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Rights Lawyer and Client Detained During Attempt to Meet with Detainee

October 20, 2013

An informed source told Human Rights in China that Tang Jitian (唐吉田), a rights defense lawyer, has been placed under administrative detention in Jixi City, Heilongjiang Province, for "disrupting order at a work unit" (扰乱单位秩序). The detention noteice, dated October 17, indicates that he is being held for five days. A client of his has also been detained.

According to the source and a detailed oral account that Tang has given to his lawyer, Dong Qianyong (董前勇), the incident began on October 16 when Tang went to the 610 Office in Jixi with his client Yang Kaicheng (杨开成).  (The 610 Office is a nationwide special security unit set up in 1999 to target Falun Gong practitioners.) Yang engaged Tang to provide legal assistance to his wife, Yu Jinrong (于金荣), who Yang said was being illegally detained at a “legal education center”at the order of the 610 Office. (The circumstances surrounding Yu’s detention are unclear at this point.)

Tang said in his oral account that a Director Wang of the 610 Office, citing “regulations,” refused to let him see Yu. When Tang and Yang began to leave, a group of people at the office grabbed them and shoved them into a police vehicle. Both are being held at the Jixi City No. 2 Detention Center (鸡西市第二看守所).

Dozens of lawyers and other citizens have signed a letter to the mayor of Jixi to urge him to order the release of Tang Jitian, undertake an investigation, and require those responsible to issue a public apology and compensation for Tang’s unlawful detention.

Tang has suffered harassment on many occasions, including detention and beatings, because of his rights defense work, which includes helping victims of illegal land requisition and home demolition, Falun Gong practitioners, those discriminated against for having HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B, and parents of the victims of melamine-tainted milk powder. In 2008-2009, Tang was a principal proponent of direct elections in the Beijing Lawyers Association. In 2010, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice revoked his lawyer’s license. Chinese law permits a legal professional without a lawyer’s license to render legal services.

For more information on Tang Jitian, see: