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21 Human Rights Attorneys Experience Government Crackdown

ICC Note:

Three Chinese human rights attorneys of the 21 whose licenses were canceled or refused renewal have contacted ChinaAid requesting their aid to solicit help from the international community.

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6/15/09 China (ChinaAid) The Chinese government has launched a major crackdown against human rights attorneys, canceling or refusing to renew the licenses of at least 21 attorneys who have challenged the Communist government’s abuse of Chinese citizens. Many of the attorneys have been working closely with ChinaAid’s legal defense efforts for religious freedom cases.

Three leading lawyers have called ChinaAid expressing their concern and requesting ChinaAid to solicit the help of the international community. This is an unusual request from human rights attorneys who, in the past, have tried to walk a fine line within the framework of Chinese law. One lawyer told ChinaAid, ‘The Chinese government already broke the bottom line by forcing our lawyers to fight to survive to earn a living.”

ChinaAid has received reports of human rights attorneys who have been recently kidnapped, beaten, and tortured by officials for practicing normal legal defense work.

ChinaAid notes that at the same time international pressure is being applied, particularly from the U.S. government, regarding Gao’s kidnapping, and the Chinese government has replied with an official denial of knowledge about his situation, behind the scenes, the government has responded with a crackdown on those attorneys following in Gao’s steps.

Contact the Chinese embassy and urge that they immediately restore the licenses of the attorneys, and end their harassment and abuse:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760

Contact your members of Congress and ask that they appeal to the Chinese government on behalf of the 21 attorneys. Visit http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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