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19 Lawyers Write Anti-Torture Open Letter in Response to Hooding of Fan Yafeng & Gao Zhisheng

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(Beijing—Jan. 18, 2010) Nineteen Beijing lawyers have written an open letter opposing the use of torture in response to recent reports of police torture inflicted on Christian human rights lawyers Fan Yafeng and Gao Zhisheng. The text of the letter, which was obtained by ChinaAid, reads:
According to recent reports, the well-known Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was subjected to cruel torture and abuse during his disappearance, the first of which lasted 14 months, after which he has disappeared again for more than eight months. Reports have also trickled forth about the former Chinese Academy of Social Sciences research associate Fan Yafeng, who on Dec. 9, 2010 was taken away to a secret location by police who first put a black hood over his head. He was then tortured for several straight days.
 This has caused us to recall the threatening words of some police officers: “You’ve landed in my hands now, and whether you live or die is not up to you,” “Don’t waste your breath on him, beat him to death, dig a hole, bury him and be done with it.” According to reports, police stripped Gao Zhisheng bare and took turns beating him with a pistol in a holster. On the worst occasion, the beatings lasted two days and two nights. When the police got tired, they used plastic bags to tie up his arms and legs and threw him to the ground. When they had rested, they continued the beating. Gao had previously been kidnapped by secret police who gave him electric shocks, stuck toothpicks into his genitals and inflicted other torture on him. The police told Gao Zhisheng, “You must forget you are human. You’re a beast.”
 We have learned that in addition to the routine torture that occurs in detention centers, re-education-through-labor facilities, and other detention facilities, the cases of torture of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are many: Li Hong, Guo Feixiong, Chen Guangcheng, Yan Zhengxue, Huang Qi, Liao Yiwu, Yu Dongyue, Lu Decheng, Yu Zhijian, He Depu, Yang Chunlin, Yuan Xianchen, Yao Fuxin, Xie Fulin, Ni Yulan and others all were tortured. What we need to be particularly alert to is the fact that in situations outside of the criminal prosecution process, there’s been an increasing trend of torturing political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, human and civil rights defenders and government petitioners. Li Heping, Teng Biao, Ai Weiwei, Chen Yunfei, Hua Ze, Li Fangping, Liu Shasha, Liu Dejun, Zhang Kai, Le Chunfu, Dong Qianyong, Liu Shihui, Zhou Li and others have all had the experience of being kidnapped or beaten by police or other government-appointed personnel.
Our government in 1988 ratified The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Our national laws also prohibit forced confessions; petitioning the government, defending civil and human rights, holding dissenting political views or having a religious faith has never been an excuse or a pretext for torture. Torture is a crime against humanity, a violation of human dignity at the most basic level; committing torture in the name of the government falls below the lowest level of civilized political activity.
For this reason, we express our indignation over and condemnation of any acts of torture, and at the same time proclaim that respecting and guaranteeing human rights starts with strictly prohibiting acts of torture. China will be a responsible country only when it strictly upholds the Chinese constitution and China’s laws and abides by the international human rights treaties to which it has already acceded. Only by guaranteeing that citizens are free from the terror of torture can a fair, just, democratic modern society governed by the rule of law truly be established.
李苏滨 滕 彪 江天勇 倪玉兰
唐吉田 温海波 刘 巍 童朝平
李和平 邬宏威 张成茂 黎雄兵
金光鸿 王全章 李方平 张 凯
彭 剑 梁小军 王雅军

Li Subin  Teng Biao  Jiang Tianyong  Ni Yulan
Tang Jitian  Wen Haibo  Liu Wei  Tong Zhaoping
Li Heping  Wu Hongwei  Zhang Chengmao  Li Xiongbing
Jin Guanghong  Wang Quanzhang Li Fangping Zhang Kai
Peng Jian Liang Xiaojun Wang Yajun

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