Search Results for “"Teng Biao"”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Teng Biao: Invalid Use of Testimony

Teng Biao (滕彪), a lawyer and one of the founders of the Open Constitution Initiative, has made a statement on a testimony to the Beijing Public Security Bureau  which was apparently used as “evidence” in the trial of Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), which ended on Friday with an eleven-year jail sentence. In his statement of Friday, he points out that he didn’t even mention Liu Xiaobo in his testimony to the PSB, and that he hadn’t been questioned and cross-examined as a witness in court for verification, as required by article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under the Jacaranda has published Teng Biao’s statement in Chinese, and an English translation. His statement also refers to use which had been made in Hu Jia’s verdict.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Message from Ilham Tohti: China can do better

Tsering Woeser writes that Li Fangping, a lawyer, has recorded a statement by Ilham Tohti, the Uyghur economist who was sentenced to life inprisonment by the Intermediate People’s Court in Urumqi on Tuesday. Tohti made his statement after he was sentenced, and said that he shouts out loudly for his Uyghur nationality, and even more for the future of China. He feels that he can endure his fate, that he will not betray his conscience. If I emerge from jail self-injured or after suicide, this will definitely be false [information].

I firmly believe that China can do better, and that the constitutional rights will be respected. God gave peace to Uyghurs and Han Chinese, and only when there is peace, good intentions will work in the interests of both.


During the eight months in prison so far, he had only been allowed outside his cell for three hours. He could still count himself lucky, compared to other people accused of separatism, as he could choose his lawyer – a Han nationality lawyer -, in that his family could listen on during the trial, and in that he had been able to say what he wanted to say. He hoped that his case could help to further the rule of law in Xinjiang, even if only a bit.

He slept well last night, for over eight hours, better than anytime during the eight months in prison. He felt strong, but unable to report his situation to his mother. “Just tell her that I’ve been sentenced to five years in prison. That should do.”



» Dolkar Tso thanks Sandrup’s lawyers, June 26, 2010


Updates / Related

» Reason and Peace underfoot, Teng Biao / Guardian, Sept 24, 2014


Monday, August 8, 2011

Mass Work: PSB teams up with Weibo and People’s Daily

On Monday, a year after its establishment, the Weibo channel of Beijing Safe and Well (平安北京), aka “Safe Beijing”, officially registered with Peoples Daily‘s website. Weibo is China’s micro-blogging platform, similar to Twitter (which is banned in China), and Beijing Safe and Well is an initiative from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (公安局, PSB).

I’m not sure what “registering with People’s Daily website” (落户人民网) means, but it seems to amount to People’s Daily republishing what the PSB posts on Weibo.

The initiative had been a certain public-relations success in establishing work with the masses (在公共关系建设和群众工作上取得了一定成效) as a carrier of information (资讯发布载体), a window of mass work (群众工作窗口), and a bridge for police-public communication (警民沟通桥梁), Beijing Police is quoted by People’s Daily. During its first year, they had posted more than 9,000 messages (more than 7,000 of them on Weibo), more than 2,000 blogposts, more than 200 videos, recorded some 26 million views and 1.5 million fans. There had been “successful handling of six suicide cases live on the internet etc.” (成功处置微博直播自杀等网络突发事件6件), and 170 other issues (or “situations”, 解决网友反映的突出情况).

The PSB are frequently referred to as “police”, but their work apparently goes far beyond handling situations as described by People’s Daily. When Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in jail in December 2009, Teng Biao, another dissident, stated that a testimony he had previously made at the Beijing PSB had been used as evidence, even though he hadn’t been heard in court himself, and even though he hadn’t actually mentioned Liu Xiaobo in his testimony.

Allegedly, the PSB are also instrumental in spin-doctoring on the internet once sensitive situations arise locally.



» “How to speak in the Microblog Age”, CMP, August 2, 2011
Related Blogposts: “Social Management” (社会管理)


Updates / Related

» 平安北京, Weibo (more frequently updated than on People’s Daily)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Arrests and Releases: One in, One out

In November last year, Hu Jia‘s wife Zeng Jinyan had reportedly been threatened with arrest, and faced suggestions that her family would be put under strict house arrest once Hu Jia were released. June 26 could be the day when Hu Jia’s prison term ends.

House arrest would amount to something similar to the situation Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) has been living in ever since he had served a term of several years (apparently four years and three months). Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing (袁伟静), appears to be under semi-official watch much of the time, as news of April 2009 would suggest.

He Peirong, from Nanjing, reportedly tried to see Chen at his home in Shandong Province last week. Under the Jacaranda translated a Chinese-language account of her effort and its results, which can be found here.

