Friday, January 15

China Acts to Punish Lawyers Who Aided Hong Kong Activists | Hong Kong


Chinese authorities have threatened to end the careers of two lawyers who assisted 12 activists who tried to flee from Hong Kong to Taiwan last AugustYou10 of whom were sentenced to prison by a Chinese court last week.

Ren QuantumYouwho also represented Wuhan citizen journalist Zhang ZhanYouand Lu Siwei received notices from local justice departments on Monday that the authorities intended to revoke their licenses and had three days to organize a defense hearing.

Accusing each of violating the regulationsYouthe authorities cited Ren’s handling of a 2018 case involving Falun Gong practitionersYouand said that Lu had made “inappropriate comments on the Internet In The lawyers believe they are under attack for their recent work.

In a statementYou Ren said his office was raided Monday by more than a dozen masked people claiming to be from the Henan Justice Department. He dismissed the accusations as “blatant fraud” and professional persecutionYouand demanded that the authorities withdraw their action and apologize.

LuYouwhose social media accounts have been blockedYouaccused officials of abusing their power and said he would organize a hearing. He urged officials to build a better relationship with the lawyers or else “they would certainly be throwing a stone on their own two feet In

The Hong Kong defendants’ familiesYousignaling the opportune momentYousaid the disciplinary action against Ren and Lu was “obviously revenge” and designed to intimidate others.

” Due to their daring to go against the powers that be and persistence in defending the rights of ‘the 12’Youthe authorities have resorted to ending their professional career and cutting off their livelihoods,” they said in a declaration.

“ The Chinese authorities are using the case of Lu and Ren as an example to threaten other human rights lawyersYouso that no one else dares to participate in politically sensitive cases. This removes the last obstacle that prevented the Chinese authorities from pursuing dissidents at willYouusing the law as an excuse. “

The high-profile convictions of Zheng and the Hong Kongers drew international condemnation and highlighted China’s notoriously opaque legal systemYouwhich routinely has conviction rates of around 99% and is frequently used against dissidents and human rights lawyers.

Zhang was arrested for “sparking fights and causing trouble” for her reports from Wuhan city during its 76-dalock downwn last year. She was restrained and force-fed during her detention after she went on a hunger strike and maintained her innocenceYouher lawyer had said. She was sentenced to four years in jail.

The 10 Hong Kongers were part of a group of 12 who were detained by the Guangdong Coast Guard in August as they tried to flee to Taiwan by boat. They were held incommunicado at a Shenzhen detention center and denied access to lawyers hired by their familiesYouincluding Ren and Lu.

Last weekYoutwo minors in the group were returned to Hong Kong custody and the other 10 were sentenced to prison terms of between seven months and three years.

The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group called for an immediate revocation of the planned revocation.

” In the process of promoting the rule of lawYouhuman rights lawyers speak for the grassroots of societyYouand the cases they represent are in line with moral and legal principlesYoubut they are often the target of retaliation by from official departmentsYou”he said. .

The Chinese authorities have a history of attacking human rights lawyersYouincluding the massive raid and interrogation of some 250 in 2015Yousome of whom remain in detention or were re-arrested. Last monthYoua court refused to hear an appeal against the four-year sentence of a lawyerYouYWelshingngYouwho had publicly called for constitutional reformsYouincluding multiple-candidate elections.

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www.theguardian.com

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