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A Home Prison Is Being Built for Recently Released Human Rights Lawyer Xie Yang

China Change, August 2, 2017

 

Xie Yang 铁门

The newly-installed iron gate outside Xie Yang’s home. 

 

According to a recently published video made by Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋), a professor of environmental science and the wife of human rights lawyer Xie Yang, Hunan authorities are setting up a large security door equipped with a fingerprint reader, effectively functioning as a prison cell door, outside the family apartment in Yuelu District, Changsha. As the large metal gate in the hallway is being put up, the Special Task Group in charge of Xie Yang’s case has also rented out the adjacent apartment for a permanent security presence to watch over him. Chen Guiqiu explained in the video that the building is a residence for Hunan University professors, and that she owns the title to their apartment. “They’re doing this to put Xie Yang under long-term house arrest, preventing anyone from freely visiting our home.”

On May 8, after nearly two years of imprisonment, Xie Yang was granted probation by a Changsha court. Since then he has been kept in police custody, and even brief meetings with family members have been conducted in the presence of officers. In early July, around the second anniversary of the 709 crackdown, Xie Yang appeared briefly on WeChat, chatting with a number of his legal peers and sharing some photographs of meetings with friends. On July 13 he returned to work at the Changsha Weigang Law Firm, and appeared in perfectly good spirits. On his first day of work he accepted a brief interview with Radio Free Asia. The report, titled “I Did a Deal With the Authorities,” featured Xie Yang explaining how he made a deal with the government before being released, which included him remaining silent about what transpired to him when in custody, and limitations on his professional activities, etc. No further details about this arrangement were disclosed.

During the trial, Xie Yang was made to appear on state media denying that he had been tortured in custody. Among the scenes broadcast by the authorities was Xie Yang, in court, holding up a piece of paper and stammering out the lines: “Everything I have done has been completely opposed to the profession of being a lawyer. These actions have besmirched the reputation of the Communist Party and have had an extremely bad impact. I hereby sincerely express my guilt and regret. I am willing to take this opportunity to express my current thoughts on human rights lawyers: We should abandon the strategy of contacting foreign media or social media to stir up hot topics and sensitive incidents, attacking the judicial system and smearing the image of Party and government organs, and other similar methods, when we take on cases. Doing this not only violates the professional integrity of the legal profession and legal regulations, as well as trampling on the fairness and justice of the law, but it also harms the nation, the society, and the people. Everybody must take me as a lesson. You must conduct yourselves within the framework of the law. Don’t be used by Western anti-China forces. I hereby express my willingness to confess guilt, truly repent, and sincerely apologize. I hope that the judicial organs will give me a chance to reform myself.”

Obviously the practiced, wooden reading of the script of penitence and guilt was part of the deal struck.

The court has yet to make public the length of the prison sentence Xie Yang was given.

The perverse transformation of the family home into a prison appears to be a punishment for Xie Yang accepting the RFA interview. Chen Guiqiu said that from July 14 onwards, she has once again lost contact with her husband. “I don’t know where he is now. The phone rings, but no one answers.”

 

 

Xie Yang_7月13日上班

The first and the only day back to work on July 13. 

 

Xie Yang was arrested on July 10, 2015 in western Hunan Province while handling a case. He was part of the 709 arrests of rights lawyers across the country. After six months of secret detention (the so-called “residential detention at a designated place”), and with the detention center having repeatedly used the excuse of needing to conduct further “interrogation” to extend his period of detention (退侦延期), the Changsha Municipal Intermediate Court brought charges against Xie Yang on December 16, 2016, accusing him of “inciting subversion of the state” and “disrupting court order.” The basis of the subversion charge was for his criticism of the government on social media and defense opinions, given in court, on behalf of clients who were charged with political crimes. The charge of disrupting court order stemmed from his protest of the court’s illegal refusal to accept and register legitimate legal complaints.

After he was indicted, Xie Yang was allowed to see the lawyers that his own family hired for him — the first time this was allowed to happen in all the 709 cases. All other lawyers and dissidents detained in Tianjin had been prevented from meeting with their own lawyers. From late last December to January this year, two of Xie Yang’s lawyers held a series of meetings with him. In them, Xie Yang made detailed revelations of the torture and barbaric, inhumane abuse he was subjected to during the period of residential surveillance at a designated place and in the detention center. This included extended periods of sleep deprivation, beatings, threats to kill his wife and children, and denying him the use of toilet paper.

