated by China Change. The first comes from Wang’s newly appointed lawyer, Liu Weiguo (刘卫国); the second, expressing great concern over Wang’s health, from his wife Li Wenzu (李文足). — The Editors

 

An Update on Wang Quanzhang’s Subversion Case From Lawyer Liu Weiguo

  1. In late June, 2018, Wang Quanzhang, being held in the Tianjin No. 1 Detention Center, formally submitted to the chief procurator his authorization that I serve as his defense lawyer;
  2. In July, the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate Court informed me of this commission. I expressed my willingness to accept the commission and made two suggestions: firstly, that the arguments presented by the defense lawyer must conform entirely to the wishes of Wang Quanzhang himself; secondly, that while representing his case, the lawyer must be able to maintain all necessary communication channels with his family;
  3. On July 12, after receiving an affirmative response from the authorities with regard to the above stipulations, I traveled to Tianjin and in the morning obtained from the chief procurator’s office Wang Quanzhang’s power of attorney. I met with Wang Quanzhang without difficulties in the afternoon;
  4. Wang Quanzhang was in good spirits and appeared healthy during the meeting, and he thanked the outside world for their concern and help for himself and his family;
  5. Upon the conclusion of the meeting, I returned to the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate Court and it became clear in the course of discussion that there was disagreement between myself and the court on the scope of Wang Quanzhang’s case files that I could photocopy and retrieve. For this reason, I decided to temporarily withhold submitting the paperwork for Wang’s defense, while waiting for the court to study the matter of the case files and respond to me, upon which time I would make a decision;
  6. Because the matter of whether or not I would represent Wang Quanzhang was ‘to be decided,’ I have not until now publicly disclosed the aforementioned matters;
  7. After receiving the Tianjin No. 2 Court’s affirmative response that I am able to make copies of all related case files, today (July 18) I rushed to Beijing and in the morning met with Wang Quanzhang’s wife to discuss the situation. Li Wenzu asked me to convey to Wang Quanzhang the family’s deep concern for him as well as the attention his case has received around the world;
  8. Today, in the afternoon, I returned to Tianjin and was able to meet with Wang Quanzhang and exchange ideas on the next stages of the case;
  9. I have already made a full set of copies of the case files. The trial date has not yet been set.

 

Liu Weiguo
July 18, 2018

 


A Second Annoucement on Wang Quanzhang by Wife Li Wenzu*

 

After Wang Quanzhang was disappeared three years ago, I’ve finally learned that he is now alive, and appear “normal mentally and physically.” When I heard this news, I let out a sigh of relief. Many friends were also excited to hear the news.

I have made an effort to communicate with Lawyer Liu Weiguo for the last few days, in my hopes of understanding the circumstances much better.

What I’ve learned is as follows:

1. Doctors said that Wang Quanzhang was suffering high blood pressure, and made him take medication.

Here I have to say: Quanzhang didn’t have high blood pressure before he was arrested! Of those lawyers who have traveled with him on cases, has anyone seen him taking blood pressure medication? He takes cold showers in winter, and used to carry me on his back up seven flights of stairs without stopping.

Other 709 victims have also been found to have high blood pressure, and then forced to take unidentified medication. Li Heping (李和平) was forced to take as many as six tablets per day; Tang Zhishun (唐志顺) took as many as 21 per day. After taking this medication, they got headaches, their vision was blurry, and they had the sensation of insects crawling all over their bodies. The 709 victims who’ve been released have a commonality: black spots over their whole face. A doctor of Chinese medicine who treated them said that it’s the result of liver damage from prolonged consumption of medication. Quanzhang has been forced to take this medication for three years, so how badly has his body been harmed?

2. When Quanzhang met Liu Weiguo, he was extremely frightened and didn’t dare speak loudly, sometimes even silently miming words to express himself. This led to Liu Weiguo not being able to accurately determine what Quanzhang was trying to say.

Liu Weiguo is the attorney commissioned by Quanzhang himself, so when they met, Quanzhang should absolutely not be in a state of fear if he was in a normal state!

3. Quanzhang told lawyer Liu Weiguo that he made the firm demand that lawyer Cheng Hai (程海) and his wife Li Wenzu (myself) be his defense lawyers, but the authorities categorically refused.

Yesterday I asked lawyer Liu to tell Quanzhang the following:

Firstly, myself and Quan Quan [泉泉, the couple’s son] are doing very well, and so many people have been helping us;

Secondly, Quanzhang, you shouldn’t be afraid of being overheard, you should say whatever you want, and you should speak as loud as you like with lawyer Liu Weiguo;

Thirdly, I hope after you’re released you’ll continue being a lawyer;

Fourthly, Quanzhang, you should not accept a suspended sentence, and I support you in not compromising and not pleading guilty!

Even though I now know that Quanzhang is alive, as the details of the situation continue to emerge, I feel more tormented. Lawyer Liu Weiguo’s simple description of Quanzhang’s demeaner is not the Quanzhang I know. It’s clear now how severe was the torture and suffering Quanzhang has been put through!

