Tag Archives: China

China: Human Rights Watch WORLD REPORT 2019

January 17, 2019

Image result for human rights watch

President Xi Jinping, born in 1953, has indicated his intent to rule indefinitely after China’s legislature amended the constitution in March 2018 to scrap term limits for the presidency. This move was also emblematic of the increasing repression under Xi’s rule.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also strengthened its power over the government bureaucracy in a major overhaul of central government structure in March. The party oversees a powerful new government body, the National Supervisory Commission, which is empowered to detain incommunicado anyone exercising public authority for up to six months without fair trial procedures in a system called “liuzhi.”

Human rights defenders continue to endure arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and enforced disappearance. The government maintains tight control over the internet, mass media, and academia. Authorities stepped up their persecution of religious communities, including prohibitions on Islam in Xinjiang, suppression of Christians in Henan province, and increasing scrutiny of Hui Muslims in Ningxia.

Human Rights Defenders

The case of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang is emblematic of authorities’ ruthlessness toward human rights defenders and those activists’ fortitude. Beijing police detained Wang amid a national crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in August 2015; while detained he was reportedly tortured with electric shocks and forced to take medications. In July, Wang was finally allowed to meet his lawyer for the first time. Charged with “subversion of state power,” he could face life imprisonment if convicted. During Wang’s detention, Li Wenzu, his wife, along with families of other lawyers and activists detained during the crackdown, have campaigned relentlessly for his release despite having to endure incessant intimidation and harassment.

Authorities continued politically motivated prosecutions and disbarments of human rights lawyers. In January, police detained lawyer Yu Wensheng, charging him with “inciting subversion of state power” and “obstructing public duties.” Judicial authorities revoked or suspended the licenses of over a dozen human rights lawyers, and even some who retain licenses have been unable to find work due to police pressure on employers.

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/china-and-tibet

https://www.hrw.org/zh-hans/world-report/2019/country-chapters/326274 (CHINESE)

https://www.hrw.org/fr/world-report/2019/country-chapters/326297 (FRANCAIS)

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China/France/Germany: Detained Chinese lawyer Yu Wensheng wins Franco-German human rights award

January 15, 2019

hrd_yu_wensheng_credit_dw.jpeg

The French and German ambassadors to Beijing have granted a human rights award to a detained Chinese lawyer, with his wife picking up the prize on his behalf.

Mr Yu Wensheng – best known for suing the Beijing government over the city’s once chronic pollution – was detained in January last year and charged with “inciting subversion of state power”.

Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on civil society since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, tightening restrictions on freedom of speech and detaining hundreds of activists and lawyers.

Prior to his arrest, Mr Yu had circulated an open letter calling for five reforms to China’s constitution, including the institution of multi-candidate presidential elections.

His wife, Madam Xu Yan, received the award at an event organised by the German embassy in Beijing on Monday (Jan 14).

The prominent attorney was among 15 winners of the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law for 2018, announced in November last year.

“He (Yu) has lost his freedom for a year and not allowed to meet with a defence lawyer,” Madam Xu said at the event attended by the German and French ambassadors to China, according to a transcript she posted on her WeChat social media account.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/detained-chinese-lawyer-yu-wensheng-wins-franco-german-human-rights-award

https://www.france24.com/en/20190115-detained-chinese-lawyer-wins-franco-german-human-rights-award

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/prize-01152019105135.html

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1712791/detained-chinese-lawyer-wins-franco-german-human-rights-award

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2019/01/16/2003708011

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/yu-wensheng

https://chinachange.org/2018/12/31/weather-the-dark-storm-persevere-for-rule-of-law-in-china-a-2019-new-years-message-from-the-china-human-rights-lawyers-group/

https://chinachange.org/2019/01/16/the-schellenberg-affair-chinese-lawyers-and-law-professors-opposing-courts-handling-of-robert-schellenbergs-case/

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-01/16/c_137749537.htm

https://thestandnews.com/china/%E8%A2%AB%E5%90%8A%E8%AD%89%E7%B6%AD%E6%AC%8A%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB%E7%B5%84%E6%88%90-%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB%E5%BE%8C%E4%BF%B1%E6%A8%82%E9%83%A8-%E8%AD%A6%E5%AF%9F%E7%99%BB%E9%96%80%E9%80%9A%E7%9F%A5%E5%8F%96%E7%B7%A0/?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=63fbb4faba-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_04_11_54_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-63fbb4faba-259223637 (CHINESE)

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【余文生律師獲得 2018年《德法人權法治獎》,妻子許艷代領獎的發言稿】

