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【Press Release】A Joint Statement by 28 Defence Lawyers Condemning The Police For Their Malfeasance In The 709 Crackdowns

Condemning the Police for Their Malfeasance in the 709 Crackdown

A Joint Statement by 28 Defense Lawyers
Issued On the Eve of the Meeting between Obama and Xi Jingping 

 [25th September 2015, Beijing]


(19H on 24th September 2015, Beijing) On the eve of President Xi Jinping’s meeting with the US President Barack Obama, Wang Yu’s defense lawyer Wen Donghai released a Statement co-signed by 28 defense lawyers. The Statement condemns the police’s illegal restrictions on and the deprivation of lawyers’ rights. It calls on the Procuratorate to fulfil its supervisory duties, and urges for a fair trial as well as continual international attention. This is the first time the defense lawyers expressed themselves in one voice since the Chinese authority first started its crackdowns on human rights lawyers and defenders on 9th July 2015.

According to the statistics of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, as of 10 a.m. on 25 September 2015, at least 288 individuals, including lawyers, law firm staff, human rights defenders and their families have been implicated. They have either been questioned, summoned, restricted freedom temporarily, and or forbidden to leave the country.

Currently, 25 (13 lawyers) of them are given criminal detention with 14 (6 lawyers) being placed under residential surveillance at designated location which are unknown to the public. 3 others, including 1 lawyer, have simply vanished with no trace at all. 12 among the detained individuals are alleged to have committed crimes of endangering state security such as “inciting subversion of state power” and that of “stealing, spying, buying and illegally providing state secrets and intelligence to entities outside of China”. 

Although defence lawyers are entrusted for most of the 28 persons either in criminal detention, residential surveillance or in disappearance, and despite the protection of the suspects’ rights as stipulated in the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law, it has remained enormously different for defense lawyers to embark on their legal duties.

As the 28 defence lawyers point out in the Statement, “With our initial work on the 709 crackdowns, we noticed that the police were acting as a mockery to President Xi Jinping’s call for rule according to law by flagrantly trespassing the PRC Criminal Procedure Law. They have left the legal frame and logic behind in their ways of establishing cases, implementing criminal mandatory measures, using smearing tactics in the investigative process and or in their moves to illegally deprive and restrict defense lawyers of their rights to information, and to communicate as well as meet with their clients --- rendering themselves in the disarrays of rule of man and the political persecutions that once reigned the Cultural Revolution.

Ironically, the “Rules Concerning the Protection Of Lawyers’ Rights To Practice According To Law” jointly issued by Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice on 16th September, stressed that the People’s Court, People’s Procuratorate, Public Security Organs, State Security Organs, Justice Organs should respect lawyers, improve the system protecting lawyers’ rights to practice, protect the lawyers’ rights to information, application, complaint, meeting with clients, access to case files, collecting evidence, questioning, cross-examination, debate and so on in accordance with relevant laws within the respective areas. They should not restrict lawyers’ right to defend and to take up cases and shall not infringe the legal rights of lawyers.

In the Statement, the defense lawyers call on the Procuratorate to fulfill its supervisory duties with regard to the illegal acts of the police. They also urge for a fair trial. “We hope that the police will immediately rectify the illegal conducts they have committed. We also call on the Procuratorate to fulfil their duty in monitoring the police for them to be brought back to the track of law.  The dignity of the law and fairness as well as justice will have to be resumed for all.”

At the end of the Statement, the lawyers call on the “civil society in China, all Chinese and all other righteous people around the world to express their concern to this significant incident in the legal history of China. China’s advancement in the rule of law should not depend on the endeavors of any single great man, entity or community. It requires the efforts of each person and all in the society! We strive not for the past but a future that we envisage. Together, we shall be the foundation of rule of law and our hope lies in the future.”


1. Contact Person
2. Full Text of Lawyers’ Statement
3. Case Update List of 28 lawyers and human rights defenders who were taken away