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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: 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Announcement Regarding the Annual ‘China Human Rights Lawyers Day’ Event

June 24, 2018

 

China human rights lawyers day

 

China’s community of human rights lawyers have made enormous sacrifices to defend the rights and freedoms of citizens and promote China’s progress toward the rule-of-law and democracy. As representatives of China’s wider community of lawyers, human rights lawyers have, since the beginning of the rights defense movement in early 2000s, been the constant target of severe government repression. This has included, without letup, cancellation of legal licenses, being stalked, being threatened, being publicly defamed, being kidnapped, being secretly disappeared, and being subject to forced labor, long-term incarceration, or torture.

On July 9, 2017, marking the second anniversary of the Communist Party’s most brutal persecution of human rights lawyers with the ‘709 incident,’ 14 human rights organizations held an ‘Inaugural China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day’ in Washington, D.C. Through speeches, a photographic exhibition, a documentary, a march, and a live broadcast online, we showed to the world the bearing and courage of China’s rights defense lawyers, and brought their plight and peril to the attention to the wider world.

A year has passed, and Zhou Shifeng (周世鋒), Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Tang Jingling (唐荊陵), Xia Lin (夏霖), and others are still imprisoned. Yu Wensheng (余文生) and Li Yuhan (李昱函), among others, have been newly arrested and jailed. Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) remains disappeared, with no news of his whereabouts or condition for three years now. Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) has once again been disappeared, now for 11 months. Over 20 lawyers have had their licenses cancelled or face disbarment. Tragically, two outstanding rights defense lawyers, Li Subin (李蘇濱) and Li Baiguang (李柏光), have left us forever.

The persecution continues, and human rights defenders continue to hold their ground and resist. This year we hold in New York a second ‘China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day,’ and also to establish a ‘709 Rights Defense Lawyer Award.’ The date of July 9 now symbolizes the glorious and thorny road that China’s human rights lawyers walk. Every July 9, we — coming from around the world, including Chinese rights defenders and those who care deeply about the struggle for a free and democratic China — will mark ‘China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day’ and support one other through this dark time.

We firmly believe that one day in the future we will be marking the occasion of July 9 in a free China with the rule of law.

Time: July 8, 2018     2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Bateman Room, Fordham Law School (2nd floor of 150 West 62nd,New York)
Hashtags:  #中國人權律師節 or #709lawyers on social media

Sponsors 

Humanitarian China (U.S.A)
China Change (U.S.A)
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (Hong Kong)
Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network (Taiwan)
Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers(U.S.A)
Chinese Democracy Education Foundation (U.S.A)
Dialogue China (U.S.A)
ChinaAid  (U.S.A)
Taiwan Association for China Human Rights (Taiwan)
Human Rights Law Foundation (U.S.A)
New School for Democracy (Hong Kong)
Visual Artists Guild (U.S.A)
China Anti-Torture Alliance (US/China)
Institute for China’s Democratic Transition (U.S.A)
Uyghur Human Rights Project (U.S.A)
China Strategic Analysis Center (U.S.A)
Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers/
International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) (France)
Safeguard Defenders (Hong Kong)
Students for a Free Tibet (U.S.A)
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI)

Special Thanks

Alexandre (艾飞力) Law Firm (NYC)
Law Office of Yujian Zhang, P.C. (NYC)

Advisors

Jerome Cohen (孔傑榮), law professor and faculty director of U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University.
Andrew Nathan (黎安友), Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University.
Albert Ho (何俊仁), solicitor, chairman of China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, current chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.
Martin Flaherty, Leitner Family Professor, Co-Director of Leitner Center for International Law and Justice.
Terry Halliday, Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation.
Rob Precht, Founder & President of Justice Labs.
Felice Gaer, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee against Torture, UCLA professor.