Later, Xie Yang’s lawyers published transcripts documenting his torture, bringing a firm and sustained global response from the media, governments, human rights organizations, and professional law associations. Part of the reason for this was that up until that point, though there was immense international interest in the welfare and treatment of the rights lawyers and dissidents who had been held under long-term secret detention, there was no way to obtain the information.

In a statement dated January 13 and made public by his lawyers, Xie Yang said, “If, one day in the future, I do confess — whether in writing or on camera or on tape — that will not be the true expression of my own mind. It may be because I’ve been subjected to prolonged torture, or because I’ve been offered the chance to be released on bail to reunite with my family. Right now I am being put under enormous pressure, and my family is being put under enormous pressure, for me ‘confess’ guilt and keep silent about the torture I was subject to.”

Over the past several years, Xie Yang has taken on cases representing forced internal migrants, grassroots people who have been killed by police, and other cases, defending China’s most vulnerable. Like other rights lawyers, in the course of taking on these cases he would often find himself on the opposite side of the table to the government.

Ms. Chen Guiqiu has put out an invitation for whoever wishes to come and visit her home in Changsha. “Come and see how they treat a human rights lawyer who has already been released. Come and take a look at China’s rule of law.” The address is: Hunan University Professor’s Residence in Yuelu District, Changsha, building 3-23, apartment 1401 (1402 being the apartment taken over by state security.) [长沙市岳麓区猴子石大桥西侧阳光100国际新城第一期湖南大学教师公寓3-23栋1401房.]

Chen Guiqiu herself already fled China with her and Xie Yang’s two children in February of this year, and after many complications arrived in the United States.  

 

 

Follow China Change on Twitter @ChinaChange_org

 


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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Wife: How I First Learned About Xie Yang’s Torture

Chen Guiqiu, May 8, 2017

 

Over the weekend, ahead of the trial of human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳) on Monday, his wife Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋) published an article detailing, for the first time, how she first learned about her husband’s torture during the 6-month “residential surveillance at a designated place” and then in the Changsha 2nd Detention Center. Xie Yang, during the three-hour show trial for subversion and disrupting court order, denied being tortured as part of an apparent deal with the government. He looked gaunt in photographs. He was represented by a government appointed lawyer, and no witnesses were called. A handwritten statement by Xie Yang on January 13, sealed with red wax thumbprints, foretold this unfortunate “denial”: “If, one day in the future, I do confess — whether in writing or on camera or on tape, that will not be the true expression of my own mind. It may be because I’ve been subjected to prolonged torture, or because I’ve been offered the chance to be released on bail to reunite with my family. Right now I am being put under enormous pressure, and my family is being put under enormous pressure, for me ‘confess’ guilt and keep silent about the torture I was subject to.” — The Editors

 

On March 2, 2017, in a nearly 12 minute segment, CCTV-4 published a report about the torture of Hunan human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳). The report, using numerous strands of evidence, purported to comprehensively prove that “Xie Yang did not suffer torture.” It said that the claim that Xie Yang had been tortured was a “conspiracy,” “engineered” by myself and Jiang Tianyong (江天勇). Included in the report was footage of Jiang Tianyong — under secret detention since November 21 last year — confessing guilt, and a so-called “independent investigation” by the Hunan Procuratorate, as well eyewitness description by the reporter upon visiting Xie Yang in the detention center.

Xie Yang’s defense lawyer, Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), produced an exhaustive, professional, and meticulous transcript of Xie Yang’s descriptions of the torture he suffered during meetings last December and on several successive days in January this year. These were published on January 19, 2017. A mass smear campaign in March also hinted that Chen Jiangang’s torture transcripts were a fabrication. Chen has already provided detailed and potent rebuttals of these ludicrous claims (here and here).

From early March to now, I’ve been silent for over two months. Today, I’m breaking that silence. First of all, I’d like the world to know how I came to gain news of the torture of Xie Yang beginning in August, 2016. With this, as well as Chen Jiangang’s transcripts and Xie Yang’s own handwritten statement, people can decide for themselves whether Xie Yang’s torture is real, and who is lying.

