Three Lawyers Detained for Defending Falun Gong PractitionersComments Off on Three Lawyers Detained for Defending Falun Gong Practitioners
Three Lawyers Detained for Defending Falun Gong Practitioners
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders- July 15, 2009) CHRD learned today that three lawyers in different locations in Northeastern China have been detained in recent weeks by local authorities. The three, Liu Ruiping (刘如平), Wang Yonghang (王永航), and Wang Ping (王平), who have previously been harassed because of their work defending Falun Gong practitioners, were seized between July 2 and July 8 in Shandong and Liaoning Provinces.
“As these detentions come on the heels of efforts to punish human rights lawyers around the country by denying them renewal of their lawyers’ licenses, we are concerned that these actions may mark the further deterioration of the situation of human rights lawyers in China,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International Director.
On July 2, Liu Ruping (刘如平), a lawyer from Changqing District, Jinan City, Shandong Province’s Shuntian Law Firm (舜天律师事务所) who has represented many Falun Gong practitioners, was kidnapped outside of his apartment block by officers from the Public Security Bureaus (PSB) of Jinan City and Changqing District as well as officials from the Jinan City Party Committee. Liu’s home was also searched. On July 6, Liu’s relatives went to the office of the Changqing District Party Committee demanding to know Liu’s whereabouts. However, officials declined to divulge any details. Liu’s family has not received any official documents regarding his detention or the search of his home. It is believed that he is currently held at a black jail specialized in detaining Falun Gong practitioners and petitioners in Liuchangshan, Jinan City.
On July 4, about twenty plainclothes policemen from the National Security Unit, Shahekou Sub-division and Jinxiu Police Station of the Dalian City PSB barged into the home of Wang Yonghang (王永航), a lawyer from Dalian City, Liaoning Province. Without presenting any legal documents, the policemen searched Wang’s home, held Wang’s wife down to the floor and restrained Wang’s 80-year-old mother. The policemen briefly waved some form of legal document in front of Wang’s wife, asking her to sign it, but she refused.
Wang and his wife were both taken away; his wife was released the next day. When she went to the police station on July 6, police presented a criminal detention warrant stating that her husband had been detained in accordance with Article 300 of the Criminal Code. Article 300 stipulates the crime of “forming or using superstitious sects or secret societies or weird religious organizations or using superstition to undermine the implementation of the laws and administrative rules and regulations of the State”, and is regularly used against Falun Gong practitioners. Wang is believed to be held in Dalian City PSB Detention Center.
On July 8, Wang Ping (王平), a lawyer from Tianzhengping Law Firm (天正平律师事务所), Pingdu City, Shandong Province was also reportedly kidnapped by the local police. Details about Wang’s apprehension are currently unclear. Reportedly, Wang was also held for representing Falun Gong practitioners in Shandong Province.
Liu Ruping has been practicing law since 1993, and has been a member of the Shuntian Law Firm since 2003. In 2005, Liu was sent to one year of Re-education through Labor (RTL) for exposing and denouncing the official persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. Wang Yonghang published an open letter online on July 17, 2008, in which he explained his views on the persecution of Falun Gong members, particularly focusing on legal issues regarding Article 300 of the Criminal Code. Both lawyers have defended Falun Gong practitioners and their advocacy and legal work have led to persistent harassment from local police.
Authorities have been cracking down on human rights lawyers, especially those who defend Falun Gong practitioners, particularly severely in recent months. On April 13, Beijing lawyer Cheng Hai (程海) was attacked and beaten while on his way to meet with a detained Falun Gong practitioner in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. On 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 PSB in Chongqing and detained for representing Jiang Xiqing (江锡清), a 66-year old Falun Gong practitioner who died suddenly while detained in Chongqing’s Xishanping RTL camp.
Later that month, at least eighteen lawyers lost their licenses to practice law following the conclusion of their annual review on May 31. Judicial authorities refused to renew their licenses as punishment for the lawyers’ dedication to handling human rights cases and for pressing for direct election of the leadership of the government-controlled Beijing Municipal Lawyers Association. Without a lawyer’s license, these lawyers cannot practice law or work in a law firm. According to one Beijing lawyer, the Beijing Bureau of Judicial Affairs publicly announced on July 14 that the licenses of 53 Beijing lawyers have been cancelled.
Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937
Wang Songlian, Research Coordinator and English Editor (English, Mandarin and Cantonese): +85…
《三律师因帮法轮功辩护被捕 》(July 14, 2009)