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Chinese Lawyers Attacked by More Than 50 Unidentified Men in Southern China for Investigating Local Case

Posted by Author on August 6, 2011

(Epochtimes) Three defense lawyers, who were working to defend other lawyers involved in a high-profile homicide case, were subject to a violent attack in Beihai City by a mob of more than 50 unidentified men on July 18.

The lawyers and their supporters say it is a clear case of intimidation, and another demonstration that Chinese lawyers are not afforded enough protections, particularly in cases that are politicized by the Communist Party.

News of the attack quickly spread across Chinese blogs and websites, provoking indignation and more indictments of the country’s rule of law.
The incident has its origins in a complex homicide defense case from 2009, in which four attorneys, Luo Sifang, Liang Wucheng, Yang Zhonghan, and Yang Zaixin, of Nanning City in Guangxi Province, were defense counsels for four men accused of beating to death a man named Huang Huanhai in Beihai City, Guangxi Province last year.

While investigating the case the lawyers uncovered serious misconduct by police—including torture in custody in order to extract confessions—and the mishandling of evidence. After bringing this to the attention of judicial authorities, the four of them were then themselves made targets. They were arrested on charges of “suborning perjury” (inciting clients or witnesses to lie in court), a clause that is often misused by police to intimidate defense counsel.

Chinese media said at the time that the arrest of an entire criminal defense team in a single case was unprecedented in Chinese judicial history.

Now these four lawyers—dubbed online as the “Beihai Lawyer Team”—have their own legal team consisting of 20 lawyers from around China. It is several of these men who were attacked recently.

Chen Guangwu, one of these lawyers, posted on his website: “Around 6:40 p.m., about 50 plus unidentified local people came directly into our room 5001 at Liyuan Hotel, a three-star hotel with strict security and monitoring equipment. Three lawyers were present: Cheng Guangwu, Yang Mingkua, and Xu Tianming. Attorney Li Jinxing was in a room across the hall. The group of people started cursing loudly after they entered the room. When Mr. Chen started filming the incident with his camcorder, he was attacked by more than 10 people with wooden sticks and fists.”

Chen, who is about 60 years old, had his camcorder taken from him. After the assault his neck, chest, and arms were covered in bruises.

That was the first assault, but another was to come in a few hours’ time.

Chen wrote about it on his website: “While we were having dinner around 9 p.m., another group of more than 10 unidentified people came to our table and told us not to defend the Beihai case, and specifically targeted Lawyer Li Jinxing. They ordered us to leave Beihai. They surrounded and beat up Lawyer Li, who was thrown to the ground head first. He immediately started having convulsions; his face turned white and he began foaming at the mouth, then he lapsed into unconsciousness.”

Just 40 minutes before the men were beset upon, one of them, Wu Lei, wrote with his smartphone on his 163 blog, “If I die because of them, please help take care of my wife, child, and mother, thanks to all my colleagues in China!”

During the attack Wu Lei was also beaten to the ground, began convulsing, and was taken to the hospital.

When they learnt of the incident Beijing attorneys Zhang Kai and Wang Xing rushed to Beihai. As the news quickly spread on the Internet, the assaults were condemned by other lawyers and the public.

Beijing attorney Li Jinglin said authorities disregard violence towards lawyers. “When lawyers are attacked, police do not provide protection or care about their safety, and some lawyers have been beaten up,” he told The Epoch Times.

“This is obviously being directed by certain people, who want to pressure the legal team into losing this defense case for the plaintiffs.”

Chen Youxi, a well-known lawyer, wrote on his website: “This is a deliberately premeditated incident with the purpose of scaring off defense lawyers. Because of the ineffectiveness of local police, attackers broke into their hotel and beat up lawyers Chen and Wu. We express our strongest protests against this disgraceful conduct. We deeply regret the policing of the local Beihai government. But we, the lawyers, will not be intimidated by any means.”

One blogger, calling himself “Law student at Huazhong University of Science and Technology,” commented on Chen’s website: “If even the law cannot be respected, this country will be destroyed. The current system in this country is truly incurable.”

The Epochtimes

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