[CHRB] More State-Approved Violence Against Rights Lawyers (6/20-25, 2015)

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[CHRB] More State-Approved Violence Against Rights Lawyers (6/20-25, 2015)

China Human Rights Briefing

June 20-25, 2015


Reprisals Against Human Rights Lawyers

  • 4 Recent Incidents of Violence Against Lawyers

Arbitrary Detention

  • UN Working Group On Arbitrary Detention Rules Lawyer Ding Jiaxi’s Detention “Arbitrary,” Calls for His Release

Special Notice

  • 18 New “Portraits of Defenders” on CHRD’s Website


Reprisals Against Human Rights Lawyers

4 Recent Incidents of Violence Against Lawyers

Four separate incidents of physical assaults against lawyers in the past three months demonstrate the increasing risks faced by human rights lawyers in China. These recent acts of violence are part of a pattern that CHRD detailed in its 2014 Annual Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. The lack of independent investigations and accountability for these attacks inflicted by government officials (or with the government’s consent or acquiescence) has allowed the perpetrators to enjoy impunity and the use of violence in reprisals against rights lawyers to continue.

In the latest incident of such violence, lawyer Wang Quanzhang (王全章) was beaten in a Shandong courthouse, and he and two of his colleagues also were briefly detained. On June 18, Wang and lawyers Chen Zhiyong (陈智勇) and Shi Fulong (石伏龙) attended a court hearing for their client at Dongchengfu District People’s Court in Liaocheng City. During the defense statements, Wang was repeatedly interrupted before the presiding judge expelled him from the courtroom. Several bailiffs then dragged Wang to a separate room and assaulted him, hitting him in the face and head and tearing off his clothes. Wang reportedly suffered a slight fracture to his nose. At the same time, other bailiffs barred Chen and Shi from leaving the courtroom and subjected them to full body searches. Lawyer Chen was released from custody around 11 pm. Wang and Shi were taken to Huxi Police Station in Dongchengfu District, where officers questioned them and confiscated their computers and storage devices. Wang and Shi were released around 2 am the next morning.[1]

For three cases that occurred in April and May, CHRD has provided information to independent human rights experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, and asked them to inquire to Chinese authorities about the incidents:

  • Two judges and several bailiffs attacked Cui Hui (崔慧), 51, an attorney with Hengqing Law Firm, at the Tongzhou District People’s Court in Beijing after she requested an overdue execution of a court order in early April. She was treated at Beijing Tongren Hospital after the attack, and doctors found injuries to her scalp and eye sockets, and soft tissue damage over 40 percent of her body. (See CHRD’s previous report.) Four weeks later, the government body that was appointed to conduct an investigation claimed that no beating had taken place, and offered as proof video footage, which Cui and other lawyers believe was heavily doctored.
  • Police officers in Beijing kidnapped and physically assaulted Li Yuhan (李昱函), 58, in early May. Li, a lawyer with Beijing Dunxin Law Firm, had reported to authorities illegal behavior of local officials in obstructing justice in a case involving a civil lawsuit. While holding her on May 9, one officer shoved her head against a toilet and she lost consciousness. After her release, Li was diagnosed with a concussion and injuries to her back, head, limbs, and abdomen. She still requires medical treatment, and has been unable to practice law since the abusive incident.
  • More than 20 unidentified individuals armed with batons and knives attacked Xie Yang (谢阳), 43, an attorney with the Hunan Gangwei Law Firm, while he was providing legal service to clients in Nanning City, Guangxi Province on May 17. Xie’s right leg was fractured and he sustained many bruises. Police did not respond to repeated emergency calls for help during the assault. Moreover, Xie and some of his clients have been criminally investigated for “gathering crowd to engage in a brawl,” but none of the alleged attackers are believed to be under investigation.
Unidentified men attacked lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳), leaving him with a fractured leg. Police did not respond to emergency calls for help during the assault.

Unidentified men attacked lawyer Xie Yang (谢阳), leaving him with a fractured leg. Police did not respond to emergency calls for help during the assault.

Arbitrary Detention

UN Working Group On Arbitrary Detention Rules Lawyer Ding Jiaxi’s Detention “Arbitrary,” Calls for His Release

Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), a Beijing-based human rights lawyer sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in April 2014, is being held unlawfully and should be released and given reparations by the Chinese government, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) said in an opinion adopted in April 2015 and made public in May.

The Working Group found that Ding has been “deprived of liberty for having peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression and freedom of association as guaranteed by articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).” The ruling follows a communiqué on Ding’s case that CHRD submitted to the Working Group shortly after the lawyer was sent to prison.