In April this year, Beijing-based human rights lawyer Li Fangping (李方平) was reportedly kidnapped by unidentified individuals outside the offices of the health rights NGO Beijing Yirenping Center. Li was apparently released within days, while another rights lawyer, Li Xiongping, had reportedly “disappeared” since.

Li Fangping was himself detained just as yet another rights lawyer, Teng Biao (滕彪), was released from custody, in a move some called, “One In, One Out”,

the China Digital Times quoted AP on May 4.

Li has legally

represented a number of high-profile victims of political and religious persecution, including, among others, Chen Guangcheng, Yang Chunlin (杨春林), Hu Jia (胡佳), and Zhao Lianhai (赵连海)

in recent years, Chinese Human Rights Defenders wrote in April.



» Wen Jiabao’s Endgame – neither Law, nor Order, April 21, 2011
» Diluting the Intimidation: the Tea Partisans, March 14, 2010


» A Visit to Chen Guangcheng’s Family, ESWN, March 17, 2009


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Loving Source Information Center Tax Inquiry

Things don’t look good in the current tax inspection on AIDS support group Beijing Loving Source Information Center (北京爱源信息咨询中心), an AIDS support group, writes Zeng Jinyan, in a blogpost of November 26.  Ms Zeng managed the group and closed its operations down earlier this month.

In the inquiry, Ms Zeng listed six major contributors to Loving Source’s work for children and families affected by AIDS: the Chinese AIDS Foundation (中华艾滋基金会),the World Children Fund (全球儿童基金会), UNICEF (through the Chinese Association of Sexually-Transmitted Diseases and AIDS), ITPC (联合基金), Oxfam, and the Tides Foundation, plus donations through the PPC Pen Pal Club (PPC笔友俱乐部). According to Ms Zeng, most of them were transit amounts which went  directly to children and families affected by AIDS, providing them with aid for costs of living, medical care, and education. The contributions fall into the categories of business taxes, income tax and several other categories. Ms Zeng writes that her organization provided information [to the tax office, apparently] that there is a system of transferring funds.

The laws restricting restablishment of NGOs were so tight they had no choice but to set up a private company, Time correspondent Simon Elegant quoted Teng Biao in July 2009. Once Teng Biao’s and Xu Zhiyong‘s Open Constitution NGO had been shut down by a huge fine, even CCP mouthpiece Global Times quoted a critic of the tax offices’ approach:

It’s not unusual for a corporation to have flaws in taxation,” said Lu Jun, chief coordinator of the Beijing Yirenping Center, a non-profit organization devoted to helping patients fight discrimination and protect their own rights.
“Considering it’s the first time the Open Constitution Initiative has been found to have such flaws, taxation officials could remind it and request it to pay the insufficient tax, rather than forcing it to the edge of bankruptcy by imposing a harsh fine of more than a million yuan.”

But then, that’s probably exactly why the law doesn’t provide NGO’s with a safe legal foundation – to have the option to knock them down at the authorities’ own discretion. The categories of tax that Beijing Loving Source Center may need to pay would suggest that this NGO, too, was established as a private company.


Tweet: “taxes on 5yrs of charity”, Twitter, Nov. 26, 2010
Website for Activist’s Release, RFA, Nov. 26, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

“Freedom of Expression an Extremely Important Right”, but “Subject to Certain Lawful Restrictions”

Liu Xiaobo‘s (刘晓波) lawyer, Shang Baojun, told reporters that Mr Liu’s appeal to the High Court had been rejected with no change in his 11-year prison sentence passed on Christmas 2009 by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court, according to the Washington Post.

The China Global Times quotes a professor who is apparently a lawyer as saying that

[a]lthough freedom of expression was an extremely important right of Chinese citizens, and was protected by China’s Constitution and laws, Gao said citizens could not exercise the right without any kind of restrictions whatsoever,


[a]ccording to China’s Constitution, Chinese citizens’ exercise of their freedoms and rights should not infringe upon the interests of the state, of the society, and of the collective or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens,

and that

China’s Constitution was in line with the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which stated that the exercise of freedom of expression might be subject to certain lawful restrictions necessary for the respect of the rights or reputations of others and the protection of national security or public order.
Most countries in the world, including Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Singapore, had criminal laws aimed to stop people from insulting and slandering others, instigating ethnic hatred and discrimination, and subverting the government, said Gao.

The article offers no details about Liu Xiaobo’s allegedly “illegal statements”.

The U.S. embassy in Beijing issued a statement expressing disappointment by the Chinese government’s decision to uphold Liu Xiaobo’s sentence of 11 years in prison on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power”.