I.  In late July, 2016, Hunan security police arranged for lawyer Zhang Zhongshi (张重实) to visit Xie Yang, for the purpose of persuading him to confess. Xie Yang had been in detention for a year by then, six months of which was under residential surveillance. After that he was held in the Changsha 2nd Detention Center. The meeting was extremely short. Xie Yang hurriedly recounted to Zhang some of the torture he suffered. He said that he was tortured to give a confession, and that he had at one point screamed out for help. He also told Zhang that over the past few days the detention center had locked him up in the same cell as a death row prisoner. The latter deliberately provoked him with lit cigarettes, and that after Xie Yang fought back against the bullying, the death row prisoner seized the opportunity to beat Xie Yang with his hand manacles. He sustained head injuries from this.

II.  In August 2016, someone called and texted me multiple times at 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., saying that a man was calling for help from the second floor of the retired cadre guesthouse of the National University of Defense Technology on Deya Road in Changsha. The cries for help included my telephone number, name, and work unit. I went to visit this brave caller to verify what he told me. He said that the blood-curdling cries for help were terrifying in the extreme. Later, the interviews of Xie Yang by Chen Jiangang corroborated this incident. Xie Yang was indeed, while suffering an illness and trying to deflect the blows raining down on him, screaming for help out of the window of the cadre guest house.

III.  On November 21, 2016, lawyer Zhang Zhongshi was able to formally hold a conference with Xie Yang for the first time as his defense lawyer. He heard Xie Yang, on his way to the meeting room, cry out at being slugged by the disciplinary officer Yuan Jin (袁进), and he touched Xie Yang’s swollen, bloody head. Zhang and I then exposed this incident to the media.

IV.  In the year that Xie Yang was held in the detention center, several former detainees personally gave me extremely detailed accounts of the torture and inhumane treatment he was put to. They said he was put in solitary confinement, denied the use of money placed in his account by family, and denied toothpaste and toilet paper. He also described to them the numerous forms of torture applied against him during residential surveillance at a designated place. I have audio recordings of these accounts. I will make them public at an appropriate time.

V.  During my contact with the state security police and public security forces, a number of people told me the news that Xie Yang had been tortured in custody. I also made audio recordings of these statements.

VI.  These varied sources corroborated each other. I cannot reveal the names because they would be subject to violent reprisal for telling me. They include individuals in the security police and the public security system whose conscience has not been lost, and kind-hearted people who have suffered like me. When the state terrorists behind these acts have fallen from power, I will let you know who these heroes are.

Before Chen Jiangang’s interview transcripts were published, the news about Xie Yang was revealed by myself and his previous defense lawyers, covering two periods of time: when Xie Yang was being held in residential surveillance (July 11, 2015 to January 8, 2016) and after he was placed in the detention center (January 8, 2016 to the present). Every piece of evidence we gathered can be verified.

The torture details we learned from the above channels were verified in their entirety by Chen Jiangang’s transcript.

I know in my bones that in China the public security officials, the public prosecutors, and the courts, are one colluding family, and that the judicial system is unjust and has no transparency.  According to Chinese law, during the time that Xie Yang has been detained, a video recording should have been kept 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the torture is fake, the authorities simply need to produce the video evidence to show it. This would constitute the most persuasive, primary evidence. Why have they never produced it? Clearly, all the “evidence” they keep speaking about are all lies.

 

Chen Guiqiu
May 6, 2017

 


Related:

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

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

 

This is an excerpt of Chen Guiqiu’s article, translated by China Change.

 

 

 

Lawyer Xie Yang Will Be Tried On April 25, Wife Says in a Statement

China Change, April 21, 2017

 

Xie Yang, Chen JG, Jiang TY 合成

Left to right: Chen Jiangang, Xie Yang, and Jiang Tianyong.

 

Since the publication in early January of the Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang,” made by lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), detailing a series of meetings with Xie Yang (谢阳) at the Changsha 2nd Detention Center, the Xie Yang case has taken many bizarre turns.

The revelations of torture in the interviews, the first meticulously-recorded and lengthy account of the abuse meted out to a human rights lawyer, offer a shocking view of the “709 crackdown” since mid-2015. As of now, four human rights lawyers and a number of activists are still in detention, and in the case of lawyer Li Heping (李和平) and Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), have been denied access to their lawyers for well over 600 days.

The torture of Xie Yang was perpetrated during the six months of secret detention, known as “residential surveillance at a designated location,” in the second half of 2015. After being exposed this year, it took the media by storm and provoked waves of strong reaction from the international legal community, governments, UN specialists, and human rights NGOs. On February 27, ambassadors of 11 nations wrote to the Chinese Minister of Public Security seeking answers to the reports.

