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[Press Release]105 feminists calling on the release of human rights lawyers

 

105 Feminists Calling on the Release of Women’s Rights/ Human Rights Lawyers

26th August, 2015

 

Since the crackdowns began on 9th July, 2015, 17 human rights lawyers, lawyers’ assistants and law firm staff have remained in detention. Although “verdict” has been given by CCTV and the state media that these people  are “guilty of defending human rights”, and yet for their family members and for the public, they are regarded as disappeared  because no one knows where they are, let alone protecting their legal rights such as that of meeting their lawyers. We have learnt at the same time that by 18:00, 21 August 2015, another 241 people have been summoned by the police and warned not to take part in any solidarity action.  Among them, 124 are lawyers.

Under the pressure to keep silent, any attempt to express solidarity with the detained lawyers could be risky and is difficult to make known. Nonetheless, activists in China have tried relay their messages by various means. Since 30th July, 2015, an appeal letter “Forward the Women’s Rights Drift Bottle: Calling On The Release Of Women’s Rights/ Human Rights Lawyers” has been put in circulation discreetly.

As of 12:00, 24th August, 2015, a total of 105 feminists have signed the petition. Among them, 55 are from 14 provinces across China, 24 from Japan, 8 from Europe, 7 from North America, 4 from Hong Kong, 3 from Taiwan and 4 from other countries.

Moreover, the parents of the victims of the Jiangxi Sexual Abuse of Young Girls’ Case, which was represented by Wang Yu, one of the detained lawyers, have also released a public statement.

 

Alliance of the Women’s Rights Advocacy: Human Rights Lawyers have strived For Women’s Rights Cases

According to the petition letter, human rights lawyers have been important allies to the feminist movement. “Wang Yu, who was arrested recently, had handled many cases on women’s rights, such as the Jiujiang case in Jiangxi in which young female students were sexually assaulted by her teacher, the Hainan case in which young girls were sexually abused by their headmaster, and the Yiyang case in Hunan in which girls were molested by their teacher.

“During the ‘16 days of Activism against Gender  Violence’ campaign last year, Wang Yu arranged  visited the Ministry of Education with a list of recommendations on the setting up of a response mechanism for cases of sexual abuses in schools.” The letter also noted other examples such as “lawyer Li Heping who had handled cases related to forced family planning in Linyin of Shandong, and  lawyer Wang Quanzhang  who had represented the case of Bian Xiaohui, a post-90s girl from the Hebei province who was not allowed to see her father in prison..”

This petition letter has been initiated by a group of anonymous feminists. They believe that “as feminists, we care about various issues related to women’s rights in this country. Human rights lawyers like Wang Yu have been defending rights in accordance with the law.  They are in pursuit of justice, and have been striving, selflessly and fearlessly, to promote women’s equal rights. Now when they are secretly detained, in contravention of the statutory legal procedures, and when their family members are treated inhumanely, we do not want to just stand by and look on.

 

Undercurrent In The Storm: Forwarding The Women’s Rights Drift Bottle

In the petition letter, the feminists have demanded:

  1. The immediate and unconditional release of all detained lawyers and other relevant parties;
  2. That all detainees can enjoy their legal rights, including but not limited to  immediate family notification  regarding their detention and meeting their  defense lawyers;
  3. That no one should be put under secret detention and or tortured;
  4. That all defamatory and smearing reports and coverages without support of any evidence should be stopped.  
  5. That the civil society as a whole should continue to follow the crackdowns and respective development.

Taking into consideration the concerns for security,  the initiators of the campaign have designed two ways for the public to join. The first one is to encourage the public to repost this petition to Weibo, Weixin, and any other social media that they use, and then forward it to 3-5 friends and encourage them to help spread the message. The other one is to send relevant personal information to a gmail address or to fill in a Google doc form. People in China need to use VPN to access the form if they want to try the second method.

The initiators also emphasized in the petition that “To our knowledge,  forwarding unoriginal information via social media has by far not led to any calls for interviews by the authorities.  We can always find space to spread our message, to make ourselves heard and to counter the monopoly of the state media.

It is reported that the petition has been widely shared on social media and  so far 105 people have co-signed.

 

Parents of victims of sexual abuse released a statement: “lawyers helped us according to the law”

The parents of victims of the Jiangxi Sexual Abuse of Young Girls’ Case released a statement concerning the detention of lawyer Wang Yu on 24th August, 2015.

In the statement, the parents described lawyer Wang Yu as follows. “She is a kind-hearted rights defense lawyer, with a strong sense of justice and integrity. Wang Yu lent a helping hand to us when we were most isolated, confused and desperate. She provided us with legal services and rendered us big help in resolving our difficulties in daily life.  Lawyer Wang Yu has always followed the laws and regulations when she handled the cases. She never aided and abetted or incited her clients to go against the law, let alone any attempt to possibly endanger the state security. She has been making full use of the law and worked within the legal framework to bring maximum benefits for the victims. 

