Chinese Human Rights Lawyers: “We Will Embrace Freedom”
On New Year’s Day, Chinese human rights lawyers issued
a message saying, “We will eventually embrace freedom",
summarizing the hardships and difficulties in their path of
defending Chinese citizens’ rights in 2014.
Lawyers are hoping for human rights to improve in 2015
and for a free, liberal, fair and righteous society in China.
The message said:
“In 2014, from Jiansanjiang to the Tianhe Detention Center,
from the defense in Urumqi to safeguarding the land rights
in Shandong Peninsula, human rights lawyers have worked
day and night, withstanding hardships of deprivation
and hunger, to defend the vulnerable groups.”
It describes that even though today’s China “lacks idols
and is full of conspiracies and dark politics,” the lawyers are
determined to pursue innovation, change society, and light
up the future with their effort, sweat, blood and even lives.
Guangdong rights lawyer, Sui Muqing says the message,
which has been signed by over 100 lawyers, is a summary of
their defending work.
Sui Muqing: “Hopefully there will be improvement
in the freedom of speech and religion in the new year.”
“Last year, persecution against free speech and religion was
very severe—I hope the rule of law in China will improve."
Hubei rights lawyer, Wang Cheng says it is every Chinese
human rights lawyer’s hope to improve society
and human rights in China.
Wang Cheng: “It’s our hope; but reality could get even worse
although social consciousness is increasing and many rights
defending activities have become widespread in China,
lawyers are experiencing much resistance when defending."
Chinese human rights lawyers were severely suppressed
in 2014, with many being arrested, dispelled, threatened,
harassed and challenged.
Lawyer Yang Xuelin posted in his Jan. 1 blog, the 2014 China
Top Ten Lawyers News, cases such as Hubei lawyer,
Zhang Keke being arrested for stating that “the Chinese
constitution guarantees citizens freedom of faith" in
his defense on Dec. 11; lawyers Tang Jingling, Yu Wensheng,
Chang Boyang being arrested; lawyer Chang Weiping
being defined as a suspect of “intentional homicide";
nearly 100 lawyers being dispelled and assaulted by police
in Guiyang; and the Jiansanjiang incident in March 2014.
In the Jiansanjiang case, four defending lawyers,
Wang Cheng, Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong and Zhang Junjie
were detained by police during their defense
for illegally detained Falun Gong practitioners.
During detention, police broke 24 ribs of the four lawyers,
resulting in hundreds of lawyers appealing with signatures
for lawyers’ practice rights and their right to life.
At the end of 2014, eight lawyers, including Wang Yu
and Chen Zhiyong, once again provided legal assistance
for Falun Gong practitioners in Jiansanjiang, but were faced
with intimidation, stalking, and violence from bailiffs.
In order to safeguard lawyers’ rights, they filed complaints
against Jiansanjiang Court on Dec. 31 to the Harbin judiciary
and the National People’s Congress.
Wang Yu: “We submitted our materials to the provincial
Procuratorate, High Court, the Court of Land Reclamation
and the Land Reclamation sorting departments, and filed
complaints on the illegal activities of Jiansanjiang Court.”
“We were told the materials will be sent to the discipline
inspection and supervision departments for investigation."
Sui Muqing says that as a human rights lawyer, he realizes
the severity of lawyers’ rights violations in China.
Sui Muqing: “In reality, China’s laws are full of flaws;
the rule of law is disastrous.”
“The Central government talks of obeying the Constitution,
the rule of law, and of promoting it, but authorities ignore it,
and officials continue to abuse their power
and wantonly violate civil rights."
Sui Muqing says abuse by authorities has been very
prominent in various aspects.
For example, countless innocent citizens have been detained
for “disturbing public order” or the crime of provocation.
It is belittling and damaging the rule of law, and opposing
the so-called “ruling according to the law and Constitution”.
Interview & Edit/ LiYunPost-Production/ ShuCan