Two days later, on March 1, Chinese state media, both print and broadcast, launched a smear campaign accusing the lawyers of colluding to fabricate the claims and catering to foreign media. Lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), who was abducted in Changsha on Novmeber 21, 2016, after visiting Xie Yang’s wife and children and posing for a photo outside the Changsha 2nd Detention Center, was made to appear on TV “confessing” that he had made up the torture details. An “investigative report” by the Hunan Procuratorate, which made a blurry, half-page appearance on CCTV, denied that torture had occurred. It was later reported that a few of the 11 ambassadors were subsequently summoned by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and shown the “conclusions” of this report.

Stunned by the boldfaced denial, lawyer Chen Jiangang posted articles and videos (with English subtitles) refuting the official media’s shabby narrative and questioning the Hunan investigation in its entirety. He was then was summoned for a talk with officials in Beijing, and menacing hints were made that he was under some sort of investigation…

Meanwhile, defense lawyers have been denied the right to meet with Xie Yang since February 28, a violation of Chinese law.

In recent weeks it seems that authorities in Hunan and Beijing have been negotiating a “resolution” of the case with Xie Yang. He was appointed an officially-sanctioned attorney. Yesterday, we heard the news that Xie Yang will be tried on April 25.

We don’t know what’s in store for Xie Yang. His wife, Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋), a professor of environmental science at Hunan University, recently arrived in the U.S. seeking asylum. Today, she issued the following statement:

In December 2016 lawyers Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing (刘正清) were commissioned by the family of Xie Yang to be his defense attorneys; they were then allowed by the Changsha 2nd Detention Center to meet Xie Yang, and obtained his signature confirming their power of attorney. This made Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing Xie Yang’s official defense lawyers.

Following this, the two lawyers met with Xie Yang on multiple occasions, and came to learn of the extensive torture he was subjected to. They also began filing complaints against his torturers. The outcome of the submission of these complaints, however, was not that the torturers were investigated and held responsible, but that on February 28, 2017, the two lawyers were suddenly prevented from meeting with their client at the detention center. Why were the lawyers hired by family and the defendant prevented from working on the case?

Earlier this month, representatives of the Justice Department of Hunan Province met with Liu Zhengqing in Guangzhou and then Chen Jiangang in Beijing, saying that on March 31 Xie Yang had dissolved the contractual relationships with them as attorneys and instead turned around and commissioned He Xiaodian (贺小电) in Changsha as his defense lawyer.

Why have the Hunan authorities gone to such lengths to alter Xie Yang’s legal representation?

Now I am shocked to learn that on April 25, 2017, the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court will be trying Xie Yang for “inciting subversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪), and “disrupting court order” (扰乱法庭秩序罪), and that his defense lawyer at court will be He Xiaodian.

Xie Yang’s family, defense lawyers, and his friends in China and overseas are anxiously watching and waiting for what the authorities will do.

 

Chen Guiqiu, wife of Xie Yang, in the United States
April 20, 2017

 


Related:

China’s Extraordinary Response to the 11-Nation Letter Over the Torture of Human Rights Lawyers, Yaxue Cao, March 28, 2017.

 

 

As China Blocks Xie Yang’s Own Lawyers Following the Torture Revelation, Wife Reprimands the Lawyer Who Met Him Without Consent

Chen Guiqiu, April 9, 2017

Since February 27, four weeks after the much-reported torture of Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳). who has been imprisoned since July 2015, the two family-appointed lawyers of Xie have repeatedly been denied meetings with him. The last time they saw him was February 6. According to Chinese law, lawyers are free to meet their clients any time during the trial stage. Rattled by the coverage of torture and responses by international legal professionals as well as foreign governments, China took extraordinary steps in early March to deny the torture and attempt to discredit the report, in an all-out propaganda assault. They forced lawyer Jiang Tianyong to confess to the “fabrication” on national television, and threatened Xie Yang’s lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), responsible for publishing his transcript of meetings with Xie Yang as the latter recounted the torture he was put through in heart wrenching detail. Recently, without the family’s knowledge or consent, a lawyer named He Xiaodian (贺小电) visited Xie Yang in custody at least once, apparently at the bidding of the authorities, in an attempt to get Xie to appoint lawyers who will cooperate with the government. Xie Yang’s wife Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋), a professor of environmental science at Hunan University, wrote the following letter to Mr. He Xiaodian. This is an important development in the Xie Yang story, and China Change here offers an unauthorized translation of the letter.  — The Editors    

    

chen-jiangang-liu-zhengqing-chen-guiqiu

Left to right: Chen Jiangang, Liu Zhengqing, and Chen Guiqiu in front of the Changsha 2nd Detention Center in December, 2016. 

