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Lawyers Protest Persecution on Unprecedented Scale

December 16, 2013

In a statement that cites Chinese laws and United Nations standards, a group of 132 lawyers and legal professionals call on central government authorities to stop abuses of lawyers committed by local authorities. In a joint statement, the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers group outlines the following abuses: unlawful denial of lawyer-client meetings, beatings, snatching of mobile phones, and physical expulsion from courtrooms in locations including Henan, Jiangxi, Hubei, Liaoning, and Jilin.

The group urges the National People’s Congress, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, and All-China Lawyers Association to order the investigation of cases of abuse and bring to justice the officials responsible.

Below is HRIC’s English translation of the statement.

Concerning Serious Violations of Lawyers'
Right to Practice in
Nanle County, Henan Province, and Other Locations

A Statement by Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group

December 13, 2013

[Translation by Human Rights in China]

Since November 2013, the Nanle County Public Security Bureau in Puyang City, Henan Province, has detained Pastor Zhang Shaojie (张少杰) and more than 20 other Christians who are members of "Three Independent" (三 自) churches, on suspicion of "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order" and "obstructing official business." Xia Jun (夏钧), Ya Xingquan (杨兴权),and other lawyers were appointed legal counsel, but their repeated requests to see their clients, made in accordance with the law, were all rejected on various grounds. During this period, the clients' family members were intimidated and had their mobile phones snatched, pastors visiting from other places were beaten up, and lawyer Xia Jun, who is staying in Nanle to monitor the situation, was also threatened and had two mobile phones snatched.

In the morning of December 12, 2013, the detention center again unlawfully rejected requests made in accordance with the law by Liu Weiguo (刘卫国), Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), and 13 other Chinese lawyers to meet the detained Christians. The 15 lawyers went on a hunger strike to protest the Nanle authorities' illegal infringement of the right of lawyers to practice. Furthermore, outside the detention center, the 15 lawyers were besieged by over one hundred unidentified "members of the public," who hurled insults against the lawyers and snatched mobile phones and iPads belonging to Chen Jiangang and other lawyers; at the hotel where they were staying, the lawyers were surrounded and verbally abused by some unidentified individuals. While attempting to break out of the mob, lawyer Yang Xingquan's glasses were knocked off. The lawyers called the police who did not come, allowing these "members of the public" to continue with their aggression and bullying.

In the morning of December 13, 2013, when the 15 lawyers went to file a complaint before the Nanle County Procuratorate, they were again besieged by unidentified "members of the public"; not only were their cameras snatched away, lawyers Liu Weiguo and Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) were also beaten and had their mobile phones taken. Again, the police did not come after the lawyers reported the incident. Such rampant rights violations in Nanle—who and what allow such outrageous and lawless behavior? The whole nation is shocked and the indignation is difficult to assuage!

Since early 2013, as a push-back against constitutionalism emerged, various local authorities have begun to blatantly trample upon the Criminal Procedure Law, the Lawyers Law, and other laws, and openly undermine the rule of law using entirely despicable means such as unlawfully obstructing lawyer-client meetings, forcing lawyers to undergo security inspection when they appear before the court in accordance with the law, refusing to arrange for lawyers to review case documents, and even physically harming lawyers.

Merely because they were carrying out their duty as defense lawyers, Wang Xing (王兴) was roughly carried out of the courtroom of the Chuanying Court in Jilin; Cheng Hai (程海) was beaten in a courtroom at the Zhongshan District Court in Dalian, Liaoning Province; and Chen Jiangang was "deported" from the Fangshan District Court in Beijing. From the day the clients were compelled by [the behavior of] the court in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province, to relieve their six lawyers to today's besieging of lawyers by unidentified "members of the public" in Nanle, Henan Province—all kinds of vile and depraved acts were resented, reported, and subjected to legal complaints in accordance with the law. However, not only have these acts not stopped, they have intensified.

On December 12, in Jinzhou, Liaoning, plain-clothes police grabbed the collar of lawyer Zhang Chuanli's (张传利) shirt when he withdrew from the court in protest of the court trying a defendant who was seriously ill; and in Wuhan, Hubei, lawyers Lin Qilei (蔺其磊), Zhang Keke (张科科), Tang Tianhao (唐天昊), and Dong Qianyong (董前勇) had no choice but to withdraw from the court when their right to defense was deprived. Since the reform and opening 30 years ago, we have rarely witnessed such unchecked repression, siege, and persecution of lawyers in such numbers, frequency, and scale. Indeed, these attacks are rare in the global advancement of the rule of law.