I will post updates on Quanzhang’s situation periodically.

I thank all of the friends who have shown so much concern for us!

 

Li Wenzu
July 19, 2018

 

*The first announcement, made on social media on July 13, acknowledged that she had received news of her husband and that he was alive and appeared “normal mentally and physically.”  — The Editors

 

 


Related:

709 Crackdown Three Years on: A Tribute to Wang Quanzhang, Yaxue Cao, July 8, 2018.

 

 

 

709 Crackdown Three Years on: Keynote Address on the Second China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day, July 8, 2018, New York City

Terence Halliday, July 9, 2018

 

Halliday_prize to Gao Zhisheng's wife

Halliday gave the China Human Rights Award for Gao Zhisheng to Gao’s wife.

 

Again and again, across history and across regions, lawyers stand in the vanguard of change. In Britain in the 1600s, in France in the 1700s, in Germany in the 1800s, in India and Brazil in the 1970s, in Egypt and Pakistan in the 1990s, in Zambia and Kenya, and, not least in South Korea and Taiwan over the last generation, and in many other places.

 

 

In the last days of June 2015 I spent many hours in coffee shops and hotels and restaurants and offices with many of China’s notable rights lawyers.

Wang Yu (王宇) and I discussed the extraordinary nationwide attack on her reputation.

Yu Wensheng (余文生) described his unbearable torture in the hands of the security apparatus.

Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) talked about the emotional pain of being separated from his family and having no permanent place to live.

Li Heping (李和平) imagined a society where compassion and justice and religious freedom were embraced by all leaders and citizens.

In those last days of June, 3 years ago, what was their state of mind?

They all knew that clouds were gathering.

They all had suffered in the past and they knew they might suffer in the future.

They all had hope that signs of deepening repression in the near future would be temporary. They all looked in the far future to a new New China which respected human rights, protected basic legal freedoms, allowed for an open political society and the rule of law.

Yet, none expected how quickly a great storm was about to break over their heads.

On 9 July, 2015, exactly three years ago, a massive storm swept them all away. It began with Wang Yu’s disappearance in the middle of the night. It spread rapidly over hours and days and weeks and swept away more than 300 rights lawyers and activists across all of mainland China.

Today we remember the 709 crackdown. But we do more than remember. This is not an historical incident that is fading in our memories.

It is not a monument to the past, only to be recorded in history books.

This Second Day for China Human Rights Lawyers’ shows that the 709 Crackdown is present in this moment. It reveals to China’s citizens, to lawyers across the world, to rights activists and the defenders of minorities, to international organizations, to states that still champion global standards of liberal constitutional orders, that a mighty struggle continues.

The end is not near. Indeed, the struggle deepens inside China and across the world.

And so today, we must ask: What does the 709 Crackdown and its shockwaves tell the world about China and its rulers? What have we learned about China’s rights lawyers and the struggle for freedoms? What of the future?

I. What Does the 709 Crackdown Tell Us About China and Its Rulers?  

What does it tell the world about the real China, not the propaganda China, not the mythical China, not the face of China that the Party likes to show the world, but the actual China, the empirical China, the China that free scholars and free media and free international observers report without censorship?

The world is waking up.

The world is waking up to the dark side, the cruelty, the brutality of China’s rulers, and we can see these in the way it treats rights lawyers.

This is:

A China where a single person, such as Wang Yu, is humiliated nation-wide in the state-controlled media

A China where brutalized lawyers are forced to make public confessions and mouth wooden words far removed from the values they expressed in my research on China’s defense lawyers

A China where authorities arbitrarily replace a lawyer’s chosen counsel with a government-friendly substitute.

A China that has expanded its repertoire of torture, intensifying and reinforcing the ways it seeks to break the ideals, the minds, even the bodies of rights lawyers

A China where lawyers are disappeared for weeks, months, years in so-called “designated residential surveillance” sites so they are completely removed from families, lawyers, observers, and exposed to extreme psychological and physical pressure, some of it medieval in its primitive methods.

A China where lawyers are subjected to new tortures, not least being forcibly injected with excruciatingly painful disorienting drugs to alter their minds and leave scars for the short-term or long-term or the rest of their lives.

A China where brothers are compelled to pressure brothers, or children are used against their parents, or parents are pressed to change the minds of their children, or where wives are refused access, even knowledge, about their husbands.

A China that has ratcheted up the charges and sentences for detained lawyers.

A China where secret trials have become a new norm for lawyers who most implausibly have betrayed “state secrets.”

The world is waking up to the recognition that China is a country that runs on the fuel of fear.

China’s leaders fear their own people.

When we view China through the eyes of its criminal defense and rights lawyers, we see a fragile China. Across China enormous grievances accumulate for hundreds of millions of Chinese. Pollution, property-takings, religious persecution, suppression of minorities, forced abortions, magnifying inequality, exploited labor, rampant corruption, unjust treatment by police, tainted food.