 

To the honorable Director He,* greetings:

Director He, as you can tell from the salutation, I continue to treat you respectfully.

I was shocked to learn that you led a group of people to visit Xie Yang in the detention center. Did you know that for the last month Xie Yang’s own defense lawyers, Liu Zhengqing (刘正清)and Chen Jiangang, have been prevented from seeing him? Their legally stipulated rights have not been protected, and yet you were allowed to pay a visit. Can you tell me why?

Do you know the details of how Xie Yang has been tortured for over more than a year? Did you know that, because we exposed the details of the inhumane torture he was subject to, I was summoned, interrogated, and threatened at the end of last year? Did you see the reports vilifying Xie Yang run by CCTV, Phoenix, and Global Times in early March this year? Did you know that lawyer Chen Jiangang has been investigated, intimidated, and threatened? Did you know that he is currently having trouble in his practice and that he has two young children to provide for? Did you know that lawyer Liu Zhengqing has attempted to visit Xie Yang on numerous occasions, including many personal trips to the detention center, whereupon he has simply been rudely told to go away?

We have already clashed once before over this, last September. At the time, Xie Yang had been locked up for 16 months and hadn’t once been able to see his defense lawyers, yet you managed to see him several times! How strange, given that I had never hired you, or met you — yet you were somehow able to enjoy the extralegal privilege of meeting with my husband. And now, without even asking me for a cent or seeking my signature on a Power of Attorney letter, you’ve happily gone to the detention center to see Xie Yang, while the lawyers that I myself hired to defend him, who traveled long distances to Changsha, couldn’t see their client? As a lawyer, why is your allegiance aligned with certain people, and not the law?  

Though it’s nothing unusual in today’s society, your eagerness to do the government’s bidding still gave me a shock. This is because I know that many years ago you left your post as a judge and were determined to become a lawyer. You seemed to be one of those who knew where the future of China was headed, and knew how to maintain a basic sense of human decency. You’re over 50 years of age, yet you still allow yourself to be led by the nose. Is it that you need to help frame up Xie Yang so you can bolster your political credentials? Or is it that they promised you a huge cash reward for cooperating? While you grieve for the recent passing of your own mother, have you considered that Xie Yang too has aging parents who are hoping for their son’s return? And that his brothers and sisters are all waiting to be reunited with him?

What is the purpose of your meeting Xie Yang, anyway? Did you go to try to force him to sign papers commissioning you as his lawyer? Why are you willing to be the scapegoat for these people? Do you want to become Xie Yang’s lawyer, enter a guilty plea on his behalf, and send him to jail? What I’m thinking is: even though you may be gaining benefit from doing this, and gaining illicit privilege, you may not be able to enjoy peace for the rest of your life. Surely you’ve heard of the many cases where ordinary people fight back against the injustice inflicted on them. I personally have no way of guaranteeing that, in Xie Yang’s case, there’s no relative or friend who won’t take excessive measures in his defense.

The right and wrong in this case is so clear that a four-year-old would understand! Perhaps in your heart you do understand, but you are bound by mutual interest with the relevant organs, have to do what they ask you to, and get rewarded for doing so, in the face of overwhelming public condemnation.

I heard that you don’t like to go online, so I’m going to ask one of your colleagues to share with you the reports from the three media mentioned above, accusing us of fabricating the torture, so you can watch them together and exercise your meticulous legal reasoning, of which I think you’re still capable. You can see for yourself how how the top-tier state media outlets of the country represent the twisted logic of the relevant departments handling the case; see for yourself the pure idiocy of it all; and realize how you are becoming part of this web of lies they’re weaving. You could still back away from this travesty, unless you believe that the sun can rise in the west if the people in power say so, and everyone else in China are deaf, dumb, and blind.

I’d like to think your actions thus far are a slip of judgment after a talk, or a drinking party, with certain people. But when it comes to Xie Yang’s case, we won’t let this happen. Please, think it over carefully.

 

Xie Yang’s wife, Chen Guiqiu
April 5, 2017

 

*He Xiaodian is the head of Hunan Gangwei Law Firm (湖南纲维律师事务所) in Changsha where Xie Yang was once an associate.

