[发表评论] [查看此文评论]    滕彪文集
[主页]->[独立中文笔会]->[滕彪文集]->[Lawyer’s Detention Shakes China’s Rights Movement ]
·Beijing urged to respect religious freedom amid ‘anti-church’ crackd
·Speech during the June 4th Vigil in Victoria Park in Hong Kong
·【林忌评论】大陆没民主 香港没普选?
·June 2014: Remembering Tiananmen: The View from Hong Kong
·The Strength to Save Oneself
·讓北京知道 要甚麼樣的未來/苹果日报
·Beyond Stability Maintenance-From Surveillance to Elimination/Teng bia
·就律协点名维权律师“无照”执业 滕彪答德国之声记者问
·Politics of the Death Penalty in China
·What sustains Chinese truth-tellers
·From Stability Maintenance to Wiping Out/Teng biao
·25 years later, Tiananmen cause is still costly
·A Chinese activist: Out of prison but not free
·Activist lawyer vows to keep fighting for human rights
·Head Off a Tiananmen Massacre in Hong Kong/Yang jianli,Teng Biao,Hu ji
·滕彪被中国政法大学除名 因参与新公民运动
· Ilham Tohti should get the Nobel peace prize, not life in prison
· Chinese activist scholar Teng Biao on how Occupy Central affects main
·« Révolution des parapluies » contre Pékin / Teng biao
·We Stand With You
·Don’t Get Too Excited About the Investigation of Zhou Yongkang
·Sensing subversion, China throws the book at kids' libraries
·China’s Unstoppable Lawyers: An Interview With Teng Biao
·Hongkong: the Unbearable Weight of the Revolution
·Courts are told what decision to make in important cases
·RISKY BUSINESS fighting for Human Rights in China
·The Supremacy of the Constitution, and Freedom of Religion
·如果有人倾听你对 昨夜梦境的复述(诗四首)
·China’s Empty Promise of Rule by Law
·Sensing subversion, China throws the book at kids' libraries
·What will this crackdown on activists do to China’s nascent civil soc
·The most dangerous job in law
·Selective Blindness over China and Huamn Rights
·Blood, Justice and Corruption: Why the Chinese Love Their Death Penalt
·Human Rights Advocates Vanish as China Intensifies Crackdown/NYT
·‘Did We Stand on the Side of Tank Man?’
·The Quest to Save the World's Scholars From Persecution and Death
·Comments on the draft law on Foreign NGO Management
·China is moving toward a new totalitarianism
·Uncivil/ The Economist
·Why Xi Jinping is Purging China’s Human Rights Lawyers
·CCP party has an exaggerated fear of a color revolution
·Toast at the Stateless Breakfast
·"China é responsável por 90% das execuções mundiais"
·China's international relations at a time of rising rule of law challe
Lawyer’s Detention Shakes China’s Rights Movement

   Greg Baker/Associated Press
   In mid-July, Xu Zhiyong, center, a legal scholar, met with lawyers at a restaurant in Beijing. Later that month, he was detained.

