法律维权人士郭飞雄（原名杨茂东）去年九月被广州公安以“涉嫌非法经营罪”刑事拘留，及后案件送交检察院后因证据不足被两次发回公安退查，直至5月 15日才被正式起诉，至此郭飞雄已被拘留大半年，公安亦曾于一月底至三月底以对案件作进一步侦查为由，把郭飞雄押送拘留在远在东北辽宁省沈阳的看守所，郭飞雄向其律师胡啸投诉在看守所被殴打和刑讯逼供，其后透过北京维权律师胡啸及莫少平提出诉讼，控告看守所预审员违法侦查的行为。更甚的是，案件原定于6月 15日开庭，但在开庭数日前，法院突然通知郭飞雄的家人案件需要押后，公安人员并于数天后首次向他们表示，郭飞雄涉嫌的不只是非法经营，还有涉嫌颠覆国家政权罪，但没有表示会将就后者起诉。郭飞雄在2005年为广东番禺太石村村民提供法律协助指控当地怀疑贪污的官员而成名，但他却因此而被逮捕超过三个月，其后，他于去年不断受到不明人士的袭击和骚扰。
22 June 2007
President Hu Jintao
People’s Republic of China
Premier Wen Jiabao
Xicheng District, Beijing 100800
People’s Republic of China
Deeply Concerned About the Recent Incidents of Beating and Detention of Mainland Human Rights Lawyers
Dear President Hu and Premier Wen,
Our organisation was established by solicitors, barristers, legislators and academics in Hong Kong and we are concerned about the development of the rule of law and the rights of human rights lawyers in China. We are deeply concerned about and outraged by the recent incidents of beating and detention of human rights lawyers and legal activists. We strongly condemn those public security officers who defy laws and regulations and we demand the central government investigate and punish those officials.
Beijing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟) used to be one of the top then lawyers in China. But after he sent out three open letters to you in 2005 demanding the government to stop oppressing liberal religious believers, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years, in December last year on charges of “inciting subversion”. He and his family has been frequently beaten up by public security officers. The most recent one occurred on 2 June when he was beatened up by a state security officer in Beijing. The officer attacked Lawyer Gao’s head. According to sources, Lawyer Gao felt very sick after the attack and suffered vomitting. Lawyer Gao later reported the attack to the public security bureau, but the public security officers did not actively investigate the case and the attacker got away. On the other hand, on 3 and 4 June, when it was the 18th anniversary of the June 4 incident, Lawyer Gao and his family were taken to a hotel in Chaoyang District in Beijing and they were under close surveillance.
Legal activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄) (originally called Yang Maodong (杨茂东)) was criminally detained by public security officers in Guangzhou in September last year and was accused of “illegal business operations” for publishing books. The procuratorate in Guangzhou had twice transferred the case back to the public security bureau for further investigation due to insufficient evidence. Guo was only formally charged on 15 May this year, but he had already been detained for more than half a year at that time. Between late January and late March this year, the public security officials in Guangzhou suddenly transferred Guo to Shenyang, Liaoning Province, in northern China for detention and further investigation. Guo later complained to his lawyer Hu Xiao that he was beaten at the detention centre and was tortured to coerce a confession. Through his Beijing lawyers Hu Xiao and Mo Shaoping, Guo sued the detention centre officers for their illegal behaviours to obtain evidence. The trial of Guo’s case was originally scheduled to start on 15 June, but the court suddenly called Guo’s family only a few days before that the trial would be postponed. A few days later, public security officers told Guo’s family for the first time that Guo’s case was not only related to “illegal business operations”, but it also involved “subversion of state power”. But the officers didn’t say they would charge Guo for “subversion”. In 2005, Guo provided legal assistance to villagers of Taishi Village in Panyu, Guangdong Province, in their village election and helped them expose the corruption of the village officials. He was later detained for more than three months and was frequently attacked and harassed by unidentified thugs.
Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚), the blind “barefoot lawyer” in Shaodong, who exposed the forced abortion population control policies of the Linyi government in Shandong, was recently beaten in prison. According to his family, on 16 June Chen was severely kicked by six to seven people in prison. His ribs and his legs were injured. He was also pressed on the floor and his head was shaved. Chen refused to eat to protest against the attack. His condition is worrying. Chen was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment in August last year on charges of destroying property and organizing a mob to disrupt traffic.
Shanghai human rights lawyer Zheng Enchong (郑恩宠) should have resumed his political rights on 5 June, but according to sources, he is still under close surveillance. Lawyer Zheng legally represented more than 500 residents of Dongbakuai in Ding’an District in Shanghai to sue Zhou Zhenyi, the richest man in Shanghai who was later imprisoned for stock market fraud, and the Ding’an District government for conspiracy to obtain their lands by illegal means in 2003. But later that year, he was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment for the offence of unlawfully providing secret information to overseas.
These are more well-known cases of mainland human rights lawyers and legal activists who have been persecuted. In fact, there are many other lawyers and legal activists who are facing similar situations of oppression and persecution. We believe that China needs to seriously implement the rule of law before it can establish a genuinely harmonious society.
As China is going to host the Olympic Games next year, it would attract much international attention about how our country deals with human rights problems. Therefore, we strongly demand the central government to seriously handle the problem that many local officials, especially public security officials, defy laws and regulations to oppress human rights lawyers and legal activists. We also call on the authorities to punish those officials who abuse their powers.
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group