Tuesday, November 24, 2015

‘I’m a petitioner – open fire!’ Chaohua Wang on justice in China

''One night in July, Wang Yu, a lawyer in her mid-forties, returned to her home in Beijing after seeing her husband and teenage son off at the airport, unaware that they had both been detained by police before boarding their flight to Australia. Around 3 a.m. she sent a text message to friends: ‘Electricity and wifi were cut off suddenly. Someone is working on my door lock. I can hear murmured whispers outside, though it’s so dark I can’t see anything through the peephole.’ Neighbours later reported seeing dozens of police, who told them they were arresting a drug addict. Nothing has been heard of Wang since the text message. Her whereabouts are not known.
More than a hundred lawyers across the country signed an open letter demanding an official explanation. In response, police raided the offices of Fengrui, the law firm where Wang worked, arrested its founder and director, Zhou Shifeng, and rounded up its associates across the country. The official media hailed it as a successful crackdown by the Public Security Ministry on a ‘major criminal gang’ that had been undermining the social order since 2012. By 22 July, more than three hundred lawyers and civil rights activists had been detained or were being questioned. Those who signed the letter defending Zhou were barred from Beijing..''

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