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Falungong members Zhang Jun and Li Chiyue on hunger strike, denied access to counsel

January 30, 2004

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has received an appeal for help from relatives of Falungong members Zhang Jun and her 20-year old daughter Li Chiyue, who have been on a hunger strike for over 8 days and may be in critical condition. Zhang and Li are being denied access to their lawyer in violation of their legal rights.

Zhang and Li were detained while posting leaflets at the Beijing Chaoyang District Huatang market condemning Jiang Zemin’s repression of Falungong members. Public security officials informed their lawyer that after being detained on the evening of January 20, Zhang and Li refused to eat, answer any questions, or divulge their names. Zhang and Li’s lawyer was also told that lawyers are not permitted to meet with detainees who refuse to disclose their identities or whose identities are unknown. However, Zhang Jun’s sister told HRIC that public security officials not only identified Zhang and Li by the second day of their detention, but also searched Zhang Jun’s home three times without following any legal procedures. Only upon their fourth search of Zhang’s home did they produce a search warrant. On the afternoon of January 30, six police officers went to Zhang’s home and presented her husband with an arrest notice and searched their home again. Zhang and Li are being detained at the Beijing Chaoyang District public security detention center.

HRIC condemns the detention of Zhang Jun and Li Chiyue, whose posting of these leaflets were an exercise of free expression.

“The actions of public security officials, who have denied Zhang and Li their right to obtain legal assistance and refused them additional clothing provided by family members in the height of winter, not only constitute human rights violations, but are also cruel and inhumane. HRIC calls for the release of Zhang Jun and Li Chiyue in order to avoid the senseless tragedy of another Falungong member dying in police custody,” said HRIC president Liu Qing.