On June 29, Beijing authorities harassed and prevented prominent rights defense lawyers in China from meeting with two U.S. Congressmen who were part of a U.S. delegation visiting Beijing.
“With less than five weeks to go before the Beijing Games, the Chinese authorities are not only treating foreign guests disrespectfully, their actions also expose once again the magnitude of their pre-Olympics crackdown and show how little faith the government has in its own citizens,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom.
The U.S. Congressmen, Chris H. Smith and Frank R. Wolf, had invited rights defense lawyers Li Baiguang (李柏光), Teng Biao (滕彪), Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) and others to dinner on the evening of June 29 at the Yanshan Hotel in Bejing.
On the morning of June 29, police seized Teng Biao and confined him to Huairou, a Beijing suburb. Police also warned Li Baiguang that he was to remain in Huairou and not enter Beijing for the duration of the U.S. delegation’s visit. The same afternoon, two police officers intercepted Jiang Tianyong as he was leaving his home, and ordered him not to keep his appointment with the U.S. delegation. Jiang Tianyong attempted to persuade the officers that their actions were contrary to law, and that permitting him to meet with the delegation would demonstrate China’s openness; obstructing the meeting, he argued, would only tarnish China’s image. However, the officers forced him to return to his home at 8 p.m. rather than attend the meeting. Teng Biao was allowed to return home at 10 p.m. that same night, but was kept under constant surveillance by four police officers.
HRIC sources also reported that rights defense lawyers Li Heping (李和平) and Li Fangping (李方平), legal scholar Fan Yafeng (范亚峰), and others were kept under 24-hour surveillance by police for the duration of the U.S. Congressmen’s visit. Zhang Xingshui (张星水), another rights defense lawyer, was warned not to meet with the Congressmen, and rights defense lawyer Li Xiong Bing (黎雄兵) received several telephone calls from the police warning him not to attend any meetings with the U.S. delegation.
For more information on attacks on lawyers in China, see:
For more information on HRIC’s Take Action Olympics Campaign on the Rule of Law, see: