Friday, July 10, 2015

China's Black Friday: At Least 78 Chinese Human Rights Lawyers and Activists Arrested, Kidnapped, Missing

At least 66 top Chinese human rights lawyers, their staff and activists have been arrested, kidnapped or missing throughout the country since July 10, dubbed as Black Friday.

Up till 7am, July 12, Beijing time, according to information on Twitter, WeChat sent by the Chinese inside China and Chinese news/NGO web sites, about 66 people from at least 15 provinces and municipalities have been detained since Friday. Those who are confirmed under detention are lawyers Liu Shihui, Luo Qian, Wang Yu, Bao Zhuxuan, Zhou Shifeng, Sui Muqing, Liu Sixin, Li Shuyun, Wang Fang, Ge Ping, Li Heping, Zhao Wei, Li Weida, Qin Yongpei, Wang Haijun, Wang Cheng, and monk Wangyun (Lin Bin), Liu Yongping (Internet name Lao Mu).
Prominent Chinese lawyer Sui Muqing. File photo

The lawyers and their staff who went missing since July 10 are: Zhang Weiyu, Zhou Qing (driver at Fengrui Law firm where lawyers Zhou Shifeng and Wang Yu work, the Beijing firm was ransacked by more than a dozen police on July 10 who searched the offices of lawyers Zhou Shifeng and Liu Sixin and opened their safes), Wang Quanzhang, Huang Liqun, Jiang Tianyong, Liu Xiaoyuan, Bao Longjun (lawyer Wang Yu's husband). Renowned Beijing dissident Hu Shigen has been unacccounted for, suspected to be under arrest or house arrest. Police broke into the homes of lawyer Li Dawei in Gansu province, lawyer Guo Xiongwei in Hunan province.

China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a human rights NGO, appeals to the United Nations, human rights organizations, governments and activists around the world to address what it calls a "humanitarian catastrophe and human rights crisis".

The mass arrests started after lawyer Wang Yu, her husband Bao Longjun, their young son and two other people were kidnapped on July 9 (Wang Yu's arrest, Radio Free Asia). Their son has been released, according to information on WeChat. Wang's colleague at Fengrui Law Firm,  Beijing lawyer Zhou Shifeng was abducted from his hotel room on July 9, after he picked up Zhang Miao, Chinese news assistant to German magazine Die Zeit since last Octobler for her support to Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution. 

"Xitler's Mass Arrests" by Chinese artist Ba Diucao
About 30 lawyers throughout China were summoned to police stations on late Friday night and Saturday for interrogation, including Jiang Tianyong, Zhangkai of Beijing; Zhang Weiyu, Liu Weiguo of Shangdong pronvince, Chang Boyang, Ji Laisong, Ren Quanniu of Meng Meng, Ma Lianshun of Henan province, Li Tiantian, Zhang Xuezhong of Shanghai;  Lu Fangzhi, Wen Donghai, Yang Jinzhu of Hunan province, Zeng Weixu of Shangdong, Xue Rongmin of Shanghai, Fu Jianbo of Chongqing, Wang Cheng of Zhejiang province, Ji Laisong of Henan province. Lawyers Zou Lihui of Fujiang province, Jiang Yongji of Gansu province have been allowed to returned home after police interrogations. CHRD reports that most interrogations were about detained activist Wu Gan, A.K.A. Tufu (or Super Vulgar Butcher), who used to work for Fengrui.

At least two law firms were ransacked by the police: Fengrui and Li Jinxing in Beijing.

Activist Ou Biaofeng @oubiaofeng Tweeted around 2:50am quoting Yang Jinzhu who's under interrogation at a police station in Hunan province as saying the Domestic Security officers told him lawyer Zhou Shifeng has comitted "severe criminal offence", according to a decree issued by Beijing.

Renowned legal scholar and lawyer Zhang Xuezhong was briefly detained and interrogated. The police broke into Zhang's home, and homes of lawyer Li Dawei in Gansu province, lawyer Guo Xiongwei in Hunan province. Police ransacked a dozen lawyers' homes in Chongqing city, Yunnan, Hunan, Shangdong, Zhejiang, Henan provinces.

According to New York-based activist Wen Yunchao's Tweet @wenyunchao, Chongqing human rights lawyer You Feizhu wrote: "There're guests outside the door...I firmly believe I'm innocent. You need to firmly believe that, too! I love this country and the people on this land deeply. What I've been doing, is just trying to make this country and lives of ordinary people a bit better."

The mass arrests and kidnapping by Chinese police followed last Wednesday's passing of National Security Law which lawyers and scholars say gives Beijing more legitimacy to create a garrison state. “This law will legitimize the abuse of power by state and public security bureaus,” said prominent human rights lawyer Teng Biao, who was detained before for his work.  

(Report by Rose Tang from translation of combined information from Tweets, WeChat and news reports)

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