 

 


Related:

‘The Ball Is in Your Court!’ Questions for the Hunan Procuratorate Regarding Its ‘Independent Investigation’ into Xie Yang’s Torture, Chen Jiangang, March 22, 2017.

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

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

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (3) – Dangling Chair, Beating, Threatening Lives of Loved Ones, and Framing Others, January 21, 2017.

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (2) – Sleep Deprivation, January 20, 2017.

Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang (1) – Arrest, Questions About Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, January 19, 2017.

 

 

 

 

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

Chen Jiangang, March 4, 2017

 

chen-jiangang-liu-zhengqing-chen-guiqiu

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

6.  My children, your father loves you.*

 

Chen Jiangang (陈建刚)

2017-03-03

 

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

 


Related:

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

Translated from Chinese by China Change.

 

 

 

 

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

Wang Qiaoling, Li Wenzu, Chen Guiqiu, Jin Bianling, March 1, 2017

anti-torture

 

The following letter was recently delivered to:

  • U. S. Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Chris Smith, co-chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China;
  • Congressman James McGovern and Joseph Pitts, co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U. S. Congress;
  • Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany;
  • Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of Germany;
  • Sigmar Gabriel, the Foreign Minister of Germany;
  • François Hollande, the President of France;
  • Bernard Cazeneuve, the Prime Minister of France.

 

We thank you for your sustained attention to the human rights situation in China, especially on the matter of the “709 lawyers,” who have been targeted from July 9, 2015 to this day. The case began with the mass disappearance of lawyers, and has included the deprivation of their right to a legal defense, as well as coerced confessions. After a year and seven months, to this day there are still four lawyers (Xie Yang 谢阳, Jiang Tianyong 江天勇, Wang Quanzhang 王全璋 and Li Heping 李和平), as well as one citizen activist, Wu Gan (吴淦), who are in detention. Recently, news has emerged of their torture in custody.

From September 2016 onwards, two of the undersigned (Li Wenzu 李文足 and Wang Qiaoling  王峭岭) have met with four individuals who were among the 709 detainees but have been released, learning about their experiences during detention. The following information about what they have been through cannot be attributed to them by name, something they exhorted repeatedly for fear of their safety and that of their families.

The majority of the lawyers and citizens targeted in the 709 arrests were placed in secret detention facilities known as “residential surveillance in a designated place” for six months, during which time they were tortured. Following is a summary of the four main categories of torture they were subjected to.

1) Forced consumption of drugs. Whether the internees were in good health or not, they were all made to take medication. The most common were drugs, so was it claimed, to treat high blood pressure. Other common drugs included tranquilizers or barbiturates of various sorts, as well as antipsychotic drugs. Of the four individuals we interviewed, the minimum they were forced to take was two pills per day — they were told it was to treat high blood pressure (though they were in fine health and did not suffer high blood pressure). The most they were forced to take was 20 pills per day, including barbiturates and antipsychotic drugs, along with other unidentified drugs. The victims were either forced to consume the drugs or tricked into doing so, and afterwards often felt dazed and stuporous.

2) Marathon interrogation sessions and sleep deprivation. Wearying interrogation sessions became practically mandatory for 709 detainees. They were regularly called in for questioning and prevented from sleeping. While the interrogators changed shift for all-night interrogation sessions, the drowsy detainees were shoved, beaten, or frightened by a clap next to the ears to stay awake. Victims were forced to sit in a fixed position on a stool, and as soon as they fell asleep, they were roughly roused awake. The torturers have countless methods.

3) Beatings, leg torture, and water dungeons. Being slugged was a daily occurrence. Worse was torture of the legs applied by guards. The prisoner, sitting on the ground, would have their legs forced onto a metal bar elevated about a foot off the ground. Another bar would be dropped across their thighs, and then someone would sit on top of it. If the victim still didn’t confess, another helper would add weight, causing excruciating pain. Prisoners were also put in cages submerged mostly in water, and left inside for seven days, the entire body underwater with a space to breath at the top. As they stood in the water and tried to sleep, rats would scurry about outside the cage, biting their nose and ears.

4) Threats to the lives, or freedom, of family members. The lives and freedom of prisoners’ wives and sons have been threatened. One of the prisoner’s son was taken into custody by public security officials, who threatened to formally arrest him if the prisoner didn’t confess; on other occasions, the father and brother of prisoners were arrested and held as long as the prisoner refused to confess.

