Police Beat and Detain Lawyers Representing Family of Man Who Died in RTL Camp

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Police Beat and Detain Lawyers Representing Family of Man Who Died in RTL Camp

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- May 13, 2009) Around 4 pm on the afternoon of May 13, Beijing lawyers Zhang Kai (张凯) and Li Chunfu (李春富) were beaten by a group of police officers from the Jiangjin District Public Security Bureau in Chongqing and taken away in handcuffs. Their current whereabouts are unknown. Zhang and Li were in Chongqing to meet with the family of Jiang Xiqing (江锡清), a 66-year old Falun Gong practitioner who died suddenly while detained in Chongqing’s Xishanping Re-education Through Labor (RTL) camp on January 28.

Zhang and Li arrived at the home of Jiang’s brother-in-law on the morning of May 13 and were there for approximately two hours before two police officers arrived to question them. In the afternoon, a group of more than 20 officers, including officials from the National Security Unit under the Jiangjin PSB, arrived at the home, demanding that Zhang and Li produce their identification cards. When the lawyers, who were carrying their lawyers’ licenses and passports, were unable to produce their personal ID cards (shenfenzheng), the officers suddenly surrounded them, throwing the pair to the ground, beating and handcuffing them. Zhang’s eyeglasses were smashed. Zhang and Li were then pushed outside into a waiting police vehicle. Jiang’s son, Jiang Hongbin (江虹宾), was also taken away by the officers. The whereabouts and status of the three remains unknown at the time of writing.

Zhang and Li, from Beijing’s Zhengtai Law Firm, are representing Jiang’s children in a lawsuit they are bringing against the RTL authorities over the death of their father. The family suspects that RTL officials are not telling them the truth about Jiang’s death. This was the first meeting between the lawyers and the family.

Jiang Xiqing was kidnapped at his home on May 14, 2008, one day after police had seized his wife, and sent to a year of Re-education Through Labor. His family never received a formal notice, though they were later able to discover Jiang was set to be detained from June 25, 2008 until June 26, 2009. On January 2, family members visited Jiang and reported that he was in good health. A few weeks later, on January 28, he was dead. Officials reported that Jiang died of a sudden heart attack while in detention. Family members, who say Jiang had no history of heart disease, question why officials did not notify the family when Jiang was sent to the hospital shortly before he was pronounced dead, and point out factual inaccuracies on Jiang’s death certificate as among the reasons they do not trust the official version of events.

Press contact

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937
Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +852 8191 1660

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