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Wang Yonghang:Why Arrest the Defender?【Photo】

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(Clearwisdom.net)Editor''''s note: In March 2008, Dafa practitioners Gu Li and Qiu Shuping from Dengshahe Township, Jinzhou District, Dalian City were illegally arrested when they were talking to people in public about the persecution of Falun Dafa. Yan Shoulin, a practitioner from Dengshahe Township, Jinzhou District, Dalian City stood up to defend Gu Li at a local court trial on August 27, 2008. Wang Yonghang, a lawyer from Dalian City, defended Qiu Shuping. In the afternoon of December 2, 2008, Yan Shoulin was arrested and his whereabouts is unknown. Lawyer Wang Yonghang wrote the following letter regarding Yan''''s arrest.

Why Arrest the Defender?

In August, I participated in the trial of Gu Li and Qiu Shuping who were charged with "disrupting law and regulation implementation." I wrote an article afterwards called "It is My Honor to Defend the Innocence of Falun Gong Practitioners" (http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2008/9/16/100689.html). I mentioned a kind person while defending Gu Li at the court, and this person''''s name is Yan Shoulin, who has good intellectual temperament and is a little shy.

The afternoon of December 2, 2008, Yan Shoulin was arrested, along with his wife Yang Chunmei and her brother Yang Bin, at the Yilin Photo Shop, a store run by Yan Shoulin. Witnesses said that plain-clothes policemen took away the family, and blood was on Yan Shoulin''''s face when he was carried out into the police car.

It is said that the arrest of Yan Shoulin is related to his defense of Gu Li in court. If this is true, is it against the law to defend the innocent? And why was not only the defender arrested, but also his family members?

It is beyond my imagination what kind of guilt Yan Shoulin, who was careful and polite in the court, could have committed. And he could not have hurt anybody after the trial, either. When I heard that Gu Li and Qiu Shuping were both given heavy sentences, I talked to Yan Shoulin on the phone: No matter how ridiculous the sentence was, the court wouldn''''t be so ridiculous not to issue a written judgment to the defenders, as required by law. He had this bitter laugh and said: They simply wouldn''''t give us one, and there was nothing we could do. How could he hurt anyone when he wouldn''''t even fight for his own rights as a defender? (The fact is, I was wrong about "the court wouldn''''t be so ridiculous not to issue a written judgment to the defenders." I tried to argue with the court to have a written judgment, but was denied. I wasn''''t even allowed to see it.)

Why? Is it because our defenses embarrassed some people in the government? What is the purpose of arresting Yan Shoulin? Would suppressing the defender stop the wave of righteous lawyers supporting and defending Falun Gong believers across the country? Would this be able to force people to disagree with righteous lawyers and defenders? Would this be able to cover the abuse of "disrupting law and regulation implementation" charge brought against innocent people in the past nine years?

Last month, the United Nations Committee against Torture conducted an investigation into China''''s implementation of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. On November 21, the Committee let out the results of its observation in Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 19 of the Convention: Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, China (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/docs/CAT.C.CHN.CO.4.pdf), in which Point 15 describes "harassments of lawyers and human rights defenders":

(C) Harassment of defense lawyers

The State party should abolish any legal provisions which undermine the independence of lawyers, and should investigate all attacks against lawyers and petitioners, with a view to prosecution as appropriate.

The State party should take immediate action to investigate acts of intimidation and other ways of impeding the independent work of lawyers.

(D) Harassment and violence against human rights defenders and petitioners. The State party should take all necessary steps to ensure that all persons, including those monitoring human rights, are protected from any intimidation or violence as a result of their activities and exercise of human rights guarantees, and to ensure the prompt, impartial and effective investigation of such acts.

The State party should abolish the use of unofficial personnel to harass human rights defenders, including lawyers and petitioners.

However, China''''s answer to the requirement of the Committee against Torture was to beat and illegally arrest Yan Shoulin, a human rights defender.

We are concerned about his safety due to his being a Falun Gong practitioner, and the reason is well known. The Reports also states (Point 18):

(C) Allegations concerning Falun Gong Practitioners

... The Committee is further concerned with information received that Falun Gong practitioners have been extensively subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prisons, and that some of them have been used for organ transplants (arts. 12 and 16).

The State party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been subjected to torture and have been used for organ transplants, and should take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and punished.

I am not dreaming that quoting the United Nation''''s report would bring any immediate help to Yan Shoulin''''s current situation. Indeed, a nation that doesn''''t respect its own constitution is not going to pay attention to this kind of "suggestion" without reinforcement. However, we should see such a fact that the report''''s suggestions and questions have provided us with a yardstick to evaluate the current policies and social system, to assess the morality levels of people in power, and to judge if power abusers should be punished.

The report is based on the universal values of humanity and conscience. Even without reinforcement, its power should be above state''''s authorities'''' orders and regulations. The chief judge of the case of Berlin Wall Guards in 1991 explained his judgment to the accused: There is conscience besides the laws in this world. When conflicts between laws and conscience arise, conscience should be the higher standard for actions, rather than laws. It''''s a universal principle to respect lives. You should have known before you became a guard for the Berlin Wall that Eastern Germany''''s laws cannot override conscience, the highest principle.

Based on my knowledge and experience of China''''s current legal system, I will not appeal to the authorities or government any more on Yan Shoulin''''s arrest because it''''s useless, and the legal system is not able to uphold justice. But I want to warn those involved in Yan Shoulin''''s arrest, including those giving orders, those arranging the arrest, and those who carry out the orders: people will remember your good deeds, as well as your bad ones. History will be recorded for and passed down to many generations including your names, and your behaviors will be judged by our descendants. You''''d better think over how to treat Yan Shoulin and his family members.

I would like to finish my article with the last two paragraphs in my open letter to the Supreme People''''s Court and the Supreme People''''s Procuratorate in July this year:

The police, procurator, and legal system, as the state''''s violence machine, has played an infamous role in the "battle" of persecuting Falun Gong. Now in the time of the end of the persecution, various levels of legal departments and people in power should re-evaluate and re-consider their role in this political movement, and how much damage they have brought to this group of spiritual believers. Around the 80''''s of the last century, Chinese intellectuals were worried that China might repeat the mistake of the Great Cultural Revolution because the Chinese society lacked analysis and confession in depth on the Cultural Revolution which was such a heavy and painful lesson for the nation. Looking at this political movement against Falun Gong believers cross the nation in the past nine years, do we recognize something similar and familiar? Some people said that anarchy and the paralysis of the police, procurator, and legal system caused the chaos of the Cultural Revolution; but now, it is the police, procurator, and legal system that have been creating unjust cases systematically in the name of legal society. What do we think of this?

All legal departments at different levels including the two supreme ones, and all legal workers, should consider taking the initiative with withdrawals from the party and this persecution, no matter how you got involved in the beginning. You couldn''''t decide the start of the persecution, neither can you change the fact that it is going to end soon, but at least you can decide your own attitude toward this political movement, and what to do and not do in the process of its ending.


Chinese version available at
http://minghui.ca/mh/articles/2008/12/8/191287.html


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