Document - China: Three human rights lawyers detained in China


UA: 47/11 Index: ASA 17/009/2011 China Date: 28 February 2011



Human rights lawyers Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian and Teng Biao have been detained in Beijing. Their whereabouts are unknown as are the legal grounds on which the authorities are holding them. The three men are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

The three lawyers had met in a restaurant on 16 February to talk about the case of a prisoner of conscience who is under illegal house arrest. That evening, the police detained Tang Jitian at his home in Haidian district in Beijing. They also searched his home. The police have refused to tell his family where they are holding him.

The Haidian district police called Jiang Tianyong for a meeting on 16 February. A few hours later his friends received an SMS from him saying that the police had beaten him. During the questioning police shoved him against a wall, banging his head and causing him to feel dizzy. He was released at around 9pm but the police detained him again on 19 February at his brother’s house. His brother and their mother, who is in her seventies, tried to prevent the police dragging Jiang Tianyong away, and were beaten by the police. The police returned at midnight and confiscated a computer. Local police told them they had no record of Jiang Tianyong and that they would file him as a missing person. The police also searched Jiang Tianyong’s home.

Teng Biao was also detained on 19 February in Beijing, although the circumstances are unclear. His friends believe the police picked him up from the street. The police have been monitoring Teng Biao since 2008.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Mandarin or your own language:

  • urging the authorities to immediately clarify the current status and whereabouts of Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian and Teng Biao;

  • urging the authorities to release them if they are not to be charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence;

  • urging the authorities to ensure that as long as any of them remain in detention, they have access to family, legal representation of their choosing, and any medical care they may require.


Director of the Beijing Public Security Bureau

Fu Zhenghua Juzhang

Beijingshi Gong'anju

9 Dongdajie, Qianmen


Beijingshi 100740

People's Republic of China

Fax: +86 10 65242927

Salutation: Dear Director

Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China

WU Aiying Buzhang


10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie


Beijingshi 100020

People's Republic of China

Fax: +86 10 65292345


Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China

MENG Jianzhu Buzhang


14 Dongchang’anjie


Beijingshi 100741

People's Republic of China

Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.



ADditional Information

Among the more than 200,000 lawyers in China, only a small proportion is willing to take the risk of representing victims of human rights violations. These lawyers constitute an important part of the weiquan (‘rights defense’) movement, which is using Chinese law to protect rights of individuals.

Like other human rights defenders in China, these individual weiquan lawyers have been harassed, assaulted, kept under surveillance and prosecuted for protecting the rights of others.

The Chinese authorities have also imposed arbitrary administrative sanctions such as fines on law firms that employ weiquan lawyers. They also assert political pressure on such law firms through control over the professional licenses of the firm and or the individual lawyers.

Jiang Tianyong had his professional licence to practice law revoked by the Justice Bureau of Beijing Municipality in July 2009. He has however, continued to provide legal aid to victims of human rights abuse.

On April 2010, the Justice Bureau of Beijing Municipality revoked Tang Jitian’s professional licence permanently. According to a notice posted on the Bureau website, he and Liu Wei, whose licence was also permanently revoked, had withdrawn from a courtroom without due cause, “disobeyed court personnel…disrupted court proceedings and interfered with the regular litigation process” during a trial in April 2009 at which they defended Falun Gong practitioners. The two lawyers assert that the judge’s interference with their defence, at the instigation of another government official in the courtroom, gave them no alternative but to leave the court. In 2009, the police detained Tang Jitian briefly and told him to “be cooperative in the future; don’t be too idealistic”.

Teng Biao is a lecturer at the Chinese University of Politics and Law in Beijing. He has been detained briefly at least once before in 2008. In 2008, Teng Biao who has taken up death penalty cases and cases involving alleged torture was the only lawyer in Beijing who did not get his license renewed under the annual assessment. He continues to work on human rights cases and defended fellow lawyers Tang Jitian and Liu Wei in an administrative hearing over the loss of their professional licences.

The three lawyers had met on 16 February to talk about the case of Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught legal advisor and a prisoner of conscience who was released from prison in September 2010. Since the, he has been kept under illegal house arrest with his family, denied access to independent medical assessment and care despite serious medical concerns, and prevented from leaving their house to buy food. A home video showing how Chen Guangcheng, his wife and young daughter are kept under illegal house arrest was released on 10 February and the couple was subsequently beaten.

UA: 47/11 Index: ASA 17/009/2011 Issue Date: 28 February 2011

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