China’s leaders are afraid:

— civil society

— of Uyghurs

— of Muslims

— of workers

— of Tibetan Buddhists

— of unofficial Christian Protestant churches

— of women

— of unofficial Roman Catholic churches

— of Hong Kong’s fight to preserve its legal freedoms and open civil society

— and of Taiwan – a country which shows that ethnic Chinese, that inheritors of the Confucian tradition, that non-Han indigenous peoples together can build an open political society that adheres to global norms crafted in part by a pre-revolutionary China,

— of foreigners who care about the dignity and freedom of China’s people

The 709 crackdown has cast a long shadow. The world now sees it is one notable move against lawyers as part of many other “againsts.”

The world is waking up to the recognition that China is a deviant state.

It deviates from global standards on arbitrary arrest and detention, on torture, on disappearances, on fair trials, on an independent judiciary, on access to lawyers, on freedom of speech and association and religion.

The world has woken up to an awareness that this mighty nation, a nuclear power, a state flexing its military muscle, and an economic and geopolitical giant, nevertheless is afraid of these few lawyers and the 1000s of other lawyers who share their values.

 

709 律师节会场,纽约

The audience watch a short video about the human rights lawyers and legal activists.

 

II. What Does 709 Tell Us Today About These Rights Lawyers?  

We’ve learned that activist lawyers are now spread across the country. Once they were largely concentrated in Beijing. Today they are everywhere.

We’ve learned that the struggle for basic freedoms is now nationwide.

In every region ordinary people cried out for justice, for dignity, for their children, for safe food and clear water and pure air, for their property, for their religious beliefs.  And rights lawyers responded.

We’ve learned that rights lawyers fight for a core of ideals fundamental to all peoples in our 21st century world. They fight for basic legal freedoms.

  • They demand procedural protections for their clients, such as freedom to choose or meet with a lawyer, protection of clients from coerced confessions
  • They insist on standards of fairness in court such as seeing and cross-examining evidence.
  • They want fair trials and neutral judges.

They fight for an open civil society where there is freedom of speech and association, including the ability of lawyers to form bar associations independent of state control.

They struggle for freedom of religion and protections for all believers, including the savagely repressed adherents of Falun Gong. They want open exchanges of views and beliefs where citizens are freed from stifling censorship.

They fight against the tyranny of a one-party state where all power is concentrated in the hands of supreme rulers. They insist that political power be divided. That the tyrannies of absolute state power be checked by law and other centers of power inside the state and outside of it.

We’ve learned that lawyers’ ideals are so strong they will suffer terribly to maintain their ideals. We’ve seen that wives and daughters and sons – including those joining us today – have stood up to cry out for the most basic standards of justice and human decency.

And, most important, China’s activist lawyers have shown the world that inside China’s beating heart there is an impulse for justice, for freedoms, for a normal society. It is a society where rulers are not afraid of their own people but welcome their views, where leaders do not fear lawyers but welcome their peaceful respect for a just legality.

Inside China’s beating heart there is a tiny minority that gives voice to wrongs and gives vision for the future.

III. What of the Future?   

I submit to you that we already know the end of this struggle but we do not know when or how.

For 25 years social scientists, legal scholars and historians have investigated the role of lawyers in the creation of open political societies. These are societies where rights are embedded in constitutions and constitutions are implemented in practice.

Again and again, across history and across regions, lawyers stand in the vanguard of change. In Britain in the 1600s, in France in the 1700s, in Germany in the 1800s, in India and Brazil in the 1970s, in Egypt and Pakistan in the 1990s, in Zambia and Kenya, and, not least in South Korea and Taiwan over the last generation, and in many other places.

Lawyers have fought against absolute monarchs, Big Man regimes, military dictatorships, communist parties, fascist regimes. Lawyers wave the flag of legal rights, civil rights, political rights.

Time and again lawyers and their allies – workers, women’s groups, religious believers, the media – have been defeated, and time and again they have fought back from defeat. The struggle is never over, even in countries where lawyers’ ideals have been instituted for decades or centuries.

Hope is still alive among China’s activists. Now is a dark hour, a moment when defeat seems possible. The darkness may last a long time, years, decades, longer, but the end is never in doubt. Victories and defeats have already been the experience of China’s lawyer activists. And defeats and victories will continue.

Today, the Second Day for China Human Rights Lawyers’ keeps hope alive.

This event expresses a solidarity that crosses nationalities, that goes beyond citizenship that binds together persons of every ethnicity and believers from different religions, that crosses continents and knits together peoples and organizations and states in every place.

It is not only China’s hope but a universal hope – a hope in human dignity, in human flourishing, in legal freedoms, in an open political society, in a future where all may worship as they choose, where every person may speak the language of her or his childhood, where all may honor the cultural traditions in which they are embedded.

This hope is maintained by China’s lawyer activists and sustained by those that stand with them. Today we honor them by standing with them for China and for all peoples who long for freedom and justice.

 

 

Terence Halliday is a research professor at the American Bar Foundation, and co-author of Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work (Cambridge U Press, 2016).

