The True Situation of Free Speech in China
My personal story
By Guoting Guo
4 November 2007 in Copenhagen, Denmark
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon! I feel great honor to have the opportunity to make a speech in the conference. I am not going to make a detail academic study, but tell you my personal story which prove the true situation of political speech in China.
Please allow me introduce myself first:
1.0 I am a human rights lawyer seeking protection in Canada against the CC, which has persecuted me repeat and subjected me to a danger of torture and a risk of cruel and unusual treatment on the basis of my political opinions and my membership in a particular social group, namely, political dissidents.
1.1 I believe that it is precisely for my commitment to the rule of law that I have been persecuted by the CCP and that I continue to be at risk of torture and cruel and unusual treatment or punishment in China.
1.3 Domestic and international colleagues alike have supported my work as a lawyer, a law professor, an arbitrator, a judge and an author of a dozen books and over four hundred articles. International recognition of my legal work includes:
a. Maritime Lawyer of the Year Award 2001-2002 by Legal 500 Asia;
b. Invitation to be a visiting scholar at Columbia University School of Law in 2005-2006;
c. Public appointment on 16 June 2005 as judge to an international tribunal in Washington D.C. to try the Chinese Communist Party (‘CCP’); and,
d. “Search for Justice” Award in Vancouver, B.C. on 17 July 2005.
2.0 I come from a family of landowners and political dissidents. My grandfather was a landowner. My father was a member of Guo Ming Dang, a traditional opposition party. My mother was a member of San Qin Tuan, also a longstanding opposition party. My family’s status as landowners and dissidents led to unfair treatment under the Communist regime. We were labeled a "black five family," which deprived us of the full enjoyment of our rights and privileges in our employment, education and political life.
2.1 I expressed dissenting political opinions as a university student and then as a professional, which led to my being subjected, on repeated occasions, to persecution and cruel and unusual treatment by the Chinese government. Measures taken against me for my beliefs and my work included:
e. Twenty-one days’ arbitrary detention in a mental hospital, between 19 February and 10 March 1984, at the orders of the CCP Secretary of Jilin University Law School;
f. One-year revocation in 1988 of my licence to practice law, by the Fujian Judicial Bureau;
g. Prohibition on two occasions, in 1987 and 1990, from pursuing an LL.M. at Shanghai Maritime University, by the Fujian Judicial Bureau;
h. Prohibition, on four occasions, in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990, from taking the TOEFL (English-as-a second-language) exams;
i. Prohibition between 1987 to 1999 to study in England on a program organized by the Judicial Ministry of China, although I was the only qualified applicant in Fujian province during that time;
j. Revocation of my licence to practice law for a total of six months between 1995 and 1996, by the Fujian Judicial Authority, to be reinstated only if I “self-criticized,” which I finally did in February 1996, leading to the reinstatement of my law licence one or two months later;
k. Threat against my life in 1998 by the Fujian Police Bureau;
l. Revocation of my Internet Protocol address on three occasions in 2003 and 2004, by the Chinese Judicial Minister;
m. Threats and warnings by the Shanghai Judicial Bureau, Police Bureau, Secret Police on thirty-one occasions between 2003 and 2005 to give up my human rights cases;
n. Threat against my clients, a newspaper and a big insurance company, to fire me as legal counsel, in October 2003, by the Shanghai Police Bureau;
o. Arbitrary police investigation in November 2003 into my firm's bank account; and,
p. Offer of bribery by the Chief Officer of Shanghai Judicial Bureau in October 2004 to give up my human rights practice in exchange for referrals in maritime cases.
2.2 The most recent measures taken against me by the CCP took place between 6 March and 20 May 2005, when I was unlawfully detained on the basis of a charge of “gather many people to disturb the social order” then a verbal, unofficial criminal charge of conspiracy to overthrow the government, unlawfully investigated, unlawfully detained and placed under house arrest while on unofficial bail, for acting as legal counsel to six Falun Gong practitioners. Those most recent measures against me include the following:
q. Unlawful seizure of my office computer and documents, at 9 a.m. on 23 February 2005, by the Shanghai Judicial Bureau;
r. One-year revocation of my licence to practice law on 4 March 2005, by the Shanghai Judicial Bureau;
s. Unofficial, verbal criminal charge of conspiracy to overturn the government on 6 March 2005, by a police officer;
t. Unlawful criminal investigation without any written charge ever being laid, beginning at 8 a.m. on 6 March 2005 with forced entry into my home, search of my house and that of members of my family, and seizure of my computer, all my human rights files, other documents and my personal journal;
u. Unlawful interrogation based on an unofficial, verbal charge of conspiracy to overthrow the Government at the police station for six hours on 6 March 2005;
v. Unlawful seizure of my cell phone and unlawful disconnection of my home telephone line between 6 March and 26 March 2005;
w. Verbal threat by police enforcement officers on 26 March 2005 that if I informed anyone of the circumstances of my arrest and detention, my cell phone and home telephone line would be seized and disconnected again;
x. Unlawful detention under house arrest while on unofficial bail for unofficial charges of conspiracy to overturn the government, between 6 March 2005 and 20 May 2005 (24-hour surveillance of the home and of family members by more than 20 enforcement officers between 6 March and 26 March 2005 and 24-hour surveillance of the home and of family members by more than eight enforcement officers between 26 March and 20 May 2005);
y. Interrogation at the police station every day between 6 March and 26 March 2005;
z. Coercion by the CCP on 19 May 2005 to sign a written pledge that included the following prohibitions:
i. Never taking on any human rights cases;
ii. Never contacting anyone involved in any human rights cases;
iii. Never referring counsel to human rights cases;
iv. Never offering legal aid to political clients;
v. Never attending any protests against the CCP;
vi. Never contacting any organizers of Falun Gong practitioners while abroad;
vii. Never contacting the Chinese branch of PEN or any other similar organizations;
viii. Never joining any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or attending any NGO activities or to accept any NGO sponsorship;
ix. Not speaking at the academic meeting for which I was accorded a visa to Canada;
x. Not contacting any person who is not related to my pursuit of academic research or employment for which I was accorded a visa to the United States;
xi. Never publishing any political materials, especially those critical of the CCP;
xii. Never speaking to any non-Chinese media; and,
xiii. Never speaking about Chinese politics and legal system.
Police officer threatened me on 9 May 2005 that I should never practice law anywhere in China ever again;
Police officer threatened me on 9 May 2005 that I should never teach law as a professor at any university in China ever again;
Police officer threatened me on 9 May 2005 that I should never repeat the circumstances of my arrest on 6 March 2005 and following events;
Police officer threatened me on 9 May 2005 that I would be officially charged with conspiracy to overturn the government if I broke any of the above-noted prohibitions.
In direct opposition to the above-noted prohibition by the CCP:
I am publicly describing the circumstances of my persecution in China;