25 March 2014

Formal Complaint Filed Regarding Detention of Four Rights Lawyers

(in rough translation)

Complaint

To: Agricultural Reclamation Branch of the Heilongjiang People’s Procuratorate
CC: Heilongjiang People’s Procuratorate
Complainant: Li Guobei, female, age 38, Han ethnicity, lawyer with Beijing Liang Gao Law Firm, resides in Beijing [address redacted], telephone [redacted]

Persons Accused:
  1. Person(s) responsible for legal education bases in the Heilongjiang General Administration for Agricultural Reclamation (GAAR)
  2. Head of Jiansanjiang Agricultural Reclamation District Public Security Bureau (hereafter, "Jiansanjiang PSB")
  3. Person(s) responsible for Qixing Branch Bureau of the Jiansanjaing PSB
Subject of complaint: Establishment of unauthorized detention facilities, restricting citizens’ personal freedom in violation of the law, retaliation against rights-defense lawyers

Facts and Legal Rationale:

On 22 March 2014, the Jiansanjiang PSB gave lawyers Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie each 15-day administrative detention penalties for “using cult activities to harm society.” We consider this to be extremely ridiculous and are preparing to file administrative litigation on this matter. At the same time, we believe that the Jiansanjiang GAAR has set up unauthorized detention facilities outside the provisions of the law and is arbitrarily depriving citizens of their personal freedom. This is illegal detention through and through and constitutes a criminal offense.

First of all, restriction of citizens’ personal liberty can only be carried out through law.

Article 8 of the Legislation Law of the PRC states: “Only national law may be enacted in respect of matters relating to: . . . (5) the deprivation of the political rights of a citizen, or compulsory measures and penalties involving restriction of personal freedom.” In accordance with this requirement of the Legislation Law, on 28 December 2013 the National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed and announced a "Resolution on the Repeal of Regulations Related to Reeducation through Labor." Pursuant to this resolution, which took effect immediately, all provinces and municipalities throughout the country abolished re-education through labor and closed re-education-through-labor camps and other related facilities. From that point, the only places of detention where citizens who have violated the law or committed criminal offenses may be held are administrative jails, detention centers, or prisons that have been established in accordance with the law. Other than these, any detention facility used for restriction of personal freedom without explicit legal authorization and that exceeds the legally allowed time limit for a summons by administrative or criminal-investigation units is an illegal facility tantamount to a “black jail.”

Abolition of re-education through labor is a major step forward in Chinese legal history. However, the Jiansanjiang PSB is acting contrary to the law and, at the time when re-education through labor is being eliminated all over, using legal education bases to create a new kind of “re-education through labor facility.” They illegally lock up citizens—forcibly restricting their personal freedom for days, weeks, or even longer—and do not provide family members with any paperwork regarding the detention.

On 21 March 2014, lawyers Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie were formally entrusted by relatives of individuals who have been illegally detained and made a solemn protest with the person responsible for the legal education bases in the GAAR and demanded the release of all citizens who have been detained there illegally. The responsible person refused to respond, but had a vehicle follow the four lawyers as they returned to their hotel. Early the next morning, the Jiansanjiang PSB took the four lawyers into custody and gave them each 15-day administrative detention penalties for using cult activities to harm society. The complainant believes that this is an illegal act that seriously violates both their personal rights as citizens and their professional rights as lawyers. It is an unauthorized use of public power and an act of retaliation by the two organs.

Secondly, protecting the lawful rights and interests of clients, ensuring the proper implementation of the law, and safeguarding fairness and justice in society are sacred responsibilities of lawyers granted them by the Lawyers Law.

According to Article 28 of the Lawyers Law of the PRC, lawyers may engage in the following types of business: . . . (2) to accept authorization by a party in a civil or administrative case to act as counsel and participate in the proceedings; (3) to accept engagement by a criminal suspect in a criminal case to provide him with legal advice and represent him in filing a petition or charge or obtaining a guarantor pending trial; to accept authorization by a criminal suspect or defendant or accept appointment by a People's Court to act for the defense; and to accept authorization by a private prosecutor in a case of private prosecution or by the victim or his close relatives in a case of public prosecution to act as counsel and participate in the proceedings; (4) to represent clients in filing petitions in all types of litigation . . . .

Lawyers Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie were entrusted by relatives of illegally detained persons to represent them in interceding with the legal education bases of the Heilongjiang GAAR. This is the proper exercise of their professional responsibilities. The responsible persons for the legal education bases of the Heilongjiang GAAR ought to provide an explanation for locking up citizens, but this responsible person instead refuses to receive them!

As a citizen who both understands and abides by the law, the complainant requests that the people’s procuratorate carry out an investigation of the illegal detentions carried out by the Jiansanjiang PSB; order them to lift the illegal detentions against lawyers Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie; and supervise the relevant units in revoking the authority of the legal education bases of the Heilongjiang GAAR to illegally detain citizens in order to thoroughly protect citizens’ fundamental human rights.
Li Guobei 李国蓓

Sincerely,
Li Guobei, complainant
25 March 2014

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