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Fears grow after Chinese human rights lawyer Tang Jitian detained

Posted by Author on February 18, 2011

Friends of a human rights lawyer detained by police after seeking to help another legal activist say they are gravely concerned.

Tang Jitian was seized by police in Beijing on Wednesday following a lunch with other lawyers to discuss how they could support Chen Guangcheng, a grassroots advocate released from prison last year but currently living under house arrest.

Other activists said police had prevented them from attending the meeting.
“We are very worried about [Tang] and are afraid that the nature of the matter has become complicated,” said Teng Biao, a human rights lawyer who was at the lunch.

He said the police had detained several of those who attended, but all bar Tang had been released. “The police got him from his home. They smashed the lock, broke his door and took him away,” he said.

“Originally he was taken to Guangwai public security bureau, but when we called, the bureau said Tang Jitian had already been transferred to the city public security bureau. When we called the city, they said they didn’t know anything about the matter. His family have not had any notice from the police yet.”

Human rights groups have warned of increasing pressure on lawyers who take on sensitive cases or speak about such issues in recent years. Tang is one of several lawyers refused a new licence to practise. But pressure appears to have increased because of renewed attention given to Chen’s case.

The US-based Human Rights in China organisation (HRIC) said Jiang Tianyong, another Beijing lawyer, told it he was assaulted by police after attending the lunch. He said one officer held him by the neck and threw him against a wall, shouting: “You just wait.”

He told HRIC: “This barbaric behaviour isn’t just happening in remote places like Dongshigu village [in Linyi, Shandong province – the home town of Chen Guangcheng], but in Beijing, the nation’s capital and supposedly the best-governed area. Here the police are acting like bandits, and there is simply no guarantee of personal safety whatsoever for citizens.”

Calls to Beijing’s public security bureau on Friday rang unanswered.

Earlier this week the US expressed concern for Chen, urging China “to immediately restore the personal liberties, including freedom of movement, of Chen and his family”.

Chen, one of the country’s best-known legal activists, fell foul of the authorities after helping women who had suffered forced abortions and sterilisations. He was released from prison last year, but he and his wife have not been allowed to leave their home.

Last week they were reportedly beaten after secretly filming a video detailing their ordeal, which was smuggled out of their village and posted online by a human rights group.

“I was in a small prison and now I am in a larger prison,” Chen said in the video.

Several journalists have been threatened while trying to visit him, with thugs throwing rocks at a CNN crew.

The Guardian

One Response to “Fears grow after Chinese human rights lawyer Tang Jitian detained”

  1. David Taylor said

    Very good article, bug you should giive credit to China Aid which smuggled the Chen video out and posted it online.

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