   Published: August 9, 2009
   BEIJING — China’s nascent legal rights movement, already reeling from a crackdown on crusading lawyers, the kidnapping of defense witnesses and the shuttering of a prominent legal clinic, has been shaken by the detention of a widely respected rights defender who has been incommunicado since the police led him away from his apartment 12 days ago.
   The man who was detained, Xu Zhiyong, 36, a soft-spoken and politically shrewd legal scholar who has made a name representing migrant workers, death row inmates and the parents of babies poisoned by tainted milk, is accused of tax evasion. The charge is almost universally seen here as a cover for his true offense: angering the Communist Party leadership through his advocacy of the rule of law.
   If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.
   “We’re all shocked by his detention, because Xu Zhiyong has always tried to avoid taking on radical and politically sensitive cases,” said Teng Biao, a colleague. “His only interest is fighting for the rights of the vulnerable and trying to enhance China’s legal system.”
   Mr. Teng helped Mr. Xu establish the Open Constitution Initiative, a six-year-old nonprofit legal center that the authorities closed last month, charging that it was improperly registered and that it failed to pay taxes.
   Mr. Xu is not the first rights advocate in China to face the wrath of the authorities in recent years. Gao Zhisheng, a vocal lawyer, vanished into police custody six months ago, and Chen Guangcheng, a blind lawyer, was beaten and then jailed after exposing abuses in China’s birth-control program.
   Although rights lawyers and grass-roots social organizations have always been tightly controlled here, the pressure has intensified in recent weeks. More than 20 lawyers known for taking on politically tinged cases were effectively disbarred, and the police raided a group that works to ease discrimination against people with Hepatitis B.
   Last week, China’s justice minister gave a speech saying that lawyers should above all obey the Communist Party and help foster a harmonious society. To improve discipline, the minister said, all law firms in the country would be sent party liaisons to “guide their work.”
   But given Mr. Xu’s international stature and reputation for working within the law, legal scholars both in China and abroad say his prosecution suggests a new level of repression.
   “What makes his detention particularly disturbing is that he’s a special figure in so many ways,” said Paul Gewirtz, director of the China Law Center at Yale Law School, which helped Mr. Xu establish his legal center, known here by its Chinese name, Gongmeng. “He’s at the forefront of advancing the rule of law, which is something everyone agrees China needs for its ongoing development.”
   After 30 years of reform, China’s legal system is at a critical juncture. Law schools continue to pump out thousands of graduates each year, and the courts, even if imperfect, have increasingly become a forum for resolving disputes. Late last month the Supreme People’s Court announced reforms intended to markedly reduce executions.
   But as lawyers here discover, there are limits to China’s embrace of judicial reform.
   The Constitution, which includes guarantees of free speech and human rights, is unenforceable in court. Judges routinely ignore evidence, making determinations based on political considerations. And when it comes to vaguely defined offenses like “subversion of state power” or the invoking of “state secrets” laws, even the best-trained lawyers are powerless to defend the accused.
   He Weifang, a law professor and legal adviser to Gongmeng, said conservative forces in the Communist Party were increasingly wary of lawyers, who they suspect are ultimately seeking to challenge one-party rule. Their greatest fear, Mr. He said, is that advocacy lawyers and civil society organizations could one day lead a pro-democracy movement among the poor and disenfranchised citizens they represent.
   “What the authorities don’t appreciate, though, is that lawyers are leading these people to the courts, where their complaints can be resolved by rule of law,” he said. “People like Xu Zhiyong can only help the government solve some of the problems it faces.”
   According to Gongmeng, Mr. Xu is being held at the Beijing No. 1 Detention Center, although public security officials have not confirmed that he is in their custody. Peng Jian, a lawyer who is advising Gongmeng, said the authorities had imposed a $208,000 penalty for nonpayment of taxes due on donations from Yale.
   A day after the raid on Gongmeng’s office, Mr. Xu held a news conference to say that the accusations were baseless. He described the attack on his research center as a battle between corrupt officials and society’s most vulnerable citizens. “We believe conscience will surely triumph over the evil forces,” he said.
   A week later, police officers came to his door and led him away. Another employee of the research center, Zhuang Lu, was also taken away the same day.
   Soon after graduating from Peking University law school, Mr. Xu became immersed in the case of a 27-year-old graphic artist who was beaten to death in 2003 in police custody in the southern city of Guangzhou. The artist, Sun Zhigang, had been arrested under vagrancy laws that allowed the police to detain people for traveling outside their registered hometowns without a permit.
   Mr. Xu led a campaign to end the practice, which gained widespread media attention. A few months later, the State Council abolished the system.
   That same year Mr. Xu rose to the defense of a muckraking editor jailed in Guangzhou after his newspaper, Southern Metropolis, ran a series of articles about Mr. Sun’s death. The editor, Cheng Yizhong, said Mr. Xu helped rally lawyers and journalists, leading to his release five months later. “Only Xu had the courage to take on my case,” he said.
   More recently, he tried to build a case against black jails, the illegal holding cells that some officials use to silence persistent critics. Last year, friends say, he was roughed up several times while gathering evidence from petitioners who had come to Beijing to press their grievances to the central government.
   Raised in a Christian home in Henan Province, Mr. Xu was fond of noting his birth in a county called Minquan, which translates as “civil rights.” In an interview last year with The Economic Observer, a Chinese weekly, he said this had a profound impact on his social consciousness.
   “I strive to be a worthy Chinese citizen, a member of the group of people who promote the progress of the nation,” he said. “I want to make people believe in ideals and justice, and help them see the hope of change.”
   Jonathan Ansfield contributed reporting, and Huang Yuanxi contributed research.

©Boxun News Network All Rights Reserved.