Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that Beijing rights defense lawyers Zhang Kai (张凯) and Li Chunfu (李春富) were violently beaten at their client’s home in Chongqing by local police on May 13, 2009. They were then brought to the local police station for interrogation and were locked up in an iron cage and slapped in the face. A month earlier, Beijing rights defense lawyer Cheng Hai was also violently beaten by the police in Chengdu, Sichuan for handling a Falun Gong case.
Zhang Kai is a lawyer with Beijing Yijia Law Firm and Li Chunfu is a lawyer at Beijing Globe Law Firm. On the afternoon of May 13, they met with relatives of Jiang Xiqing at their home in Jiangjin District, Chongqing to discuss Jiang’s death while serving a Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) sentence.
Jiang Xiqing, 66, was arrested by the police on May 14, 2008, and sentenced to one year of RTL for practicing Falun Gong. On January 28, 2009, the Chongqing Xishanping Reeducation Center informed Jiang’s family that Jiang had died of a heart attack. He was then cremated without consent by his family. The family, suspicious of the cause of death, hired a Chongqing lawyer for legal assistance. But after inquiring formally with the police, the lawyer declined to be retained by the family.
Sources inside China informed HRIC that around 4 p.m. on the afternoon of May 13, four policemen came to the home of Jiang’s relatives and said they were delivering materials from the public security bureau’s judicial administrative office. They started to interrogate the lawyers, asking the lawyers to produce their identity cards. Soon afterwards, about 20 more people from the state security unit of the Jiangjin District Public Security Bureau and Jijiang Police Substation also arrived. Jiangjin State Security squadron leader Mu Chaoheng asked Jiang Xiqing’s relatives, “Who told you to hire lawyers? Your dad died a natural death.”
After Li Chunfu presented his lawyer’s license and Zhang Kai presented his passport, the police announced, “We only accept identity cards.” The police surrounded Zhang Kai and Li Chunfu and began pulling their hair, twisting their arms, tripping them, and beating them while pinning them on the ground. The police then handcuffed them and hauled them into their vehicle. They also took away Jiang Xiqing’s son, Jiang Hongbin.
After arriving at the police station, Zhang Kai was hung up with handcuffs in an iron cage and Li Chunfu was slapped in the face by the police. During the interrogation, the police threatened the lawyer to stop defending Falun Gong cases. When the lawyers argued that everyone had a right to legal counsel, the police said: You absolutely cannot defend Falun Gong; this is the situation in China. Lawyer Zhang Kai expressed, “This is typical hoodlum behavior. They just wanted to intimidate us and force us to withdraw from the case. They are so frightened; they must be hiding something about this case.”
Zhang Kai and Li Chunfu were released at 12:40 a.m. on May 14. Their hands were covered with bruises and scars. Zhang Kai’s hands were numb and swollen, and Li Chunfu had troubling hearing in one ear. At the present, they are both being examined at Jiangjin District People’s Hospital.
Sources inside China also told HRIC that in 2008, when Jiang Xiqing was taken away by the police, his wife, Luo Zehui, was also detained on May 13, 2008. She was sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment and is currently serving her sentence at Yongchuan Female Correctional Facility. In this case, their family members have never received any legal documents or information on when she was convicted and for what crime.