When two lawyers, Cheng Hai from Beijing and Tang Tianhao from Chongqing, went to the Dalian Detention Center on Aug. 15 to meet with their clients, Falun Gong practitioners that the local authorities are attempting to prosecute on dubious legal grounds, police said that they were not allowed to see them. They also gave Cheng Hai a thrashing.
The officers told Cheng that Zhongshan District Court had issued an order forbidding the visit, then said that their captain gave them the order. When Cheng argued with the police, they rushed him and put his neck in a chokehold, then twisted his wrist and snatched away his cell phone and threw the two lawyers out, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a rights network.
Cheng and Tang tried to take the incident to the head of the detention center, but staff told them that the head was not at the facility. They called the complaint hotline for the Dalian Public Security Bureau, but received no response.
Cheng said this is the fourth time that he has been beaten for attempting to represent clients in the same Falun Gong case. “Mr Cheng said he had been assaulted by police in the past, but that the current situation ‘is definitely getting worse,’” reported the Telegraph.
Cheng has filed over 200 complaints with the Dalian and Supreme Procuratorates, the Public Security Bureau, Dalian courts, and other governmental departments, but none of them have responded, he says.
Cheng posted on his Weibo account, a social media service similar to Twitter, that he is one of seven lawyers who are forbidden to visit their clients on orders from higher authorities. He has demanded that the rights of lawyers to lawyer-client meetings be protected, and said that the Dalian Detention Center and police should be punished for their behavior.
Their clients are 13 Falun Gong practitioners, who were detained in Dalian last year for helping residents install satellite dishes enabling them to watch New Tang Dynasty Television, a U.S.-based Chinese language broadcaster that reports on human rights abuses in China.
Translation by Rebecca Chen and Frank Fang.