BEIJING, June 15 / Christian Newswire/ -- The Chinese government has launched a major crackdown against human rights attorneys, canceling or refusing to renew the licenses of at least 21 attorneys who have challenged the Communist government's abuse of Chinese citizens. Many of the attorneys have been working closely with ChinaAid's legal defense efforts for religious freedom cases.
"These human rights lawyers should be rewarded for their brave active efforts in promoting rule of law and advancing citizens' civil and human rights according to both the international standard and China's own Constitution, " said Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid. "Ironically, the rights of the rights attorneys are now in jeopardy."
Three leading lawyers have called ChinaAid expressing their concern and requesting ChinaAid to solicit the help of the international community. This is an unusual request from human rights attorneys who, in the past, have tried to walk a fine line within the framework of Chinese law. One lawyer told ChinaAid, 'The Chinese government already broke the bottom line by forcing our lawyers to fight to survive to earn a living."
ChinaAid has received reports of human rights attorneys who have been recently kidnapped, beaten, and tortured by officials for practicing normal legal defense work.
Gao Zhisheng is a Christian human rights attorney who was last seen on February 4, being hauled away by Chinese officials. To date, the Chinese government has continually refused to release information regarding Gao's whereabouts or condition. Gao, himself, accurately predicted that every human rights lawyer in China would eventually become a human rights case.
ChinaAid notes that at the same time international pressure is being applied, particularly from the U.S. government, regarding Gao's kidnapping, and the Chinese government has replied with an official denial of knowledge about his situation, behind the scenes, the government has responded with a crackdown on those attorneys following in Gao's steps, who have been interacting with the U.S.
Bob Fu stated, "The crackdown against the human rights attorneys simply shows how much progress in the Chinese government human rights record has been made, since the bloody massacre in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago. We call upon the Chinese authorities to restore the licenses of these 21 attorneys."
Contact the Chinese embassy and urge that they immediately restore the licenses of the attorneys, and end their harassment and abuse:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Contact your members of Congress and ask that they appeal to the Chinese government on behalf of the 21 attorneys. Visit www.house.gov/ and www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
View the names of the 21 attorneys whose licenses have been suspended by the government.