Rights lawyer beaten by thugs with steel bar

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 April, 2009, 12:00am

A high-profile Shanghai lawyer who has campaigned for rights protection and government transparency was attacked by a group of thugs on Tuesday, leaving him with a shoulder fracture and multiple injuries.

Yan Yiming, 46, was attacked by three men, one wielding a steel bar, at his office in Xujiahui district at 1pm. As well as a broken right shoulder blade, he had bruises on his back, arms and hands.

Mr Yan said in his blog on Wednesday that the three men, who had northeastern accents, had asked to meet him for a legal consultation the day before. When they arrived, one took a 30cm steel bar from a bag as Mr Yan turned to a blackboard.

Shanghai police are looking for the assailants.

Mr Yan, back home from hospital, said he had been unable to talk for three days because of the pain, and he would return to hospital next week for a follow-up. He said it would take at least one month to recover.

He said the assault could be related to shareholding disputes he had handled, as he had received several threats this year. 'They have threatened me verbally, but I did not react [to their warning]. So then they took action,' he said.

The assault did not change his resolve to uphold protection of human rights.

'Actually, I could have expected several occurrences related to such cases, as I have been engaged in [rights protection] work for more than 10 years,' he said. 'But I'm always upbeat about my life. I think such sacrifices will be worthwhile as long as it can help to establish and maintain social equity and justice. And I will continue my efforts.'

Mr Yan rose to prominence through protecting the rights of small shareholders. He has now switched his focus to environmental protection and government transparency.

This year, he filed a petition to the central government, calling for disclosure of details on the country's expenditure for last year, the budget this year and the 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.5 trillion) stimulus package. His first call was rejected, but he repeated his call.