We hereby solemnly reiterate:

“The defendant has the right of defense" (article 125 of the Constitution);

"People’s courts, people’s procuratorates, and public security authorities shall protect the right to defense and other procedural rights legally enjoyed by criminal suspects, defendants, and other litigation participants" (article 14 of the Criminal Procedure Law);

"Lawful practice by lawyers shall be protected by law, no organization or individual can violate the lawful rights and interests of lawyers" (article 3 of the Lawyers Law);

Article 7 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers: Governments shall further ensure that all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty-eight hours from the time of arrest or detention;

Article 16 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers: Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;

Article 17 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers: Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.

In light of the above, the series of crackdowns on lawyers in Nanle and other places ignores entirely China's Constitution and legal provisions, ignores entirely the requirements of UN human rights treaties and human rights documents, ignores entirely the Chinese people’s sense of and demands for fairness and justice, and ignores entirely the faith of humanity and human rights values! Therefore, we strongly demand the National People's Congress, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, and the All-China Lawyers Association to immediately instruct authorities in Nanle and other places to cease violating lawyers, investigate the series of acts harming and violating rights in Nanle and other places, and record and handle cases of crackdown on and persecution of lawyers in Nanle and other places, and rigorously pursue legal accountability of relevant officials, so as to resolutely stem the tide against the rule of law.

We firmly believe: a society that abandons the rule of law will be without hope; a country that disrespects lawyers cannot have the rule of law; a case involving barbaric treatment of lawyers is a case of procedural injustice!

2013.12.13

Lawyers of the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group

[list of signatories]

