In early morning of 6th May, renowned Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was put under criminal detention by Haiding District Public Security Bureau with the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. He is currently detained at Beijing No.1 Detention Centre. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group condemns Haiding District Public Security Bureau for abusing public authority and suppressing civil rights. The Concern Group also demands the immediate release of Pu Zhiqiang.
It is reported that Pu Zhijiang was taken away by state security at 11pm on 4th May evening. He returned home at 4am on 5th May to take some clothes. On 5th May afternoon, a number of police searched Pu’s home and confiscated his mobile phone, computer and some books. On 6th May, Pu’s niece Qu Zhenhong published the following post on Weibo at 1:30pm:
‘Haiding District Public Security Bureau put Pu Zhiqiang under criminal detention with the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. He is currently detained at Beijin No.1 Detention Centre. Family of Pu is considering hiring a lawyer. Thank you.’
She later told reporters that Pu Zhiqiang’s wife received a call from Fanjia village police station in Fengtai District, asking her to take the detention notice at the police station. It is understood that Pu was detained for participating a seminar about the June 4th incident in Beijing on 3rd May.
Pu Zhiqiang is a renowned Chinese human rights lawyer. He has handled many well-known rights defense case, including Re-education Through Labour cases like the Ren Jianyu case; as well as the case of ‘petition mom’ Tang Hui. He also actively participates in the rights defense movement.
Albert Ho, Chairperson of China Human Rights Concern Group, believed that Pu Zhijiang had always been pragmatic and prudent, thus it was quite impossible for him to ‘pick quarrels and provoke trouble’. He believed that Pu faced suppression because he was handling ‘sensitive’ cases or issues.
Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China states that ‘Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.’
Even though the seminar was about a so-called ‘sensitive’ topic, Pu Zhiqiang was only exercising rights enshrined in the Constitution. Participating in a seminar does not constitute a crime. Moreover, the public security, procuratorate and judiciary should not be reduced to the regime’s tool of oppression. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group condemns Haiding District Public Security Bureau for abusing public authority and suppressing civil rights. The Concern Group also demands the immediate release of Pu Zhiqiang.
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
7th May, 2014