Contacts

Teng Biao, tengbiao89@gmail.com
Yaxue Cao, yaxuecao@gmail.com
Zhou Fengsuo, fzhou89@gmail.com

 

 


關於舉辦第二屆“中國人權律師節”活動的通告

 

中國人權律師群體,為捍衛公民自由和人權,為推動中國走向法治和民主,付出了艱苦的努力。作為中國律師群體的優秀代表,人權律師從維權運動之初開始,就一直受到中國政府的各種嚴厲打壓:吊銷律師證、跟蹤、威脅、公開汙名化、綁架、秘密失蹤、勞教、長期監禁和酷刑,無日無之。

2017年7月9日,在中共殘酷鎮壓人權律師的“709事件”兩周年之際,我們十四家人權機構在華盛頓舉辦了“首屆中國人權律師節”,通過演講、圖片展、紀錄片、網路連線、現場直播、遊行示威等方式,向世界展示中中國人權律師的勇氣和風采;關注他們的困境和危難;並譴責中國當局迫害律師的暴行。

一年過去了,周世鋒、江天勇、唐荊陵、夏霖等律師仍在獄中;余文生、李昱函等律師被捕入獄;王全璋仍然失蹤,毫無消息已經接近三年;高智晟律師再次失蹤,至今已經11個月;超過20名人權律師已經被吊銷或者面臨被吊銷律師證。令人悲痛的是,兩位優秀的人權律師李蘇濱、李柏光永遠地離開了我們。迫害仍在繼續,人權勇士們仍在堅守和抗爭。我們決定舉辦第二屆“中國人權律師節”,並將設立、評選和頒發“709人權律師獎”。

7月9日象徵著中國人權律師走過的光榮的荊棘路。每年的7月9日,我們,來自世界各地包括中國的人權捍衛者和關注中國自由民主的人們,將約定以各種方式舉辦“中國人權律師節”,在黑暗中守望相助;我們堅信,在未來的某個7月9日,我們將在一個憲政法治、自由民主的中國,慶祝這個不僅僅屬於人權律師、也將屬於全體中國律師的節日。

【時間】2017年7月8日 美東時間下午2:00-4:30

【地點】Bateman Room, Fordham Law School (2nd floor of 150 West 62nd,New York)

【社交媒體標籤】 #中國人權律師節 #709lawyers

【主辦】

人道中國(美國)
China Change (美國)
中國維權律師關注組(香港)
臺灣支援中國人權律師網路(臺灣)
聲援中國律師委員會(美國)
中國民主教育基金會(美國)
對話中國(美國)
對華援助協會(美國)
臺灣關懷中國人權聯盟(臺灣)
國際人民律師協會-受迫害律師觀察委員會(法國)
人權法基金會(美國)
華人民主書院(香港)
視覺藝術家協會(美國)
中國反酷刑聯盟(美國/中國)
中國民主轉型研究所(美國)
維吾爾人權項目(美國)
中國戰略分析智庫(美國)
国际人民律师协会(法国)
保护卫士(香港)
自由西藏學生運動 (美國)

【特別鳴謝】

Alexandre Law Firm
Law Office of Yujian Zhang, P.C.

【中國人權律師節顧問委員會成員】

孔傑榮/Jerome Cohen(紐約大學法學院教授,亞美法研究所主任)
黎安友/Andrew Nathan(哥倫比亞大學政治系教授、東亞研究所主任)
何俊仁(中國維權律師關注組主席,香港支聯會主席)
Martin Flaherty(福特海姆大學法學院教授,紐約律師協會人權委員會主任)
Terry Halliday(美國律師基金會教授)
Rob Precht(Justice Labs創辦人及主席)

【联絡人】

滕  彪 Email:tengbiao89@gmail.com
曹雅學 Email:yaxuecao@gmail.com
周鋒鎖 Email:  fzhou89@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

‘If You Dare to Come Out, We’ll Kill You, Do You Not Believe It?’

