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1/18/11 China (ChinaAid) – Nineteen Beijing lawyers have written an open letter opposing the use

of torture in response to recent reports of police torture inflicted on Christian human

rights lawyers Fan Yafeng and Gao Zhisheng. The text of the letter, which was obtained by

ChinaAid, reads:

According to recent reports, the well-known Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was

subjected to cruel torture and abuse during his disappearance, the first of which lasted 14

months, after which he has disappeared again for more than eight months. Reports have also

trickled forth about the former Chinese Academy of Social Sciences research associate Fan

Yafeng, who on Dec. 9, 2010 was taken away to a secret location by police who first put a

black hood over his head. He was then tortured for several straight days.

 This has caused us to recall the threatening words of some police officers: “You’ve landed

in my hands now, and whether you live or die is not up to you,” “Don’t waste your breath on

him, beat him to death, dig a hole, bury him and be done with it.” According to reports,

police stripped Gao Zhisheng bare and took turns beating him with a pistol in a holster. On

the worst occasion, the beatings lasted two days and two nights. When the police got tired,

they used plastic bags to tie up his arms and legs and threw him to the ground. When they had

rested, they continued the beating. Gao had previously been kidnapped by secret police who

gave him electric shocks, stuck toothpicks into his genitals and inflicted other torture on

him. The police told Gao Zhisheng, “You must forget you are human. You’re a beast.”

 We have learned that in addition to the routine torture that occurs in detention centers,

re-education-through-labor facilities, and other detention facilities, the cases of torture

of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are many: Li Hong, Guo Feixiong, Chen

Guangcheng, Yan Zhengxue, Huang Qi, Liao Yiwu, Yu Dongyue, Lu Decheng, Yu Zhijian, He Depu,

Yang Chunlin, Yuan Xianchen, Yao Fuxin, Xie Fulin, Ni Yulan and others all were tortured.

What we need to be particularly alert to is the fact that in situations outside of the

criminal prosecution process, there’s been an increasing trend of torturing political

prisoners, prisoners of conscience, human and civil rights defenders and government

petitioners. Li Heping, Teng Biao, Ai Weiwei, Chen Yunfei, Hua Ze, Li Fangping, Liu Shasha,

Liu Dejun, Zhang Kai, Le Chunfu, Dong Qianyong, Liu Shihui, Zhou Li and others have all had

the experience of being kidnapped or beaten by police or other government-appointed

personnel.

Our government in 1988 ratified The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other

Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Our national laws also prohibit forced

confessions; petitioning the government, defending civil and human rights, holding dissenting

political views or having a religious faith has never been an excuse or a pretext for

torture. Torture is a crime against humanity, a violation of human dignity at the most basic

level; committing torture in the name of the government falls below the lowest level of

civilized political activity.

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