 

 

 

 

709 Crackdown Three Years on: A Tribute to Wang Quanzhang

Yaxue Cao, on the second China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day, July 8, 2018, New York

 

Wang Quanzhang, around 2010As of today, lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been held incommunicado for 1,095 days. Over the 1,095 days, his toddler has grown into a boy who vows to fight the “Monster” that took his father; his wife has metamorphosed from a timid housewife to one of the most recognizable faces of the 709 resistance. With each day, we worry about Wang Quanzhang’s fate: Is he still alive? Has he been so severely debilitated by torture that they can’t even show him? These dreadful thoughts eat at our hearts when we think about Wang Quanzhang, and we don’t know how not to think about him.

Wang Quanzhang is 42 years old. Like most human rights lawyers in China, he was born and raised in the countryside, and came of age with a deep-rooted sense that Chinese society was unjust and unfair.

He graduated from Shandong University in 2000 with a law degree. While still in college in 1999, the brutal, nationwide suppression against Falun Gong began, and he provided legal assistance to Falun Gong practitioners. That makes him one of the earliest defenders of Falun Gong. As a result, he was threatened and his home was raided by police.

After college, Wang Quanzhang took up volunteer work to teach villagers about Chinese law near Jinan, the provincial capital of Shandong. He debated with villagers about whether it was power, or the law, that was supreme in China. The villagers believed that in China, power rules — not the law.

They were right then, and they’re right now.

In 2008 Wang Quanzhang moved to Beijing and worked at a string of NGOs. In 2009 he and friends co-founded the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group NGO (中国维权紧急援助组), to expand access to legal assistance for victims, organize trainings for fellow lawyers, and teach victims to become citizen lawyers using China’s civil and administrative laws.

After 2013, he focused on his legal practice and defended persecuted individuals in court, especially Falun Gong practitioners.

Wang Quanzhang was a lawyer with the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when he was swept up along with scores of other lawyers and activists in July 2015. Among the rights lawyers, he was known for being beaten up a lot, inside and outside the court.

Oh yes, court bailiffs do beat lawyers sometimes, though China has yet to apply for World Cultural Heritage status for this practice.

In February, 2017, Wang Quanzhang was indicted for “subversion of state power.” No one has yet seen a copy of the indictment. We don’t know how the Communist Party built its case against him, but we do know that they have been eager to have him admit guilt, without success.

Foreseeing what was to come, Wang Quanzhang left a letter for his parents in July 2015:

No matter how despicable and ridiculous we appear to be in the portrayal by the manipulated media, Mother, Father, please believe your son, and please believe your son’s friends.

My taking up the work—and walking down the path—of defending human rights wasn’t just a sudden impulse. Instead, it came from a hidden part of my nature, a calling that has intensified over the years—and has always been slowly reaching up like ivy.

This path is doomed to be thorny, tortuous, and rocky.

Dear Father and Mother, please feel proud of me. Also, no matter how horrible the situation is, you must hang on and live, and wait for the day when the clouds disperse and the sun shines through.

I’m immensely grateful for this note of hope, a note of hope from someone who seems to have the least reason to embrace hope.

So what choice do we have but to remain strong, and forge ahead? We have a monster to slay, or our dignity, our freedoms, and indeed, our humanity, will be in peril.

Thank you.

 

Yaxue Cao edits this website. Follow her on Twitter @YaxueCao

 


 

致敬王全璋:2018年中國人權律師獎獲得者

曹雅學,第二屆中國人權律師節頒獎詞,2018年7月8日,美國紐約

 

截止今天,王全璋律師已經與世隔絕,被秘密羈押了1,095天。在這1,095天裡,他的兒子從一個兩歲的乳兒長成了一個虎虎生風的小男孩。小男孩發誓要去打那個把爸爸帶走的“怪獸”。在這1,095天尋找丈夫的過程中,妻子李文足從一個拘謹的家庭主婦變成了709抗爭中最為人熟悉的面孔之一。每一天,我們擔心著王全璋的命運:他還活著嗎?他是不是被酷刑殘廢了、不能見人?當我們想到王全璋的時候,這些可怕的想法噬咬着我們的心。

王全璋今年42歲。如同大部分中國人權律師一樣,他在貧苦的鄉村出生、長大,對中國社會的不義與不公有早早的、刻骨銘心的體驗。

他於2000年畢業於山東大學法學院。1999年,當中國政府開始在全國對法輪功實施野蠻鎮壓的時候,他還是個在校生,那時就為法輪功學員提供法律援助。這使得他成為中國境內最早為法輪功辯護的人之一。他因此遭到威脅,他的住所遭到查抄。

大學畢業後有三年的時間裡,王全璋工作之餘,在濟南附近的農村給村民上法律課。他和村民辯論在中國是法大,還是權大。村民們認為,在中國,權力大於法律。

村民們那時是對的,現在仍然是對的。

2008年王全璋從濟南搬到北京,在不同的民間公益組織工作過。2009年,他和朋友共同創建了“中國維權緊急援助組”,向權益受害者提供法律救助,為律師提供培訓,同時訓練受害者成為公民律師。