Li Wenzu, April 12, 2018

 

Li Wenzu (李文足) is the wife of 709 lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋). On April 4, the 1000th day of her husband’s disappearance on July 10, 2015, she and a group of 709 lawyers’ wives began a march from Beijing to Tianjin, about 130 kilometers, where Wang Quanzhang is supposedly being detained. Along the way, other activists joined them on and off. On the sixth day of their march, their march were broken up by scores of plainclothes police officers, and Li Wenzu was taken back home to Beijing by force. Human Rights in China translated Li Wenzu’s account of her first day back. We offer you a translation of her account of the second day. However, as we prepare this piece, this morning Beijing time, outside Li Wenzu’s apartment building in Shijingshan District, the dozens of plainclothes officers and their helpers are nowhere to be seen. Li Wenzu has taken her son out for a train ride….  — The Editors

 

 

This is the 1006th day of [my husband] Wang Quanzhang’s disappearance, and the second day of my home detention. Even Auntie (the nanny) and my toddler son are blocked from leaving home. The plainclothes police at the door told us that if we go out the door, they will kill us. It was only after I called 110 [China’s 911] that Auntie and my son were let out of the house. As they walked out, a group of old women from the neighborhood committee yelled at them, “traitors!” and Auntie and my son both burst into tears.

This is the 1006th day of Wang Quanzhang’s disappearance, and the second day of my home detention.

In the morning, Wang Qiaoling (王峭岭), Fan Lili (樊丽丽), Big Brother Zhang Shangen (张善根), Big Sister Guo Shumei (郭树梅), Big Sister Wang Xiuzhen (王秀珍), and sister Zhu Ling (朱玲) came to visit me. But they were stopped by 40 or 50 people who were in the courtyard; the group included the neighborhood committee director and personnel, as well as plainclothes police officers. Not only were they swearing at [my friends], but they also grabbed their phones, and even broke Wang Qiaoling’s glasses from the side.

 

Li Wenzu, walk

Li Wenzu, on her way to Tianjin, stood in front of this banner about “Comrade Xi Jinping,” “the core”, “the New Era,” and “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” She’s living it!

 

I opened the door and wanted to go downstairs to greet them, but the door wouldn’t push open; several people were pushing it shut from the other side.  My friends couldn’t come up, and I couldn’t get out. All I could do was climb up the window to talk with my friends who had come to see me. From the 5th floor window, I also spoke angrily about “709” and Wang Quanzhang, which led to onlookers gathering downstairs to watch the commotion.

Another thing happened that I didn’t expect: a little after 3 o’clock in the afternoon, Auntie wanted to take the boy out for a stroll, and a man standing in the doorway turned to us and shouted: “If you dare to come out, we’ll kill you, do you not believe it?” I said, “I believe it, I very much believe it, because you’re all hooligans and scoundrels, I know that you’re capable of anything.”

With my 110 call in which I made a strong demand, my son and Auntie were able to go out.  However, a group of women from the neighborhood committee who were at the entrance to the building hurled all kinds of abuse at Auntie and the child, saying that Auntie was a turncoat and traitor. “Go back!” They shouted at them. Auntie took the child back home; both of them were crying.  These people not only blocked us, but also claimed constantly that they would kill us. Now that my son and I are in their hands, killing us is easy. If my son and I are disappeared, if we are killed, please, my many friends, help write this tragedy in history.   Thank you my friends for visiting me today! Thank you, netizens, for your constant attention and concern!

 

 


Related:

Wang Quanzhang: The 709 Lawyer Not Heard From Since July 2015, Yaxue Cao, January 15, 2018.

 

 

 

Safeguarding the Right to Practice: A Statement by 58 Chinese Lawyers

February 19, 2018

 

On July 9, 2015, in the mass arrest of Chinese human rights lawyers and defenders known as the “709 Crackdown,” the security authorities used “residential surveillance at a designated place” (指定居所监视居住), a disguised form of secret detention, to detain lawyers. They denied family the ability to hire their own counsel, conducted secret trials, and violated the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” by forcing prisoners to plead guilt in video recordings for state media before trial. This campaign-style (运动式) suppression has engendered panic and backlash domestically, and led to widespread censure from the international community.

