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Home arrow Urgent Appeals arrow Chinese Attorney Exposes Human Rights Abuses in Shanghai Prison
Chinese Attorney Exposes Human Rights Abuses in Shanghai Prison  
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Guo Guoting

Around 9 a.m. on February 23, 2005, more than 10 men from the Shanghai Law Bureau went to the office of Mr. Guo Guoting, an attorney of Tian-Yee Law Group, Shanghai City. They confiscated Mr. Guo's attorney's certificate and personal computer. Mr. Guo is one of a few attorneys who dare to help Falun Gong practitioners like Qu Yanlai, Chen Guanghui, Lei Jiangtao, Huang Xiong and other's who have different opinions from the Chinese government. Mr. Guo tried four times to visit practitioner Qu Yanlai who had been on a hunger strike for 780 days while in Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison, but he was refused. In early February 2005, he published the following article on the Internet to expose what happened to Falun Gong practitioners in prison. Mr. Guo also sent an application letter for practitioner Chen Guanghui to be released for medical treatment. Chen was tortured into a coma, in which he has remained since July 2004 in Suzhou Prison, Jiangsu Province.

Following is the letter Mr. Guo wrote detailing his efforts to defend Falun Gong practitioner Qu Yanlai. After that is an article written upon the confiscation of Mr. Guo's attorney's certificate detailed above.


Falun Gong practitioner Qu Yanlai is currently imprisoned near Shanghai. As his attorney, I have not been given permission to meet with him despite my repeated requests. Through the process of his detention, he has been physically abused and mentally tortured.

Qu graduated from the Energy Engineering Department of Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2000. He was the winner of the National Chemistry Olympics special award and received first place in the Mathematics Olympics competition. On July 20, 1999, despite the persecution initiated by the Chinese government, he began practicing Falun Gong,

which is based on the principle of truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance; to exercise self-discipline and to be a moral and dignified person. He donated blood for schoolmates, and gave all of his savings of more than 4,000 Yuan (US $482), accumulated through reducing his daily spending, as well as his clothing and bedding, to needy schoolmates.

He always exercised compassion, thinking of and helping others; teachers and schoolmates regarded him as excellent both in studies and in conduct. However, this outstanding student from a reputable school was secretly arrested, sentenced, and deprived of nearly all of his human rights purely because of his beliefs. Therefore, he began a hunger strike, refusing both food and water, using the most precious gift of human life as the price of fighting for freedom of belief, and of guarding personal dignity and basic human rights.

At midnight on Sept. 30, 2002, Qu was abducted by the Shanghai police. He was officially detained on Oct. 2 and formally arrested on Nov. 2. A Putuo District Court hearing was held on June 2, 2003, and on the same day, the Court pronounced the No. 324 (2003) criminal sentence: Qu was found guilty of "using a cult organization to damage the execution of the law" and was sentenced to five years imprisonment.


Qu Yanlai

From the time he was abducted to the time of sentencing, his relatives received no notification. When they discovered he was missing, they searched everywhere for him and spent about 100,000 Yuan (US $12,062) to no avail. Finally, on July 2, 2003, they received the court verdict in the mail from Shanghai.

His mother wrote in her appeal: "We learned that Qu Yanlai was illegally sentenced to five years in prison. No one notified us of his whereabouts. In order to see my beloved son again, I came to Shanghai in the intense summer heat in August 2003, and called the court asking for my son's whereabouts. One judge said: 'You dare to call me? I will monitor you, I will arrest you. He already went back to his home.' If it had not happened directly to me, I really would not believe this. A judge casually talking about monitoring, arresting- who gave her this authority! I eventually went to the court to inquire, and this judge said, very annoyed: 'He is in the Putuo district jail. Do not come to ask me again!' I then went to the Putuo district jail, where a police officer said: 'He is in Qingpu jail.' I took a taxi to the Qingpu jail and waited for a couple of hours, but around noon, the gate guard said: 'There is no such person.' Do these judges and police officers have to be coldhearted, ruthless and apathetic to this extent?

"I called the Putuo district jail again, and was told that he was indeed in Qingpu jail! I immediately felt as if thunder was exploding around my ears! Where was my son after all? Why is it that the court and the district jail people all concealed his whereabouts? Being a mother, my heart felt that it was being pierced by a knife. A son was wrongfully arrested and unjustly sentenced, and I, as a mother, was deprived of even the right to know his whereabouts? Finally we learned from the chief justice that he was in the Tilanqiao Prison. I rushed to the Tilanqiao Prison. It was only then, after a year's effort and through repeated hazards that the mother and son got to meet and cry on each other's shoulders. Even the policemen present were all in tears."

