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Chinese Government Must Listen to Voices of the People

October 9, 2007

On October 8, 2007, a group of lawyers, intellectuals, rights defense activists, and others released an open letter to the State Council, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of State Security, protesting the violent attack on and abduction of Beijing lawyer Li Heping.

The letter urges the government to investigate and resolve the case quickly to ensure a safe environment for Li Heping and the 120,000 other lawyers in China to practice law. The signatories demand a prohibition on illegal kidnappings, illegal detentions, and violent assaults on lawyers, scholars, journalists, and other rights defenders.

Despite ongoing intimidation and rights abuses, these activists will not be silenced. HRIC urges the Chinese authorities to investigate this attack and take immediate action to stop this kind of officially-sanctioned thug violence.
— Sharon Hom, executive director of HRIC

HRIC urges Chinese authorities to respond to this call from concerned members of the Chinese legal profession and civil society. “Despite ongoing intimidation and rights abuses, these activists will not be silenced,” says HRIC Executive Director Sharon Hom. “HRIC urges the Chinese authorities to investigate this attack and take immediate action to stop this kind of officially-sanctioned thug violence.” As requested, HRIC is making an English translation available to the international community.

For more information on Li’s case, see:
“Rule of Law Threatened by Extra-Legal Attacks Against Lawyer,” October 1, 2007,
http://www.hrichina.org/public/contents/45122.

For more information on attacks on lawyers in China, see:
HRIC Trends Bulletin, “Setback for the Rule of Law – Lawyers Under Attack in China,” February 2007,
http://hrichina.org/public/contents/34781.


An Open Letter to the State Council, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of State Security about the Abduction of Lawyer Li Heping

To the State Council, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of State Security:

We are professional lawyers and individuals concerned with the rule of law in China. As intellectuals and rights defense activists, we were shocked to learn of the following:

On September 29, 2007, at 5:30 in the afternoon, lawyer Li Heping of the Beijing Global Law Firm was abducted by a group of unidentified individuals in the office parking lot as he left work. Li was hooded, thrown into an unmarked car, and taken to a basement outside Beijing. He was slapped, kicked, and beaten on the head with water bottles by more than 10 people. His attackers also used electric rods to beat Li for four or five hours continuously. This inhumane treatment left Li rolling on the floor in serious pain and agony. In the early morning of September 30, at around 1:00 a.m., the assailants hooded Li again and drove away in two unmarked vehicles. They dumped Li in the woods outside the city. When Li returned home to check on his personal belongings, he found that the assailants had taken appeal documents on the case of his client, Cao Dong, his mobile phone SIM card, computer hard disk, law license, business card holder, and notebook. His laptop was completely reformatted, and execution files for booting the computer were also deleted.

We also understand that lawyer Li has been under constant surveillance, harassed, and threatened by the Domestic Security Protection Section of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of State Security. There were even officials from those organs trailing Li at the scene of his abduction.

We believe, based on the characteristics of the crime committed against Li, that it is obvious that the assailants were not common hired thugs. The reasons are (1) they kidnapped Li while he was being watched by Domestic Security Protection Section officers and drove away in two cars with no registration plates on Beijing streets; (2) they claimed that Li was allegedly involved in a certain unspecified case, hit him with batons, and did not bother to hide their identity as they warned Li “to get out of Beijing” outright; and (3) they did not take Li's money but took or destroyed all relevant belongings and documents used in his legal practice. Rather, these individuals are backed by a politically powerful group. Therefore, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security have the responsibility and obligation to fully investigate and account for this criminal offense.

According to the Constitution and other laws, the procuratorate has a duty to investigate and prosecute any state organs and their personnel that have violated the civil and political rights of the citizens. Therefore, we urge the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to adopt and investigate this case. Lawyer Li Heping has a Master of Laws degree from Renmin University. He is a highly professional, talented, and famous lawyer with international influence, and he rationally advocates the rule of law. He is a low-key and moderate individual, and does not do things for the purpose of gaining publicity. Over the years, with courage and firm conviction, he has undertaken numerous rights defense cases to safeguard the rights of disadvantaged groups, for which he has won wide respect and praise. It is incredible that such a lawyer could be kidnapped in broad daylight in the national capital, on the eve of National Day and the upcoming 17th National Congress of the Communist Party, and interrogated by more than 10 people in a private torture chamber, where he was beaten, stripped naked, tortured with high voltage electric rods, and left rolling on the floor as his assailants laughed cruelly. This treatment aimed to humiliate Li Heping, but this was not his shame alone. This is the collective shame of the Olympic host city; this is the shame of the “harmonious society” that we have committed to build; and this is the shame of our Party and government.

If the personal safety of lawyers cannot not be guaranteed by the State, then how can the people have any confidence in the rule of law by the State? How can the people believe in the Party and the government’s solemn commitment to the rule of law?