2013年後,他進入律師事務所,成為刑辯律師,專心代理個案,特別是法輪功案件。

2015年7月,王全璋和幾十名律師與公民活動者遭到抓捕的時候,他是北京鋒銳律師事務所的執業律師。在人權律師中,王全璋有“挨打律師”之稱。挨打可以發生在庭外,可以發生在庭上。

是的,是有這樣的事情:在中國的法庭上,法警可以對律師大打出手。不過中國政府還沒有給這項舉世無雙的做法申請“世界文化遺產”。

2017年2月,王全璋被以“顛覆國家政權罪”起訴。但不管是他的律師還是家人,無人看到過這份起訴書。因此,我們不知道共產黨是怎麼給他羅織罪名的,但是我們知道,他們急於逼迫王全璋認罪,但沒有獲得成功。

王全璋預見到了將會發生的事情,他在2015年7月被捕前不久留下了一封《致父母書》。他寫道:

無論那些被操縱的媒體把我們描述和刻畫成多麽可憎、可笑的人物,父親母親,請相信你的兒子,請相信你兒子的朋友們。

從事捍衛人權的工作,走上捍衛人權的道路,不是我的心血來潮,隱秘的天性,內心的召喚,歲月的積累,一直像常青藤慢慢向上攀爬。

這樣的道路注定荊棘密布,坎坷崎嶇。

親愛的父親母親,請為我感到驕傲,並且無論周圍環境怎樣惡劣,一定要頑強的活下去,等待雲開日出的那一天。

對於這封信裡透露出的頑強的樂觀,我深懷感激。它出自一個似乎最沒有理由擁抱希望的人,那麼我們其餘的人除了堅強地往前走,還有什麼選擇呢?我們大家有一個“怪獸”要去打敗;不然的話,我們的尊嚴,我們的自由,乃至我們的人性,都將面臨威脅。

謝謝大家。

 

曹雅學是本網站(改變中國)的主編。她的推特號是 @YaxueCao

 

 


Related:

709 Crackdown Three Years on: Mother and Lawyer Reveals Brutality Against Her Teenage Son for the First Time, Wang Yu, July 1, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘I Stayed Because I Want to Change It’, Jiang Tianyong, July 3, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘If This Country Can’t Even Tolerate Lawyers’, a 8-minute video, Wen Donghai, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: The Many Methods by Which the Chinese Communist Party Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers, Lü Shijie, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘You’re Guilty of Whatever Crime They Say You Are’, a 7-minute video, Sui Muqing, July 5, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘We Don’t Accept the Communist Party’s Attempt to Instill Terror in Us’, a 9-minute video, Xie Yang, July 6, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘The Most Painful Part of It all Was the Squandering of Life’, Xie Yanyi, July 8, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘The Most Painful Part of It all Was the Squandering of Life’

Xie Yanyi, July 8, 2018

 

 

My name is Xie Yanyi. I’ve been a lawyer for 17 years. In 2003 I was the first person to bring a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin for violating the constitution by continuing as the chairman of the state Central Military Commission. From that point forward, I attracted the attention of the authorities.

In June and July 2015 — around then — due to the Qing’an case and a number of other rights defense cases, numerous rights lawyers and citizens were called in and interrogated by the authorities, some were arrested and paraded on state media.

The Qing’an incident was the fuse that lit the 709 crackdown.

In the early morning of July 12, 2015, I heard a knock at the door. I looked through the peephole and saw three men. Two of them were Domestic Security agents that had long been watching me. The other one, as I later learned, was a Domestic Security agent in Beijing. They came to my door in the morning and said they wanted to have a chat. So I went with them to the local neighborhood committee office.

Come around midday, all of a sudden over a dozen unidentified men charged in. The leader came right up to me and flashed his ID badge. They handcuffed me, and then escorted me downstairs. They then shoved me in a vehicle, and we sped off in three or four vehicles to the Chengguan police station.

As they were interrogating me, I worked out that they were also raiding my home, and they had asked me for my wife’s cell phone number. By nightfall, when their raid was done, they hooded me, cuffed me again, and put me in their car — this time an SUV. There were three of us in the back, with me in the middle. There was an officer on either side of me. And there were two in front. At that point we were leaving Miyun, Beijing. I had the hood on, so I didn’t know where we were headed.

They drove for an hour and a half, or maybe two hours, and I felt that we’d entered a kind of compound. They told me to get out, and two people came over and pulled me out of the car. We went into a room on the second floor.

They took the hood off, and I surveyed my new surroundings. The cell was about a dozen square meters. The walls were padded. There was a desk in front of me, and a bed to my left. There was a window on the far wall, but it was completely closed, covered with thick curtains. The room seemed air-tight. It was in this cell that my detention began.