The parents also wrote in the statement that as clients who have received her generous help, they could be the witnesses to lawyer Wang’s professionalism and were obliged to  express their deep concern in this matter. “We hope the authorities will abide by the laws and related regulations in their investigations, and that they will fully respect and protect Wang Yu’s basic rights.”

The authors of the petition have at the same time expressed their worries about the safety of Wang Yu’s family members. They call on the authorities to ensure the implementation of “rule according to law”, to respect the facts and  be serious in listening to people voice. They should work to uphold justice for the innocents. 

 

The situation of human rights lawyers is worrying: residential surveillance can be reduced to black jails

It is reported that by 18:00 on 21 August 2015, at least 276 lawyers, law firm staff, human right activists, and family members have been detained, arrested, held incommunicado, summoned, restricted freedom temporarily or prevented from leaving the country

Lawyers alleged as “endangering national security” include Wang Yu, Wang Quanzhang, Liu Sixin, Sui Muqing, Xie Yang, Xie Yuandong, Zhao Wei and Gao Yue. Among them, only Liu Sixin and Zhao Wei’s locations of detention are known to the public. Wang Yu, Sui Muqing, Xie Yang, Xie Yuandong, Zhao Wei and Gao Yue were put under residential surveillance at designated location. Past reports indicated that “residential surveillance at designated location” might subject detainees to be held in “black jails” and face the risks of torture and ill-treatment.

None of the above detained lawyers has been allowed to meet with their lawyers by the time this press release is sent out.

Furthermore, the children of lawyer Wang Yu and Li Heping have been banned from leaving the country.

 

[For Enquires, please contact]

K Chan (China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group):+852-2388-1377

 

[Attachments]

  1. Reports on women-rights cases taken up by women’s rights/human rights lawyers
  2. Forwarding the Women’s Rights Drift Bottle, calling on the release of women’s rights/ human rights lawyers
  3. A Statement Concerning the Detention of Lawyer Wang Yu by the Parents of the Jiangxi Sexual Abuse of Young Girls’ Case

 

Attachment 1: Reports on women-rights cases taken up by women’s rights/human rights lawyers

20140718 Oriental Morning News: Jiangxi Sexually-Abused Girls Sued The Bureau Of Education, and Lawyers’ Cellphones Confiscated Before The Trial

http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2014-07-18/114330541357.shtml

20131019 Xinhua Net: Jiangxi Teacher Who Sexually Abused 7 Girls Sentenced To 14 Years Of Imprisonment, 6 Girls Suffered From Venereal Disease

http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2013-10-19/150928477731.shtml

20130822 Xinhua Net: Follow Up Of The Case Of The Principal Having Sex With Girls in Wanning Hainan: Hard For The Victims To Go Out Of The Psychological Shadow

http://www.hq.xinhuanet.com/news/2013-08/22/c_117056668.htm

20130717 Beijing Times: 5 lawyers who applied for information on the case of two girls starving to death in Nanjing got replies – unable to provide the information

http://news.xinhuanet.com/legal/2013-07/17/c_125021362.htm

 

Attachment 2:Forwarding the Women’s Rights Drift Bottle, calling on the release of women’s rights/ human rights lawyers

https://www.facebook.com/chinesefeminists/posts/495474730609279

 

Attachment 3:A Statement Concerning the Detention of Lawyer Wang Yu by the Parents of the Jiangxi Sexual Abuse of Young Girls’ Case

Lawyer Wang Yu served as defense counsel for the young girls who were sexual abused by one of the schoolteachers in Ruichang, Jiangxi.

Lawyer Wang fully complies with the relevant laws and regulations in the case all the time. Wang has never urged or incited the parties to engage in illegal activities, Wang is always making full use of the existing law and the legal framework to help the victims to fight for their legal rights and interests.

Lawyer Wang is a kind-hearted rights defense lawyer, with a strong sense of justice and integrity. Wang Yu lent a helping hand to us at the moment when we were most isolated, confused and desperate, and she even provided the victims with material support.Lawyer Wang Yu has helped us to fight for our rights and safeguard justice, she helped us without reservations. With her generous help, our cases have a better outcome and all the victims’ parents are very grateful.

Since Lawyer Wangyu is in danger and suffering now, as clients who has received her generous help and witness of her excellent professional skills, we must express our serious concern. We would like to remind the relevant departments to obey laws and related regulations, to fully protect the suspect’s basic rights and interests.

We are shocked to learn that Wang Yu is currently held under ‘residential surveillance at a designated place’ and has been denied of access to lawyers for having ‘endangered’ the state security, her husband Bao Longjun is detained and even their only son Bao Mengmeng who is just 16 years old and totally unrelated with this case is also under surveillance. As parents of teenagers ourselves, we feel a strong anger and pain about Bao Mengmeng’s great physical and mental suffering, so we urge the departments that are handling this case to stop getting the innocent boy involved in any form, including making threats, intimidating and limiting his personal freedom.

Moreover, concerning the smearing of Wang’s reputation by some of the official media, we urge the investigating authorities to work in accordance with the law, to investigate the facts thoroughly, to listen to people’s opinion, and to uphold justice firmly.

The family of victims in Jiangxi sexual abuse case

2015.08.24

 

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