China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
A Statement to Condemn the Hunan Authorities For its other attempt to conduct media trial against Jiang Tianyong
(3rd March, 2017 – Hong Kong) The state-controlled Global Times published an article on Hunan human rights lawyer Xie Yang’s experiences of torture during his detention incommunicado. Basing on an “interview” with the also detained Jiang Tianyong, the article reported that Jiang had admitted plotting the rumours of Xie Yang’s torture. It went further to conclude that the news of Xie’s torture was fake by quoting an “independent investigation” that the Hunan Provincial Procuratorate claimed to have conducted.
The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) is outraged by yet another attempt of the Chinese government to run slanderous campaigns and media trials against the human rights lawyers in the country via means of the state-controlled media. The CHRLCG is also gravely concerned that the lawyers of Xie Yang, once allowed to meet him, have been repeatedly rejected without clear grounds for their recent requests to visit.
To start with, CHRLCG is highly sceptical of the integrity of the so-called “investigation report”. It is disconcerting to learn that the investigation has had its conclusion reportedly drawn upon “conversations” with a dozen of individuals, who however have been accused as perpetrators of the torture victim at stake, and “inquiries” done with “experiments” which are but crude and feigning as they have been described.
Along these lines, CHRLCG refers to the relevancy of the “Istanbul Protocol”, and underlines that any legal investigation of torture has to be conducted by a commission formed by impartial, competent and independent individuals with expertise and guided by procedures that are just and clear. Testimonies and evidence will be collected with the safety of the witnesses and victims fully protected.
CHRLCG henceforth calls on the Hunan People’s Procuratorate to convincingly demonstrate to the public that its investigation has been conducted in a fair and objective manner with international human rights principles and norms fully complied with.
In its attempt to use the specious “investigation report” to validate the self-incrimination of someone held under its control, the Hunan authorities have attested yet another instance of its persecution of individuals insisting on the defence of human rights and the rule of law, by means of black box operation that breaks both laws and regulations.
Jiang went disappeared on 21 November 2016. He was confirmed on 23 December 2016 to have been held under the criminal compulsory measure of “residential surveillance at designated location” and has by far remained incommunicado without meeting his defence lawyers.
In its coverage, the Global Times invokes article 37 of the Criminal Procedure Law to justify the Hunan authorities’ rejections to the repeated requests made by Jiang’s lawyer to meet him. Yet behind this apparently law-abiding image, the law-enforcers have however neglected the stipulations in articles 12 and 50 of the same Criminal Procedure Law which affirm the legal principle that “no one shall be forced to testify against himself”. This has demonstrated not only the practice of selective law enforcement by the Hunan authorities, but also the benightedness of the state media ready to be used as tools for vilification.
Articles 14 (2) and (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998 provide that “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.” and that in the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the minimum guarantees including that of communicating with counsel of his own choosing and not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.
CHRLCG strongly condemns the Hunan Public Security and the Procuratorate for their repeated deceptive moves to slander, breaking not only the domestic law but also the internationally recognised human rights norms and principles. CHRLCG solemnly demands that
- The Hunan Public Security Bureau should arrange for Jiang Tianyong to meet with the defence counsel appointed by his family. The pretext that meeting with outsider might obstruct investigation should no longer stand since even the media has been given access to Jiang.
- Concurrently allow Xie Yang’s lawyers to meet him as they have requested.
- Official media immediately stop retweeting all specious coverage and videos made to vilify and slander.
- The Hunan People’s Procuratorate should prove to the public the integrity and credibility of the investigation in Xie Yang’s case of torture by disclosing its panel of investigators as well as the steps and procedure taken to ensure fairness and impartiality of that investigation; and that the international human rights principles and norms fully complied with.
For enquiry: K. Chan (+852 2388 1377)