The lessons of the 709 mass arrests are deep. The rising prominence of human rights lawyers was, in the first place, a wonderful opportunity for the government to reflect on the value of lawyers for the rule of law and their role in improving social governance. But now, lawyers are arrested or disbarred on the slightest pretext, and their rights to practice and have a job are increasingly infringed upon.

On January 15, 2018, Yu Wensheng (余文生), defense counsel for 709 lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), was disbarred from practicing law by the Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau. On the morning of January 19, Yu, while taking his child to school, was criminally detained by public security agents from Shijingshan district, Beijing, on charges of “obstructing an officer in discharge of duties.” On January 27, Yu Wensheng was placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” by the Xuzhou municipal public security bureau in Jiangsu province, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”

On January 22, 2018, 709 crackdown target Sui Muqing (隋牧青) received an “Advance Notice of Administrative Punishment” (《行政处罚预先告知书》) from Guangdong provincial judicial authorities, informing him that he was going to lose his law license. After he lodged the appropriate application, Sui was granted a hearing with the provincial judicial bureau on February 3. After the hearing, his license was indeed rescinded.

On the heels of Sui Muqing’s disbarment, the news arrived that Beijing’s judicial bureau had rescinded the registration of Beijing Wu Tian Law Firm (北京悟天律师事务所), a boutique law firm run by lawyer Cheng Hai (程海).

A series of similar disbarments has taken place recently, including:

  • In December 2017, Wang Liqian (王理乾) and Wang Longde (王龙德) in Yunnan having their law licenses revoked.
  • Also in December 2017, Zhejiang lawyer Wu Youshui (吴有水) being suspended from legal practice for nine months based on public statements he made that the authorities didn’t like.
  • In October 2017, 709 defense lawyer Li Yuhan (李昱函) being charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and detained in the Shenyang detention center.
  • In September 2017 Zhu Shengwu (祝圣武), the lawyer defending Wang Jiangfeng (王江峰), who was charged with making political statements on Weibo, had his law license revoked.
  • Also during 2017, the Shanghai lawyer Peng Yonghe (彭永和) resigned from the Shanghai Municipal Lawyer’s Association, because the Association refused to defend the rights of lawyers. Currently Peng faces the revocation of his own legal license.

Lawyers are an important component of the rule of law in China. Punishing lawyers for defending human rights is punishing the rule of law, rights, and order. The construction of an orderly, rational, and stable modern state requires the proactive involvement of lawyers. A society that sees lawyers as its enemy will inevitably fall into chaos and social unrest. Tragedies like the Cultural Revolution could easily recur.

For these reasons, we strongly call upon the judicial organs to be civilized and reasonable — immediately release the detained lawyers, respect and protect the professional rights of lawyers and the basic rights of other citizens, re-examine the recent spate of disbarments of lawyers and law firm licenses, and resolve in a proper manner the new problems that have arisen in social management. Don’t deliberately create conflict and opposition; instead, cooperate in advancing and nurturing the rule of law in China.

Contact address: lvshilianshu@gmail.com

 

Signatories:

