Taiwanese legal associations and human rights groups yesterday accused the Chinese Supreme People’s Procuratorate of turning a blind eye to abuses against human rights lawyers.
“It’s not just that China does not meet international standards — it does not even measure up to its own standards in its criminal code,” Taiwanese Lawyers Network for the Support of Chinese Human Rights deputy convener John Wei (魏千峰) said in Taipei.
The Chinese Supreme People’s Procuratorate earlier this week rejected a petition by several relatives of lawyers, which called for it to file charges against the security services and prosecutors over legal breaches in their handling of the lawyers’ cases.
Many Chinese lawyers have been arrested since July last year as part of an official crackdown on the “rights protection” movement.
“According to the criminal code, you are supposed to allow the relatives hire a lawyer when someone is arrested, but what has actually happened is that no one knows where the lawyers are, or the family’s lawyer is not permitted to speak with them, or the government requires that they be represented by a government-appointed attorney,” Wei said.
Family members have also been put under surveillance or house arrest in violation of the criminal code, he said.
Activists showed a video in which the wives of arrested lawyers Li Heping (李和平), Xie Yanyi (謝燕益) and Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) said they had been forced to move house and threatened that their children would not be allowed to attend school.
“Only a government which has no faith in itself would resort to these kinds of methods,” said Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), who chairs the legislature’s human rights caucus, accusing the Chinese government of putting pressure on family members to compensate for the weakness of its criminal charges.
Taipei Bar Association human rights committee chairman Wang Lung-kuan (王龍寬) said the Chinese government this month announced amendments to the regulations governing legal firms, requiring them to curb the activities of any “rights protection” lawyers they employ.
“They have now moved beyond the courtroom to seek total control over what lawyers can do, banning them from supporting protests or signing petitions,” Wang said.
Wei said that China is unique in revoking the licenses of lawyers who become the subject of official displeasure.
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