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

March 1, 2017


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.

Letter to World Leaders by ‘709’ Family Members Includes Emerging Details of Horrific Torture (OFFICIAL STATE SITE:

Statement by Lawyers Representing Jiang Tianyong Regarding the Global Times Interview


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