Update: Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Still in Prison — “They wanted to help the vulnerable” — Please Pray for Them

Chinese security forces have launched an unprecedented crackdown on the country’s human rights movement. More than 300 people have been interrogated or detained. Today, almost a year since that crackdown began, more than 20 lawyers and activists remain in custody facing political subversion charges. Here are some of their pictures — please pray for them and all those held in Chinese prisons….

Wang Yu

Age: 44
Detention centre: Tianjin No 1

Wang Yu was the first lawyer to be detained during the crackdown on China’s ‘rights defence’ movement, disappearing from her Beijing home in the early hours of 9 July 2015. In October she was paraded on Chinese state television after activists unsuccessfully tried to smuggle her teenage son out of the country and into exile in the United States. Wang is known as one of China’s most vocal activist-lawyers. Her clients have included victims of sexual abuse, feminist activists, members of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong and Ilham Tothi, the respected Uighur academic now serving a life sentence for inciting separatism. Shortly before she vanished, Wang told a visitor to her home: ‘Nobody is safe under a dictatorship’.

Zhou Shifeng, the head of Beijing’s Fengrui law firm, was one of the crackdown’s key targets. He was taken into custody after security officials raided his practice on 10 July 2015. Zhou was known for taking on politically sensitive cases such as the 2008 tainted milk scandal. Shortly before he was seized, Zhou had represented Zhang Miao, a Chinese news assistant who was detained in China while working for the German newspaper Die Zeit and spent nine months in custody without charge. Zhou came under fire from China’s Communist party controlled press after his detention, with official newspapers labelling him a ‘radical lawyer’ who had sought to spread social chaos’.

Li Heping pictured with his daughter

Li Heping, a father-of-two, was taken into secret detention on 10 July 2015. A devout Christian, Li was born and raised in Yangdian, a small rural village in Henan province. He decided to study law at university after being outraged by the 1989 massacre of Tiananmen protesters in Beijing. Li moved to China’s capital in 2000 and three years later decided to dedicate himself to civil rights cases. Since then he has defended underground Christians, environmental activists and political dissidents, including the ‘barefoot’ lawyer Chen Guangcheng. He has been abducted and repeatedly threatened because of his work. Li is currently being held in a detention centre in the city of Tianjin and has been denied any contact with his family.

Zhao Wei

Zhao Wei was released by China on July 7, 2016

Age: 24
Detention centre: Tianjin No 1

Zhao Wei, known by the nickname ‘Koala’, was working as a legal assistant to human rights lawyer Li Heping when she was detained on 10 July last year. According to friends, Zhao went missing after 10 unidentified men appeared at her front door in Beijing. The men took Zhao into custody after ransacking her home. Zhao, who is originally from Henan province, studied journalism at university where she also became involved in campaigning on issues such as LGBT rights and HIV awareness. ‘She saw so much inequality in society,’ her mother said last year. ‘She wanted to help the vulnerable.’

Hu Shigen

Age: 61
Detention centre: Tianjin No 1

Hu Shigen is a Beijing-based dissident writer and underground church leader. He was detained on 10 July 2015. Hu took part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Five years later he was sentenced to 20 years in jail for allegedly organising and leading a counter-revolutionary group. Hu continued his activism after being released in 2008. He spent a month in custody in 2014 after attending a remembrance event for those killed during the 1989 military crackdown. Hu is also a prominent member of China’s underground ‘house church’ movement.

Liu Yongping, also known as Lao Mu

Age: 52
Detention centre: Tianjin No 1

Liu Yongping, a campaigner also known as Lao Mu, was taken from his Beijing home at about noon on 10 July 2015. Liu, who is originally from Jiangxi province, is a well-known Christian activist and member of the country’s underground house church movement. Activists believe he is currently being held at the number one detention centre in Tianjin.

Wang Quanzhang

Age: 40
Detention centre: Tianjin No 2

Wang Quanzhang worked at the Fengrui law firm in Beijing and was known for taking on politically sensitive cases. Wang’s clients included a journalist known for exposing government corruption and practitioners of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong. He was detained in the Chinese capital on 10 July 2015. Li Wenzu, his wife, rejects claims her husband, who has been charged with subversion, was involved in trying to destabilise the Communist party. ‘Quanzhang was a really good man. He was a responsible man. He loved his family,’ she says.

