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【Forward】China Human Rights Lawyer Group: Statement regarding 2017 Internatinal Day in Support of Victims of Torture

From: China Human Rights Lawyers Group

To: His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The International Bar Association

Copy
To:
Mr. Jens Modvig, Chairperson of the Committee against Torture (CAT)
Mr. Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Dr. Jyoti Sanghera, Chief, Asia Pacific Section, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Subject: Call for Concern on Issues Relating to the Serious Torture Experienced by Human Rights Lawyers in China in the 709 Crackdown

Date: 26 June 2017

(Chinese original follows/ 中文原文随后)

Call for Concerns on Issues Relating to the Serious Torture

Experienced by Human Rights Lawyers in China in the 709 Crackdown

26 June 2017

Dear High Commissioner,
Dear Colleagues at the International Bar Association,

In the early hours of July 9, 2015, Chinese police began a nation-wide crackdown targeting a group of human rights defenders who were mainly rights lawyers. They were detained, “interviewed” and “warned”. Dozens of the lawyers and defenders were detained, a few hundred of lawyers, scholars and citizens were called in for “chats” and warned, and a few dozens of the others were prohibited from travelling out of the country.

For those captured, they would mostly be applied the criminal compulsory measure “residential surveillance at designated location” on the pretext that they had “endangered state security”. This happened no matter what crimes they were alleged of committing, “subversion of state power”, “inciting subversion of state power” or the more pedestrian picking quarrels and provoking trouble.

Residential surveillance at designated location is a criminal compulsory measure that was articulated and codified in the Criminal Procedure Law, revised in 2012 and enacted in 2013. In its implementation, the provision has been abused by the police. They subjected detainees into their complete secret control and applied torture on them as they desired.

The torture suffered by those arrested in the 709 crackdown and held under residential surveillance at designated location can be read from the transcription of lawyer Xie Yang’s testimony provided by his defence counsel Chen Jiangang. One can also listen to the accounts by Li Heping’s family and friends who visited him after he was given a suspended sentence, or infer by taking note of the psychological breakdown once suffered by lawyer Li Chunfu when he was released on bail. It may as well be observed from the writings of lawyer Li Shuyun and legal assistant Zhao Wei, or from the fragments of lawyer Xie Yanyi recount of his experiences after he was granted bail.

Wang Quanzhang, another lawyer arrested in the 709 Crackdown, has been in detention for nearly two years, but without a single piece of news released about his life and death. It remains a grave concern that Wang has suffered and or is suffering serious torture. Lawyer Jiang Tianyong, detained as a result of his striving for the release of the human rights defenders under arrest, has not been allowed to see the defence counsels appointed by his family for over 7 months. Words about his torture went around from time to time. In late May 2017, a statement bearing Jiang’s signature surfaced, noting his intention to dismiss his defence counsels. This has caused grave concerns that Jiang had been, and is still being tortured.

The Chinese police have never established evidence for the criminal acts allegedly committed by these human rights lawyers and defenders. The sole purpose of using medication to torment them both physically and mentally is to overcome them, so that they would be succumbed to confess on TV and cooperate in trials until they are completely driven out of the human rights field.

The human rights lawyers and defenders targeted in the 709 Crackdown should be fully protected by the provisions stipulated in the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The situation of the human rights defenders in China, in particular rights lawyers, has become gimmer over the recent years. With the legislation of the new laws, especially that of the State Security Law, the Overseas NGO Domestic Activities Management Law, the Charity Law, the Criminal Law Amendment (No. 9) and the Anti-Espionage Law, they have been completely hemmed in and trapped. Now, they could lose their freedoms and be faced with torture any time

No individual, nor any country in the world, is an island unto itself. Concern for others is the same as concern for oneself. Protection of human rights, opposition to torture and concerns for victims of torture should be extended across ethnic and racial boundaries. These are precisely the founding principles behind the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

As human rights lawyers in China, we respectfully request that you convey your concerns to the human rights defenders who are still under detention and faced with torture; that you take note of the violations committed by the Chinese government against the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. We call on your attention to China’s continual transgression on human rights and render your assistance to the human rights lawyers and others rights defenders in need.

Thank you.

The China Human Rights Lawyers Group

 

Brief introduction to the China Human Rights Lawyers Group

The China Human Rights Lawyers Group was established on September 13, 2013 as an open platform for lawyers to connect and work together. Since its founding, the China Human Rights Lawyers Group has engaged themselves in the protection of human rights and promotion of rule of law by issuing joint public statements as well as taking part in human rights cases or issues, for instances.

Chinese lawyers who support the ideals of human rights and are willing to safeguard the basic rights of the citizens can join the group through an existing member by making a statement affirming their commitments. Promoting the rule of law and safeguarding human rights are the tireless pursuit of the China Human Rights Lawyers Group. We look forward to working together with you!

Contact persons (in alphabetical order)

CHANG, Boyang (常伯阳) +86 188 3718 3338

LIU, Shihui (刘士辉) +86 185 1663 8964

LIN, Qilei (蔺其磊) +86 186 3922 8639

TANG, Jitian (唐吉田) +86 131 6130 2848

YU, Wensheng (余文生) +86 139 1003 3651

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