  1. Liu Wei (刘巍), Beijing
  2. Wu Kuiming (吴魁明), Guangdong
  3. Liu Shihui (刘士辉), Guangdong
  4. Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Beijing
  5. Chang Boyang (常伯阳), Henan
  6. Wang Qiushi (王秋实), Heilongjiang
  7. Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), Beijing
  8. Wang Qingpeng (王清鹏), Hebei
  9. Wang Lei (王磊)
  10. Liu Shuqing (刘书庆), Shandong
  11. Shu Xiangxin (舒向新), Shandong
  12. Lu Fangzhi (吕方芝), Hunan
  13. Qin Chenshou (覃臣寿), Guangxi
  14. Chen Jinxue (陈进学), Guangdong
  15. Huang Hanzhong (黄汉中), Beijing
  16. Wen Donghai (文东海), Hunan
  17. Li Weida (李威达), Hebei
  18. Zhong Jinhua (钟锦化), Shanghai
  19. Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), Beijing
  20. Qu Yuan (瞿远), Sichuan
  21. He Wei (何伟), Chongqing
  22. Li Fangping (李方平), Beijing
  23. Tong Zhaoping (童朝平), Beijing
  24. Chen Yixuan (陈以轩), Hunan
  25. Yu Quan (于全), Sichuan
  26. Li Yongheng (李永恒), Shandong
  27. Ma Lianshun (马连顺), Henan
  28. Zhang Chongshi (张重实), Hunan
  29. Zou Lihui (邹丽惠), Fujian
  30. Lu Tinge (卢廷阁), Hebei
  31. Chen Jinhua (陈金华), Hunan
  32. Ren Quanniu (任全牛), Henan
  33. Luo Qian (罗茜), Hunan
  34. Li Jinxing (李金星), Shandong
  35. Wang Yu (王宇), Beijing
  36. Zeng Yi (曾义), Yunnan
  37. Meng Meng (孟猛), Henan
  38. Xu Hongwei (徐红卫), Shandong
  39. Ji Zhongjiu (纪中久), Zhejiang
  40. Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), Guangdong
  41. Ge Wenxiu (葛文秀), Guangdong
  42. Tan Yongpei (覃永沛), Guangxi
  43. Wang Zhenjiang (王振江), Shandong
  44. Wen Haibo (温海波), Beijing
  45. Teng Biao (滕彪), Beijing
  46. Jin Guanghong (金光鸿), Beijing
  47. Jiang Yuanmin (蒋援民), Guangdong
  48. Bao Longjun (包龙军), Beijing
  49. Xu Guijuan (许桂娟), Shandong
  50. Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠), Shanghai
  51. Chen Jiahong (陈家鸿), Guangxi
  52. Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍), Beijing
  53. Peng Yongfeng (彭永锋), Hebei
  54. Zhu Shengwu (祝圣武), Shandong
  55. Cheng Hai (程海), Beijing
  56. Cheng Weishan (程为善), Jiangsu
  57. Lu Siwei (卢思位), Sichuan
  58. Huang Zhiqiang (黄志强), Zhejiang

 

 


Related:

Detention and Disbarment: China Continues Campaign Against Human Rights Lawyers in Wake of 709 Crackdown, China Change, January, 2018.

Wang Quanzhang: The 709 Lawyer Not Heard From Since July 2015, January 15, 2018.

61-Year Old Human Rights Lawyer Criminally Detained in Shenyang, China Change, October 31, 2017.

Little-Known Chinese Lawyer Disbarred for Defending Freedom of Speech, October 3, 2017.

 

 

 

Wang Quanzhang: The 709 Lawyer Not Heard From Since July 2015

Yaxue Cao, January 15, 2018

 

IMG_1673

 

 

As of January 15, 2018, human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) had been held incommunicado for 920 days. This makes him the only 709 detainee who hasn’t been heard from since the notorious 709 Crackdown began in July 2015.

Last Friday, two lawyers, a former client, and three wives of 709 victims travelled from Beijing to arrive early morning at the First Detention Center in Tianjin, a half hour ride by high-speed train. The sun had risen, and a rich orange hue cloaked everything. A large-character slogan ran the length of the walls of the Detention Center: “Be Loyal to the Party, Serve the People, Enforce the Law with Fairness.” They were the first visitors waiting for the reception room to open. The three women were unable to deposit “meal charges” for Wang after calling a number thirty or so times and arguing with a female officer. The two lawyers, requesting a meeting with their client, were shown a piece of A4 paper that read “lawyers are not allowed to see Wu Gan and Wang Quanzhang.” Over the 30 months since Wang was arrested, his lawyers have made so many trips to Tianjin that they’ve lost count.

In August 2016, two 709 detainees were given heavy sentences and two others were given suspended sentences. By May 2017, more 709 lawyers and activists were released on bail or given suspended sentences after the government succeeded in forcing them to admit guilt in one form or another. By December 26, 2017, three of the last four 709 detainees received sentences or, as in Xie Yang’s case, were exempted from punishment. 

