Chinese Rights Activist Reported Missing

Rights lawyer Teng Biao has apparently been detained, though his wife has received no formal notice of his whereabouts since his disappearance yesterday. From the New York Times:

A Chinese lawyer who has called on the Communist Party to improve its human rights record in advance of the 2008 Olympics has disappeared, according to his wife, who said Friday that she was worried that the authorities might have detained him because of his political activism.

The lawyer, Teng Biao, 34, a part-time college professor, disappeared on Thursday evening after calling to say he would be home in 20 minutes, said his wife, Wang Ling. Shortly afterward, she said, she heard shouting in the parking lot below the family apartment and later found her husband’s empty car. Witnesses told her that two men had dragged someone out of the car and taken him away, she said.

Just before his disappearance, he was interviewed by The Guardian and expressed a belief that he would soon be arrested. From a Guardian report:

He had been recently warned by police that he would be detained unless he stopped talking to the foreign media and writing about human rights abuses in the run up to the Olympics…

Shortly before he went missing, Teng told the Guardian that his passport had been seized, his phone bugged and his emails check by the authorities. He was warned that he also faced the sack from his job as a lecturer at the China University of Political Science and Law and risked detention.

“They told me I cannot accept any interview related to human rights and the Olympics. I said I cannot make such a promise. I have a right to speak,” he said last week. “I’m not sure if they will arrest me tomorrow. But I feel no fear.”

Also, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders:

Within 12 hours of Teng’s abduction, at 7:20 a.m. on March 7, human rights lawyer, Li Heping (李和平), was rear-ended by a police car following his. Li was driving his son to school on the east side of the 4th Ring Road, surrounding Beijing, when the police car, which had been following him since he left home, suddenly sped up, crashed into the back of his car and stopped. Li and his son suffered shock, and the rear end of the car was smashed. Li went to speak with the police in the car, whom he recognized as policemen who had been monitoring him recently, but they ignored him. Li reported the “accident” to the traffic police. The traffic police came but refused to document the case. Later in the morning, Li started to feel back pain.

Li has been followed by police, allegedly from the National Security Unit of the Beijing PSB, since before September 29, 2007,when he was abducted and beaten. The round-the-clock surveillance has become more aggressive since Hu’s detention. Like Teng, Li has also been warned against defending Hu.

Read also the Guardian interview with Teng published on March 4, and a post from the China Law Prof blog which has additional useful links. Teng had also co-written an open letter with detained activist Hu Jia which was posted in English by The Guardian.

March 7, 2008 1:27 PM
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Categories: Human Rights, Law, Politics