大家好!我叫許艷,是余文生律師的妻子。
余文生律師因代理人權案件,為709案辯護,發表修憲建議,以涉嫌煽動顛覆國家政權罪、妨害公務罪被捕。如今被關押於江蘇省徐州市看守所。已經失去自由一年,一直沒有得到辯護律師的會見。
我很榮幸能代替余文生律師來領獎。

得知余文生律師獲得2018年《德法人權法治獎》,我為余文生律師感到高興!
德國、法國這樣的自由文明國家給予余文生律師這樣的肯定與榮譽,令我倍感榮幸和欣慰!
在此,請允許我代表余文生律師,真誠感謝德國駐華大使館官的人權官員蓋明美女士、法國駐華大使館的人權官員古哲星先生、德國外交部長、法國外交部長、尊敬的德國、法國及所有推薦人士。
非常感謝您們對余文生律師的鼓勵與肯定。

我們身邊還有很多人權律師因為辦理人權案件、努力促進法治而遭受迫害,甚至失去自由。
709王全璋律師已失去自由三年多,而王全璋的辯護律師余文生律師、李昱函律師又相繼身陷囹圄。 709的辯護律師文東海律師、程海律師等被吊銷、註銷律師執業證。
709隋牧青律師被吊銷律師執業證。王宇律師至今無法正常執業。謝燕益律師被註銷律師執業證。
同時,一些其他人權律師和人權捍衛者在遭遇著不同的困境。
2018年《德法人權法治獎》授予余文生律師,這不是余文生律師一人的榮譽,也是人權律師群體的榮譽!

最後,我除對德國、法國表達衷心感謝外。藉此機會,我也感謝余文生律師案的辯護律師常伯陽律師、謝陽律師;代理律師盧廷閣律師、何偉律師、馬衛律師和一路幫助我的所有人士。

也衷心感謝對余文生律師案件一直給予關注與幫助的國際上其他國家的人權官員及其他國家,謝謝您們一直熱忱的幫助!您們的存在,讓困境中的人權捍衛士者看到希望。
肯請您們繼續關注余文生律師。
謝謝大家。

許艷
2019年1月14日

(China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group / 中國維權律師關注組 Facebook, 15/01/19)

Hong Kong/China: Bar Association head Philip Dykes seeks ‘better understanding’ between Hong Kong and mainland lawyers

January 13, 2019

Philip Dykes

The head of Hong Kong’s professional body of lawyers has vowed to continue engaging with their mainland Chinese counterparts, despite warning signs that such efforts may not be entirely welcome.

Chairman of the city’s Bar Association Philip Dykes said that he hopes to raise the city’s legal profile internationally, as well as foster “better understanding” between local and mainland lawyers.

“We are not trying to proselytise,” he told HKFP in an interview. “We are two completely different systems… We are just trying to understand what the differences are, so as to better understand one another.”

However, questions remain about whether the body – which some say has grown more critical of the government under Dykes’s leadership – has soured its relationship with Beijing.

Dykes had previously said he had no problem getting along with China. That statement may soon be put to the test: by tradition, Hong Kong’s barristers are invited to visit Beijing every year, or every other year.

No such invitation was extended in 2018, and it remains to be seen if either side will make overtures.

‘Not conducive to confidence’

Over the past year, the Bar Association has issued statements against the joint checkpoint at the high-speed rail terminusscreening of election candidatespersonal attacks against judges, the expulsion of Victor Mallet, and the Chinese government’s treatment of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang.

“The Bar Association will not be silent on a major issue just for fear that it antagonises someone,” Dykes said.

Tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing lawyers came to a head in August, after Peking University stopped two barristers from teaching a course on common law. Dykes was also disinvited from the course’s graduation ceremony in Beijing.

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/01/13/bar-association-head-philip-dykes-seeks-better-understanding-hong-kong-mainland-lawyers/

https://www.hkba.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Bar_Association

China: Administrative Penalties Against Lawyers: Another Strike Against Professional Autonomy and Religious Freedom

January 10, 2019

The recent license suspensions of two lawyers in Yunnan have come under public scrutiny for the strange circumstances that led to the suspensions: the lawyers were making legal arguments based on government regulations and criminal statutes, with citation to relevant parts of the national constitution, on behalf of their clients. Their plaintiffs were Falun Gong practitioners accused of “using a cult to undermine the implementation of the law.” The case sheds light on a pattern emerging in the legal profession in China – the penalization of criminal defense attorneys, who represent clients in sensitive cases, with legally dubious accusations of professional misconduct.