Ge Wenxiu (葛文秀), Guangdong Lawyer
Wang Cheng (王成), Zhejiang Lawyer
Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Beijing Lawyer
Tang Jitian (唐吉田), Beijing Lawyer
Zhang lei (张磊), Beijing Lawyer
Li Heping (李和平), Beijing Lawyer
Li Fangping (李方平), Beijing Lawyer
Liu Weiguo (刘卫国), Shandong Lawyer
Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), Guangdong Lawyer
Teng Biao (滕彪), Beijing Scholar
Pang Kun (庞琨), Guangdong Lawyer
Wang Quanping (王全平), Guangdong Lawyer
Chen Jiangang (陈建刚), Beijing Lawyer
Ge Yongxi (葛永喜), Guangdong Lawyer
Wu Kuiming (吴魁明), Guangdong Lawyer
Sui Muqing (隋牧青), Guangdong Lawyer
Chen Keyun (陈科云), Guangdong Lawyer
Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), Guangdong Lawyer
Liu Shihui (刘士辉), Guangdong Lawyer
Wu Zhenqi (吴镇琦), Guangdong Lawyer
Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), Beijing Lawyer
Zhang Keke (张科科), Hubei Lawyer
Lan Zhixue (兰志学), Beijing Lawyer
Xie Yang (谢阳), Hunan Lawyer
Chang Boyang (常伯阳), Henan Lawyer
Fu Yonggang (付永刚), Shandong Lawyer
Xu Can (徐灿), Beijing Lawyer
Xu Zhong (徐忠), Shandong Lawyer
Chen Wuquan (陈武权), Beijing Lawyer
Wang Quanzhang (王全璋), Beijing Lawyer
Hu Guiyun (胡贵云), Beijing Lawyer
Zhao Yonglin (赵永林), Shandong Lawyer
Zhang Chuanli (张传利), Beijing Lawyer
Liu Wei (刘巍), Beijing Lawyer
Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠), Shanghai Lawyer
Tang Tianhao (唐天昊), Chongqing Lawyer
Zhou Lixin (周立新), Beijing Lawyer
Chen Jinxue (陈进学), Guangdong Lawyer
Fan Biaowen (范标文), Guangdong Lawyer
Long Yuanfu (龙元富), Guangdong Lawyer
Liang Xiubo (梁秀波), Henan Lawyer
Li Weida (李威达), Hebei Lawyer
Yu Quan (于全), Sichuan Lawyer
Liu Wei (刘伟), Henan Lawyer
Wang Zongyue (王宗跃), Guizhou Lawyer
Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵), Beijing Lawyer
Xiao Fanghua (肖芳华), Guangdong Lawyer
Li Jinxing (李金星), Shandong Lawyer
Shi Yongsheng (石永胜), Hebei Lawyer
Li Guopei (李国蓓), Beijing Lawyer
Zhang Guo (张国), Hunan Lawyer
Wang Liao (汪廖), Zhejiang Lawyer
Jiang Yuanmin (蒋援民), Guangdong Lawyer
Guo Lianhui (郭莲辉), Jiangxi Lawyer
Guo Xinrong (郭新嵘), Beijing Lawyer
Li Changming (李长明), Beijing Lawyer
Wei Youyuan (魏友援), Jiangxi Lawyer
Feng Yanqiang (冯延强), Shandong Lawyer
Liu Sixin (刘四新), Beijing JD
Tong Zhaoping (童朝平), Beijing Lawyer
Luo Qian (罗茜), Hunan 法律人
Li Subin (李苏滨), Beijing Lawyer
Jiang Yongji (蒋永继), Gansu Lawyer
Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍), Beijing Lawyer
Xue Rongmin (薛荣民), Shanghai Lawyer
Chen Yixuan (陈以轩), Hunan Lawyer
Liang Lanxin (梁澜馨), Hebei Lawyer
Liu Lianhe (刘连贺), Tianjin Lawyer
Deng Shulin (邓树林), Sichuan Lawyer
Tan Yongpei (覃永沛), Guangxi Lawyer
Wang Shengsheng (王胜生), Guangdong Lawyer
Li Zhiyong (李志勇), Guangdong Lawyer
Guo Dongdong (郭冬冬), Shanxi Lawyer
Sun Yanyu (孙延玉), Henan Lawyer
Shao Zhenzhong (邵振中), Shandong Lawyer
Liu Zhiqiang (刘志强), Shanxi Lawyer
Zhang Weiyu (张维玉), Shandong Lawyer
Zhang Zhongshi (张重实), Hunan Lawyer
Xia Jun (夏钧), Guangdong Lawyer
Liu Shuqing (刘书庆), Shandong Lawyer
Deng Linhua (邓林华), Hunan Lawyer
Feng Yun (冯云), Yunan Lawyer
Peng Jian (彭剑), Beijing Lawyer
Chen Shuqing (陈树庆), Zhejiang Lawyer
Chen Nanshi (陈南石), Hunan Lawyer
Shi Zhenggang (施正刚), Jiangsu Lawyer
Chang Weiping (常玮平), Shanxi Lawyer
Huang Jian (黄建), Sichuan Lawyer
Wen Yu (闻宇), Guangdong Lawyer
Lu Siwei (卢思位), Sichuan Lawyer
Xiong Chunxi (熊春喜), Hunan Lawyer
Li Ruyu (李如玉), Jiangsu JD
Huo Xinli (霍新丽), Henan Lawyer
Sun Zhigang (孙志刚), Tianjin Lawyer
Zhu Yingming (朱应明), Jiangsu Lawyer
Zhao Guangqun (赵广群), Guangdong Lawyer
Hou Lingxian (侯领献), Helongjiang Lawyer
Huang Zhidan (黄志丹), Guangdong Lawyer
Ma Hua (马华), Hubei Lawyer
Chen Jinshi (陈金石), Hunan Lawyer
Guo Minhua (郭敏华), Guangxi Lawyer
Tian Yuan (田园), Hunan Lawyer
Lin Feng (林锋), Beijing Lawyer
Zeng Yi (曾义), Yunan Lawyer
Ran Tong (冉彤), Sichuan Lawyer
Xu Xianghui (徐向辉), Guangdong Lawyer
Hu Yuehong (胡月红), Hubei Lawyer
Xu Guijuan (许桂娟), Shandong Lawyer
Wang Bijun (王必君), Guangdong Lawyer
Lu Jingmei (卢京美), Hunan Lawyer
Zhao Hexu (赵和绪), Shandong Lawyer
Zhao Guangqun (赵广群), Shenzhen Lawyer
Wang Xueming (王学明), Shandong Lawyer
Xu Hongwei (徐红卫), Shandong Lawyer
Deng Qinggao (邓庆高), Fujian Lawyer
Wang Jiangsong (王江松), Beijing Scholar
Tan Jukuan (覃具款), Guangdong Lawyer
Zhang Hai (张海), Shandong Lawyer
Huang Simin (黄思敏), Hubei Lawyer
Yang Chongxin (杨崇新), Guangdong Lawyer
Yang Huijie (杨慧杰), Guangdong Lawyer
Zheng Xiang (郑湘), Shandong Lawyer
Yang Mingkua (杨名跨), Yunan Lawyer
Si Junqi (惠君琦), Yunan Lawyer
Ji Laisong (姬来松), Henan Lawyer
Wang Yu (王宇), Beijing Lawyer
Wang Weihua (王卫华), Shanghai Lawyer
Deng Wei (邓巍), Shandong Lawyer
Wu Kun (吴坤), Yunan Lawyer
Li Guisheng (李贵生), Guizhou Lawyer
Wang Yuqin (王玉琴), Shandong Lawyer
Liu Jinxiang (刘金湘), Shandong Lawyer

Still open to signatures.

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