Wife of detained Chinese rights lawyer appeals as bid to sue government-appointed representatives rejected
Wang Qiaoling, whose husband Li Heping was detained along with about 300 other human rights activists and lawyers in crackdown by Beijing, vows to continue fight
The wife of detained Chinese rights lawyer Li Heping has appealed against a Tianjin court’s decision on Monday to reject her application to sue the government-appointed lawyers representing her husband.
Wang Qiaoling said she had issued an appeal immediately after the ruling was made.
“The court accepted my appeal request to review the court’s decision rejecting my initial application to sue government appointed lawyers,” she told the South China Morning Post.
Wang, who wants to sue two Tianjin-based lawyers Wen Zhisheng and Guo Ming, appointed by the government to represent her husband, said: “What’s next could involve waiting around and other procedural matters, but we might still end up with nothing. We just have to wait and see.”
Li was detained along with about 300 other human rights activists and lawyers as part of a massive government crackdown – launched from last July to September across the country to tighten its grip on civil society – commonly known as the “709 crackdown” after the date of the first arrests on July 9.
Although most of those detained have since been released, the 709 crackdown drew international criticism of violations over legal and justice procedures, including denying detainees access to defence lawyers appointed by family members for more than a year.
However, the authorities had refused to provide the families with any information, such as the names of the lawyers, until August this year, Wang said.
This led the duo to file lawsuits against the government appointed lawyers. They argued that it was a violation of legal procedure for the authorities to have denied their husbands access to defence lawyers hired by family members and also for the government to have appointed the men lawyers without the consent of family members.
Yuan’s case had been rejected by a court in August.
The two wives are not alone in having concerns about the representation of their detained husbands.
Li Wenzu, who is married to another detained lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, was told earlier this year that her husband had indicated he did not require any legal representation, but Li said she doubted the decision.
Professor Chen Guiqiu, who is married to detained lawyer Xie Yang, is in the process of blocking a lawyer in Changsha, who is obtaining approval from the authorities to represent her husband in court without her consent.
In August a court in Tianjin wrapped up the first series of hearings involving 709 detainees by handing out a three-year suspended sentence to Christian activist Gou Hongguo.
Earlier, the court jailed Zhou Shifeng, the director of a Beijing law firm, for seven years after he was convicted of subversion. Hu Shigen, the head of an underground church, was given a 7 1/2-year jail term, and activist Zhai Yanmin received a three-year jail sentence, suspended for four years.