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Liaoyang Labor Activists’ Daughters Detained

March 3, 2003

For Immediate Release

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned from reliable sources that the daughters of Liaoyang labor activists Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang were detained today after attempting to meet lawyer Mo Shaoping in Beijing.

Mo Shaoping has been providing legal representation for Yao Fuxin, who with Xiao Yunliang was charged with subversion after leading massive public protests a year ago alleged corruption and other abuses at the bankrupt Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory. Yao and Xiao were tried in January, but the outcome has not been revealed to date.
Sources told HRIC that Yao and Xiao’s daughters, Yao Dan and Xiao Yu, decided to visit Mo Shaoping in Beijing in hopes that he could provide them with further information and advice regarding the case. The two women departed on a midnight train from Liaoyang on February 28, arriving in Beijing at 6 a.m. on March 1, and checked into the Red Bridge Inn at Chongwenmen.

As it happened, however, Mo Shaoping was in Korea on business, and was not available when Yao Dan and Xiao Yu called. Given the difficulty of returning to Beijing, the women decided to stay a little longer in hopes of seeing Mo upon his return. But in the early hours of March 3 a large group of Public Security Bureau police burst into the women’s hotel room and bundled them onto the next train for Liaoyang. After the women arrived in Liaoyang around 9:00 that same morning, PSB police officers took them to the police station and interrogated them for about 12 hours before releasing them to their homes, heavily surrounded by police.

According to one source, officials regarded Yao Dan and Xiao Yu’s visit to Beijing as particularly sensitive with the National People’s Congress and the National People’s Political Consultative Conference about to meet. Beijing’s Public Security Bureau is especially on the lookout for people who might attempt to disrupt the meetings over human rights concerns.

HRIC deplores Yao Dan and Xiao Yu being subjected to this arbitrary deprivation of freedom. HRIC president Liu Qing observes, “In any legitimate legal system there should be nothing illegal about meeting with a lawyer. The Chinese government should recognize that Yao Dan and Xiao Yu have every right to consult Mo Shaoping on behalf of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang.” HRIC urges the Chinese government not to use the upcoming sessions of the NPC and the NPPCC as an excuse to deprive people of their basic human rights, including the right to legal counsel.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495