A note on Chen Guangcheng’s defense counsel statement – David Cowhig
Thanks to China analyst David Cowhig for this translation and commentary on documents pertaining to the recent trial of reproductive rights activist Chen Guangcheng. For more details on Chen’s trial, see a detailed statement from Chinese Human Rights Defenders.
David Cowhig writes:
Defense lawyers for Shandong family planning rights activist Chen Guangcheng, accused of incitement to riot, presented a 53 page written statement to the court. The first part of the statement gives an overview of the background to the case, detailing illegal acts by the local government and Party of Yinan City, Shandong Province, the kidnapping from Beijing of Chen by toughs hired by Shandong local government officials, Chen’s illegal detention and beating of Chen Guangcheng, and harassment and death threats against his legal counsel. The first two pages of the statement are translated below.
Much of this long document (I got it as a 56 page long Microsoft Word document) compares testimony on whether Chen blocked traffic or instigated or led a riot that damaged several official vehicles. Chen’s lawyers argue that Chen Guangcheng did not commit the acts he is accused of, present testimony to that effect, and state that the testimony against Chen was obtained under torture.
The defense argument is that Chen did not commit the acts he is accused of.
On p. 36 of the defense statement there is the passage:
“The prosecution’s two charges against Chen Guangcheng are not tenable.
1. The crime of intentional damage to property.The prosecution alleges Chen Guangcheng of instigation and sedition in along with others deliberately smashing glass and damaging a government vehicle.But in fact, the vehicles were damaged and glass was smashed by angry villagers in a spontaneous act that had nothing to do with Chen Guangcheng. In the prosecution’s allegations of “instigation” and “sedition” in damaging the vehicles, the main “evidence” is Chen Guangdong, Chen Kanjiang and Chen Guanghe and the so-called “confessions” obtained while they were in custody.
First, on August 18, a secret trial was held at the Yinan Court of the three villagers Jiang Chen, Chen Guangdong, and Chen Guanghe.The trio were sentenced to seven months, suspended for one year. They were released on August 24. The lawyer was informed of the situation: they were tortured to extract confessions: One said, “On the evening of March 11, I was seized by the vice squad of Yinan Country, bound to a chair with the kind of chain used to restrain village dogs. They used three chains, one around my chest, another around my waist and a third around my leg. They would not let me sleep for 15 consecutive days. When I just couldn’t take it and tried to go to sleep, they hit my leg with barbed rubber batons. The interrogated me in shifts, trying to trick me into confessing. They said if what I say is not satisfactory, they will just start over again, over and over until what I say satisfies them.. ”
Written Statement by Chen Guangcheng’s Defense Counsel Li Jinsong:
Yinan Country People’s Court, presiding judge:
According to the “Law on Attorneys” and the “Criminal Procedure Law,” the Yitong Law Office of Beijing accepted Cheng Guangcheng’s request for legal representation and has assigned me to represent him. As defender, in pretrial I examined a lot of case materials, listened to the parties to the case statement, in spite of the possible dangers related to the investigation. This is presented to the court in accordance with the following provisions: a written defense:
I. The lawyer asserts: The prosecution allegation that Chen Guangcheng has committed two crimes cannot be established.
Chen Guangcheng is a defender of the legal rights of Chinese citizens, and simply because he upheld conscience and justice, the dignity of the Family Planning Law and the legal rights of the women who have been harmed and their families, and exposed corrupt officials from the local government family planning workers’ illegal acts of barbarism, he has been persecuted for more than a year.
It is not Chen Guangcheng who has violated the law; it is the corrupt officials who use the methods of hooligans in the name of upholding the law who are breaking the law!
Second, before presenting the defense, this lawyer believes that it is first necessary to look into the background of this case:
In spring 2005 because the province ranked Linyi County the lowest in family planning for the entire province, Linyi City corrupt officials carried out a “brutal, violent and illegal family planning campaign.” They adopted “guilt by association” and “study classes in the office” as pretexts to arrest innocent detainees, beating many rural women of childbearing age and their families. They forced women to do push-ups, forcing more relatives over 60-years of age to beat each other on the face with sticks etc.
July 9, 2004 the Linyi City Party Committee, Linyi City government issued (document PLC  18) “on the decision to strengthen the population and family planning work,” which became the basis for the brutal family planning campaign in Linyi.
February 14, 2005, Linyi city government re-issued official documents to the effect that the character of the people has been overestimated, and handling matters according to the law does not work, and so it is necessary to use harsher traditional methods.
In March 2005, the three districts and nine counties of Linyi City initiated a large-scale family planning campaign of violence, arrests, beatings, customs, forced sterilization, mandatory abortions, study classes, and classes with mandatory tuition.
The illegal, barbarous and violent family planning campaign resulted in strong resentment among its victims. The victims have no place to bring their complaints, so they turned to Chen Guangcheng, to whom they tearfully related their sufferings and difficulties. Chen Guangcheng listened to the women’s stories of humiliation and bitterness. In August 2005, Chen Guangcheng asked for help from a friend in Beijing. Teng Biao and a number of lawyers and scholars did a survey of the criminal incidents involving Linyi corrupt officials and published their conclusions on the Internet.
(Appended report by lawyer Teng Biao on investigation to the district government in Linyi, Shandong, and human rights violations of women’s reproductive rights:
1. Mengyin County Duozhuang Town female mayor Zhang Ting with liquor on her breath participated in and directed the beating by five or six men of older women who had been arrested. They put villager Liu Yuancheng in a yard and hit his head with a broomstick, then used their hands to punch and slap him. Shortly after 5:00 he was detained in a house, and left sitting on the cement floor, with both his legs stretched out and Ting lead the group in standing on the victim’s legs. Cold water was poured on his head after the assault. Liu said: “You hit me, I will sue you!” Ting declared: “You go to county seat court or to the Linyi court; it will do you no good. You can be killed for 10,000 Yuan!” Chen Guangcheng said: “…It was a kind of unspeakable suffering. The power of one person is too small. ”
2. In Fei County, Liangqiu Township Xiajiaogou Village, said Xia Zhong,”The husband of my third maternal aunt called, saying, don’t come back, third aunt (who had been implicated in a criminal case and arrested) has been killed inside. On March 11, I was forced to come back, then seven months pregnant, and was forcibly injected with medicine to induce labor. The next day I miscarried. At 9:00 on the 13th, I was sterilized. Only after this was fourth aunt released.. ”
3. Ma Village Liangqiu County villager Song Hau said: “My brother (aged 65) was captured, family planning officers used rubber batons to beat him. Afterwards, they told me to hit him. I said I could not hit my brother, so they allowed him to hit me instead.”
5. Yinan Country Sunzu Township Nanxiashi Village village secretary Song Xiangrui made threats, forcing villagers Hu Bingmei to be sterilized The vice director of Family Planning for Yinan County Du Fengze and the local family planning station bosses pointed at Hu Bingmei saying, “This group of people (government hired thugs) have said, you have to be sterilized. If not you will be forcibly taken to the operating table and sterilized!
6. Some local villagers say that family planning personnel resort to violence without any provocation. Some say “If you are killed, the burial costs is only 10,000 yuan (some say 20,000).” This is what most of the perpetrators say. Sometimes they just stand and curse three generations of ancestors.
7. The local government has sponsored so-called study classes. The first step is arresting people. Before the arrests, the classes are only in township government offices or empty. Family planning usually involves four or five people (the people referred to as family planning people in this report is not limited to formal employees of the family planning office, committee or bureau but also includes those officials with part time responsibility for family planning as well as the toughs who are hired to rough people up.) Sometimes they are as many as 30, sometimes one van, sometimes three or four. Sometimes in the middle of the night; sometimes they go out in broad daylight. They enter at dawn illegally, smashing windows. Elders say they only saw such things during the Japanese occupation. They say they are wose than the Japanese Devils.
8. The chief of Tanjin Township of Fei County openly stated on television : “We prefer to punish 1000 innocent ones rather than let one guilty one go free.” Linyi City Judicial Bureau openly stated: “Family planning is a state policy. Even though the methods are a bit crude, as long as someone is not killed or crippled, other punishments do not constitute an offense. What’s right is right.” And if we ask the State Family Planning Commission, their answer is: “This is illegal, but we can’t do anything about it. Contact your local prosecutor and let them decide how to handle it.” In fact, the National People’s Congress, path of appeal leads almost nowhere.
In Hujiazhuang Village, Xinqiaozhen, Fei County, there is a family planning slogan posted “No action after first birth, sterilization after the second, if sterilization is refused prosecute”.
There are other places where the slogan is “Hit it out, force it out, abort it, just so long as it is not born,” If people refuse sterilization, knock down their house; if they refuse abortion take away their household goods and cattle.”
This slogan is popular in family planning : “If you want to drink poison, we won’t snatch the bottle away; if you want to hang yourself, we’ll supply the rope,” “We’d willingly erect ten new tombstones, we just don’t want an extra person.”
Local officials in Linyi say “Family planning is a fundamental national policy.” To accomplish the higher growth targets, in order to win awards, funding and the opportunity to be promoted and to avoid penalties, and to avoid the loss of power, all levels of the bureaucracy are mobilized. Their aim is to control population growth by any means, foul or fair. ) [End of excerpt from Teng Biao’s report]