Two Prominent Human Rights Lawyers Prevented From Leaving China by LawCrossing

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Two Prominent Human Rights Lawyers Prevented From Leaving China
By Rebecca Neely


According to the November 10th article at washingtonpost.com, earlier this week police prevented two prominent human rights
lawyers from leaving China. The action was the latest in a series against activists and dissidents, which serve only to emphasize the
contradiction between the country’s professed commitment to the rule of law and the legal gray area in which its security sometimes
operates.




                             11/12/10                                  rules, in a manner that might be considered reminiscent of
                                                                       Gestapo. The security apparatus detains people it considers
                               Mo Shaoping, one of the lawyers         ‘’troublemakers,’’ restricting them to their homes, or, in the
                               who was not permitted to board          worst cases, causing them to disappear for weeks or months
                               a flight to attend an International     into ‘’black jails,’’ as secret detention centers are known.
Bar Association conference in London, was quoted as saying:
‘’This kind of restriction of the freedom of person has                Under Chinese law, people suspected of a crime can be held
absolutely no legal basis.” When asked why, the police could           for a maximum of 37 days, during which time the public
produce no written notice, the lawyers were told only that             prosecutor must issue a warrant. But the reality is frequently
the two might ‘’threaten national security’’ if allowed to travel      quite different.
abroad.
                                                                       One lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, has been missing since April. He
In recent weeks, since jailed pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo        had just been released from police custody, and it is believed
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a handful of lawyers                he was picked up again by police. Another lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang,
and dissidents, along with Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, have been              said he was detained in a hotel room for three days, just after
subjected to a form of house arrest, prohibited from leaving           the Nobel Prize was announced on Oct. 8. Ding Zilin, whose
their apartments or meeting with journalists. According to the         son died in the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square and who
article, some, like the two lawyers, have been prevented from          has become an activist for relatives of Tiananmen victims, has
traveling, as the government fears Liu Xiaobo’s supporters             disappeared along with her husband and is thought to be in a
might try to attend the Dec. 10 Nobel ceremony in Oslo.                black jail.


According to China’s constitution, people can be arrested              Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an e-mail,
only on orders of a public prosecutor or court, and arrests            when asked about the house arrests and the stipulations in
must be made public. ‘’Unlawful detention or deprivation or            the constitution guaranteeing personal freedom: ‘’I do not
restriction of citizens’ freedom by other means is prohibited,’’       know the individuals you mention. The Chinese Constitution
the constitution states.                                               and laws protect the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens.
                                                                       Meanwhile, Chinese citizens should abide by the constitution
However, while officials publicly uphold the rule of law, the          and laws.’’
police and security forces continue to act under their own




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