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Guangxi Rights Defense Lawyer Detained for “Witness Tampering”

June 16, 2011

Huang Zhongyan (黄仲琰), the wife of detained rights defense lawyer Yang Zaixin (杨在新), told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that when she came home on June 14, at 11 a.m., she found it in complete disarray. Taped to the refrigerator door was a “List of items seized” issued by the Haicheng substation of the Beihai Public Security Bureau. She said that their computer, CDs, USBs, three cell phones, a camera, a video camera, and other items had all been confiscated.

Huang said that, after repeated inquiries, she spoke with Captain Li of the Fifth Criminal Investigation Unit at the Haicheng substation, who told her that Yang had been detained on suspicion of “witness tampering” (妨害作证罪), and that he is now being held at the Beihai No. 1 Detention Center. When Huang asked why she had not yet received an official notice of Yang’s detention, and whether she could go to the Public Security Bureau to obtain one, Captain Li said impatiently: “How could it be so quick? Are you sick?”

Afterwards, Huang went to the No. 1 Detention Center and left some clothes for Yang, but she was not allowed to meet with Yang Zaixin.

Yang is currently employed at the Baijuming Law Firm in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He began rights defense work in 2003, after he was framed for prostitution and was taken into custody for “education” – an episode that resulted from his helping a female police officer with the Hepu County Public Security Bureau named Zhang Yaochun to petition. Over the years, he has taken many sensitive cases, including those involving Falun Gong practitioners, land requisition, environmental pollution, and migrant workers who were owed wages. Because of his rights defense work, he was fired from his former employer, not able to pass the annual inspection of his lawyer’s license, monitored, and beaten. In 2006, he was unlawfully detained and beaten for trying to attend blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng’s court hearing.