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U.S. Must Voice Concerns over Chinas Assault on Human Rights Lawyers During the Upcoming Legal Experts Dialogue with China

(Chinese Human RightsDefenders, June 7, 2011) On June 8-9, officials andlegal experts from theUnited States and China will meet in Washington, D.C.for the U.S.-China LegalExperts Dialogue (LED).  TheU.S. Departmentof State publicly announced the dates of the LED onlyyesterday in a tersemedia note, which stated vaguely that the experts willaddress “the benefitsand practical implementation of the rule of law,” but contained no informationabout the specific topicsto be discussed.CHRD urges U.S. officials to voice serious concernsaboutthe Chinese government’s suppression of China’s humanrights lawyers, who aremost certainly not enjoying the “benefits” of the ruleof law.“The disappearance, torture,and silencing of many of China’s human rights lawyers–clearly a primary targetof the current Jasmine crackdown – has discredited theChinese government’sclaim to rule the country according to law,” saidRenee Xia, InternationalDirector of CHRD.  “A ‘legal’dialoguewith the Chinese government that does not include, ata minimum, a discussionof the government’s assault on lawyers who are seekingto promote the rule oflaw and access to justice would make a mockery of theLegal Experts Dialogue.”CHRD urges U.S. officials toraise the individual cases of human rights lawyers andlegal advocates who havebeen detained or subjected to enforced disappearanceduring the past severalmonths in connection with the Jasmine crackdown. TheChinese government hasdetained or disappeared at least 14 human rightslawyers and legal advocatessince the first anonymous online call for a “JasmineRevolution” in Chinaappeared in mid-February. As of this writing, at leastfour of them– Ni Yulan (倪玉兰),Liu Shihui (刘士辉), TangJingling (唐荆陵), and LiShuangde (李双德)–remain in state custody.  U.S.officialsshould also raise the ongoing cases of thedisappearance of human rights lawyerGao Zhisheng (高智晟), the unlawful homeconfinement oflegal advocate Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚)and hisfamily, as well as the ongoing police surveillance and“soft detention” oflegal scholar Fan Yafeng (范亚峰),anddemand the release of all rights lawyers and legaladvocates who have beendisappeared, detained, or otherwise subjected tounlawful deprivation of theirpersonal liberty.The human rights lawyers whowere forcibly disappeared over the past three monthsand have since beenreleased, have, for the most part, remained silent.Two notable exceptions areBeijing-based human rights lawyer Jin Guanghong (金光鸿), and Shanghailawyer Li Tiantian (李天天). In Li’s blog post about her disappearance--told in the form of anallegory – she suggests that she, as well as others,had been warned not toreveal anything about their treatment.There have been unattributedreports that government officials or their agents haveinflicted torture andmistreatment upon human rights lawyers during thecurrent crackdown. The abusehas included:

  •  beatings,
  •  use of electric batons on genitals,
  • sleep and food deprivation,
  •  repeated and lengthy interrogations (on occasion for up to 20 hours at a time),
  • forcible injections and ingestion of unknown substances,
  • forced stress positions (such as sitting motionless on small stools for many hours at a time), and
  • threats to their families.

Some individuals have alsobeen coerced to sign statements in whichthey admitted “wrongdoing” and made various promises,such as to cease theiractivism.CHRD is concerned about thephysical and mental health of the humanrights lawyers and legal advocates who have endured,or continue to endure,enforced disappearance, detention, unlawful homeconfinement, and/or policesurveillance. LIST OF INDIVIDUAL CASES TORAISE AT THE DIALOGUE  A.        Rightslawyers and legal advocates currently held bygovernment authoritiesin connection with the Jasmine crackdown: 

