In the Words of Chinese Human Rights Lawyers
2010 Annual Report
In recent years, many of China’s leading human rights lawyers have defended Falun Gong adherents despite Party directives banning such action. On repeated occasions, these attorneys have defended practitioners in court, presenting detailed arguments as to their innocence and the broader need to observe the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. In response, they have faced escalating harassment, monitoring, disbarment, and even detention or torture at the hands of the authorities.
The following is a small collection of comments made by the lawyers themselves regarding Falun Gong as reported by overseas Chinese media and human rights groups. The quotations are listed in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent.
“[Judges don’t decide Falun Gong cases according to the law], but according to the [secretive] requirements of the 6-10 Office instead. Sometimes they tell us that there are ‘requirements,’ but we are not allowed to see them.
Occasionally they allow us to take a quick glance at them, and [then, we can] see a list of things such as family members not being allowed to attend court trials, lawyers not being allowed to make full defense submissions; and, especially in Falun Gong cases, no mention of the Constitution, law and human rights being allowed in court.”
Mr. Jiang Tianyong, prominent Beijing attorney, April 2010 (Radio Free Asia)
“The Falun Gong practitioners I met are very nice, very sincere. Through our profession as lawyers, we are striving to push the judiciary to have procedural fairness in court proceedings when dealing with these cases, and to defend [Falun Gong practitioners] adequately in trial. Today Falun Gong is being persecuted, and I speak for them. I speak for Falun Gong today; in fact, I also speak for my own future.”
Ms. Liu Wei, May 2009. Ms. Liu’s license renewal was refused in 2009 and she is currently facing potential permanent disbarment for her defense of Falun Gong practitioners. (Sound of Hope Radio)
“This is typical hoodlum behavior. They just wanted to intimidate us and force us to withdraw from the case. They are so frightened; they must be hiding something about this case.”
Mr. Zhang Kai, May 2009, after he and fellow attorney Li Chunfu were detained when trying to investigate the death of a Falun Gong practitioner in a labor camp. After being taken to a police station, Zhang was hung up by his hands in an iron cage. (Human Rights in China)
“This is a case of religious belief. He [the judge] seems to have received orders from a higher authority that he can totally disregard the law and openly violate the law during law enforcement. So they want to have an internal trial. We should uphold the client’s rights of defense and also file a complaint against the judge according to
corresponding laws and regulations.”
Mr. Li Subin, May 2009, reflecting on a recent sham trial of a Falun Gong practitioner. (New Tang Dynasty TV) http://ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/2009/05/07/a291595.html
“Since China’s Constitution stipulates freedom of religious belief, that means anything related to belief, such as dissemination of faith and religious, belief-related activities, I don’t think is illegal.
I hope more people can pay attention to the Falun Gong group. The injustice they face is [of a] large scale, and is a type of very brutal and very cruel injustice and unfairness. For the Chinese people and the world’s people, this is a challenge to the conscience of mankind and a challenge of human nature.”
Mr. Li Heping, December 2008. (The Epoch Times, Chinese edition)
“She [Liu Jin] downloaded from the internet articles that are good in her judgment and passed them to others to read—[this] caused no harm to society. Liu Jin’s behavior is consistent with provisions of China’s Constitution about the freedom of speech and freedom of belief, provisions of the International Covenant on Civil Rights signed by
China, and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Mr. Mo Shaoping, November 2008, reflecting on the case of Ms. Liu Jin, a Falun Gong practitioner from Shanghai sent to a prison camp for 3.5 years for downloading information about Falun Gong from the internet. (Radio Free Asia)
“China’s Constitution protects freedom of belief. The core principles promoted in Falun Gong doctrines ‘Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance’ do no harm to society. Falun Gong should be a new form of legal faith, and its believers’ activities should be
protected by law.”
Mr. Cheng Hai, in his defense of Falun Gong practitioner Ms. Xu Na. Xu was nonetheless was sent to a prison camp for three years in November 2008 after police found Falun Gong related materials in her car. Her husband, Yu Zhou, 42, who was detained with her, died in custody within weeks of being abducted. (The Epoch Times, Chinese language edition)
“At the end of 2007, in the process of providing legal help to a Falun Gong practitioner, I began to know painfully that this group of people in suffering was deprived of basic legal protection. … I reflected on the legislative and judicial road that China has taken since 1999 when “ruling the nation by law” was added into the Constitution.
The incidents that happened during these 9 years showed that the legal difficulties suffered by the Falun Gong practitioners in the past, would be more or less encountered by other groups in the present day… It can be said that the denial of legal protection endured by the Falun Gong believers has become the true epitome of the legislative and judicial road that China had taken since 1999.
Today I, …, point in particular to the fact that Falun Gong practitioners are being slapped with criminal sentences and punishment, [and I will] make a comprehensive analysis of the wrong application of Paragraph 1 of the Penal Code [Article] 300 [to Falun Gong]. I insist in doing so because it affects not only the basic rights of survival and living for tens of thousands of practitioners and their family, it also concerns the most basic respect and upholding of the existing laws by the judicial power.”
Mr. Wang Yonghang, July 17, 2008, open letter to the Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate. In November 2009, Wang was himself “sentenced” seven years in a prison camp under Article 300 because of his defense of Falun Gong.
“Among the true accounts of unbelievable brutality, among the records of the government’s inhuman torture of its own people, the immoral acts that shocked my soul the most were the lewd yet routine practice of attacking women’s genitals by 6-10 Office staff and the police. Almost every woman’s genitals and breasts or every man’s genitals have been sexually assaulted during the persecution in a most vulgar fashion. Almost all who have been persecuted, be they male or female, were first stripped naked before any torture. No language or words could describe or re-create our government’s vulgarity and immorality in this respect.”
Mr. Gao Zhisheng, prominent Chinese lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, December 2005. Gao was abducted by security forces in February 2009 and remained “disappeared” throughout much of the year, with many acquaintances fearing he had been tortured to death. In early 2010, he resurfaced but was forced to give up his human rights advocacy. (The Epoch Times)