28 March 2014

Zhang Junjie's Account, Part Three

Part One Part Two

As I went downstairs to the first-floor interrogation room, it was nearly 2:30 a.m. I saw documents on the table with the names Jiang Tianyong and Tang Jitian on them and inferred that the three other lawyers had already signed statements. After making several changes to the statement that they had prepared—and enduring threats and recrimination—I finally signed my name. It was 5 a.m. exactly.

At around 9 a.m., we were hooded and each taken into a vehicle. After a bumpy ride, when I realized our destination was a hospital it was clear to me that we were going to be detained. After receiving medical checks—hooded—at two hospitals, we were separated and placed in different vehicles. In my vehicle, besides the driver, there were the two men who had beaten me. On the way, they received a telephone call. The other party asked how long each of us were detained for. They said since I had documentation and this was my first time, I’d be detained for five days, which led me to conclude that the other three would be in for longer. But the first real proof that Tang and Jiang had been detained for 15 days came only after we saw the detention documentation.

Since the paperwork was not yet finished when we arrived at the detention center just before 10:30, we were forced to sit there until 2 p.m. before we could be taken into the cell. In the meantime, I demanded my lawyer license several times (my bag and ID card had already been returned to me), to no avail.

It’s worth noting that, on the detention notice they had me sign, they had written “gambling” in the space for the illegal activity and the document number read “Shanghai PSB No. **” (Later, they had me sign another.) You can see what a rush they’d been in. I don’t know whether the other lawyers noticed this.

Speaking objectively, I at least was not beaten after entering the detention center. But I was taken for questioning nearly every day, and they kept asking questions about things that were already in the statement. Maybe it was because I kept asking for my lawyer license, but, one after another, people kept threatening me with suspension of my license and criminal detention. Because they kept asking me who the plotters and organizers were, I had a strong sense of foreboding. I insisted that I had been asked whether I would take on a case of illegal detention and that I came voluntarily. I’m an adult and a lawyer. Those are the facts!!

On the evening of the 26th, Jiansanjiang Domestic Security Police Unit Captain Liu Changhe came with Yu Wenbo to the detention center. They asked me: “How do you plan to go from here? Do you need a police escort?” I told them clearly that I didn’t. Later, I learned that my assistant had been requested to submit an application asking for police escort. Since I’d always been stern and he was wise to them, he politely refused saying that he did not dare make such a request without my approval.

But at 3:50 a.m., I was awoken and, after completing the release formalities and itemizing my possessions (at this moment, my lawyer license miraculously reappeared inside my locked suitcase), I was told to get in a waiting SUV with civilian license plates. The idea was that we’d pick up my assistant along the way and go directly to Jiamusi. But I insisted on first going to the hotel to shower and change my clothes.

After showering, we changed vehicles and were met by a local lawyer surnamed Wang who it was said had volunteered to escort me. Altogether, the six of us proceeded to Jiamusi airport. At the airport, I requested a souvenir photo with Captain Liu Changhe and ate a meal with the special-unit police officers there to take care of me. Then, they escorted me through the security check and onto the plane.

On the way, I had a stern discussion with Yu Wenbo about the violent beating. He perfunctorily expressed regret (but did not apologize) and left. Captain Liu gave a more positive response and made an apology.

Finally, thanks to colleagues and citizen friends for their support and for watching over us. The weibo from Zhang Lei, one of the hunger-striking lawyers on the front lines, can serve as a fitting conclusion to what I want to say. That is the post entitled “The Importance of Lawyers Rescuing Each Other.” For the actual details, please follow @青石律师 on Weibo, he’ll tell you all: You are not alone!! (tears)(tears)

Because of my physical injuries and the fact that I’ve been furious for the past few days, there might be some lapses in my memory. Please allow me to fill in the details later.

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