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A Joint Statement by Groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan: 10 Days after the Disappearance of Human Rights Lawyer Jiang Tianyong

10 Days after the Disappearance of Human Rights Lawyer Jiang Tianyong

A Joint Statement by Groups in Hong Kong and Taiwan

to Condemn police’s non-action, Call on China’s protection of basic rights and Attention from the international community

 

(1 December, 2016. Hong Kong/Taipei) Jiang Tianyong, a human rights lawyer who insisted on providing legal service for the socially disadvantaged despite having his practicing licence revoked as a result of such work, has disappeared for ten days since 21 November. The police have by far declined to take any action despite the family’s repeated reporting of the case. The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) and the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network (TCLN) issue a joint statement today to sternly condemn the ways the Chinese public security organs have had in handling the case. Noting the suppression and the many instances of abduction and brutal assaults that Jiang had suffered for his work over the past few years, the two groups are raising grave concerns on the possible involvement of the Chinese authorities in Jiang’s missing. They also question if this is the reason behind their failure and reluctance to face the requests for help from Jiang’s elderly father who is in his 70s.

 

“The international community should take reference from the 709 Crackdown as a number of lawyers are still incommunicado now that it is more than one year after. The enforced disappearance of Jiang and the police’s way of handling has shown that suppression and hostility against lawyers have never been mitigated in China,” remarked Albert Ho, chairperson of the CHRLCG and Kuo Chi-jen, convener of the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network. “A regime that takes lawyers as enemies and negates the value of human rights will never be able to govern the country in accordance with the law, not to mention the realization justice and the rule of law.”

 

According to his family, Jiang went to Changsha in mid-November to visit Professor Chen Guiqiu, wife of Xie Yang, right lawyer detained in the 709 Crackdown. He then accompanied the Chen and two defense lawyers of Xie to the Changsha Detention Center to submit an application for meeting with Xie. Then at around 10 p.m. of 21 November, Jiang informed his wife Jin Bianling that he had bought the train ticket to return to Beijing from Changsha and would arrive in Beijing at 6 a.m. the next morning. Jiang could not be contacted thereafter, and the situation is disturbing.

 

Jiang’s health condition has deteriorated over the past few years and he is on regular medication. CHRLCG and TCLN express their grave concerns on Jiang’s personal safety as well as his physical and psychological wellbeing. The groups call on the Ministry of Public Security to investigate and hold accountable the non-action on the part of the Tongbai branch of the public security bureau in Zhengzhou, Henan, and the Western Railway Police Station in Beijing in handling the case. It is also strongly demanded that the Ministry of Public Security should step forward to clarify whether lawyer Jiang is held by the authorities under any criminal compulsory measures. If so, they should make public any allegation against him and allow for the criminal procedure to apply and his basic rights including but not limited to sending official notification to the family, scheduling appointment with his defense lawyers and ensuring that his personal safety as well as physical and psychological wellbeing are well taken care of.

 

CHRLCG and TCLN call on the international community, including the human rights mechanisms of United Nations, the international human rights organizations, groups of legal professionals and bar associations, to heed to the vulnerable situation of lawyer Jiang Tianyong, to actively express their concerns. They should push for the Chinese government to abide by their pledges on rule according to law and that lawyer Jiang be treated with due process and in fairness. A lawyer well respected both in and outside the legal community in his country should not be left to vanish in silence.

 

 

The Timeline of Jiang Tianyong’s Disappearance

  • On 21 November, Jiang Tianyong was disconnected with his family after he visited the family of Xie Yang, a human rights lawyer who is held in custody. Jiang also sent messages to his friend at 10:20 p.m. on the same day that he had bought the ticket of Train D940 from Changsha to Beijing. The arrival time of the train was 6:30 am on 22 November.
  • On 23 November, his wife Jin Bianling requested her sister to help report the missing at Tongbai Road Branch, Zhengzhou City Public Security Bureau, Henan, where Jiang’s registered permanent residence locates. However, the police there said that he was missing in Changsha and Beijing, and that as a police office at local level, they would not be able to solve the problem. Therefore, the family was requested to report the missing case in Beijing.
  • On 24 November, a lawyer and his friend went to the Changsha Railway Bureau, requesting to see the closed-circuit television images but they were refused.
  • On 25 November, Jiang’s father instructed lawyer Chen Jinxue to report the missing at the police station at the Beijing West Railway Station. At first, a police officer verbally agreed to check the closed-circuit television, admit the case and he issued a receipt. But when the lawyer requested to check the closed-circuit television of the railway station, the police refused after seeking advice from his senior. A police officer Du told lawyer Chen that Jiang’s father had to provide evidence to prove his father-and-son relations with Jiang before he would be allowed to view the CCTV images.

 

Personal Profile of Jiang Tianyong

  • Jiang Tianyong, 45, obtained his lawyer’s license in 2001 and started his practice in the Beijing Global Law Firm from November, 2004 on.
  • Jiang represented Chen Guangcheng in 2005 and later defended the case of Gao Zhisheng, case of Northern Shaanxi Oilfield, case of Guangzhou Taishi Village, cases in defending the rights of HIV carriers, and carriers of hepatitis B. Other cases included the appeal of Gheyret Niyaz, the journalist of Xinjiang Legal Daily (although the family withdrew their authorization due to official pressure); and a number of religious cases, such as that of Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche in Sichuan Tibetan area, and Jigme Gyatso Labrang in Gansu.
  • In July 2009, Jiang’s licence was revoked. After that, he continued his rights-defence work as a citizen.
  • On 19 February, 2011, he was abducted by police, disappeared for two months and suffered brutal torture.

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