Lawyers Emerge from Detention with Tales of Torture
Those arrested during the regime’s recent crackdown say what happened in
Human rights lawyers and activists who
were rounded up months ago, when security forces were in the grips of paranoia
about a Chinese Jasmine Revolution, are now slowly being released from their
extralegal detentions. And they have harrowing tales to tell.
those people is Tang Jitian, a lawyer who
topped off his career as a legal gadfly with an attempt to defend Falun Gong practitioners in
April of 2010, with colleague Liu Wei. In May of that
year he got a phone call informing him that he would never practice law in China
But that was only the beginning of the Chinese state’s
reprisals. Already identified as a troublemaker, he was among the up to 100
rights defenders and civil rightslawyers sequestered in the massive crackdown
that began in February of this year.
“[Tang] … was tortured most
seriously among the lawyers who have
dedicated themselves to defending the rights of minorities in China,” a woman who
identified herself as “Ada" posted to her blog in the early morning of Aug.
10. She also noted that Tang can no longer earn an income as a lawyer.
Someone familiar with Tang’s situation, who
spoke to New Tang Dynasty TV on condition of anonymity, said that the man did
indeed suffer torture. This person said, “In February, they [domestic security
officers] burned him with high-voltage electrical bulbs for many days, and then
used very cold air to freeze him until he suffered from pneumonia and
The source added, “His weight dropped from about 198
pounds to less than 135.”
Li Tiantian, also a lawyer who was detained and
is familiar with the treatment of many of her colleagues, told NTD that Tang
Jitian was stripped naked and tied to a chair, while chilled air was blown on
him; she said that law professor Teng Biao, also one of those targeted, was
handcuffed around the clock.
She also said she had seen Jiang Tianyong,
another lawyer who had apparently been brutalized. “He told me that he was
seated in a chair in one posture all day long, and was not allowed to move. It
was indeed cruel torture.”
She continued about her own treatment: “The way they treated me was
that I was confined to a space without windows or sunlight for three months, and
I was not allowed to leave there at all. My feeling was that I was on the brink
of a nervous breakdown.”
Li said that because she refused to keep silent,
the authorities in Shanghai directly pressured her boyfriend’s
She said, “The leadership of the company was harassed by the
domestic security officers in Shanghai, and my boyfriend was asked to monitor me
carefully, so that I would not express opinions online nor accept
Many of the individuals recently released are unwilling to
discuss their treatment directly with the media for fear of further
After being detained by public security officers in
Guangzhou for over five months, human rights lawyer Tang Jingling was released
last week. He told Radio Free Asia that during the detention he was
prohibited from sleeping for 10 days.
Tang Jingling was abducted on Feb.
22, three days after the launch of the “China Jasmine Revolution Action,” the
name given to the sweeping dragnet of arrests.
He told RFA: “Starting
from March 20, I was under surveillance for about 10 days by two policemen who
rotated shifts. At first, they said that they wanted to interrogate me, but they
ended up sitting there without allowing me to sleep. They changed shifts every
eight hours, but I was not allowed to rest.”He remarked wryly: “Maybe it was the doctor’s orders. They said I shouldn’t
sleep too much, only two or three hours a night … they said if you sleep too
much at once, you might get a heart problem.”
He said he ended up with shaking hands and didn’t recover until April.
After Tang was arrested his wife, Wang Yanfang, was informed by public
security officers that her husband had been involved in the crime of “inciting
subversion of state power,” a nebulous charge frequently used againstlawyers and
others who overstep the line.
On Aug. 2 police dismissed the case and
lifted the house arrest.
According to the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human
Rights Defenders, before the lifting of the house arrest, the police had asked
Tang Jingling not to contact friends, nor accept interviews. Tang said that he
would not promise what he could not fulfill.
Yao Lifa, an activist who has taken an interest in the election of
“independent candidates” to local Party Congresses, was also targeted. He was
forcefully placed in a “study class” in a building in early July, and jumped
from the window to escape security forces. He dislocated a disc in his lower
back in the leap, and was left hobbling. He was later captured by security
forces in Beijing, according to RFA.
Since the round-ups began in February over one
hundred political dissidents and human
right activists have been imprisoned or detained, including some who were
released recently, such as Teng Biao, Jiang Tianyong, Ai Weiwei, and
More individuals still face prosecution, including Chen Wei from
Sichuan province, Zhu Yufu from Zhejiang province, Wang Lihong, Ni Yulan, Dong
Jiqin, and others from Beijing.