[CHRB] Violence Against Lawyers Representing Christians in Henan, Many Activists Indicted (12/12-12/18, 2013)

Contents

Reprisals Against Human Rights Lawyers

  • Henan Church Group Lawyers Attacked Trying to Meet Clients

Update on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association and Expression

  • Trial of Anhui Activist Ends without Verdict, Lawyers & Witnesses Harassed
  • Several Activists Indicted, Trials May Begin During Holidays

Reprisals Against Human Rights Lawyers

Henan Church Group Lawyers Attacked Trying to Meet Clients

Police attacked and harassed several lawyers defending Zhang Shaojie (张少杰), a church pastor in Henan Province, and 23 other detained church members (see previous CHRB) between December 12-13, 2013. A large group of thugs blocked the lawyers outside Nanle County Detention Center on December 12 and later assaulted them physically at their guesthouse. After each incident, the lawyers called the emergency number for help, but the operator dispatched no police assistance, reportedly saying it was not their responsibility to find the perpetrators. The next day, thugs assaulted the lawyers outside the Nanle County People’s Procuratorate when the lawyers tried to lodge a protest against police harassment and denial of their clients’ right to legal counsel. Lawyer Liu Weiguo (刘卫国) was hit on the head and suffered bleeding; lawyer Yang Xingquan (杨兴权) had his glasses knocked off; and several other lawyers sustained injuries from the attack. Thugs tore the jacket off of lawyer Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) and took several cell phones and tablet computers from the lawyers. Along with journalists from the UK’s Sky News, they were forced to barricade themselves inside the building. For more than 20 days, authorities have barred the lawyers from meeting their clients, who were detained in mid-November.[1]

Update on Crackdown on Peaceful Assembly, Association and Expression

Trial of Anhui Activist Ends without Verdict, Lawyers & Witnesses Harassed

The trial of Zhang Lin (张林) was held on December 18 at the Bengshan District People’s Court in Bengbu City, Anhui Province. The court did not announce a verdict at the end of just six hours of proceedings, saying that it would set a date for sentencing. Zhang’s lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) had been monitored and harassed by police at his guesthouse and upon arrival to the courthouse with Zhang’s other lawyer, Li Fangping (李方平). Several witnesses for the defendant were kept away; one was forced onto a train to return to Guangzhou, and another was detained in Bengbu City. Lawyer Li Fangping said that Zhang Lin told the court that he wished his case would wake up the conscience of some government officials, drawing attention to reprisals against children for their parents’ activism. The lawyers spoke to Zhang’s innocence in court. Zhang was arrested and charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” over protests organized in support of his daughter, 10 year-old Annie Zhang, after she was blocked from attending school in Hefei City due to his pro-democracy activism.[2]

Zhang Lin (张林)’s daughter Annie (安妮) protesting outside the Bengbu City No. 1 Detention Center in Hefei Province, where her father is being held.

Zhang Lin (张林)’s daughter Annie (安妮) protesting outside the Bengbu City No. 1 Detention Center in Hefei Province, where her father is being held.

Several Activists Indicted, Trials May Begin During Holidays

Authorities have recently indicted several leading activists detained in Beijing, Anhui, and Guangdong, clearing the way for their trials, which could begin within 10 days, according to Chinese law. They all face the same charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place,” a crime punishable under Article 291 of China’s Criminal Law. A conviction on such a charge carries a prison term of up to five years.

In Beijing, activist and legal scholar Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a leader of the New Citizens’ Movement, was indicted on December 13, 2013. Prosecutors filed for Xu’s trial with the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court. Ding Jiaxi (丁家喜), a human rights lawyer, and activist Li Wei (李蔚) were also indicted on December 13. Police have transferred their cases to the Haidian District People’s Procuratorate. (Read Xu Zhiyong’s indictment here in English/Chinese, and Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei’s here in English/Chinese.)

The lawyers of activists Ma Xinli (马新立), Yuan Dong (袁冬), Zhang Baocheng (张宝成), and Hou Xin (侯欣) received indictment notices from the Haidian District People’s Procuratorate on December 13. The four activists were arrested following a demonstration held on March 31 in Beijing’s Xidan shopping area, though Ms. Hou had been released on bail awaiting trial. Additionally, activists Zhao Changqing (赵常青) and Wang Yonghong (王永红) have reportedly had their cases transferred to the procuratorate in Haidian District as well.[3]

In Anhui, activist Zhou Weilin (周维林) was indicted by the Shushan District People’s Procuratorate in Hefei City on December 17. According to his son, his case was transferred to the procuratorate just a few days ago. Zhou Weilin’s arrest is in connection to his participation in demonstrations in support of Annie Zhang’s right to education. Reportedly, Yao Cheng (姚诚) and Li Huaping (李化平) have also been indicted and are likely to stand trial within days. Both were also arrested after being tied to the demonstrations supporting Annie Zhang.[4]

In Guangdong Province, human rights lawyer Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄, aka Yang Maodong, 杨茂东), has reportedly also been indicted, though authorities did not directly notify his lawyers of this development. During Guo’s detention, Guo’s lawyers have been blocked from meeting with him, and his arrest was not disclosed for nearly a month after being approved in September.[5]

Media Contacts:

Renee Xia, International Director,  +1 240 374 8937, reneexia@chrdnet.com

Wendy Lin, HK Coordinator,  +852 6933 3871, wendylin@chrdnet.com

[1] “Urgent Situation: Nanle County Lawyers Attacked by a Crowd for the Third Time, Liu Weiguo Hit in Head With Brick” (紧急关注:南乐律师第三次被群殴,刘卫国律师头被砖头砸破), December 13, 2013. WQW; “Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group Statement on Serious Violations of Nanle County Lawyers Professional Rights” (中国人权律师团关于南乐严重侵犯律师执业权的声明), December 13, 2013, WQW; “Nanle County, Henan Church Group’s Case in a State of Emergency: Lawyer Beaten Twice in One Day in Nanle” (河南南乐教案告急:代理律师一天两次在南乐被群殴), December 12, 2013, WQW.

[2] “Anhui Activist Zhang Lin Trial Begins, Lawyer Harassed, Defense Witness Detained” (安徽张林案开庭,律师受骚扰,证人遭抓押), December 18, 2013, WQW; “Zhang Lin “Disrupting order” Trial to Start Tomorrow, Requests Lawyer to Plead Not Guilty” (张林“扰续案”明日开庭,要求律师无罪辩护), December 17, 2013, Boxun.com.

[3] “Xu Zhiyong and Others Who Called for Officials to Disclose Wealth Indicted” (许志永等人要求官员公示财产案起诉至法院), December 14, 2013, WQW; “Official Request Indictment of Activists Held of Publically Calling for Disclosure of Officials’ Wealth, Trial to Begin This Month” (要求官员公布财产案已起诉到法院,本月内将开庭), December 13, 2013, WQW; “Cases of Beijing Activists Who Called for Officials to Publicly Disclose Assets Transferred to Haidian Procuratorate” (北京要求官员公开财产被捕人士案被移交海淀检察院), December 11, 2013, WQW.

[4] “Case of Anhui Activist Zhou Weilin Sent to Procoratorate, Suspected of ‘Gathering a Crowd to Disrupt Order of a Public Place’” (安徽维权人士周维林涉嫌“聚众扰乱公共场所秩序罪”案已到检察院), December 17, 2013, WQW.

[5] “Democracy Activist Guo Feixiong Secretly Indicted, Representing Lawyer Expresses Objection” (民主维权人士郭飞雄被秘密审查起诉,代理律师表示抗议), December 19, 2013, WQW.

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