Tag Archives: China

China: Police in China’s Guangzhou Threaten Beaten Lawyer With Punishment

November 16, 2018

Guangzhou lawyer Sun Shihua in an undated photo.

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have issued an “administrative punishment” to a rights lawyer who pursued a complaint about her treatment at the hands of local police.

For the past two months, rights lawyer Sun Shihua has pursued a complaint after being beaten and illegally detained by police at Hualin police station in Liwan district of Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou.

But she was told on Thursday by the Liwan district police department when she went there with her lawyers that she was being punished for “disrupting public order,” she said.

“They said my actions constituted disruption of their department,” Sun said. “I told them at the time that they are utterly shameless.”

“I had thought they were going to put right the wrong they had done, but they’re not. In fact, they’re going to compound it,” she said.

The public order allegations stem from Shi’s visit to the Hualin police station, alongside rights activists Zhou Wuzhou and Liang Songqi, on Nov. 20, the day that she was beaten by police and forced to undergo a strip search.

Sun was left traumatized by the incident, which included a strip search, ostensibly for “hidden weapons,” her husband Sui Muqing told RFA at the time.

She has since pursued a complaint against police, in spite of warnings of further “punishments.”










China: China Abolishes Top Beijing Law Firm Known For Human Rights Cases

November 13, 2018

The marquee of the Fengrui law firm is shown at its Beijing office in a July 17, 2015 photo.

The Chinese law firm raided at the start of a nationwide police operation targeting rights attorneys, law firms and activists in July 2015 has now “ceased to exist,” RFA has learned.

Police raided several prominent members of the Beijing Fengrui law firm on the night of July 9, 2015 and in the days and weeks that followed, detaining many of them on suspicion of subversion.

International rights groups have repeatedly called on China to release all human rights lawyers who remain behind bars, after more than 300 lawyers, law firm employees, and activists were detained and questioned in the crackdown.

While many were released from immediate detention, some lost their license to practice, while others found themselves and loved ones subjected to round-the-clock police surveillance and travel bans.

Former Fengrui partner Liu Xiaoyuan said officials at the Beijing municipal justice bureau, which overseas the legal profession, issued notification that its license to practice law had been revoked.

“Now that the license to practice has been revoked, Fengrui law firm has completely ceased to exist,” Liu told RFA on Tuesday.

“It is unable to carry out any activities related to [legal] practice,” Liu said.

Sensitive cases

In its early days, Fengrui was run by its founder Zhou Shifeng, later evolving into a partnership with more than 60 lawyers working on “sensitive” cases, with clients ranging from victims of the melamine-tained infant formula scandal, practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, and dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Nine of its lawyers and administrative staff were detained in the initial July 2015 crackdown, and while some have been released, they have all been stripped of their license to practise, Liu said.





China: UN Experts Call For Release of Detained Chinese Rights Lawyers

November 7, 2018

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng (Far R) arrives at the United Nations Human Rights Council prior to the Universal Periodic Review of China in Geneva, Nov. 6, 2018.

As the United Nations urged Beijing to release prominent detained rights lawyers, authorities in China’s southwestern region of Guangxi raided a legal consultancy set up by attorneys struck off by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, RFA has learned.

Human rights experts at the U.N. currently reviewing Beijing’s rights record found that “the deprivation of liberty of Wang Quanzhang, Jiang Tianyong and Li Yuhan, being in contravention of articles 9, 10, 11 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is arbitrary.”

“The appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Wang, Mr. Jiang and Ms. Li immediately and accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law,” the working group on human rights said in a draft statement issued on Wednesday.

It called on the Chinese government to investigate their detention and to take “appropriate measures against those responsible,” and said it had referred their cases to the U.N.’s Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

International rights groups have repeatedly called on China to release all human rights lawyers who remain behind bars, after more than 300 lawyers, law firm employees and activists were detained and questioned in the crackdown.

While many were released from immediate detention, some lost their license to practice, while others found themselves and loved ones subjected to round-the-clock police surveillance and travel bans.

Human rights lawyers, who frequently represent vulnerable clients or cases deemed politically sensitive by the authorities, continue to be targeted under the administration of President Xi Jinping.

Wang Quanzhang has been held incommunicado for the past three years on subversion charges, while rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on subversion charges in November 2017. His family say Jiang has been force-fed unidentified medication and now suffers from memory loss.










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China: Chinese rights lawyer’s new strategy: Outlast the oppressors

October 22, 2018

Attorneys and activists lay low as Xi’s government bares its teeth

A Chinese human rights lawyer knew it was time to put his battles with the government and state enterprises on hold when he saw his young son waiting for the “bad guys” to come.