Life in captivity was like this: there were a dozen or so armed police, guarding me every day, spread across five shifts. Each shift was two hours, with two police per shift. They stood to the immediate left and right of me. Even when I was asleep, one was at the head of the bed, the other at the foot, watching me 24/7.

The detention location was in Beijing, likely at an armed police base.

I was taken away on July 12; on the 13th I began a hunger strike. My wife was pregnant at the time, and I was really preoccupied about her. I demanded that the special investigating team handling my case give me pen and paper so I could write a letter home. In the end I was able to achieve this goal — they gave me pen and paper, and I wrote a letter to my wife. Although, after I was released I discovered that my wife never did receive this letter.

It seems that around September 8 we were transferred to another military base in Tianjin. I was again put into a roughly 10 square meter detention cell. Again, the walls were padded, and the window was completely sealed.

During the detention, I was put through some gruelling interrogations. That is, they wouldn’t let me sleep. Also, they starved me — giving me a tiny little bit of food. This went on for about one to two months. They put me through a form of punishment: they made me sit on a block with nothing to lean on. You sat straight like a military man  every day for 15 or 16 hours. This went on for a month. They don’t let you move a muscle. When you sit that long at a stretch, your lower body loses all feeling.

At the same time they submit you to all kind of psychological and emotional pressure. They once threatened me that they would detain my wife too, and they also menaced me, saying that they might harm my child in some fashion.

By January 2016 I was formally arrested on charges of ‘inciting subversion of state power,’ and was transferred to the Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. When I got to Tianjin No. 2, they wouldn’t use my own name. They gave me an alias — Xie Zhendong.

In the detention center they continued to punish me. The prisoners in this detention center were all serious criminals. In the cell, the person to my left had been given a life sentence; on the right was someone with a suspended death sentence. There was a death row inmate. All of them were recidivist, hardened criminals. They were ordered to surround me – in front of and behind me, to my left and right. These four were assigned to sandwich me and exercise control over me. Every move I made, every individual freedom and right I had, had been stripped of me. Even going to the toilet or drinking water required permission.

I was released on bail ‘pending trial’ in January 2017. On January 5. Even while I was supposedly on bail, they detained me in a hotel room. Only on January 18 did they let me go home and reunite with my family.

The third day after I got out, I exposed to the world the torture I had suffered — in particular [I wanted to expose] the abuse of my brothers along with me. Especially the torture that lawyer Wang Quanzhang and Hu Shigen may have been subjected to. I was in cell no. 8 in this location in Tianjin where we had been put under “residential surveillance” in the detention center. Between October 1 and October 8, 2015, in the depths of the night in my cell I very clearly heard the sound of someone falling down on the floor above me, along with the sounds of anguished wailing, groans, and electric baton shocks. In my judgement that was either Wang Quanzhang or Hu Shigen being tortured.

During this period, not long after I was detained, my mother passed away. When I first heard the news, I didn’t feel that much. I didn’t cry, nor did I feel loss. A bit over a month after I came out, I went to offer sacrifices for her, and as I held her urn of ashes, this ice-cold box of ashes, I ran my fingers along it. It was like I was making contact with my mom. It was at that point only that I really for the first time, at that point the emotions truly came out.

Over this 18 month period of forced residential surveillance, and arrest and detention, the most painful part of it all was the squandering of life. That is, they completely stripped me of every freedom. They didn’t let me engage in any form of communication. And I had no access to any information. Just like this, days become months, months become years. This kind of life wastage, after it goes on long enough, makes you crazy. During that period of residential surveillance, I even started to contemplate suicide.

So the question is how to overcome this dread, this total desperation? I silently told myself stories in my head. I recounted history, contemplated my beliefs, human nature, historical anecdotes. When I got to the detention center, in order to overcome the mental and physical imprisonment, I started to meditate. I sat cross-legged in meditation every morning and every afternoon, for two hours, every single day. This is how I got through it.

[When I got out] I rested up for two or three months. I then spent another three or so months writing “A Record of the 709 Crackdown and 100 Questions about Peaceful Democracy in China.” And then after I published this “Record of 709,” I also published an open letter to Xi Jinping. I told him to release all political prisoners, love your enemies, and start China on the path to peaceful democracy.

This January, 2018, is just when they formally ended my period of bail pending trial. But the authorities are still engaged in illegal infringements and investigations of my right to practice law.

They have committed political persecution against me; they have illegally held hearings on me to disbar me; and they have illegally deprived me of my political rights and a series of due process rights.

The 709 incident has really catalyzed the awakening of the Chinese public. So, we feel more and more that the collapse and crumbling of the totalitarian system could happen at any point. We now need to think through what happens in the post-dictatorship era. What should we do? I think that making peaceful democracy the consensus of the entire Chinese people — that this is extremely important.

Thank you, everyone.