Since 2005, there have been numerous incidents in our country where lawyers, journalists, scholars, and deputies to the National People's Congress, as well as rights defense activists, have suffered at the hand of state-sanctioned violence. Incidents that have aroused widespread attention from the international community include:

  • The Taishi Village incident where Professor Ai Xiaoming, the two lawyers Tang Jingling and Guo Yan, and the deputy to the National People's Congress Lu Banglie were assaulted;
  • The case of Chen Guangcheng where the three lawyers Li Jinsong, Li Fangping, and Teng Biao were beaten;
  • The case of Wang Bo in Shijiazhuang, where lawyer Teng Biao was beaten; and
  • The cases of Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng and Guangdong lawyer Yang Maodong (also known as Guo Feixiong), who have been abducted and assaulted several times.

Some state agencies and their staff have completely disregarded the principle of the rule of law and blatantly use illegal, coercive measures to target the rights defense movement. This has led to outcries from the international community, shocked that our country, which has sworn to build a “harmonious society,” has deteriorated to rule by the criminal underworld!

Our country’s constitution already clearly stipulates protections for human rights and the rule of law, and the government is currently leading the whole country on a drive to build a harmonious atmosphere to welcome the Olympic Games. Journalists from all over the world have come, and international attention is focused on China. Even during this time, however, some state agencies are involved in an extensive network of absolute rule by secret agents whose activities are terrorizing our society. Why is this? What will all this bring to the country?

For the reputation of the country, and in order to erase this shameful incident, we request that the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and State Council attach the greatest importance to the kidnapping and assault of lawyer Li Heping, and instruct all relevant legal and political departments to solve the case within a reasonable period of time so as to provide a safe environment for Li Heping and the other 120,000 lawyers nationwide to practice their profession. At the same time, we oppose the criminalization of the state apparatus. Our most basic demand of the Party and the State is that all illegal kidnappings, illegal detentions, violent assaults on lawyers, scholars, journalists, and any rights defenders, are strictly prohibited.

Copy to:
Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China
Bureau of Letters and Calls of the China Communist Party
Contact Number: 86-13501091828, 86—15964249241

Co-signatories:

李建强,律师
Li Jianqiang, Lawyer
孙光全,律师,
Sun Quangchuan, Lawyer
张鉴康,律师
Zhang Jiankang, Lawyer
王建波,律师
Wang Jianbo, Lawyer
龙永生,律师
Long Yongsheng, Lawyer
庄道鹤,律师
Zhuang Daohe, Lawyer
艾晓明,教授
Ai Xiaoming, Professor
叶孝刚,退休教授
Xie Xiaogang, Retired Professor
苏元真,退休教授
Su Yuanzhen, Retired Professor
胡佳,维权志愿者
Hu Jia, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
刘荻,网络作家
Liu Di, Internet Essayist
赵达功,作家
Zhao Dagong, Writer
东海一枭,作家
Dong Hai Yi Xiao, Writer
李元龙,新闻记者
Li Yuanlong, Journalist
刘逸明,网络作家
Liu Yiming, Internet Essayist

何俊仁,律師,中國維權律師關注組主席(香港)
Albert Ho, Lawyer, Chairman of China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (Hong Kong)
司徒華,支聯會主席(香港)
Szeto Wah, Chairman of Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (Hong Kong)
馮愛玲,文員(香港)
Fung Oiling, Clerk (Hong Kong)
潘嘉偉,非政府組織工作者(香港)
Patrick Poon, NGO Worker (Hong Kong)
武宜三,自由撰稿人(香港)

郑义,作家(美国)
Cheng Yi, Writer (USA)
陈奎德,学者(美国)
Chen Kuide, Scholar (USA)
徐文立,教授(美国)
Xu Wenli, Professor (USA)

童屹,律师(美国)
Tong Yi, Lawyer (USA)
胡平,学者(美国)
Hu Ping, Scholar (USA)
巫一毛,作家 (美国)
Wu Yimao, Writer (USA)
潘晴,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)

Pan Qing, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
陈维健,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)

Chen Weijian, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
陈维明,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)