“My son was looking out the window at night with a stick in his hand, like he was keeping watch,” the lawyer said. “And he said, ‘I’m going to beat up the bad guys if they try to take dad away.'”

The lawyer, who is in his late 40s, has handled cases involving land expropriations, arbitrary decisions by authorities and commitments broken by state-owned enterprises. His clients have included both individuals and businesses. But he fears the effects on his son’s psyche, not to mention the risk that the increasingly oppressive government might retaliate against his family.

The tide started to change in 2012 and 2013, coinciding with President Xi Jinping’s rise to power. “I had this scope where I could feel safe,” he said, “but I felt it start narrowing fast.”

In July 2015, the government turned more aggressive, detaining over 300 activists, lawyers and other individuals. The lawyer said there was little he could do to help his comrades; he is still not sure why he was not taken in, too.

Today, the lawyer speaks out little and avoids participating in overseas protests like he used to. Inaction, for him, is a survival strategy.








UK/Colombia/Egypt/China/Honduras etc: Occupational hazards

October 22, 2018

Turkey arrest

Lawyers all over the world risk losing their liberty – and worse – when they seek to uphold fundamental human rights. Jonathan Rayner reports


Across the world in places once deemed ‘safe’, the rule of law is under pressure to give way to populism and authoritarianism – meaning lawyers’ clients and their own support for justice are putting them personally at risk. In Colombia, 120 lawyers were murdered in 2017. President Erdogan’s crackdown in Turkey has seen 22 advocates put on trial for ‘terrorism’, and the list of countries where similar incidences are occurring is long – including China, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Venezuela, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Kenya. Yet international solidarity between lawyers is strong, and many are organising to protect and support persecuted colleagues in a battle for justice that can feel like it must be fought street-by-street.


English lawyers, and this is perhaps to over-dramatise matters, have been at imminent risk of violent death since 1591. That was the year that Shakespeare wrote Henry VI part two and placed the words, ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’, into the mouth of a rebellious Dick the Butcher. Some 427 years later, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2018 was marked by lawyers in 35 European and other cities worldwide. They were showing solidarity with their persecuted Egyptian counterparts, the same way that in the previous two years they had demonstrated their support for imperilled lawyers in China and Honduras.

Egypt, China, Honduras – three nations on three different continents. The threat to lawyers, although small in the UK, is global. Dick the Butcher’s rantings have been supplanted by something altogether more sinister: extra-judicial executions, state-sanctioned wrongful imprisonment and harassment, electronic surveillance and an autocratic disregard for the rule of law. Sir Patrick Elias, president of the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and a retired Appeal Court judge, says the problem is widespread: ‘It flourishes wherever there are dictatorships.’



China: She was ‘strip-searched’ in a police station. And she’s a lawyer

October 10, 2018

Image result for lawyer Sun Shihua

Having practiced law in China for two decades, Sun Shihua is no stranger to how Chinese law and order is often enforced.


But never in her wildest imagination did she think that she would be strip-searched and assaulted in a police station.


“It was the darkest, most terrifying and shameful day in my 20 years as a lawyer,” Sun told Inkstone.


The 48-year-old lawyer said she was mistreated on September 20 in a police station in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where she was representing a client.


Sun said that following a scuffle with police at the station, she was forced to strip off all her clothes in a detention room.


Following a complaint that Sun filed on September 21, the Guangzhou Lawyers Association said on Monday it would investigate the case and make sure all lawyers’ rights were protected.


However, the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, which oversees all local police stations, denied any wrongdoing.








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Hong Kong/China: Hong Kong NGOs to highlight China’s suppression of lawyers, labour groups at United Nations

October 3, 2018

A representative from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) will speak at a United Nations conference next week to highlight human rights abuses in China such as the suppression of lawyers and labour unions.

Ming Lam, Albert Ho Emily Lau

Ming Lam of HKCTU will be speaking at a pre-session of the UN’s Universal Periodic Review, which examines the human rights performance of member states once every five years. The pre-session is designed for civil organisations to raise issues before the Human Rights Council conducts its inquiry in November.

Lam will travel to Geneva next week accompanied by Albert Ho and Emily Lau, both representatives of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG).

Ho will also represent the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, one of the largest pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong.

Ho said the group will prioritise the issue of oppressed dissidents: “We have to pinpoint the imprisonment or detention of a number of dissidents [who were detained] simply because of their exercise of the freedom of speech in a peaceful and non-violent manner,” he said.

The group demanded that China release all detained dissidents and stop the persecution of human rights activists. It raised examples including Wang Quanzhang, a human rights lawyer who has been detained for over 1,100 days without trial, as well as lawyers Yu Wensheng, Li Yuhan and Jiang Tianyong.