“Disorder in the Courtroom”

On November 2, 2018 the Hunan Changsha Ministry of Justice issued administrative penalty decisions against defense lawyers Hu Linzheng and Zeng Wu, claiming that both lawyers “denied the nationally recognized nature of a cult organization.” In December 2017, the two lawyers appeared at the Yunnan Honghe Prefecture Kaiyuan City Court to defend their clients. Hu argued there was no evidence that Falun Gong is a cult and that Article 36 of the Constitution grants Chinese citizens freedom of religion, which at least theoretically limits the government from restricting the practice of Falun Gong. Zeng was faulted for arguing in court that there are “no direct legal regulations that determine Falun Gong is a cult,” and that his client “believed that Falun Gong is protected by the freedom of religion provided in Article 36 of the Constitution.”

The administrative penalty decisions concluded that Hu and Zeng’s conduct violated Article 49, Section 8 of the Lawyers Law of the People’s Republic of China, which states that lawyers can be penalized for speech that severely “disrupts courtroom order.” The decision also cited Articles 2, 39, and 53 of the Measures on the Administration of Lawyers’ Practice, which states that lawyers must support the Communist Party and the socialist rule of law, that lawyers’ conduct cannot disrupt the normal handling of legal cases, and that violations of these measures are punishable by Article 49 of the Lawyers Law.

The Changsha Justice Bureau suspended each of the lawyers’ licenses for six months, without providing evidence that Hu and Zeng had in fact caused disorder in the courtroom. Perhaps as an indication of how baseless the decision was, the Changsha Justice Bureau indicated that leniency was provided to the two lawyers when determining the penalty because both were “sincerely remorseful and cooperated with the investigation.”

https://www.duihuahrjournal.org/2019/01/administrative-penalties-against.html?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=f430b80f21-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_04_11_54_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-f430b80f21-259223637

https://chinachange.org/2018/12/31/weather-the-dark-storm-persevere-for-rule-of-law-in-china-a-2019-new-years-message-from-the-china-human-rights-lawyers-group/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China#Legal_profession

China/UK/US/Germany etc: Wives of Detained Chinese Lawyers Meet With Foreign Diplomats

January 10, 2019

Li Wenzu (4th from L), wife detained Chinese rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, and Wang Qiaoling (5th from L), wife of rights lawyer Li Heping, pose with a group of Western diplomats in Beijing, Jan. 9, 2019.

The wife of detained Chinese rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been held incommunicado without trial since 2015, has met with foreign diplomats together with Wang Qiaoling, wife of rights lawyer Li Heping, RFA has learned.

Yesterday morning, I and Wang Qiaoling met with diplomats in charge of human rights from … the U.K., U.S., Germany, the E.U., Switzerland and Austria,” Wang’s wife Li Wenzu told RFA on Thursday.

“Wang Quanzhang has been detained for three-and-a-half years, and I still know nothing about the trial,” she said. “I am starting to get very worried and anxious, because there has been no new information during the past couple of weeks.”

Li said the conversation had largely focused on her message to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

“I wanted them to pass on a very clear demand from me to the Chinese government, that the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court issue its verdict immediately,” she said.

“The [trial] ended … so the fact that they still haven’t issued a verdict indicates that they want to drag things out still longer, until everyone has forgotten about the whole thing,” Li said.

“They will then deal with the case when nobody is thinking about it any more,” she said.

Li said state security police had issued the families of rights lawyers and activists detained in a nationwide crackdown since July 2015 with the same warning; not to meet with foreign diplomats.

“The state security police wants the relatives to abide by four prohibitions, the most important of which was that we shouldn’t meet with diplomats,” she said. “But our situation would be far worse if it weren’t for international attention on the July 2015 cases.”

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyers-wives-01102019135210.html?fbclid=IwAR28d8ocNcd2OyGJsEsdRx2rwyGWQzXE9chce7uVljSGOveWnQrU0efzFk4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Quanzhang?fbclid=IwAR1VZuD1Jax0P2gY_s87RnBCkjw5ZitlCg-RA_3XgNZlSZ5uzoMIo_EsHno

http://www.edelstam.org/news/the-edelstam-prize-laureate-2018-shaves-off-her-hair-in-protest-of-the-persecution-of-her-husband/

http://www.edelstam.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edelstam_Prize

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/harassment-against-wang-quanzhang-family

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2018/12/rights-lawyer-wang-quanzhang-tried-in-closed-hearing/

https://sverigesradio.se/sida/gruppsida.aspx?programid=3304&grupp=6240&artikel=7126235&fbclid=IwAR0fDHk-Tv-Oph5vuNBbRkOeLlY2oDCSyfoQW8B4-Fmk8mPYqRqKuC3Zl1o (SVENSKA)