 

 


Related:

709 Crackdown Three Years on: Mother and Lawyer Reveals Brutality Against Her Teenage Son for the First Time, Wang Yu, July 1, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘I Stayed Because I Want to Change It’, Jiang Tianyong, July 3, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘If This Country Can’t Even Tolerate Lawyers’, a 8-minute video, Wen Donghai, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: The Many Methods by Which the Chinese Communist Party Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers, Lü Shijie, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘You’re Guilty of Whatever Crime They Say You Are’, a 7-minute video, Sui Muqing, July 5, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘We Don’t Accept the Communist Party’s Attempt to Instill Terror in Us’, a 9-minute video, Xie Yang, July 6, 2018.

 

 

 

 

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘We Don’t Accept the Communist Party’s Attempt to Instill Terror in Us’

Xie Yang, July 6, 2018

 

 

 

My name is Xie Yang. I’m a lawyer at the Gangwei Law Firm, in Changsha, Hunan.

On July 9, 2015, I immediately got word of the arrest of Wang Yu, Bao Longjun, and their son.

On the morning of July 10, when I was interviewed by an overseas media outlet. They asked me: What do you think of Wang Yu’s whole family getting taken away? I frankly told them my opinion: I said that this is the beginning of the Chinese authorities’ purge of human rights lawyers. I said that a tempest would soon be upon us.

The following afternoon, on July 10 — it was a Friday — I went to Huaihua City in Hunan to take care of a case related to internal migration, a result of a large reservoir construction. This was a big class action case. Around 40,000 people had been harmed.

At about 5:00 a.m. on July 11, before the sun had come up, I heard an urgent knocking on the door.

The door was quickly kicked open. They flashed their ID badges, though they didn’t  produce any legal documents.

They escorted me downstairs and packed me into a vehicle — it wasn’t a police car.

What they first asked about was the China Human Rights Lawyers Group; they asked me when I joined. I said that as far as I see it, that’s just the name of a WeChat group, called the ‘China Human Rights Lawyers Group.’

Then they said to me: Party Central has designated this Human Rights Lawyers Group an illegal organization.

By around 6:00 a.m. on July 12 the door opened and seven or eight police stormed into my room and presented me with the formal notice of arrest. The crime I was being charged with had been changed; it was no longer ‘disturbing social order,’ but was two charges: the first was ‘inciting subversion of state power,’ while the other was ‘disrupting order in the court.’ Then they grabbed me and put me in their car and drove me back to Changsha.

Actually, there were a few things that happened while I was detained under residential surveillance [in a guesthouse] and later in the Detention Center.  But as for those happenings… Later, myself and the authorities made a deal. Given that a deal was made, I will abide by the terms of it. So, as for that aspect, I won’t say anymore just now.

What was this deal? It was that they would return my lawyer’s license to me, and I would forfeit a number of reasonable demands I had. After that, my case proceeded through the court fairly smoothly.

My trial  was held on May 8, 2017, and the next day, May 9, was my 80-year-old mother’s birthday. They brought me back to my parents’ home.

Due to the terror of the environment at the time, my wife and two daughters decided to flee China. On March 22, 2017, they arrived in the United States.

On May 10 my wife called me from the U.S.; of course, for me, when I was able to hear their voices, I felt a great sense of relief.

On April 4, 2018, they said my case was no longer ‘pending investigation.’ But on the same day, they declared that I was a threat to national security, and that I would not be allowed to leave the country for one year.

In addition, there are some obstacles when I do my work.  Whenever I fly out Huanghua Airport from Changsha to other cities in China, I’m always stopped and questioned. What’s their reason for stopping me? Illegal petitioning. This makes me really furious. They do this almost every time.

Also on the employment front, they’ve established a number of artificial obstructions.

They would come and speak to me directly and tell me that the cases I take on are sensitive, that I can’t keep accepting them. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to listen to them, because these demands are unreasonable. They’re hindering my right to practice.

As soon as I was released, I got involved in a series of sensitive cases. For instance, the Wang Quanzhang case, the Yu Wensheng case, and a number of other citizen activist cases. I was proactively involved in all of it. I wanted my license to practice law, but I don’t want to live a compromised life. I’m going to use to use my lawyer’s license to serve society.

We don’t accept the Communist Party’s attempt to instill terror in us and threaten us, or its imprisonment of lawyers. The use of these methods [of repression] will simply make Chinese society more unhinged. As legal practitioners we hope that everyone will resolve their problems within the framework of the law.

China is part of the world, and the deterioration of human rights in China is the deterioration of human rights around the world. If you simply connive at the CCP, then you’re harming the interests and human rights of the vast majority of the Chinese people.

The country needs to change; let’s work together toward it.

 

 


Related:

709 Crackdown Three Years on: Mother and Lawyer Reveals Brutality Against Her Teenage Son for the First Time, Wang Yu, July 1, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘I Stayed Because I Want to Change It’, Jiang Tianyong, July 3, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘If This Country Can’t Even Tolerate Lawyers’, Wen Donghai, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: The Many Methods by Which the Chinese Communist Party Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers, Lü Shijie, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘You’re Guilty of Whatever Crime They Say You Are’, Sui Muqing, July 5, 2018.

