Tag Archives: China

China: Thwarted by China’s courts, ‘diehard’ lawyers ‘fight to the death’ for justice

April 27, 2017

Wilson Wang was taken away by Chinese anti-corruption investigators on April 10, 2015. For 54 days he was interrogated and, he told his lawyers, tortured inside a powerful system called shuanggui. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Little more than an hour after the opening of a retrial against Wilson Wang, two women burst out of the courthouse at the Wuhu City Jinghu District People’s Court.

“The court beats people! Come and see, everyone!” they shouted in front of a small crowd that gathered. Ambulances arrived and, soon, attendants emerged from the courthouse carrying Mr. Wang’s wife, Jean Zou. She is a Chinese-born Canadian whose fight for her husband’s release has attracted Ottawa’s attention and cast new light on abuses in the Chinese justice system.

“I passed out in the trial,” she said from the back of an ambulance. “My husband fell down and I was worried.” Meanwhile, back inside, Mr. Wang had vanished. He fainted, his family said, as he tried to protest his treatment in court. Then he was spirited away and the courtroom was empty, except for his legal team. They waited an hour. “Nothing was really happening,” said Gan Weidong, one of the lawyers. “So we decided to leave.”

It was a moment of baffling legal drama this week in a little-known Chinese city. But it has opened a remarkable window into the prosecution of justice in a country that has claimed great progress in advancing the rule of law, but whose legal system regularly twists suspects and their defenders into Kafkaesque contortions as it maintains a 99.92-per-cent conviction rate.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/thwarted-by-chinas-courts-diehard-lawyers-fight-to-the-death-for-justice/article34830997/

China: A Joint Statement by Legal Professional Groups & Human Rights NGOs on the Forthcoming Trials of the Cases of the 709 Crackdown – Call on China to Ensure the Right to a Fair Trial

April 25, 2017

マンスリーサポーター(横長)

In a joint statement, Human Rights Now, a Tokyo-based international human rights NGO, together with legal professional groups and human rights NGOs, called on the Chinese authorities to ensure the right of a fair trial in the forthcoming trials of the cases of the ‘709-crackdown’.

Please read the entire statement below.


A JOINT STATEMENT BY LEGAL PROFESSIONAL GROUPS & HUMAN RIGHTS NGOS ON THE FORTHCOMING TRIALS OF THE CASES OF THE 709 CRACKDOWN – CALL ON CHINA TO ENSURE THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL

 Since 9 July 2015, the Chinese government has questioned, summoned and/or detained over 300 human rights lawyers, law firm staff and human rights defenders in a manoeuvre now commonly known as the “709 Crackdown”.  Some of these individuals were subsequently indicted for their “crimes”.  In early August 2016, four individuals – human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng and defenders Hu Shigen, Gou Hongguo and Zhai Yanmin – were convicted and sentenced in a deeply flawed trial process that breached both domestic and international laws. [1]Lawyers Li Heping, Xie Yang and Wang Quanzhang as well as legal activist Wu Gan have been indicted following the Crackdown.  It has remained a concern that no trial arrangements have thus far been made for the cases. To caution against repeating the rights violations that took place in the August 2016 hearings, we, the undersigned, solemnly call on the Chinese government to abide by its laws and Constitution as well as international human rights standards by ensuring that respective judicial processes, when take place, will be conducted in full compliance with the basic principles of due process, including the right to a fair trial.  Specifically, we are concerned about violations related to independent and impartial courts; the presumption of innocence; the right to counsel; and an open trial. We also express our grave and continued concern about the status of lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who has been held in secret detention since 21 November 2016.[2]

 

http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2017/04/25/statement-a-joint-statement-by-legal-professional-human-rights-on-the-forthcoming-trials-of-the-cases-of-the-709-crackdown-call-on-china-to-ensure-the-right-to-a-fair-trial/

http://www.chrlawyers.hk/en/content/joint-statement-legal-professional-groups-human-rights-ngos-forthcoming-trials-cases-709

http://hrn.or.jp/activity/10630/ (JAPANESE/ENGLISH)

China: Liberty University student petitions for release of father from Chinese prison

April 26, 2017

LNA 04262017 Xia Family.jpg

“I will be back within 24 hours.”