The fate of Wang Quanzhang has been weighing on the minds of many, particularly as those who have been released reveal details of horrific torture. These include electric shocks so strong that they knock the victim unconscious on the spot; the “water cage” torture, where at least one detainee was locked in a submerged cage, with only the head above water; force feeding with unknown drugs; extreme sleep deprivation; beatings; and verbal and psychological abuses.

That Wang Quanzhang must have suffered the worst for refusing to yield is the consensus shared by the human rights community. Some fear that he may have been so physically debilitated that the authorities are now hiding him. Some worry that he’s already dead.

The latter fear was lifted last July after Chen Youxi (陈有西), a well-known state-connected lawyer, met with Wang (against the wishes of his wife) and tried to make him sign a Power of Attorney authorizing Chen to represent him. Wang refused. Chen later came under heavy criticism after describing the meeting on social media. “Chen Youxi was sent to help the government frame my husband,” said Wang’s wife Li Wenzu (李文足).

Indeed, in all the 709 trials, the government-assigned lawyers imposed on the detainees were part of the admit-guilt-for-leniency deal, acting as intermediaries between the government and the 709 detainees, and helping the government get what it wanted.

Wang Quanzhang’s Work

Wang Quanzhang, 42, 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. Wang was born and raised in rural Shandong, and graduated from Shandong University in 2000 with a law degree. He was one of the earliest defenders of Falun Gong: while still in college, he provided legal assistance to practitioners not long after the brutal, nationwide suppression against it began in 1999. As a result, he was threatened and his home raided by police. A judge, it was said, wrote a letter to the university advising them not to issue his diploma. (He still received it).

Wang Quanzhang, around 2010

Wang Quanzhang  around 2010.

After college, while working at the provincial library in 2005, Wang took up volunteer work for an NGO that had set up an experimental community school in a village near Jinan, the provincial capital. For the next three years, he gave free lessons about Chinese law to villagers on Saturdays for three years, paying his own travel costs. He taught them cases concerning land rights and other legal issues common in rural areas, and debated with them about whether it was power, or the law, that was supreme. The peasants believed that in China, power rules — not the law.

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

In Jinan, Wang was subject to constant threats for his legal aid work. He was chased on the street, and at one time had to hide in the home of his friend, a professor, for days on end as plainclothes agents milled around outside the apartment building. He would later recount these episodes to friends as if they were someone else’s adventures.  

In 2008 he moved to Beijing in part to escape the dangers of Jinan. A colleague thus called him “a lawyer on the run.”

WQZ photo group
Wang Quanzhang with Peter (left) and Michael (right). 

In Beijing, Wang worked for an NGO called the “Empowerment and Rights Institute” (仁之泉工作室), one of the many small rights NGOs, like the school for villagers in Shandong, that sprung up in China around that time. He also did a stint at a think tank called the “World and China Institute” (世界与中国研究所). In 2009 he co-founded the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group NGO (China Action, 中国维权紧急援助组) with Peter Dahlin and Michael Caster, young Swedish and American activists respectively whom he had met at the “Empowerment and Rights Institute.” Peter and Michael came to China at a time when the country seemed eager to “integrate” with the world.

Through China Action from 2009 to 2013, Wang worked to expand access to legal assistance for victims, organize more structured trainings for fellow lawyers, and train victims to become citizen lawyers capable of dealing with the judiciary. After 2013, he stopped work at China Action and focused on defending individual cases in court.

In addition to Falun Gong cases, Wang also took on cases of illegal and unfair land expropriation, labor camp victims, prison abuses, and political prisoners such as journalist Qi Chonghuai (齐崇怀) and New Citizen Movement activists.   

In the midst of all of the above, he found time to write articles commenting on current events using the pen name “Gao Feng” (高峰) — though samples of his writings are hard to come by.