Under the totalitarian authority, propaganda put out by the mouthpiece media's television, radio, newspapers and magazines recklessly continue to prop up the slander of Falun Gong. It has persisted over a long period, and has successfully fooled many people by creating inexplicable hatred toward Falun Gong, thus leading to a distorted public mindset and the loss of human nature.

To protest his unfair sentence, to maintain his freedom of belief and to guard his dignity and basic human rights, Qu Yanlai carried on a 780-day hunger protest- the longest and most impressive recorded in human history! During that time, he suffered many merciless beatings, as well as barbaric forced feedings causing four serious gastric hemorrhages; he was sent to the hospital for four months and declared critically ill several times. His parents traveled long distances from northern Daqing to Shanghai Tilanqiao Prison to persuade their son to resume eating. Because he could not stand to see his parents suffering, he agreed to start eating initially, but because the prison firmly forbade him to practice Falun Gong in the prison, the strong-willed Qu, a staunch believer in truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance, continued fasting to protest for his proper legal rights, until his mother told him a genuine attorney was to defend him. Only then did he stop this protest, obviously placing a huge expectation on me, his defense attorney!

The Law states that an attorney has the right to meet with the litigant in custody, and the prison must arrange a meeting with the attorney within 48 hours. However, 103,680 hours had passed, and despite four applications to meet, the prison still illegally and blatantly rejects our meeting! Regardless of whether practicing truthfulness, benevolence, forbearance and telling the truth is a basis for guilt or not, Falun Gong practitioners, being citizens, should enjoy the very minimum rights of equality. Yet what crime did Qu commit in believing in truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance? Even the right to meet an attorney was illegally denied him over a long period of time!

This was written during the 2005 Chinese New Year's Eve. Qu's mother, living in a far northern country, has conscientiously called me twice in this three-month period merely to inquire after my safety. What kind of caring and forgiving this is! I, being the defense attorney mentioned, having disappointed the litigant and being unable to withstand such heavy expectations, have no alternative but to expose what is really occurring in China's most advanced internationalized metropolis of Shanghai. The authorities do not respect the law; and the consequences for destroying the law are most severe. What kind of stability is there in such a "do as one wishes" law enforcement society? With such scorn for human rights, how can the grand Shanghai be called an "international metropolis?"

Shanghai Tian-yee Law Group

Attorney Guo Guoting


The Following is an article from the South China Morning Post written upon the confiscation of Mr. Guo's attorney's certificate:

Lawyer May Lose Licence over Web Postings

By Bill Savadove in Shanghai, 2 March 2005
(c) 2005 South China Morning Post Publishers Limited, Hong Kong. All rights reserved.

Shanghai authorities are threatening to revoke the licence of a lawyer who has defended a number of activists in high-profile cases after he posted essays critical of the mainland's legal system on overseas websites.

The Shanghai Bureau of Justice will hold a disciplinary hearing on Friday to determine how to punish Guo Guoting after accusing him of "defiling and slandering" the Communist Party and state government, according to Mr. Guo and documents about the case.

Mr. Guo said the possible penalties ranged from a ban from practicing law for one year to disbarment. The Shanghai Bureau of Justice could not be reached for comment.

The lawyer is best known for defending another activist lawyer, Zheng Enchong, who advised residents involved in hundreds of property disputes with the city before he was jailed in 2003.

Mr. Guo said his defence of Zheng, a recent article alleging abuse in prison of a member of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and his efforts to appeal against the 12-year jail sentence handed to dissident Huang Jinqiu, had angered authorities.

Zheng is now serving three years in jail for revealing state secrets after he contacted an overseas rights group about labour and property disputes in Shanghai.

At the time of his arrest, he was advising residents suing a city district, alleging that government officials had colluded with property tycoon Chau Ching-ngai to transfer land.

Chau was sentenced to three years in jail for financial crimes, but the land deals were never raised in court. There have been persistent rumours that the property developer has already been released on parole, but the city government has denied this.

Huang, a former journalist, was sentenced by a court in Jiangsu province in September for posting articles on the internet.

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