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【Forward】Statement on the 3rd Anniversary of the 709 Crackdown:The Virtue of Pines and Cypress Is To Be Known Only In Wintry Cold

【Statement on the 3rd Anniversary of the 709 Crackdown:

The Virtue of Pines and Cypress Is To Be Known Only In Wintry Cold】

On the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the 709 Crackdown, we, the China Human Rights Lawyers Group, would like to thank all the friends in and out of the country for the selfless support and assistance they have extended to the victims of the Crackdown over the past three years. Much appreciated is also their unfaltering attention on the situation of human rights and rule of law in China!

Around the time of the Crackdown, eminent rights defenders in China were besieged one after the other with the authorities’ attack on the civil society and the rights defence movement soon to reach its pinnacle. And yet, rights defenders have strived to unremittingly create the human rights signposts with their will power and beliefs.

Still remained behind bars today are lawyers Tang Jinling, Chen Shuqing, Zhou Shifeng, Hu Shigen; misters Wu Gan, Yin Xuan, Wang Fang and lawyer Jiang Tianyong. Otherwise detained are lawyers Gao zhisheng, misters Qin Yongmin, Zhen Jianghua, Huang Qi, Liu Feiyue, Ge Jueping, lawyers Li Yuhan, Yu Wensheng and Chen Wuquan ….. 

Particularly disturbing is the status of lawyer Wang Quanzhang. To this date, he has remained the only victim of the Crackdown who is incommunicado with no news at all regarding his life and death. It is hard for us to imagine the agony that could have been inflicted on him. We can neither imagine the journey he must have painstakingly undergone mentally and psychologically over the past three years in complete isolation and deprived of help; nor envisage the courage and strength that has kept him defiant up to this day. Perhaps, the truth can be known only when Quanzhang regains his freedoms.

On top of depriving the rights defenders their personal freedoms, the authorities have also flagrantly used various administrative measures to strip human rights lawyers of their right to practice, or to limit it. Subsequently, a number of prominent lawyers are banned from representing cases or defending rights in the court. Lawyers Li Heping, Xie Yanyin, Sui Muqing, Wen Donghai, Zu Shengwu and Liu Shuqing all have their practising certificates revoked. While lawyer Wang Yu has not been allowed to resume her work, lawyer Ching Hai has the licence of his law firm forcefully cancelled. Neither Bao Longjun nor Shi Ping has managed to obtain their trainee licence. Lawyers Huang Simin and Yu Pinjian have in their turn been compelled to change law firms but both of their cases are still left hanging in the air….. 

In this era of obscurity and coldness; and in where the Law of Jungle reigns with rule of law waning, we, the rights lawyers are bound to proceed with responsibilities on our shoulder. Hereby, we shall delve unto the mountain forests albeit in simple carts and rags, and we shall strive on, braving winds and storms in mutual support and encouragements.

Politics that disregard human rights are evil. A China dream that beseeches an economy that flourishes upon substandard human rights protection is necessarily delusive. The greatest achievement of the 40-year-long reform is not about the building of concrete jungles one by one but the gradual awakening of rights consciousness among the people. Human rights would no longer stay on paper. They are on their way to be practised. Rights protection has proliferated and become exuberant. As rising rights consciousness clashes with the increasingly oppressive environment, the advent of rights lawyers is opportune.

May rights lawyers’ vison be broadened so that they know they do not suffer any more than the common citizens; and may they be vigilant as they venture into the cold and dead of the night. May the courageous not feel lonesome and the conscientious not be afraid. May their good deeds and names be acknowledged.

We are confident that the price paid by the holders of conscience will yield the seeds of freedom one day, and that these seeds will subsequently sprout and take root.
Likewise, we are confident that a China that respects human rights could become a reality not too long from now!

By the China Human Rights Lawyers Group
9 July 2018

For Contact (in alphabetical order)
Chang Boyang (常伯阳) +86 188 3718 3338
Lin Qilei (蔺其磊) +86 186 3922 8639
Liu Shihui (刘士辉)
Tang Jitian (唐吉田) +86 131 6130 2848
Yu Wensheng (余文生)