China: one lawyer released, situation for lawyers remains serious
Mr Chang Boyang, whose case ICJ raised in a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping in September calling for his release, has been released on bail.
Mr Boyang, a lawyer working among other things to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in China, had been arrested and charged for activities that should have been recognized to be well within the scope of his professional role and his freedom of expression and association. The ICJ was informed today that Chang Boyang was released on bail on 29 November.
In another update, the ICJ has also been informed that Beijing-based lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, whose case was also raised in the letter to President Xi Jinping, has had additional charges brought against him. He remains in detention while his case has been sent back to police for further investigation, which is in turn likely to prolong his pre-trial detention. His lawyer reportedly said that Pu has already been interrogated 60 to 70 times, with each session lasting more than 10 hours.
The ICJ has not received any reply to its letter of 1 September 2014 to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The ICJ remains deeply concerned about the situation of lawyers who raise human rights issues or otherwise act on cases the Chinese government deems to be sensitive. Those held in detention should be immediately released, and all criminal proceedings based on lawyers’ due discharge of their professional functions, or exercise of freedom of expression, association or assembly, must be dropped.
The ICJ Practitioner’s Guide no 1 on independence of judges, lawyers and prosecutors is available here in a variety of languages, including Chinese.