A Difficult Decision for Attorney Yang Zaixin

February 22, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: February 22, 2006 12:00 am

On the morning of February 16, Guangxi Province's attorney Yang Zaixin was detained and his computer confiscated by the Hepu County Public Security Bureau for “an administrative violation” because he participated in the relay hunger strike to support rights protection. The authorities warned attorney Yang not to contact Beijing attorney Gao Zhisheng.

Attorney Yang was released on February 17, but two days later, authorities disconnected his home phone. Despite having fully prepared himself mentally, under the authorities' constant and intense threats, and being at a crossroads between appeal to personal interest and moral conscience, attorney Yang broke down and cried.

Late-Night Interrogation And Confiscated Computer Data

According to attorney Yang's description, around 11 p.m. on February 17, seven to eight Hepu County policemen broke into his home to conduct a search, declaring that they were “executing the 17th command.” The police carefully inspected attorney Yang's computer and made copies of all his data. Yang's computer and court case documents were all seized. Around 12:35 a.m., the police took Yang to the Hepu police station for committing “an administrative violation.” That night, the heads of the Beihan office of the Public Security Bureau and Guangxi Provincial Department of Public Security both appeared personally and participated in attorney Yang's 24-hour interrogation.

Attorney Yang recollected that the authorities had two main concerns. One was about his accepting Falun Gong practitioners Li Jiankun, Nong Youyue, and Li Ruping's cases in 2005 and 2006. Though the authorities spent very long time carefully studying attorney Yang's defense arguments and related documents stored on his computer, they could not come up with any questions. The other concern resulted when the interrogators discovered documents showing that attorney Yang had brought charges against Hepu Public Security Bureau Chief Su Lifei and also the section chief. They accused Yang Zaixin of fabricating lies, but at the same time repeatedly examined his indictments for conclusive facts and evidence. Attorney Yang said, “They wanted to pick flaws from my indictments, so they could make an issue of that but, so far, they haven't been able to come up with anything.”

After 24 hours of searching, all the police could find were pictures of Falun Gong practitioners being arrested at Tiananmen Square, and articles about The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party . The policed confiscated Yang's computer and declared that Yang had violated the Rules on the Administration of Internet News Information Services of 1997, which states that browsing harmful information will result in disciplinary warnings and a fine of 500 yuan (US$63).

Attorney Yang said, “I don't want the computer anymore because even if I were to get it back, it would no longer be usable.”

Relay Hunger Strike Strikes The CCP's Nerve

Yang Zaixin told the reporter that the authorities gave him verbal warnings such as, “Do not participate in sensitive matters,” and “Do not contact Beijing attorney Gao Zhisheng,” “During the upcoming two sessions [1], do not go to Beijing, otherwise you will be arrested!” Yang claims, “They said that this type of hunger strike movement of ours has really been regarded as extremely dangerous by authorities.”

Attorney Yang suggested that, at present, the global hunger strike to counter human rights persecution has placed extreme pressure on the CCP. It also has a tremendous influence on the upcoming two sessions. Therefore, the authorities are putting the main hunger strikers in each area under house arrest in order to isolate them and decentralize the strength, and thus suppress the hunger strike movement. Yang said, “This type of reaction shows that our work has struck a nerve and has had a certain effect on them. In their words, we've posed a threat to them.”

Attorney Yang believes that the present relay hunger strike to support human rights is compelled by circumstances; it is the last resort when all legal avenues have been blocked.It is the only way to protest the Chinese communist regime's criminal way of ruling society. Yang said, “We must use this rational, nonviolent and peaceful method to speak out against the Chinese communist regime. In addition, this method we chose should be in accordance with the general population's interest.”

“We must use this rational, nonviolent and peaceful method to speak out against the Chinese communist regime.”

Attorney Yang revealed that police or judiciary personnel he has come into contact with are sympathetic towards the relay hunger strike to support human rights and his situation, and they even gave tacit consent to the matter on certain levels. Yang says, “Though they don't dare to accept it, they all express understanding and sympathy to certain degrees.”

Yang Was Really Moved By Overseas People's Support

On the afternoon of the 19, Yang Zaixing went to an Internet cafe to use the Internet since he was not able to communicate with the outside through the phone. When he visited some websites and noticed the wave of hunger strikes in support of human rights in both China and overseas, his eyes welled with tears. He said, “When I see so many overseas friends who do not know each other but are supporting us publicly… Regardless of rain and wind, they continue to appeal. I feel it is so difficult, but they still make every effort to support the families of people involved in the movements in mainland China and protest against the persecution…(crying) From the bottom of my heart, I thank all the Chinese people supporting us. We must persist in this human rights protection movement, I can't speak any more (crying), please help me to tell all the Chinese people both in China and overseas that I am fine, I am really fine. I am terribly moved and I am so saddened.”

Attorney Yang told the reporter that he had cried once before. It occurred when he was reading Gao Zhisheng's articles about his family and experiences. He broke into tears while he was reading. Today he cried again because he realized that many friends from all over the world are supporting the human rights protection movement in front of Chinese embassies with banners and slogans, and are also concerned about the current situation of attorney Gao and other friends. “It was so sad, I cried again. Thinking about the current situation of attorney Gao and other friends, despite the difficult situation of the rights protection movement, we are still holding onto our ideals. I can't control my tears when I think of these things. I am so sad at this moment; I am going to cry again.”

Yang Is Facing The Choice

After combating and suppressing Attorney Yang, the Chinese communist regime is now offering him a tempting choice: Take your personal interest seriously. Do not fight against the government and work on such sensitive cases. Do not go to Beijing during the two sessions. You will be allowed to take your job back and work as before if you agree not to get involved in rights protection.

If Yang Zaixin gives up his endeavor and his struggle against the Chinese regime, he can regain his position and continue to work as a lawyer in China. He said, “If I gave up now, I would know for sure that people around would look down on me…”

Attorney Yang also pointed out, “I would rather lose my job, but I must hold on to the last. Otherwise, the evil will become more powerful.” However, with tears filling his eyes, Attorney Yang told the reporter, “My heart is bleeding. I know that I should not ask anyone for help, but I'm really very lonely. I do not know how long I can hold on under such kind of pressure…”

Note: [1] “Two sessions” is used as shorthand for the annual National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) sessions. The two sessions are usually held in March.