China Detains Lawyers Of Activist Who Exposed China’s Forced Abortions And Sterilizations August 19, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in activist, Card, China, Chinese, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, illegal, Police, Quota.
Authorities detained three lawyers for a blind Chinese activist who was due to go on trial after documenting the accounts of villagers who complained of forced abortions, one of the lawyers said Friday. Other activists already had been put under house arrest in an apparent effort to keep them away from the trial of Chen Guangcheng, due to start later Friday in eastern China.
Legal scholars in China and abroad criticized the detention of Chen’s lawyers as an attempt to interfere in his trial. He faces criminal charges that his supporters say were brought to punish him for his activism.
“This trial is a farce,” said Jerome Cohen, an American lawyer and expert on the Chinese legal system.
Also Friday, state media reported that another Beijing lawyer who had attended an earlier court date for Chen was detained on criminal charges, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether it was connected to Chen’s case.
Chen, 34, is accused of illegal assembly and intent to damage public property.
He was arrested after recording accounts by villagers in Shandong province who said local officials forced them to undergo late-term abortions and sterilizations in order to meet birth control limits. Such practices are illegal, but local officials often resort to drastic measures for fear of being punished for failing to meet birth quotas.
Legal adviser Xu Zhiyong, who has taught at Yale University, was detained Thursday on charges of stealing a wallet in Yinan County in Shandong province, where the trial was to take place, said one of Chen’s defense lawyers, Zhang Lihui. Zhang said he and a third lawyer also were detained on suspicion of being accomplices but released after two hours. This story was taken from https://card.wordpress.com/
“This was designed to disrupt our ability to represent our client,” said Zhang. “It’s very obvious.”
In an open letter to authorities in Yinan County, Ying Songnian, a law professor and member of China’s parliament, called Xu’s detention “a clumsy attempt to frustrate an open and impartial hearing.”
“We believe that recklessly continuing down this absurd path will only deepen harm to China’s progress to the rule of law,” said the letter, which was circulated by e-mail.
Ying’s secretary, Wang Jing, said he wasn’t immediately available to comment and couldn’t confirm whether he signed the letter.
Local authorities “are trying to interpose every technical obstacle they can, creating most of them out of whole cloth,” Cohen said by phone from his home near Boston. This story was taken from https://card.wordpress.com/
Xu is “highly admired as a scholar and an activist and a very idealistic, fearless person,” Cohen said. He said his detention on robbery charges was “beyond belief.”
A woman who answered the phone at the Yinan Public Security Bureau Friday morning said she had not heard of any such detentions. She would only give her surname, Liu.
Chen, who was blinded by a fever in infancy, studied traditional Chinese medicine in college but also taught himself law so he could fight discrimination against himself and handicapped farmers in his home province.
Chen’s documentation of the claims about forced abortions and the international media attention it drew caused the National Population and Family Planning Commission to launch an investigation. This story was taken from https://card.wordpress.com/
The government agency validated Chen’s claims last September, and said some officials in Shandong were removed from their posts and others detained.
But the action landed him in trouble with local officials. Starting last August, he and his family were repeatedly beaten, threatened and confined to their house by dozens of thugs, according to relatives and supporters. Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, says the men were hired by the government.
Several rights activists said Thursday that they had been put under house arrest since mid-July to prevent them from going to the trial to show their support for Chen.
Ellen Sauerbrey, a U.S. assistant secretary of state, said last week that she had appealed to the Chinese government for Chen’s release but had gotten no response.
Also Friday, Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng was in police custody for suspected criminal activity, the official Xinhua News Agency reported in a brief report that gave no details.
Gao attended an earlier court date for Chen that was postponed at the last minute, where he clashed with Yinan police. But Gao also has been involved with numerous clients in politically sensitive cases and has penned open letters to Chinese leaders critical of government policies.