On December 24 last year, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu (姜瑜) told a regular press conference one day ahead of Liu Xiaobo’s sentence at first instance that statements by officials of foreign embassies were a gross interference in China’s domestic judicial affair and a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


Teng Biao: Invalid Use of Testimony, Dec 27, 2009
Liu Xiaobo Short Bio, Dec 25, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Constitutional Lawyers: The “Taxman” Cometh

Several lawyers who handle human rights cases have been unable to renew their licenses, reports the Time China Blog. Yitong, a law firm with a high profile in defending human rights activists was reportedly closed down in June. Now, the Open Constitution Initiative is facing closure after a demand of tax-related payments which apparently broke the organization’s neck. The Open Constitution Initiative had been established as a private company to avoid restrictive laws on the formation of a non-governmental organization (NGO). The Time China Blog quotes from a statement by Teng Biao (滕彪) in reaction to the closure. Teng co-founded the Initiative in 2003.

Beijing tax authorities reportedly demand immediate payment of 1.42 million yuan (US$200,000) in unpaid taxes and related fines.

On a seminar held in Beijing on May 10, Teng Biao had pointed out that today’s efforts to transform the political system were based on the foundations of the 6-4 movement, but both because of a changed political environment, and because of the existence of the internet, addressed relevant cases such as copyright infringement, last year’s Sanlu milk powder scandal, the Weng’ An County incident one by one, in a much more diverse way, thus promoting the rule of law and human rights.

Ministry of Civilian Affairs officers raided the Initiative’s offices in Beijing on Friday morning, writes The Australian. The UNHCR website quotes from a statement by Human Rights Watch. The statement also mentions a notice from the Beijing Bureau of Legal Affairs issued earlier last week urging “caution” in their involvement in the defense of suspects linked to July 5 rioting in the city of Urumqi in China’s restive Xinjiang region. A similar notice had or prohibition had been issued to Beijing lawyers who wanted to represent Tibetans following the March 2008 protests in that region.

Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, warns that people who lose all opportunities to seek justice within the judicial system can only take their cases to the street.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 4 and the Over-Simplifications

Let’s see if the Financial Times will keep the article accessible without registration. If not, the link there, and a short introduction to James Kynge‘s article is there at Danwei.

(…) But to say the demonstrations were to “demand democracy” is an oversimplification.
The truth is that the students in the square had only the haziest understanding of western-style democracy. To the extent that the protests were directed at abuses of an existing system by an emerging elite, they were motivated more by outrage at the betrayal of socialist ideals than by aspirations for a new system. The mood in the square was at least as much conservative as it was activist. (…)

Kynge also sees more distrust among average Chinese people against foreigners (for reasons of historic imperialism) than in 1989. He attributes that – probably correctly – to a narrative from China’s propaganda: the CCP as the only possible warrantor of Chinese sovereignty, and collective dignity.

It’s probably true that democracy was only one demand out of the huge crowd on Tian An Men Square and elsewhere in China. There were many platforms and voices, and maybe Kynge’s suggestion that the mood in the square points to a great deal of conservatism, side by side with activism, sounds realistic. Demands for stopping corruption, for example, were deeply conservative (and appropriate).

On a seminar on June 4 held in Beijing on May 10, human rights lawyer Teng Biao (滕彪) pointed out that today’s efforts to transform the political system were based on the foundations of the 6-4 movement, but both because of a changed political environment, and because of the existence of the internet, addressed relevant cases such as copyright infringement, last year’s Sanlu milk powder scandal, the Weng’ An County incident one by one, in a much more diverse way, thus promoting the rule of law and human rights.

Even with a changed political environment, it would be hard for activists today to formulate coherent platforms – censorship and an official catalog of vaguely defined paras concerning “subversion” and other causes for prosecution would make that a difficult task.

But certainly, democracy was one of the demands twenty years ago – although it would be difficult to quantify its influence in the movement. And it may be true that the students in the square had only the haziest understanding of western-style democracy. Well – many of them, anyway. And having been there twenty years ago, Mr Kynge probably talked with many of them back then, and bases his judgment on the impressions he gathered.

But the students were not to blame for their lack of understanding of certain “foreign” concepts twenty years ago. Besides, it is still only a minority of the Chinese people who can freely gather information on western-style democracy (why Western?), The uninformed majority is not to blame for that. I got the feeling in the past years that the Chinese leadership does its best to make sure that the majority won’t be able to get a better understanding of the concepts in question these days, either.

Certainly, Mr Kynge isn’t obliged to point that out. But he’s a journalist. He should take issue of censorship.

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