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Statement on the Large-Scale Suppression on Human Rights Lawyers and Activists in China over New Year Period

Statement

 

(8th January 2020, Hong Kong) At the end of 2019, China targeted a private gathering of rights activists and human rights lawyers, and carried out a large-scale crackdown in provinces across China. The gathering took place in mid-December in Xiamen, and due to current affairs being discussed, it has been described as a behaviour of subversion of state power. The authorities appointed the police in Shandong Province to be in charge of the crackdown, and formed a special task force to crack down on the Chinese civil society. Since 26th December, there have been more than a dozen activists and lawyers being arrested, summoned or gone incommunicado.

 

The current situations of implicated China human rights lawyers are as follows:

·      Lawyer Ding Jiaxi was taken away in Beijing by Shandong security agents, his family has yet to be formally informed of the arrest

·      Lawyer Huang Zhiqiang from Zhejiang Province was taken away by the police for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on 29th December 2019, and his office was sealed and gone through by the police. The family of Huang Zhiqiang received formal notice of arrest on 30th December 2019, it alleged that Huang was being detained in Jinhua City Detention Centre in Zhejiang Province. He was bailed and returned home on 4th January 2020

·      Lawyer Lu Siwei informed his family on 30th December 2019 that someone was knocking on his door, and went incommunicado afterwards. On 4th January 2020, he was summoned by Chenghua District Baohe Police Station in Chengdu, and was released the same evening

·      Lawyer Liu Shuqing was summoned and taken away by the Shandong police on 31st December 2019, and returned home on 1st January 2020

·      Lawyer Lu Tingge’s family found him to be incommunicado on 31st December, and found the summon license of the Shijiazhuang Municipal Public Security Bureau Xinhua Branch Office at Lu’s office, and he was released on 1st January 2020

·      Lawyer Zhuang Daohe was heading to Jeju Island on 31st December, but was controlled and arrested at the border, he returned home on 2nd January at 5pm, having been summoned for “picking quarrels and causing trouble”

·      Legal scholar Xu Zhiyong was worried about getting arrested, and is currently on the run. His family has been questioned about the situation

 

We urge the Chinese authorities to respect the rule of law, and to stop all arbitrary arrests, summons and detentions before obtaining substantial proof of crime, as well as to release all lawyers and activists who have been illegally detained. At the same time, the authorities need to strictly obey the regulations and procedures listed out in the Civil Procedure Law, ensuring that all those who have been arrested be judged on objective facts and no presume innocence until proven guilty, guaranteeing the legal rights of the arrested.

 

We re-iterate that the International Declaration of Human Rights and the ICCPR clearly listed out the requirements for procedural justice. As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as a signatory of the ICCPR, China has the absolute responsibility to adhere to the relevant standards.

 

China’s disrespect for the law during its crackdown, and China’s behaviour in the recent Global Lawyers Forum have made the “rule of law with Chinese characteristics” to an international joke. The President of China has repeatedly mentioned the principle of “ruling the country by law”, but it is simply a way to use the law to take care of political problems, which is against the core value of the law itself.

 

Lawyers empower the rule of law, and execute civil justice. If the rights of lawyers were not protected, civil rights would be non-existent. This time, China targeted both.

 

We hereby urge:

1.     the international community to continuously pay close attention to China and support the freedom of speech of China human rights lawyers;

2.     the Chinese authorities to carry out the lawful duties and respect the international standard for the rule of law, strictly abiding by all regulations and procedures listed in the Civil Procedure Law in China;

3.     the Chinese authorities to stop arbitrary arrests and detentions of human rights lawyers and activists before collecting substantial evidence;

4.     the Chinese authorities to immediately release all human rights defenders who have been illegally arrested and detained.

 

中國維權律師關注組China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

台灣聲援中國人權律師網絡 Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network

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