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Violent Assaults on Rights Defense Lawyers Must Stop

March 7, 2008

According to Human Rights in China (HRIC) sources, Beijing-based rights defense lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪) was abducted on the night of March 6, 2008, and remains missing. HRIC sources state that on the night of his abduction, Teng Biao contacted his family around 8:25 pm, saying that he would soon be home. Between 8:45 pm and 9:00 pm, someone cried for help outside the family home, but upon investigation, only Teng’s car was found. Neighbors reported seeing Teng being abducted into an unmarked black car. There is no current information on Teng’s whereabouts.

"At a minimum, lawyers must be able to function independently without fear for their own or their family’s safety." said HRIC Executive Direction Sharon Hom. With rights defense lawyers such as Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) and Yang Maodong (杨茂东) (also known as Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄)) in detention, their numbers are being systematically decimated, which has a chilling effect on other lawyers and undermines the rule of law. The ongoing assault, intimidation, harassment, and politicized prosecution of rights defenders raise serious questions about the implementation of protective provisions in the amended Lawyers Law of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国律师法) (effective June 2008).

Teng Biao is a lecturer on law at the Chinese University of Politics and Law and a practicing lawyer. In September 2007 he and Hu Jia issued an online article “The Real Situation in Pre-Olympics China,” calling on the international community to develop a dialogue and pressure the Chinese government on its human rights situation before the Olympics. Hu was detained in December 2007 and is under investigation for "inciting subversion of state power." Teng is currently serving as defense to several controversial cases. He gave his defense argument on March 5, 2008, for Yu Jianli (于建利), charged with libel and slandering local officials.

Reports have also come out that Li Heping (李和平), also a Beijing rights defense lawyer, was attacked on the morning of March 7, 2008, while driving his seven-year-old son to school. An unmarked car crashed into him, destroying the trunk of his car. Li reported that he saw three people in the unmarked car, and that he believes they are from the group trailing him since January 2008. Li’s back was hurt in the crash, and it is unknown whether his son sustained any injuries.

Li Heping is a Beijing-based lawyer and a Christian. He has advised and represented a number of political dissidents, religious practitioners, and rights defenders, including fellow human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟). In January 2008, Li and his associate were barred by the court from represented human rights advocate Qiao Yanbing (乔延兵), a representative for ex-military service cadres. In fall 2007, Li was abducted, hooded, beaten, and tortured with an electric baton by a group of unidentified men. In Li’s public statement, he said that the men repeatedly threatened during his beatings that he and his family should leave Beijing or "face the consequences."

For more information on attacks on lawyers in China, see:

For more information on Li Heping, see:

For the translated version of the article Teng Biao and Hu Jia wrote, see:

For more information on HRIC's Take Action Olympics Campaign on the Rule of Law see:

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