  • Liu Shihui (刘士辉), a Guangzhou-based human rights lawyerand activistin his 40s, formerly with the Guangdong JingguoLaw Firm, has been missingsince February 20.  Beforehedisappeared, Liu was brutally beaten by a group ofunidentified individualswhile waiting at a bus stop to attend the February20 “Jasmine Revolution”protests in Guangzhou. In September 2009, theGuangzhou Justice Bureaususpended Liu’s lawyer’s license for six months aspunishment for hisactivism.
  • Ni Yulan (倪玉兰), female, 51, a Beijing-based housingrights activistand lawyer, was taken into custody on April 7 andformally arrested on May 17for “creating a disturbance.” She is currentlybeing held at the XichengDetention Center in Beijing’s Haidian District.Ni’s husband, Dong Jiqin (董继勤), was seized at the same time, and CHRDrecentlylearned that he has also been formally arrestedfor “creating adisturbance.”  This is thethird time Nihas been criminally detained by the Beijingpolice; earlier detentions andconvictions resulted in the loss of the use of herlegs (from torture) and thepermanent revocation of her lawyer’s license (withher first criminalconviction for “obstructing an officer” in 2002). Ni’s lawyer, Cheng Hai, andher daughter areconcerned that the detention center is notproviding adequate medical care forNi, who suffers from various health problems,including breathing and digestivedifficulties, as well as heart problems –conditions either caused orexacerbated by the mistreatment she has sufferedat the hands of Chineseofficials.
  • Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), 39, a Guangzhou-based human rightslawyer, formerlywith the Guangzhou Huazhijie Law Firm, was takenaway by police on February22.  A week later, theGuangzhou PublicSecurity Bureau unlawfully placed Tang underresidential surveillance (jianshijuzhu) for “inciting subversionof state power.”  Theresidentialsurveillance notice sent to Tang’s family statedthat he was being held at theDashi Training Center, but his family has not beenable to contact or locate him.According to Article 57 of China’s CriminalProcedural Law, a suspect heldunder residential surveillance may only be held ina location other than hishome if he has no fixed domicile. Tang,however, has a fixed residence in Guangzhou.
  • Li Shuangde (李双德), 46, a legal advocate and activist whoruns a legalaid center in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, wascriminally detained on March24 on suspicion of “credit card fraud.” Formallyarrested on the same charge onApril 2, Li was tried on June 1. Following a20-minute trial, Li was convictedand sentenced to four months in jail and fined20,000 RMB.  Prior to Li’strial, which was hastilypostponed and rescheduled at the last minute,officials pressured Li’s familyinto dismissing his lawyer from the case andreplacing him with a “governmentapproved” lawyer.
  • B.        Rightslawyersand legal advocates who had been detained orsubjected to enforceddisappearance in connection with the Jasminecrackdown but have since beenreleased and remain under unlawful policesurveillance or “soft detention”:

