Chinese Lawyer Says He Was Detained and Warned on Activism |
Chinese Lawyer Says He Was Detained and Warned on Activism
By JIM YARDLEY
Published: March 9, 2008
BEIJING — Beijing public security agents released a Chinese human rights lawyer on Saturday after detaining him two days earlier without notice and forcing him to endure intensive questioning at an unknown location, the lawyer said.
The lawyer, Teng Biao, 34, said he was released after 41 hours in custody. Mr. Teng, reached by telephone, said four officers from the Beijing Public Security Bureau grabbed him on Thursday night at a parking lot outside his apartment and then drove him away.
Mr. Teng, who is also a part-time college professor, said he was not sure where he was taken. He said that he was not physically harmed but that officers had questioned him sternly and warned him about recent articles he had posted on the Internet.
Mr. Teng refused to discuss his detention further, saying the officers had cautioned him against speaking out.
The government has not spoken publicly about the case.
Mr. Teng’s detention was the latest example of how China is moving against some of its more outspoken dissidents, lawyers and human rights advocates. International rights groups have cited the crackdown as evidence that the ruling Communist Party is failing to fulfill promises to improve the country’s human rights record before Beijing plays host to the Olympics in August.
In December, a friend of Mr. Teng’s named Hu Jia was detained and later charged with subversion. Mr. Hu is a prominent rights advocate who disseminated information about human rights cases, protests and the status of dissidents. Mr. Hu will soon face trial, his lawyer said, according to a Reuters report on Saturday.
In recent months, several other Chinese rights advocates have been arrested in what some dissidents say is an attempt to silence those seen by the government as outspoken troublemakers before the Games.
Last year, Mr. Teng and Mr. Hu co-wrote a public letter criticizing the Communist Party as having failed to meet its Olympic promises to improve human rights. Mr. Teng also has written other recent essays critical of the party.
His whereabouts had been a mystery since he called his wife on Thursday night to say he would be home within 20 minutes. He never arrived.
His wife, Wang Ling, said she had heard shouting from the parking lot and went to investigate. Witnesses told her that a man had been dragged away from the family’s car.
In the essay by Mr. Teng and Mr. Hu last year, the two wrote bluntly about China’s current situation.
“Is China improving its human rights record?” they asked, according to a translation provided by Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group. “When you come to the Olympic Games in Beijing, you will see skyscrapers, spacious streets, modern stadiums and enthusiastic people. Please be aware that the Olympic Games will be held in a country where there are no elections, no freedom of religion, no independent courts, no independent trade unions; where demonstrations and strikes are prohibited.”
Zhang Jing contributed research.