China: International Community calls on the Chinese government and the People’s Courts for fair trial on the 709 cases

April 21, 2017

China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

To:       All Media (For immediate release)

From:  China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

Issue:  International Community calls on the Chinese government and the People’s Courts for fair trial on the 709 cases

Date:   21 April 2017

Enquiry:  Alan Wong   (Mobile +852 9430-1379/Office +852 2388-1377)

In view of the upcoming trial of Xie Yang, Hunan lawyer detained in the 709 crackdown, the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) and the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network (TCLN) issued a press release today.  It calls on the Chinese government and the People’s Courts to abide by the principle of fair trial by ensuring the “independence and impartiality of the court”, “presumption of innocence”, “defendant’s right to counsel” as well as the “implementation of open trial”. 

Regarding human rights lawyers and legal activists implicated in the 709 crackdown, CHRLCG and TCLN issued a joint statement on 23 March 2017, which has received positive support from across the international community. [1]  It was soon co-signed by 5 renowned legal scholars plus 13 legal groups and 13 international human rights NGOs including the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), European Democratic Lawyers (L’AED), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Human Rights in China (HRIC).  The Hong Kong Bar Association also released a separate statement on 31 March to express its concerns.[2]

On 7 April, CHRLCG sent the Joint Statement by express mail respectively to Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme People’s Court of China, and to the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court in Hunan that handles the case of lawyer Xie Yang, as well as the Tianjin No.2 Intermediate People’s Court that deals with the cases of lawyers Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang and legal activist Wu Gan.[3]  It is confirmed that the Statement has reached the 3 courts by 13 April. We hence trust that the judicial authorities have well understood the prominence and ardent expectation that the international communities have had on the fair treatment of the cases.

CHRLCG understood that ever since the disclosure of his experiences being tortured while in detention, Xie Yang has, over the recent months, not been allowed to meet with his defence counsels Mr. Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing.   It was later reported that the two lawyers were dismissed.  CHRLCG and TCLN express their deep regret. The two organisations reiterate that access to adequate legal representatives and consultation of one’s own choosing is the starting point for fair trial.

We also take note of the ordeals of Wang Qiaoling and Li Wenzu, respectively wife of lawyers Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang, both having been detained as a result of the 709 crackdown.  CHRLCG and TCLN strongly condemn the all the harassments including intimidations, hassles, enhanced surveillance measures and the tracking that the public security organs in China have exerted on the two families. On 14 April, Wang Qiaoling and the family were forced to evict from their home for the fourth time in less than ten months.

CHRLCG points out that instead of having the cases settled in a fair manner, the collective punishment enforced by the Chinese authorities will only reinforce public’s disgust towards power abuse and oppression against the underprivileged.

CHRLCG further notes that Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang have both been held incommunicado for over 20 months. While their cases have gone through the stages of investigation and indictment, there has still been no date or arrangement for their trial, which has seriously violated the principle of trial without undue delay.   We urge the Chinese government to either clarify the situation or else the two detained lawyers should be released without further delay.

CHRLCG and TCLN call on the international communities as well as the civil society in China to continue their monitoring of the Chinese government for the betterment of human rights and rule of law protection in the country.

[1] A Joint Statement by Legal & Professional Groups and Human Rights NGOs on the Forthcoming Trials of the Cases of the 709 Crackdown –  https://goo.gl/xBNZ0j

[2] Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association Concerning the Upcoming Trial of Four Chinese Citizens and Lawyers/Activists – https://goo.gl/Zz8HoH

[3]  The case of Wu Gan was reverted by the court to the procuratorate on 24 March 2017 for further investigation.

(ENG) 20170421 Press release

(ENG) Joint Statement on Fair Trial

(CHI) 20170421 Press release

(CHI) Joint Statement on Fair Trial

http://www.chrlawyers.hk/en/content/%E2%80%98709-crackdown%E2%80%99-latest-data-and-development-cases-1800-21-april-2017

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/04/22/china-rights-lawyer-xie-yang-denied-defence-trial/

http://www.india.com/news/agencies/china-rights-lawyer-denied-own-defence-for-trial-2-2056499/

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/china-rights-lawyer-denied-own-defence-for-trial-117042200583_1.html

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