  •  Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), 40, a Beijing-based human rights lawyer,formerlywith the Beijing Globe Law Firm, was disappearedbetween February 19 and April19.  On the afternoon ofFebruary 19,Jiang was seized from his brother’s home anddriven away by men identified byhis family as Beijing policemen. Police returnedthat evening, searched hishome, and confiscated Jiang’s computer. Jiang’s license to practice law wascancelled in 2009 as punishment forhis activism.
  • Jin Guanghong (金光鸿), 47, a Beijing-based lawyer with theBeijing JingfaLaw Firm, disappeared on April 8 or 9 and returnedhome on April 19. Jin is oneof the few of those disappeared during the currentcrackdown to publiclyacknowledge being tortured.  Heis unableto clearly recall the details of what happened tohim. CHRD learned that Jinwas held first in a detention center and thenmoved to a psychiatric hospital.While in the psychiatric hospital he was beaten byunidentified individuals,tied to a bed, given injections of unknownsubstances and forced to ingestunidentified medicine.
  • Li Fangping (李方平), 36, a human rights lawyer with theBeijing RuifengLaw Firm, was kidnapped by unidentifiedindividuals outside the office of thehealth rights non-governmental organizationYirenping around 5 pm on April 29.He was released on May 4.
  • Li Tiantian (李天天), female, 45, a human rights lawyer withthe ShanghaiPeixin Kenuo Law Firm, was disappeared betweenFebruary 19 and May 24. Policewho took her away also searched her home,confiscating two computers. Li washeld in a windowless room for the duration of thetime she was disappeared,except for the seven or so times she was taken toa police station to beinterrogated.  Policeinterrogated Liabout her reposting of messages related to the“Jasmine Revolution,” amongother topics.  When Li saidshe had aright to hire a lawyer, the police told her that“the law is not a shield.”Police also threatened that if she failed tocooperate they would beat her withpolice batons and lock her up in an “iron cage.”  
  • Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原), 46, a Beijing-based human rights lawyerwith theBeijing Qijian Law Firm, went missing betweenApril 14 and 19. Liu, a friend ofAi Weiwei’s, had indicated his willingness todefend Ai before hedisappeared.  After Liureappeared, hetold The Guardian that he did notwant to give any details about what had happenedto him during hisdisappearance.
  •  Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵), 37, a human rights lawyer with theBeijing KuntaiLaw Firm, went missing on the morning of May 4. Hereappeared on May 6. On May19, he was forced to leave Beijing for hishometown in Hubei province. Li hasrepresented human rights activists, victims ofreligious persecution anddiscrimination, and the former NGO OpenConstitution Initiative (Gongmeng) in itsdealings with tax officials in 2009.  Lialso serves as a legal advisor to the healthrights NGO Aizhixing.
  •  Liu Zhengqing (刘正清), in his 40s, a Guangzhou-based humanrights lawyer withthe Guangdong Fulin Guotai Law Firm, went missingon March 25. During hisdisappearance, Liu’s home was raided three timesand police took awaycomputers, printers, and other personalbelongings. He reappeared on April 29.  He has represented Falun Gongpractitionersand human rights activists. He is now released onbail awaiting trial onsuspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.”   
  • Tang Jitian (唐吉田), 42, a Beijing-based human rights lawyer,formerlywith the Beijing Anhui Law Firm before his licenseto practice law was revokedin 2010, was seized on the evening of February 16after attending a lunchmeeting with a dozen activists to discuss how theymight provide assistance tohuman rights defender Chen Guangcheng and hisfamily.  After Tang washeld incommunicado for threeweeks, he was sent back to his hometown in JilinProvince.  Tang is under“soft detention” and is in verypoor health. Authorities have warned him and hisfamily not to speak out and tohave no contact with the outside world.
  •  Teng Biao (滕彪), 37, a legal scholar at Beijing’s ChineseUniversityof Politics and Law and a human rights lawyer,disappeared for 70 days betweenFebruary 19 and April 29.  TengBiao’swife, who confirmed his return, said she could notcomment on his health or anyother details of his disappearance. Beijing policereportedly searched Teng’shome the day after he disappeared, confiscatingtwo computers, a printer,articles, books, DVDs and photos of ChenGuangcheng.  Teng’s licenseto practice law was cancelledin 2008 as punishment for his activism.
  •  Xu Zhiyong (许志永), 38, a Beijing-based professor, legaladvocate, anddirector of the Open Constitution Initiative(Gongmeng), which was forced toshut down in 2009, disappeared for one day aroundMay 7 and again on May 20. Hehas been under police surveillance or “softdetention” since mid-February. 
  • MediaContacts:Renee Xia,International Director (English and Mandarin), +85281916937 or +1 240 374 8937, reneexia@chrdnet.orgWang Songlian,Research Coordinator (English and Mandarin), +852 81911660, songlianwang@chrdnet.orgFor relatedinformation, please see:CHRD,“Individuals Affected bythe Crackdown Following Call for ‘JasmineRevolution,’” updated May 30, 2011, CHRD, “Annual Report on theSituation of Human Rights Defenders in China 2010,”March 3, 2011,, “Hearing on Revocation ofLawyers’ Licenses Ends without Decision, LawyersCondemn Baseless Punishment,”April 22, 2010,, “Report on Several IssuesRaised by the Chinese Government’s Response to theUN Committee AgainstTorture’s Recommendations for Follow-Up in 2009,”August 5, 2010,

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