That was the last thing Liberty University student Chongyu Xia recalled his father saying as security officials escorted him out of their Beijing home.

That also was the last time Chongyu Xia saw his father.

It’s now been 900 days since his father was taken, according to Chongyu Xia’s recently released petition meant to urge the Embassy of China in Washington, D.C., to broker the release of his father, Xia Lin, a human rights lawyer.

Xia Lin was arrested Nov. 8, 2014, accused of “gambling and fraud,” according to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a coalition of Chinese and international human rights non-governmental organizations dedicated to the promotion of human rights through peaceful efforts, according to its website. According to a CHRD letter to the United Nations, Xia Lin was accused of defrauding $1.5 million to pay off debts incurred through a gambling addiction.

http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/liberty-university-student-petitions-for-release-of-father-from-chinese/article_5588a9a8-2a26-11e7-a1d0-0b0314747d4b.html

China: Wife of Tortured Rights Lawyer Calls For His Release Ahead of Trial

April 24, 2017

Chen Guiqiu (R), wife of detained rights lawyer Xie Yang, meets with New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith (L), co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, in Washington D.C., April 20, 2017.

The wife of jailed human rights lawyer Xie Yang has spoken publicly for the first time since arriving in the United States, ahead of her husband’s trial on Tuesday, calling for his immediate release amid detailed reports of his torture in detention.

Xie will stand trial at the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on charges of “incitement to subvert state power” and “disrupting court order,” Chen Guiqiu said in a recent statement.

She said the authorities had prevented Xie’s defense lawyers from working on the case after they made detailed reports of Xie’s torture in detention public, substituting a government lawyer in their place.

“Xie Yang’s family, defense lawyers, and his friends in China and overseas are anxiously watching and waiting for what the authorities will do,” wrote Chen.

In a later interview with RFA, Chen Guiqiu called on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to release Xie and other prisoners of conscience who are still behind bars in the country.

“The best thing to do would be to release all of them,” Chen said. “International calls for this are growing very strong now.”

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-wife-04242017150235.html

【The case of Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang 关注中国人权律师谢阳案】今天中国人权律师谢阳被迫害案在湖南长沙开庭审理。谢阳律师是中国2015年“709大抓捕”系列案中遭抓捕的湖南人权律师,被中国当局“监视居住”期间传出受到严重酷刑而广受国内外社会各界密切关注。今天他被指控罪名是“颠覆国家政权“和“扰乱法庭秩序”,辩护律师是官方特别替他指定的湖南贺小电律师,而谢阳家人为他聘请的两位律师陈建刚和刘正清因为揭露谢阳遭酷刑消息后被官方拒绝安排会见,然后又被莫名其妙所谓“解聘”!

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(Facebook)

(N.B. Lawyer Xie Yang was on trial April 25, 2017.  Details to follow.)

(UPDATE: The trial was cancelled and the court will set another date, but no reasons were given.)

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

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

http://www.citizencn.com/news/?p=44649

The Anecdotal Xie Yang

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/04/25/trial-china-human-rights-lawyer-xie-yang-delayed-supporters-say/

https://www.romandie.com/news/Chine-report-du-proces-de-lavocat-Xie-Yang-suivi-en-Occident/790505.rom (FRANCAIS)

The trial of Xie Yang, a Chinese rights lawyer whose account of torture at the hands of interrogators was widely reported in January, is expected to be held today.

 

China: Letter of concern with regard to our colleagues/Chinese lawyers in detention and to the situation of their relatives

April 24, 2017

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Eight lawyers groups and bar associations cosigned an open letter to Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security in China, and copied it to Zhang Jun, the Minister of Justice, expressing their concerns on police treatments of the family, and the reports of alleged torture experienced by lawyers in detention.

