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Crackdown on Chinese Lawyers Fighting for Human Rights

ICC Note:

China appears to be cracking down on Chinese lawyers who are fighting for human rights in the country. Though not explicity mentioned below, many of the human rights lawyers in China are active in defending the rights of the persecuted underground church.

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11/4/08 China (AsiaNews) A new clampdown by China against lawyers who defend human rights. Human Rights Watch China (HRWC) claims that Guo Feixiong, in prison, has not been allowed to see his lawyer, Hu Xiao, who traveled more than 1,500 kilometers in order to appeal his sentence.

In 2005, Guo (in the photo), as a lawyer, helped the inhabitants of the village of Taishi (Guangdong) to expel the corrupt village chief. In September of 2006, he was arrested for “illegal commercial activities,” and in November of 2007 he was sentenced to five years in prison. Now he is contesting his arrest and sentencing, saying that his confession was exacted under torture. HRWC claims that he was: interrogated for 13 days straight without being allowed to sleep; hung from the ceiling by his arms and legs; subjected to electric shocks applied to his genitals; tied to his bed for 42 days; and repeatedly beaten in prison.

In September, another lawyer, Tang Jitian, who also signed the appeal, left the professional association where he worked due to severe pressure from his superiors, “in order to save his future.” On September 24, he presented a citation against the Beijing lawyers’ association, claiming that this conduct violates the principles of Chinese law and international agreements. But the court has not yet agreed to hear his case.

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