Christian Times: Chinese human rights lawyer suffers from severe trauma after 18 months in detention



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Christian Times
Jardine Malado
20 January, 2017

■ A Christian human rights lawyer in China is now suffering from severe psychological and physical trauma after being detained for 18 months.

Li Chunfu became a well-known a human rights lawyer when he represented 200 miners in Hebei in their demand for safety at work, Asia News reported. He was taken into custody on Aug. 1, 2015 and was placed under house arrest for six months. He was later charged with "inciting subversion of state power" and jailed in January 2016. Li was finally granted bail on Jan. 5 this year and was formally released on Jan. 12.
Lisu Church in Fugong, Yunnan Province, China.
(Wikimedia Commons/Gerard Willemsen)

Just days after his release, his lawyer friends took him to a hospital in Beijing for a medical check-up.

Li has shown signs of deep psychological and physical trauma. His sister-in-law, Wang Qiaoling, said that he was able to recognize his relatives, but he was having difficulties forming coherent sentences.

The lawyer has become fearful and paranoid, according to Human Rights Watch. He was too afraid to enter his home when he first arrived, but he is now fearful of leaving. When he saw his wife using the phone, he gripped her tight around the neck and growled: "Who are you calling?! You want to harm me!"

Li is one of over 300 human rights lawyers and advocates that were arrested by the authorities across China in July 2015. Most have been released, but four remain detained, and two have been imprisoned. Those who were released on bail were forced into silence.

According to China Aid, Li told his wife upon his release that he was subjected to medical examinations almost daily while he was held in an unofficial "black jail."

China Aid's president and founder, Bob Fu, condemned the Chinese regime's treatment of Li and other human rights lawyers.

"This is a barbaric act against humanity that is in absolute violation of international standards that prevent arbitrary detention and torture and protect of human rights defenders," he said.

China Change, an organization devoted to civil rights cases in China, expressed fears that many of Li's colleagues might also be subjected to torture and violence. The group has called on the international community to launch an investigation into cases of extreme abuse.


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