 

 

 

 

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘You’re Guilty of Whatever Crime They Say You Are’

Sui Muqing, July 5, 2018

 

 

 

Hello everyone. I’m lawyer Sui Muqing from Guangzhou. I practiced law in Guangzhou from 1998 to 2017. On July 9, 2015, in the early hours of the morning — I happened to still be online — Wang Yu live-broadcasted her arrest.

I was arrested the following night, on July 10.

At 11:00 p.m. the property management people rang my doorbell and said that my car had been hit. I suspected a ruse, so I ignored them.

A little while later they came back, and again said that someone had hit my car. The problem now was that the sound of the doorbell was extremely loud. My wife and kid were already asleep. It was really loud, you know? So I had to go down and deal with it. Once I got downstairs, a gang of police surrounded me.

I think it was on July 11 at 8:00 p.m. that they announced I was being held under ‘residential surveillance at a designated place.’ They charged me with ‘inciting subversion of state power.’ They put me in a place not far from my home, in a police training center in Dashi, Panyu District.

During the detention they questioned about what I’d been doing from the 1989 student movement all the way until now.

They focused on my contact with Guo Feixiong and other activists. For instance, our meal gatherings, salons, and all the human rights cases I had taken. They also questioned my contact with foreign embassies, as well as my trips overseas for conferences. They questioned me on all of it.

After about a month, one day they wouldn’t let me sleep. They didn’t announce this. At the time I didn’t even realize that the torture had begun. You know?

They deprived me of sleep for about five days and five nights.

By the fifth night, I fell apart. I felt that this body of mine, ah. It was done for. I blacked out. I lay down there, and I remember it was a very hot day, the room was still very hot even with the AC on. But oh, I had a thick blanket on me, but I felt freezing cold. At that point my mind was losing its grip. I thought I was about to die.

On about the 147th or 148th day, on December 2, [2015], they let me go home. But at home, I was still under residential surveillance.

I was under residential surveillance until January 10, 2016. On that day they came and said my case would be ‘pending investigation’ for a year.

The crime I had been held for was ‘inciting subversion of state power.’ It had no basis, simply no basis. Whatever they say goes. You’re guilty of whatever crime they say you are. If they need a basis for their actions, they’ll just make one up and slap it on you. When you’re a lamb in the mouth of the tiger, then you’re guilty of whatever crime they say. If they say you killed someone, then you’re a murderer; if they say you committed arson, well then you’re an arsonist.

People are the same everywhere. Of course one would be terrified. Merely for representing certain cases… it’s like what lawyer Zhang Kai said to me: “We’re just lawyers, but you take on a few cases and all of a sudden, you become Liu Hulan [a Communist martyr]. You face the test of life and death.

But man strives to overcome himself, to conquer fear. How does one beat this dread? Actually, none of us knows how.

All you can do is forge ahead — to overcome the fear through action. Once you’ve committed, there is no use being fearful. Fearful as you are, you forge ahead, like what Aung San Suu Kyi said: While your legs shake with fear, you nonetheless forge forward, and that counts as courage.

Over a period of about four years, I took on around 40 human rights cases.

Maybe the authorities have their statistics. Maybe they didn’t like the way I handled the cases. For example, I posted pictures online, I wrote and published updates on my cases, and I gave interviews to foreign media. The authorities believe that publicizing the cases has a very bad effect.

Though it seems that my disbarment [in early 2018] was sudden, I thought about it later. It was an overall reprisal for all the human rights cases I’ve taken on over the years.

As for the future, I’ve always wanted to leave China and be a visiting scholar abroad. I have long been interested in how the English and American legal systems took root in other countries.

But this wish of mine may be hard to realize. It’s been four years since 2014, and I’ve been banned from leaving China the whole time. They say I’m a threat to national security.

I noticed that some of the lawyers who were disbarred or had their licenses cancelled in earlier years have run into financial difficulties. So, I think this is something I first need to resolve.

I think that for my generation, my aspiration in being a human rights lawyer wasn’t as high, grand, and lofty as all that. I really think it’s for our children. We don’t want them to grow up being brainwashed, full of terror, surrounded by corruption, in a country with no rule of law. So, we need to do whatever we can to promote progress in China.

I hope that the international community, and the American and European governments in particular, will speak out about this. Fundamentally, human rights problems cannot be separated from economic issues. When you deal with a country with no regard for human rights, you cannot guarantee that your economic interests will be protected; you can’t protect the economic interests of your citizens [when dealing with these countries.]

 

 

 


 

Related: 

709 Crackdown Three Years on: Mother and Lawyer Reveals Brutality Against Her Teenage Son for the First Time, Wang Yu, July 1, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘I Stayed Because I Want to Change It’, Jiang Tianyong, July 3, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: ‘If This Country Can’t Even Tolerate Lawyers’, Wen Donghai, July 4, 2018.

709 Crackdown Three Years on: The Many Methods by Which the Chinese Communist Party Cracks Down on Human Rights Lawyers, Lü Shijie, July 4, 2018