====================
Ministry of Public Security
Guo Shengkun
Buzhang Gonganbu
14 Dongchangan Jie
Dongcheng Qu
Beijing Shi 100741
People’s Republic of China
Email: gabzfwz@mps.gov.cn

Geneva, 24th of April 2017

Letter of concern with regard to our colleagues/Chinese lawyers in detention and to the situation of their relatives

Dear Minister Guo Shengkun (郭声琨),

We, the undersigned, express grave concern about the continued mistreatment of detained lawyers in China since July 2015 and the increased harassment and surveillance imposed on their relatives.

Information has been reported about sustained surveillance and continued threats that are imposed respectively on Ms. Wang Qiaoling, wife of detained lawyer Li Heping and on Ms. Li Wenzu, wife of detained lawyer Wang Quanzhang. We understand that CCTV cameras have been installed in front of their home and that they are followed wherever they go, intimidated by the police, constantly surrounded by unidentified men and threatened of being taken away. Attempts to ostracize and to crush lives of relatives of detained lawyers is of great concern to us.

In addition, we remain also preoccupied with the health condition of lawyers who remain detained since July 2015 awaiting their trial. Lawyer Li Heping and lawyer Wang Quanzhang remain without access to their family or to defence lawyers of their choice. No information about their wellbeing was communicated since their disappearance. We share similar concerns with regard to the situation of lawyers Xie Yang and Jiang Tianyong.

Reported information earlier this year about mistreatment and torture, to which detained lawyers are exposed, increases our anxiety. According to the concluding observations of the United Nations Committee against Torture which reviewed China in 2015, the “residential surveillance under a designated location” regime amounts to incommunicado detention and is unlawful. It further increases the risk of mistreatment and torture.

We call on the Chinese government to abide by its laws and Constitution as well as to its international commitments with regard to human rights obligations by ensuring that the judicial process is conducted in full compliance with the basic principles of due process and fair trial as well as in compliance with the United Nations Convention against Torture and the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers which provide specific safeguards for lawyers when discharging their functions.

We also urge the Chinese authorities to stop harassing and intimidating family members of detained lawyers as well as their own defence lawyers.

We remain concerned about the fate of its colleagues in China and the wellbeing of their families and friends. We will continue to watch closely the development of the situation as it evolves.

Yours sincerely,

The International Observatory of Lawyers in Danger
The Geneva Bar Association
UIA (International Association of Lawyers)
ACAT
LAWYERS FOR LAWYERS
Institut des droits de l’Homme du barreau de Paris
Conseil des barreaux européens
Barreau de Paris

Copy:
Ministry of Justice
Minister of Justice Mr. Zhang Jun (张军)
No. 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie,
Chaoyang District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
Post Code: 100020
Email: minister@legalinfo.gov.cn ; sfbzfxx@sina.com

(Chr Lawyers Facebook)

http://www.avocatparis.org/lettre-ouverte-en-soutien-aux-avocats-chinois

China: [‘709 Crackdown’] Latest data and development of cases as of 1800 21 April 2017

April 21, 2017

As of 18:00 21 April 2017, at least 320 lawyers, law firm staff, human right activists and family members have been questioned, summoned, forbidden to leave the country, held under house arrest, residential surveillance, criminally detained, arrested or missing.

Statistics by category*:

•Residential surveillance at designated location: 1 person
•Detained pending for trial: 8 persons
•Released on bail: 15 persons
•Bail conditions lifted: 11 perosons
•Sentenced and case closed: 6 persons
•Forbidden to leave the country: 41 persons
•Temporarily detained, forcibly questioned/ summoned: 264 persons
•Charge dropped: 1 person
* 23 individuals are listed under two categories; 2 individuals are listed under three categories

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

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