奥斯陆大学法律系2011年2月举行为时一星期的人权会议，以“迫害”为重点. 侯安为会议的杂志采访滕彪的文章。http://bit.ly/g6GKMk （英文）
One law for the state, another for the people
Mao Zedong supposedly once said that «revolution is no dinner party». Living in today's China is surely no picnic either. Reports in Hong Kong media estimate that China's off-the-books spending on suppressing its own people is now approaching its total military budget.
Few know better how those money are spent than Teng Biao, a 38 year old human rights lawyer and professor of law at China University of Politics and Law in Beijing. On December 23rd last year he was kidnapped and interrogated by secret police officers who later threatened him by screaming «we are going to beat you to death and dig a hole to bury you».
However, this is not the first time Teng Biao has suffered from forceful crackdown by the authorities; they have confiscated his passport, revoked his license to practice law, kidnapped him several times and he is frequently put under house arrest. His experience the past couple of years is maybe the reason why he was able to stay calm throughout the entire detention in December. He just sat there reciting out loud the laws that the police officers were violating, as if they were his students.
In an email exchange last month he explained how the guobao, China's secret police, is at the core of the Chinese governments brutal system of suppression.
«Guobao, China's secret police force, is the world's darkest secret. They have powers transgressing every law, they can monitor and follow citizens, put people under house arrest or in prison and even perform cruel torture.»
Mr. Teng goes on to explicate how the government uses an intricate system to lock up most everyone, from prostitutes and drug traffickers to dissidents and writers. The laogai system, re-education through labour, was officially established during the anti-rightist campaigns in 1957 and 1958. Today it ranges from labour camps in the countryside to illegal detention centers in the country's capital of Beijing. According to Laogai Research Foundation, a Washington based NGO, as many as 2 million people were held in such centers as of 2009.
«China is still maintaining a system of so-called re-education through labour and arbitrary detention. This means that there are no legal procedures whatsoever and that the police has mandate to deprive a citizen of his or her freedom for as long as four years. The authorities put dissidents and civil rights activists in these so-called re-education and detention centers, and sometimes even mental hospitals to simplify procedures and to confuse public opinion.» Teng Biao says.
As citizens are increasingly aware of their rights and lawyers receive better legal training, the Chinese authorities are finding it harder to prosecute people. However, authorities have started to misuse laws in an attempt to silence lawyers who take on sensitive cases. «Article 306, along with Article 38 of the Criminal Procedure Law, and Article 45 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Lawyers allows prosecutors to arrest lawyers on grounds of "perjury" or "false testimony.» the organization Human Rights in China writes in a bulletin from 2006. As Teng Biao explains, the legal situation has yet to change for the better:
«Lawyers are still facing great professional risk because of Article 306. China has 180 000 lawyers, but only a hundred of these can really be called human rights lawyers. Many human rights lawyers have been sentenced to prison or so-called re-education through labour, others are under house arrest, some suffer beatings or are forced to quit because their licenses to practice are revoked. There is no independent attorney association and lawyers on all levels are completely controlled by the government.» he says.
The Chinese government can beat the drum all they want for its GDP growth, but the fact remains that there have been no fundamental changes made to its legal system since the economic development started more than 30 years ago. Mr. Teng points out that the system needs to change:
«The system in mainland China lacks regulated institutions and is fraught with great uncertainties. To fully change this system might not take that long, or it might indeed take a very long time. There is a certain possibility for a complete transformation as more and more people see little hope of improvement in the Communist Party, and they realize that the real hope lies with the people.»
He takes a glance into the crystal ball and continues:
«My judgement is that no force is capable of stopping the growing power of the people. However, it would be better if the people could play an important role in the transformation, before it turns into a violent revolution, so that China's political democratization does not end up being destabilizing and destructive.»
In a philosophical essay published earlier this year, where two inner selves discuss the current state of affairs in China, Teng Biao writes: «Our society is flooded with deceit and lies. Fake milk powder, fake vaccines, fake police, fake trials, fake history, fake news and fake reports. This is obviously not a healthy society, and the people who live in this lie cannot be healthy. We should seek truth, we are so in need of truth.»
When you give cruelty, violence and suppression a name, a front-desk and a budget, a mental distance is created between our perceptions of reality and the actual truth. Linguistic engineering has always been an important instrument for the Communist Party, and up to this day Party-speak remains a powerful tool to shape public opinion in China. Some people, though, of which Teng Biao is a representive, refuse to accept this distorted Newspeak reality and continue to strive for a more just China. Before the law everyone is equal, but in China some are still more equal than others.