The Repeatedly Beaten Lawyer

Lawyer Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), who has known Wang Quanzhang since 2010, described him as shy and unknown to his peers. That changed in April 2013, when Wang was given a 10-day “judicial detention” by a court in Jingjiang, Jiangsu (江苏靖江), towards the end of the trial of a Falun Gong case, for supposedly “violating court order.” From the account of his assistant, he defended his client ferociously despite frequent interruptions by the judge, whom he vowed to file a complaint against. His “not guilty” defense made the judge furious — merely practicing Falun Gong is a crime, according to the Party.

No lawyer had ever previously been detained inside the court during proceedings. Scores of human rights lawyers and citizen activists from all over the country descended on Jingjiang and protested in front of the courthouse. Having never witnessed such a scene before, the court relented and released Wang Quanzhang two days later.

In recent years Wang dealt almost exclusively with Falun Gong cases. For that, he took a lot more beatings inside and outside the court, as brutality against Falun Gong defendants, and sometimes their lawyers, occurs frequently. Many human rights lawyers such as Wang Yu (王宇), and more recently lawyer Lu Tingge (卢廷阁), can attest to this travesty unthinkable in a country with the rule of law.

In April 2014, Wang Quanzhang was among a number of lawyers and activists who went to Jiansanjiang (建三江) in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang to rescue four other lawyers who had been detained after they themselves sought to rescue Falun Gong practitioners illegally detained in a black jail called “Legal Education Base.” In the middle of the night he was hauled out of his sleeping bag, he wrote in the Chinese’ edition of The New York Times. “Two men quickly tied me up with ropes, with my arms behind me, pulling a black hood over my head.” He was put on a bus to a police station, where after some wrangling, two policemen hit his head against the wall. More violence was threatened until he agreed to sign a statement promising that he would not to take part in “illegal gatherings in Jiansanjiang.”

In June, 2015, in Liaocheng, Shandong (山东聊城), about a month before the 709 crackdown began, Wang Quanzhang was co-counsel with two other lawyers in the trial of several Falun Gong practitioners. At the end of the trial, which was marked by a fierce defense, the judge, Wang wrote: “Suddenly ordered the bailiffs to remove me from the courtroom for disrupting court order. A dozen or so bailiffs rushed into the courtroom. Some gripped me by the arm, one clenched me by the throat, and they hauled me out. At this point, someone had started fiercely punching me in the head; others were hurling abuse… I was dragged into a room on the first floor of the courthouse, and was ordered by one of the police to kneel. I refused. They started beating me again.”

 

Wang Quanzhang 王全璋-李文足和他们的孩子

 

The Chinese Government’s Fictitious Case Against Wang Quanzhang

Like all other 709 detainees, Wang Quanzhang was placed under “residential surveillance at a designated place” for six months. He was likely held in the same building as other Beijing lawyers, such as Wang Yu and Xie Yanyi, who have since been released and written about their ordeals.

For example, in A Record of 709, 709 lawyer Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) described the sounds emanating from the room above between October 1 and 8 in 2015: “At about 9 a.m. on October 1, I distinctly heard someone above me fall hard onto the floor. There was a soft groan, then no more sound. It seemed like someone had just been given an electric shock. From October 1 to 10, nearly every day I heard interrogations and howling and moaning in the middle of the night in the room above me.” He wondered whether it was Wang Quanzhang or Hu Shigen. “The fact that there has been no information whatsoever about Wang Quanzhang for more than two years is an act of terrorism,” he wrote.

On January 8, 2016, after the six months of secret detention were over, Wang Quanzhang was formally arrested for alleged “subversion of state power.” Over the twelve months that followed, the police used extended custody and a prosecutorial time delay technique, known as “returning case to police for further investigation” (退回补充侦查), to hold Wang without indictment or trial. This is a common practice used against political prisoners.

Into the later part of the 709 crackdown, the government has dispensed with such pretenses altogether, holding Wang Quanzhang indefinitely without any legal basis, real or otherwise.

