Three lawyers detained for defending Falun Gong practitioners

Source: Chinese Human Rights Defenders

Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) learned in mid-July that three lawyers
in different locations in north-eastern China were detained over several weeks
by local authorities.

The three, Liu Ruiping, Wang Yonghang, and Wang Ping, who have previously been
harassed because of their work defending Falun Gong practitioners, were seized
between July 2 and July 8 in Shandong and Liaoning Provinces.

“As these detentions come on the heels of efforts to punish human rights
lawyers around the country by denying them renewal of their lawyers’ licenses,
we are concerned that these actions may mark the further deterioration of the
situation of human rights lawyers in China,” said Renee Xia, CHRD’s International
Director.
On July 2, Liu Ruping, a lawyer from Changqing District, Jinan City, Shandong
Province’s Shuntian Law Firm who has represented many Falun Gong practitioners,
was kidnapped outside of his apartment block by officers from the Public Security
Bureaus (PSB) of Jinan City and Changqing District as well as officials from
the Jinan City Party Committee. Liu’s home was also searched. On July 6, Liu’s
relatives went to the office of the Changqing District Party Committee demanding
to know Liu’s whereabouts.

However, officials declined to divulge any details. Liu’s family has not received
any official documents regarding his detention or the search of his home. It
is believed that he is currently held at a black jail specialized in detaining
Falun Gong practitioners and petitioners in Liuchangshan, Jinan City.

On July 4, about 20 plainclothes policemen from the National Security Unit,
Shahekou Sub-division and Jinxiu Police Station of the Dalian City PSB barged
into the home of Wang Yonghang, a lawyer from Dalian City, Liaoning Province.
Without presenting any legal documents, the policemen searched Wang’s home,
held Wang’s wife down to the floor and restrained Wang’s 80-year-old mother.
The policemen briefly waved some form of legal document in front of Wang’s wife,
asking her to sign it, but she refused.

Wang and his wife were both taken away; his wife was released the next day.
When she went to the police station on July 6, police presented a criminal detention
warrant stating that her husband had been detained in accordance with Article
300 of the Criminal Code which is regularly used against Falun Gong practitioners.
Wang is believed to be held in Dalian City PSB Detention Center.

On July 8, Wang Ping, a lawyer from Tianzhengping Law Firm, Pingdu City, Shandong
Province was also reportedly kidnapped by the local police. Details about Wang’s
apprehension are currently unclear. Reportedly, Wang was also held for representing
Falun Gong practitioners in Shandong Province.

Background

Liu Ruping has been practicing law since 1993, and has been a member of the
Shuntian Law Firm since 2003. In 2005, Liu was sent to one year of Re-education
through Labor (RTL) for exposing and denouncing the official persecution of
Falun Gong practitioners.

Wang Yonghang published an open letter online on July 17, 2008, in which he
explained his views on the persecution of Falun Gong members, particularly focusing
on legal issues regarding Article 300 of the Criminal Code. Both lawyers have
defended Falun Gong practitioners and their advocacy and legal work have led
to persistent harassment from local police.

Authorities have been cracking down on human rights lawyers, especially those
who defend Falun Gong practitioners, particularly severely in recent months.
On April 13, Beijing lawyer Cheng Hai was attacked and beaten while on his way
to meet with a detained Falun Gong practitioner in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
On May 13, Beijing lawyers Zhang Kai and Li Chunfuwere beaten by a group of
police officers from the Jiangjin District PSB in Chongqing and detained for
representing Jiang Xiqing, a 66-year old Falun Gong practitioner who died suddenly
while detained in Chongqing’s Xishanping RTL camp.

In June at least eighteen lawyers lost their licenses to practice law following
the conclusion of their annual review on May 31. Judicial authorities refused
to renew their licenses as punishment for the lawyers’ dedication to handling
human rights cases and for pressing for direct election of the leadership of
the government-controlled Beijing Municipal Lawyers Association. Without a lawyer’s
license, these lawyers cannot practice law or work in a law firm.

According to one Beijing lawyer, the Beijing Bureau of Judicial Affairs publicly
announced on July 14 that the licenses of 53 Beijing lawyers have been cancelled.

Posting date: 17/Aug/2009
Original article date:23/July/2009
Category: Media Report

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