March 10, 2016
(Family members and lawyers of detained lawyers and their colleagues gather after another attempt to seek answers about China’s biggest-ever crackdown on human rights lawyers in Tianjin, Jan. 8, 2016.)
A rights lawyer detained after calling for a trial by jury system in China has arrived in the United States. Chen Taihe, who hails from the southwestern region of Guangxi, was reunited with his family in San Francisco after learning that the charges against him would be dropped, according to U.S. rights group the Dui Hua Foundation. Chen was detained amid a nationwide crackdown on the legal profession on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power,” among other charges,last July. He spoke to RFA’s Mandarin Service about life inside a police-run detention center:
RFA: What were the conditions like in the detention center?
Chen Taihe: I felt so bad I wanted to die when they locked me up in there. I had nothing; no bowl or spoon to eat with, no cup to drink from, no toothbrush, toothpaste or toilet paper. What were the daily necessities of life on the outside became luxury goods on the inside. You couldn’t get hold of them unless you got onto good terms with thecell boss. Seven people slept in a room two meters by 1.8 meters. I couldn’t even lie flat; I had to sleep propped up. There was a squatter toilet, but someone had deliberately removed the fixture that stops the smell from wafting back out of the toilet, so a foul smell emanated from it the whole time. It was extremely hard to sleep in there.