Chen Weiming, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
王宁,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)
Wang Ning, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
李冬,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)
Li Dong, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
达尔,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)
Da Er, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
草虾,亚太人权理事会理事(新西兰)
Cao Ha, Director of Asia Pacific Human Rights Foundation (New Zealand)
秦越,新闻记者(加拿大)
Qin Yue, Journalist (Canada)
刘京生,网络作家
Liu Jingsheng, Internet Essayist
李剑虹,网络作家
Li Jianhong, Internet Essayist
曾仁全,作家
Zeng Renquan, Writer
温克坚,网络作家
Wen Kejian, Internet Essayist
秦耕,作家
Qin Geng, Writer
野渡,网络编辑
Ye Du, Internet Editor
陈西,自由撰稿人
Chen Xi, Freelance Writer
李 伟,自由职业者
Li Wei, Freelance Writer
朱正元,自由职业者
Zhu Zhengyuan, Freelancer
刘树蓉,自由职业者
Liu Shurong, Freelancer
张明珍,失业者
Zhang Mingzhen, Unemployed
杜和平、民间自由思想者
Du Heping, Public Intellectual
张新佩、自由职业者
Zhang Xinpei, Freelancer
廖双元、自由撰稿人,
Liao Shuangyuan, Freelancer
杜导斌,作家
Du Daobin, Writer
李国宏,自由撰稿人
Li Guohong, Freelancer
吴玉琴,自由撰稿人
Wu Yuqin, Freelancer
任伟仁,维权志愿者
Ren Weiren, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
李任科、自由职业者
Li Renke, Freelancer
申有连、退休工人
Shen Youlian, Retired Worker
邓永亮,失业者
Deng Yongliang, Unemployed
吴 郁、 单位职工
Wu Yu, Worker
全林志、中学退休教师
Quan Linzhi, Retired Secondary School Teacher
陈德富、自由职业者
Chen Defu, Freelancer
张重发,自由职业者
Zhang Chongfa, Freelancer
马桂荣,自由职业者
Ma Guirong, Freelancer
邓浩阳,自由职业者
Deng Haoyang, Freelancer
曾 宁,自由撰稿人
Zang Ning, Freelancer
王荣清,维权志愿者
Wang Rongqing, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
王东海,网络作家
Wang Donghai, Internet Essayist
王富华,网络作家
Wang Fuhua, Internet Essayist
高海宾,网络作家
Gao Haibin, Internet Essayist
邱更耀,维权人士
Qiu Gengyao, Human Rights Activist
范子良,退休工人
Fan Ziliang, Retired Worker
吴高兴 ,网络作家
Wu Gaoxing, Internet Essayist
万征,中学教师
Wan Zheng, Secondary School Teacher
邹巍,维权志愿者
Zou Wei, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
毛庆祥,维权志愿者
Mao Qingxiang, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
吴晓玲,维权志愿者
Wu Xiaoling, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
徐光,网络作家
Xu Quang, Internet Essayist
叶晓光,维权志愿者
Xie Xiaoguang, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
来金彪,维权志愿者
Lai Jinbiao, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
叶建,维权志愿者
Xie Jian, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
蒋彦民,维权志愿者
Jiang Yanmin, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
刘进成,维权志愿者
Liu Jincheng, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
陈映映,维权志愿者
Chen Yingying, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
陈龙德,维权志愿者
Chen Longde, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
昝爱宗,新闻记者
Zan Aizong, Journalist
胡俊雄,维权志愿者
Hu Junxiong, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
魏政凛,维权志愿者
Wei Zhenglin, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
张政宗,维权志愿者
Zhang Zhengzong, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
杨建鸣,维权志愿者
Yang Jianming, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
徐国庆、自由职业者
Xu Guoqing, Freelancer
王德邦,维权志愿者
Wang Debang, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
陈雷 ,建筑工程师
Chen Lei, Architect
徐江姣,维权志愿者
Xu Jiangjiao, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
叶金娣 ,维权志愿者
Xie Jindi, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
叶金娥,维权志愿者
Xie Jine, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
朱瑛娣,工人
Zhu Yingdi, Worker
赵立,中学教师
Zhao Li, Secondary School Teacher
沈利虎,退休工人
Shen Lihu, Retired Worker
陈渭湘,退休工人
Chen Weixiang, Retired Worker
张义才,退休工人
Zhang Yicai, Retired Worker
杨松年,退休工人
Yang Songnian, Retired Worker
陈韧建,退休工人
Chen Renjian, Retired Worker
王柏松 ,退休工人
Wang Baisong, Retired Worker
张美金,退休工人
Zhang Meijin, Retired Worker
刘淼,作家
Liu Miao, Writer
李永清,退休工人
Li Yongqing, Retired Worker
李宪彪,退休干部
Li Xianbiao, Retired Government Officer
王荣耀 ,商人
Wang Rongyao, Businessman
野火,网络作家
Ye Huo, Internet Activist
黄晓敏,维权志愿者
Huang Xiaomin, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
刘飞跃,维权志愿者
Liu Feiyue, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
冯岩,维权志愿者
Feng Yan, Voluntary Human Rights Activist
钮丰禾,网络工程师
Niu Fenghe, Web Engineer
田永德,民间维权者
Tian Yongde
王莉英 ,退休工人
Wang Liying, Retired Worker

112 signatories as of October 9, 2007
List in progress

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