China’s New U.N. Plan Won’t Delude Its Human Rights Lawyers
On April 13, in Chengdu, China, AsianNews reported, “A brutal attack in broad daylight.” Attorney Cheng Hai was beaten bloody by public officials because he defended a Falun Gong adherent. The report says that “he was surrounded by 4 to 5 people who violently beat him, continuing to kick him even when he was on the ground.”
Mr. Cheng called the police, but when they arrived, the attackers said they were public officials from a district general management office that acts as a “guarantee of social order.” Police left the scene without taking a report of the beating.
On the same day that Mr. Cheng was beaten by public officials, China released “The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010).” The document is an attempt to respond to criticism by the world human rights community and to show that China's communist leaders are now serious about taking action to improve human and civil rights.
What does China’s plan for human rights improvement entail? It says: “In the period 2009 to 2010, China will continue to strengthen work to improve democracy and the rule of law … strengthening the protection of civil rights in the execution of administrative laws and in judicial practices, and raising the level of ensuring people's civil and political rights … China will improve its preventative and relief measures to protect citizens' personal rights in every process of law enforcement and judicial work.”
Chinese rulers would have hard time convincing Mr. Cheng that they are sincere with these words. What happened to Mr. Cheng’s civil rights? Mr. Cheng and some of his colleagues at the Yitong law firm in Beijing were dismissed a few months ago for defending human rights and asking for the direct election of the heads of the Beijing Lawyers Association. They are currently appointed by the Communist Party, according to AsianNews.
Beating up attorneys and jailing them is not unusual police conduct in China. The AsianNews report notes that there has been an increase in intimidation and violence against the brave lawyers who defend human rights.
According to Guo Guoting, a human rights lawyer now residing in Canada, there are at least 12 human rights lawyers persecuted by the Chinese regime. These lawyers want to see a China ruled by law and so willingly defend Falun Gong practitioners, the most persecuted group in China. The lawyers association, All China Lawyers Association, never supports them.
Guo told The Epoch Times in an October 2007 interview, “One thing is very simple: In China, even human rights lawyers have no human rights, how can ordinary people have so–called human rights?”
The plan says nothing about ending the monopoly of one-party rule in China. Instead, it muddles the concept of human and civil rights by speaking of subsistence rights and economic rights in a socialist state run by the Chinese Communist Party. It doesn’t discuss the fundamental freedoms that the civilized world cherishes—freedom of speech, freedom to practice one’s religion, freedom from arbitrary arrest, independent courts, equal justice under the law, and so on.
On September 29, 2007, Beijing attorney Li Heping was taken away with his head covered by men, who drove an hour to a location where he was verbally abused, threatened, and beaten for about six hours with electric batons by about 10 interrogators, one of whom said he was from Beijing State Security Bureau (police). His computer hard disk was reformatted and he lost valuable data. As a Christian, Mr. Li hopes for a better China.
According to China Aid, Mr. Li wrote: “I long for the rule of law and the peaceful progress of the society. I told them at the site of beating that I wouldn’t hate them. I wish the light of rule of law would shine on China and all my Chinese compatriots, including those who
One of the most famous human rights lawyers in China is Gao Zhisheng, also a Christian. Mr. Gao was taken away by more than a dozen police on Feb. 4, and has been “missing” since. The Chinese regime has received numerous inquiries, such as from the Canadian government, but continued to refuse to give any report on Mr. Gao.
Mr. Gao’s “crime” seems to be that he wrote three public letters addressed to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, between December 2004 and December 2005, in which he revealed his investigations into the torture of Falun Gong practitioners. For the first time the brutal persecution of Falun Gong was told by someone other than a practitioner.
In September 2007, Gao wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress, describing the illegal behavior of the CCP. He describes the beatings and torture of fellow lawyers Guo Feixiong and Chen Guangcheng as well as savage torture of Falun Gong practitioners.
“Among both male and female Falun Gong practitioners I have been in contact with, the majority of them were tortured and humiliated through the assaulting or shocking of their reproductive organs with electric batons.”
Then Mr. Gao was subjected in November 2007 to the same torture for 50 days that is used on Falun Gong practitioners.
Police violence is not unheard of in democracies but it is relatively rare, often sanctioned, and not used with impunity on those who upload the law, and certainly not on attorneys like Mr. Cheng, Mr. Li, and Mr. Gao.
“So all they are doing is just to fool the people in the world, fool other countries. In my opinion, as long as the CCP survives, it will be absolutely impossible for China to go to democracy or rule of law, never,” said Mr. Guo in 2007.
These words of Mr. Guo could just as well apply to China’s “new” plan for human rights.