Last updated: April 28, 2014
The unlawful detention of a group of lawyers and citizens in Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang Province, in late March and early April 2014 highlights the critical role that lawyers and citizens play in the implementation of legal reform and the challenges they face.
Since the highly-touted abolition of the Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) system officially went into effect in late December 2013, lawyers in different parts of the country have been monitoring its implementation out of widespread concern that the notorious extrajudicial detention system may in fact continue in other forms. Created in the 1950s to punish “rightists” and “minor-counterrevolutionaries,” RTL came to be used to punish offenders of minor crimes such as drug abuse and prostitution, as well as petitioners, rights defenders, and Falun Gong practitioners. An RTL decision—made by a local Reeducation-Through-Labor Management Committee (劳动教养管理委员会)—enabled the police to keep an individual in detention for up to three years without trial, with a possibility of a one-year extension.
In late March, a group of lawyers and citizens came to Jiansanjiang to look into a “legal education base,” which they believed to be a detention facility—or a black jail—holding relatives of these citizens. The police took the four lawyers into custody on the morning of March 21 as they were preparing to file a complaint at the Jiansanjiang People’s Procuratorate about the unlawful detention.
HRIC has compiled the following information on the developments in Jiansanjiang, based on sources on the ground and online posts by involved individuals and witnesses.
Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian, and Wang Cheng were all released on April 6. All suffered various degrees of injuries (details below).
Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民), Jiang Jianjun (姜建军), Zhang Rongping (张荣平), Sun Dongsheng (孙东生), Li Baolin (李宝霖), Chen Jinxin (陈进新), Yuan Xianchen (袁显臣), Li Fawang (李发旺) , Liang Yan (梁艳) , Zhao Yuan (赵远), Zhang Shiqing (张世清), Liu Xing (刘星), Li Dawei (李大伟), Zhang Yan (张炎), Chi Jinchun (迟进春).
Most of these individuals are at the Hongxinglong Detention Center (红兴隆拘留所). Chi Jinchun is in Harbin; Zhang Yan and Li Fawang (李发旺) are in Jiamusi; and Liang Yan is at Baoquanling, Suibin Farm Detention Center (宝泉岭绥滨农场拘留所).
Forced Entry into Hotel Rooms, Questioning
Threats and Harassment
Denying Lawyer-Client Meeting
Accusation by State Media
See rebuttal by lawyer Liu Sixin (刘四新), who has a doctorate in law from Beida.
Showing Support in Jiansanjiang
More are expected to come to. In addition, at least 26 other right defenders are known to have come to Jiansanjiang.
Rebuttal to Accusation by State Media
Proposal for Online Performance Art Protest
Statements, Open letters, and Signature Campaigns
Joint Statement by the Four Lawyers Detained in Jiansanjiang Following Their Release, by Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie. (April 13, 2013)
“Joint Appeal to the Standing Committees of the National People’s Congress and of the Heilongjiang Provincial People's Congress to abolish the General Bureau of Farm Reclamation of Heilongjiang,” issued by Liu Weiguo, Teng Biao, and five other lawyers. (March 30, 2014)
Administrative Complaint Submitted to Heilongjiang Provincial High People's Court against Qixing Sub-branch of the Jiansanjiang Farm Reclamation Public Security Bureau, filed by Zheng Lei. (April 4, 2014)
Request for Bar Association Assistance
Human rights lawyer Liu Weiguo (刘卫国) circulated online 20 templates of Open Government Information requests seeking disclosure of information concerning the detention of the four lawyers and the authorities’ refusal to allow them to meet their lawyers. Liu asks citizens to fill out the applications, mail them out, and widely disseminate the templates in order to support frontline actions in Jiansanjiang to free the lawyers and hold perpetrators accountable. (March 31, 2014)
Select Media Coverage
北京四律师的联合声明抗议建三江农垦公安局对他们的治安拘留处罚 (Four lawyers issued joint statement protesting their illegal detention in Jiansanjiang), Radio Free Asia, April 13, 2014
See more at HRIC's Daily News Brief.
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