Having been thwarted by a group of tenacious lawyers in the attempt to punish 13 Falun Gong practitioners through the judicial system, Chinese authorities in a northeastern city have recently sent down an order that the attorneys can no longer associate with their clients. Seven lawyers were targeted.
The news emerged after Chen Jiangang, of the Beijing Yingke Law Firm, visited the Dalian Detention Center on Aug. 12 but was prevented from meeting with his client.
Speaking with the Sound of Hope (SOH) Radio Network the next day, Chen said he was shown a directive titled “No attorney meetings permitted for any suspects.” He was forbidden from taking photocopies of the paperwork.
The 13 Falun Gong practitioners, at least one of whom Chen is representing, were detained in Dalian last year for helping local residents install satellite dishes enabling them to watch New Tang Dynasty Television, an independent United States-based Chinese language broadcaster that reports on human rights abuses in mainland China.
Lawyers working to defend these and other Falun Gong practitioners have experienced various forms of interference, such as not being informed of hearing dates, being detained in open court, and being assaulted by police.
”There are already several incidences of violence against us defense lawyers. They have violated the law too many times, but we’ll still keep doing our jobs anyway,” Chen said.
Another attorney, Chen Hai, revealed details of a document called Article 108 online via his Sina Weibo microblog, listing the names of seven lawyers, including himself and Chen Jiangang, who are being refused access to their clients.
“The law court is getting very daring, and this document is evidence of their crimes,” Chen Hai told SOH. “We filed a complaint about it today. Any organization that doesn’t obey the law and does whatever it wants is behaving as a mafia.”
Tang Jitian, a rights attorney, believes the local authorities are trying to hide their persecution of the spiritual practice. The campaign against it was launched in 1999 by former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin.
“This latest move shows how evil they are; to protect themselves from being exposed, they do everything they can to interfere with the lawyers’ work, and to deprive the defendants of their rights,” Tang told the radio station.
“They even detained some of the defendants’ relatives and witnesses during the court sessions,” he said. “Their so-called law enforcement and trials are fake.”
During the Jiang Zemin era, a charge called Article 300 in criminal law was introduced to prosecute Falun Gong practitioners, but many Chinese lawyers say its wording is vague and lacks legal jurisdiction. Hence the practice of Falun Gong in China is actually still legal, they say, and those who target adherents with Article 300 are the ones acting against the law.
“There is no real judiciary in mainland China, nor real judges or prosecutors,” Tang added. “There are only Party cadres and policemen.”
“I believe that someday we will change this unreasonable and inhumane system, and I look forward to it.”
Translation by Rebecca Chen. Research by Ariel Tian. Written in English by Cassie Ryan.