On January 3, 2016, the Swedish national Peter Dahlin was detained in Beijing. In an interview with China Change, Dahlin said that lawyer Wang Quanzhang was at the center of the police interrogations. “The focus was to try to find an angle to smear Wang Quanzhang. Considerable time had been spent on calling Wang a criminal, despite me pointing out almost daily that his case had not even been transferred to prosecutor, let alone having resulted in a conviction. Similarly, they refused to point out any activity by Wang that was actually a crime, except saying his work threatened national security, and that he has defended ‘evil cult’ practitioners and used his social media to highlight his work as a lawyer.”

Back in his hometown in Shandong, toward the end of April 2016, local police, admitting that they were under orders from Tianjin, visited Wang Quanzhang’s aging parents and siblings. They talked Wang’s father into speaking on camera, advising his son to admit guilt in exchange for leniency. His sister, an average village woman who had never questioned the government until the crash course she went through with the disappearance of her younger brother, asked the police: “What crime has my brother committed?” The police told her that Wang defended Falun Gong practitioners, and doing so is opposing the Communist Party because Falun Gong was an “evil cult.”

In mid-February, 2017, Wang Quanzhang was indicted for “subversion of state power.” But neither his lawyers nor his wife were given a copy of the indictment despite their persistent demands for it. We don’t know how the Communist Party has built its case against him. We do know that they have been eager to have him admit guilt, without success: the hometown police told his family that “Wang Quanzhang has been very uncooperative.”

A human rights lawyer who represented another 709 detainee and made many trips to Tianjin, and who wishes to remain anonymous, shared an interesting observation: he believed that the government didn’t have a plan when it rounded up the lawyers and activists in July 2015. Instead, they devised it as they went along, using torture to subdue them and have them admit guilt. “The government could find no evidence of crimes against them in the existing laws; but they felt they must muzzle the lawyers, and used illegal methods to do so. That is, they arrested the lawyers and activists first, then looked for or fabricated ‘evidence’ against them. The purpose is to terrorize and deter the rights defense community through criminal punishment.”    

The propaganda machine has worked in sync to disseminate the Party’s evolving narrative and belittle some of China’s most courageous citizens: when the 709 lawyers and activists were first detained, Party mouthpieces churned out articles and TV segments describing them as “the bad horses that hurt the entire herd.” By the time Hu Shigen (胡石根), Zhou Shifeng (周世锋), Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民) and Gou Hongguo (勾洪国) were tried in August, 2016, the activities of human rights lawyers and activists was recast into a conspiratorial “color revolution” with “anti-China foreign forces” behind the scenes. In the more recent TV confessions, lawyers Xie Yang (谢阳) and Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) were made to say that they were “exploited by Western anti-China forces” and brainwashed by “Western constitutionalism and other erroneous ideas.”   

 

Wang Quanzhang, 海报

 

Free Wang Quanzhang

In the two and a half years of his disappearance, Wang Quanzhang’s toddler son has grown bigger. His wife Li Wenzu (李文足), who had never taken much interest in her husband’s professional work, has become his most vocal and effective advocate, enduring unceasing harassment from the police. She was recently awarded the inaugural Outstanding Citizen Award by a network of activists inside China for her courage and perseverance.

No statements from foreign governments, no inquiries from United Nations committees, no amount of media scrutiny, seems sufficient to unseat the Communist Party’s determination to use an iron fist to subdue any citizen it deems “dangerous” in its increasingly paranoid outlook on the world.  

By all indications, it seems that Wang Quanzhang is not yielding either. Foreseeing what was to come, Wang 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.

I have never abandoned the qualities Father and Mother instilled in me: honesty, kindheartedness, integrity. In all these years, I have used these principles to guide my life. Even though I’ve often been steeped in despair, I have never given up thoughts for a better future.

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 the ivy.

This kind of path is doomed to be thorny, tortuous, rocky.

But when I think of the difficult road we have gone through together, this path seems commonplace.

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

 

 

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

 

 


Related:

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

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

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

14 Cases Exemplify the Role Played by Lawyers in the Rights Defense Movement, 2003–2015, August 19, 2015.

Crime and Punishment of China’s Rights Lawyers, Mo Zhixu explains why Chinese government is out to get them, China Change, July 23, 2015.