May 5, 2016
A discussion with Dr Teng Biao a Chineese Human Rights Activist and Lawyer who is also the Co-Founder of the Open Constitution Initiative(Gongmeng) held on Thursday afternoon in Dharamshala, India, attended by activists, Tibetan officials, Media Persons and Tibetan students. It was jointly organised by the International Tibet Network and Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
The Chinese activist talked of his experience in the past few years where he had himself faced oppression from the government in China for working closely with the Tibetan issues specially after publication of a comprehensive report called the Gongmeng Report of the 2008 uprising, came to their notice; because of this their office was shut down and they were arrested and detained for a month.
Dr Biao was arrested twice once in March 2008 and once again in February 2011. He talked about his experience when he provided counsel in numerous other human rights cases, including those of Rural Rights Advocate Chen Guangcheng, rights defender Hu Jia, the religious freedom case of Falungong, and numerous death penalty cases. He is also the Founder and President of China Against the Death Penalty, Beijing. Till this date he is not allowed to go back to China which speaks volumes about the physical embodiment of the Iron Wall in China.
He also spoke about the dearth of Human Rights lawyers in China and mentioned that in his time only 20-30 Human Rights lawyers existed but, even though today after recovery of the legal profession around 700 out of 250,000 lawyers which is minuscule, work for Human Rights most lack the will to take up sensitive cases.