RED BUCKET PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF THE EDELSTAM PRIZE 2018 LAUREATE – LI WENZU
During the Edelstam Prize 2018 award ceremony, the Chinese sign for love was exposed, and all persons engaged in organizing the ceremony, wore the Chinese sign for love on their hearts. The theme of love and happiness pervaded the whole ceremony, especially in the end when children sang “We are the world,” everyone holding a red bucket with the Chinese sign of love to show support for Li Wenzu, responsible for organizing the important “Red Bucket Protest,” which took place on July 7, 2017 in front of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in Beijing. All the guests received a red chocolate heart when leaving the ceremony.
During the “Red Bucket Protest,” the wives of the detained human rights lawyers gathered in front of the Procuratorate in bright and red clothes with red accessories and red buckets, a color of love and happiness, to publicize their demand for information and access to the prisoners. On their dresses they had printed their husband’s names and messages of love. All the participants in the protest were finally detained, some of them badly beaten. Diplomats were not allowed into the Procuratorate.

(The Edelstam Prize  29/10/19)

China: HARASSMENT AGAINST WANG QUANZHANG’S FAMILY

January 8, 2019

Wang Quanzhang

On 26 December 2018, human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang underwent a four-hour trial at the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court in Tianjin, China. Wang Quanzhang has been detained since his arrest in July 2015, completely incommunicado except for a 2015 visit with a state-appointed lawyer. The court has not yet announced a verdict.

Chinese judicial authorities frequently carry out trials and sentencing of sensitive individuals during the Christmas holiday season in attempt to limit international monitoring and coverage (see Zhen Jianghua). Authorities also took exaggerated measures to avoid local monitoring of the event, dispatching dozens of police and security personnel to prevent Wang Quanzhang’s family and supporters from attending the trial. Approximately 20 officers prevented supporters as well as foreign diplomats from accessing the courthouse on the morning of the trial, while an equal number of individuals prevented Wang Quanzhang’s wife from leaving her apartment compound.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/harassment-against-wang-quanzhang-family

https://www.theepochtimes.com/china-may-be-hijacking-dissidents-twitter-accounts-to-fabricate-evidence-of-unlawful-content_2760635.html

https://www.nchrd.org/2018/12/travesty-of-justice-free-rights-lawyer-wang-quanzhang-now/

https://www.nchrd.org/2019/01/chinese-government-puts-human-rights-defenders-on-trial-during-holiday-season-to-hide-rights-abuses/

http://www.edelstam.org/news/the-edelstam-prize-laureate-2018-shaves-off-her-hair-in-protest-of-the-persecution-of-her-husband/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Quanzhang

https://www.epochtimes.com.br/12-formas-partido-comunista-chines-contradiz-si-mesmo/ (PORTUGUES)

https://sverigesradio.se/sida/gruppsida.aspx?programid=3304&grupp=6240&artikel=7126235 (SVENSKA)

China: In China, Rights Lawyer Likely to Be Disbarred for Defending Client

January 7, 2019

FILE - A security guard and police vehicle are seen outside the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China's southern Guangdong province, May 7, 2015.

Authorities in China’s southern Guangdong province are expected to soon revoke the license of a prominent rights lawyer, apparently for defending his client. Authorities held a public hearing Saturday to decide if such an administrative punishment would be imposed on lawyer Liu Zhengqing, according to other rights lawyers.

A final decision is expected a week from the hearing.

The ruling against Liu for allegedly “endangering state security” and “malicious defamation” while defending his clients will be the first of its kind.

The department of justice in Guangdong didn’t specify which comments in Liu’s earlier defense statements were at issue when he defended an ethnic Uighur minority in late 2016 and a Falun Gong practitioner in 2017.

Media reports, however, said what riled authorities the most was an earlier defense, in which he said: “the Chinese Communist Party was having a dictator’s doomsday panic, so much so that its lackeys were enforcing a political suppression through judicial means.”

Once disbarred, Liu will be the 26th rights lawyers in China who has suffered such administrative suppression in the past year or so, rights groups say.

https://www.voanews.com/a/in-china-rights-lawyer-likely-to-be-disbarred-for-defending-client/4731837.html

https://practicesource.com/china-human-lawyers-rights-concern-group-issue-statement-about-lawyer-liu-zhengqing/

https://www.nchrd.org/2019/01/chinese-government-puts-human-rights-defenders-on-trial-during-holiday-season-to-hide-rights-abuses/

https://www.france24.com/en/20181226-prominent-chinese-rights-lawyer-goes-trial-closed-court

https://chinachange.org/2018/12/31/weather-the-dark-storm-persevere-for-rule-of-law-in-china-a-2019-new-years-message-from-the-china-human-rights-lawyers-group/

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/defending-10172018145309.html

http://www.chrlawyers.hk/en/content/liu-zhengqing