Ding was initially detained in April 2013 during the first major crackdown under President Xi Jinping, after he was involved in an anti-corruption campaign calling for the disclosure of top Chinese officials’ financial assets. He has been a close associate of the imprisoned professor and legal advocate Xu Zhiyong (许志永) in the “New Citizens’ Movement,” a grouping of activists who have promoted social justice and political and legal reforms.

Special Notice

18 New “Portraits of Defenders” on CHRD’s Website

CHRD has added 18 new “Portraits of Defenders”—imprisoned or detained human rights defenders (HRDs) in China—that provide background information and details of persecution for their activities promoting human rights. Several individuals have been released on bail but are living under strict police surveillance.

The new case profiles include six HRDs who have been issued prison sentences:

  • Activist Zhao Haitong (海通) was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment in a secret trial in May 2014 for “inciting subversion of state power.” Zhao was sentenced almost 10 months after he disappeared in Xinjiang, when he was forcibly taken away while helping Uyghurs lodge grievances against authorities.
  • A Beijing court handed down a seven-year sentence for “illegally disseminating state secrets overseas” to dissident journalist Gao Yu (高瑜) in April 2015. The charges against Gao accuse her of leaking a Communist Party directive against “universal values” referred to as Document No. 9.
  • A Hubei court sentenced democracy activist Liu Jiacai (刘家) to five years’ imprisonment in May 2015 for “inciting subversion of state power.” Liu has heart disease and his health has declined in detention, but authorities have repeatedly denied applications to release him on medical grounds.
  • Former police officer-turned-activist Lin Yingqiang () was sentenced to three years in prison for “creating a disturbance” in February 2015 after being tried in secret in Fujian Province. He had been held incommunicado in a “black jail” in Fuzhou City after he was intercepted in Beijing during the Chinese Communist Party’s Third Plenum in November 2013.
  • Activist Ding Hongfen () led a group of over 20 people to rescue five petitioners from a “black jail” set up inside a guesthouse in mid 2013. She was later sentenced in November 2014 to 21 months’ imprisonment for “intentional damage to property” for allegedly damaging a door in the guesthouse that was used as the black jail. She was released on June 11.
  • Writer Tie Liu (real name Huang Zerong ) was convicted of “illegal business activity” in February 2015. The Sichuan court sentenced the 82-year-old Liu to two-and-a-half years in prison, suspended for four years, and issued him a fine of 30,000 RMB (approx. $4,900).

Other portraits added include two individuals detained in the crackdown surrounding the 25th anniversary of June Fourth. Yu Shiwen (于世文) is awaiting trial after being indicted in February 2015, and Jia Lingmin (灵敏)’s trial resumed in early June after being suspended twice.

Information on eight individuals detained in the crackdown on supporters of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests have also been added: Guo Yushan (郭玉), scholar and co-founder of the Transition Institute, an independent think tank; Guo’s former lawyer, Xia Lin (夏霖); poet Wang Zang (王藏); activists Han Ying (韩颖), Kou Yanding (寇延丁), Su Changlan (); and a married couple, Jiang Liuyong (姜流勇) and Li Dongmei (李冬梅), activists who were released on bail in May.

In addition, profiles for Li Maizi (李麦子) and Wu Rongrong (嵘嵘), two of the five feminists detained on the eve of International Women’s Day, have been created. Beijing authorities released the five women on “bail pending further investigation” after condemnation from abroad and by local activists, but they are still considered “criminal suspects” and are under tight police surveillance.


Renee Xia, International Director (Mandarin, English), +1 240 374 8937, reneexia@chrdnet.com, Follow on Twitter: @ReneeXiaCHRD

Victor Clemens, Research Coordinator (English), +1 209 643 0539, victorclemens@chrdnet.com, Follow on Twitter: @VictorClemens

Frances Eve, Researcher (English), +852 6695 4083, franceseve@chrdnet.com, Follow on Twitter: @FrancesEveCHRD

Wendy Lin, Hong Kong Coordinator (Mandarin, Cantonese, English), +852 6932 1274, wendylin@chrdnet.com, Follow on Twitter: @WendyLinCHRD 

Follow CHRD on Twitter: @CHRDnet


[1] “Concerning Beating by Bailiffs of Wang Quanzhang, Shi Fulong, and Chen Zhiyong at Dongchengfu District People’s Court in Liaocheng, Shandong and Illegal Seizure of Goods by Public Security Bureau” (关于王全璋、石伏龙、陈智勇三律师被山东聊城东昌府法院法警殴打又被公安非法扣押物品的情况说明), June 19, 2015, Right Defense Network (RDN); “Urgent Alert: Lawyer Wang Quanzhang Missing After Beijing Beaten by Bailiffs at Liaocheng, Shandong Courthouse” (紧急关注:王全章律师在山东聊城开庭被法警殴打后失联), June 18, 2015, RDN.

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