Liu Sixin was working as an assistant at the Fengrui law firm in Beijing when he was detained on 10 July 2015. In the wake of last year’s crackdown, the Communist party’s mouthpiece newspaper claimed the Hubei-born assistant and activist had been part of a conspiracy to stir up unrest around China. Liu was guilty of ‘grave violations of the law’, the People’s Daily said.

Gou Hongguo

Age: 53
Detention centre: Tianjin No 2

Gou Hongguo is a Beijing-based activist and businessman. He was detained on 10 July last year and is believed to be being held at the number two detention centre in Tianjin. Christian activists have called for the release of Guo, who is a member of the country’s underground house church movement.

Age: 44
Detention centre: Changsha No 2

Xie Yang is a 44-year-old human rights lawyer from Hunan province. He was detained in Changsha on 11 July 2015. Before his detention, Xie had defended members of the New Citizens’ Movement, a coalition of liberal academics activists that has been dismantled by security officials since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. Shortly before being detained last year he was severely beaten by a group of unidentified assailants. Speaking in the wake of the crackdown on lawyers, Xie’s attorney told the Radio Free Asia news service: ‘Xie Yang is innocent. This is a question of the authorities using the law to attack lawyers.’ Activists believe he is being held at the number two detention centre in Changsha.

Xie Yanyi

Age: 41
Detention centre: Tianjin No 2

Xie Yanyi, a Beijing-based lawyer, was detained on 12 July 2015. Originally from the southern province of Guangdong he was working for the Kaitai law firm in Beijing when he was taken into custody. As well as having defended members of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, Xie had lobbied the government for information about internet surveillance. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about US snooping in 2013, Xie petitioned Chinese security services for information about their monitoring of Chinese citizens. The lawyer’s petition was ignored and police warned him to drop the request.

Bao Longjun

Age: 44
Detention centre: Tianjin No 2

Bao Longjun is a Chinese activist and the husband of human rights lawyer Wang Yu, one of the crackdown’s key targets. Bao was detained at Beijing’s international airport on 9 July 2015 as he attempted to fly to Australia with the couple’s teenage son, Bao Zhuoxuan. Activists believe Bao is being held in the number two detention centre in Tianjin where he is facing charges of ‘inciting subversion of state power’. With both his parents in custody, Bao Zhuoxuan now lives under virtual house arrest at his grandparents’ home in Inner Mongolia.

Wu Gan

Age: 43
Detention centre: Tianjin No 2

Wu Gan is a boisterous Chinese activist better known as the ‘Super Vulgar Butcher’. Wu was known for taking to the streets and using social media to lampoon corrupt Communist party officials, often with earthy language. He was detained in the city of Nanchang on 20 May 2015 and later linked to the Fengrui law firm at the centre of the police crackdown on human rights lawyers. State media subsequently launched a campaign against Wu Gan, accusing him of ‘maliciously’ attacking the government.

Lin Bin

Age: approximately 43
Detention centre: Tianjin No 2

Human rights groups say Lin Bin, a Buddhist monk known for his support of human rights activists, went missing on 10 July 2015 after he was seized by a group of men at Chengdu airport. Lin, who is also known as Monk Wang Yun, faces charges of ‘inciting subversion of state power’. In August last year Lin’s mother was one of the signatories of an open letter accusing Chinese security forces of transforming the country into a place of ‘fear and panic’.

Xu Zhihan

Age: unknown
Detention centre: under residential surveillance in secret location

According to human rights activists, Xu Zhihan was picked up by security agents in the city of Jinan on 11 July 2015. Two weeks later he was placed under a form of house arrest known by Chinese security officials as ‘residential surveillance’ in the city of Zhengzhou. Xu is facing accusations of ‘inciting subversion of state power’.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2016/jun/09/the-disappeared-faces-human-rights-activists-china-silence

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One Response to “Update: Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Still in Prison — “They wanted to help the vulnerable” — Please Pray for Them”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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