These are only some of the forms of torture applied. When we first heard it all, we were also deeply shocked. A superpower that lays claim to being a responsible country “governed according to the law,” in fact carries out these horrifying acts of torture against a group of lawyers. Later, as we thought it over, we understood that this is simply the standard modus operandi of the Chinese government. In July 2007, Li Heping was abducted by public security officials and electrocuted until he was knocked out. In February 2011, Jiang Tianyong was disappeared for two months and also tortured. In June 2015 Wang Quanzhang, while carrying out his duties as a lawyer in a court, was slapped in the face by bailiffs nearly 100 times. The torture and abuse suffered by Xie Yang has already been set forth in detail by his defense lawyers, and a portion of it appears as an addendum to this note. All these deeds we describe represent the true face of the Chinese government — a government that plunders, murders, and destroys the ordinary Chinese people.

We hope that you can join a global effort to denounce and condemn these acts of torture by the Chinese government, and call for the Chinese authorities to investigate and hold accountable the torturers and others responsible. These human rights lawyers are the pride of China and should be set free immediately.

Thank you!

Your sincere friends,

Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭, wife of Li Heping)

Li Wenzu (李文足, wife of Wang Quanzhang)

Jin Bianling (金变玲, wife of Jiang Tianyong)

Chen Guiqiu (陈桂秋, wife of Xie Yang)

(Names of more 709 family members have to be concealed as they have been warned against speaking out for their loved ones.)

Addendum: The torture suffered by Xie Yang

Xie Yang’s primary clients were victims of forced demolition, forced internal migration, and grassroots peasants who had their rights violated. He was arrested on July 11, 2015 and denied access to his lawyers for 16 months, during which time his lawyers were also prohibited from reading any of his case files. His first defense lawyer, Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), was never allowed to meet him or read the case files; only on November 21, 2016 was Zhang Zhongshi (张重实), a new lawyer, allowed to meet with him, and Xie Yang was forced to dismiss Lin Qilei. On December 16 the case was transferred to the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court.

From his arrest in the early morning hours of July 11, 2015, until midnight on July 12 — a total of over 40 hours — he was deprived of sleep. Beginning the following day, he was then put through seven days of interrogation, during which time he was allowed to sleep only nine hours. This is far beyond what any normal person can bear. This deprivation of sleep led to Xie Yang’s mental breakdown.

During his six months of secret detention, Xie Yang was forced to sit on a stack of plastic stools, leaving his legs to dangle in the air and causing one of his already injured legs to swell up, leaving him almost crippled. Every day during the long interrogation sessions he was slugged, threatened, insulted, yelled at, and had smoke blown in his face. Even when his whole body was shuddering, and he was in a cold sweat, in an obvious state of pain and fever, the national security agents shoved him down onto the ground face first, pressuring his chest and suffocating him, then pounding him in the head until he was concussed. Any notes that were made revolved around the three topics determined by the security agents: that he was out for money, out for fame, and out to oppose the Party and socialism. He was pushed to the brink of death by the security agents, but they kept him alive to prolong the torment. As they inflicted pain, the agents held out the bait of “establishing merit,” trying to lure him with rewards if he would frame his peers. When this failed, they threatened the safety and lives of his wife and child, or the jobs of his friends and family, in an attempt to dominate him. All written records of the sessions they produced were fake. They wrote them, and simply made Xie Yang sign off, without the opportunity to request any changes. If he did, they’d torture him further.

In the year he was in the detention center, officials and guards would close in on Xie Yang and try to force him to confess. They prohibited any other prisoners from having any contact with him. No one was allowed to speak with him, give or lend him anything, let him participate in card games, mah jong, chess, or any other entertainment. He was forbidden from using any of the money that had been put in his account, so that for a long time he was unable to buy toothpaste or even use toilet paper. Prosecutors, along with police, used the excuse of questioning him to force him to confess, prevented defense lawyers from meeting him, and demanded that he keep his mouth shut about the torture.

The Changsha Municipal Public Security Bureau, the Changsha Municipal Procuratorate, the Changsha Municipal Second Detention Center, and all individuals involved in Xie Yang’s case, acted in collusion with one another. They prevented lawyers from meeting Xie Yang, covered up the torture aimed at gaining a confession, and punished a man who is entirely innocent.


Related:

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

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

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

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