Two Beijing prisons have prevented lawyers from defending their clients who have illegally received prison terms for practicing Falun Dafa.
The Beijing Fangshan Court sentenced Falun Gong practitioner, Mr. Wang Shuxiang to a four-year prison term in 2015 for his belief in Falun Gong.
The Beijing Changping Court sentenced another practitioner, Ms. Chen Junjie to a three-and-a-half year prison term in 2016 for practicing Falun Gong.
The family members of the two practitioners hired lawyers in February 2017. The prison officials and higher-level authorities harassed and threatened the lawyers and families in an effort to stop the lawyers from meeting with Mr. Wang and Ms. Chen.
Both lawyers, Mr. Wen Donghai and Mr. Yu Wensheng, mailed administrative complaints on May 11, 2017, against the Beijing Qianjin Prison, Beijing Women’s Prison and Beijing Bureau of Prisons to the Ministry of Supervision, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and other related government departments–a total of 13 departments.
Obstruction of Justice
The two lawyers went to the Beijing Qianjin Prison to meet with Mr. Wang on February 8, 2017. The prison authorities demanded that the lawyers show permits for meeting with Mr. Wang. The lawyers said that demanding such permits was against the law. However, left with no other choice, they went to the Beijing Bureau of Prisons to obtain meeting permits, and they received them.
The Beijing Qianjin Prison still refused to allow the lawyers to meet with their clients even though they had obtained permits from the prison’s supervisory authority.
The lawyers then went to the Beijing Women’s Prison and asked to meet with Ms. Chen Junjie. The prison authority also demanded approval from the Beijing Bureau of Prisons, plus Ms. Chen Junjie’s signature. The prison officials continued to obstruct the lawyers’ representation of their clients.
Refusal to Provide Case Files
Both lawyers mailed letters on March 29 to the Beijing Bureau of Prisons and Beijing Women’s Prison for their clients’ case information. The Bureau of Prisons returned the mail, and the Women’s Prison authority simply ignored the lawyers’ request.
The two lawyers went to the Beijing Bureau of Prisons on May 8, to meet with the head of the prison department. They explained that it is legal for lawyers to represent their clients and asked to meet with their clients. The prison department head threatened them. He then asked for the lawyers’ phone numbers and claimed that he would provide their clients’ files later.
The lawyers decided to sue the Bureau of Prisons.
The lawyers composed 13 complaint documents on May 11 and mailed each of them to 13 separate government departments. They demanded an investigation of the Beijing Bureau of Prisons, Beijing Qianjin Prison and Beijing Women’s Prison about blocking their access to their clients’ information, abusing their authority and obstructing their clients’ rights to representation.
Stalling Information Flow
All of Beijing’s prisons and its former forced labor camps have relentlessly persecuted Falun Gong practitioners. Beijing Qianjin Prison and Beijing Women’s Prison have tried to restrict all outgoing information. It has been very difficult to get information from inside the prisons.
The Beijing prisons have refused to allow lawyers to meet with Falun Gong practitioners. They will do almost anything to prevent lawyers from appearing on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners.
The prison authority gives lawyers the runaround and uses all kinds of excuses to prevent lawyers from meeting with their clients. They use the Bureau of Justice and the Lawyers Association to put pressure on the lawyers. They also pressure practitioners’ family members.
Mr. Wang and Ms. Chen and their lawyers and family members have said that they will not give up until the two practitioners are freed and lawyers are able to meet with and represent Falun Gong practitioners being held in the prison system.
Parties Persecuting Mr. Wang and Ms. Chen:
- Beijing Qianjin Prison: 106 Mail Box, Chadianzhan, Jingshanxian, Hangu District, Tianjin. Postal code: 300481
- Beijing Bureau of Prison Qinghe Branch: +86-10-83589148/49 (Beijing Qianjin Prison is its subordinate unit)
- Beijing Qianjin Prison duty phone: +86-22- 67988215, +86-10-68365163, +86-10-68018529
- Beijing Qianjin Prison supervision sector: +86-83589423