Radio Free Asia
■ The wife of a prominent detained human rights lawyer has said she can prove that he was tortured, after a YouTube video posted by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s youth wing claimed there was no evidence for his injuries.
Jin Bianling, who is currently in the United States, told RFA that the video was “total lies,” after it accused him of connections to an “evil religious cult” and accused him of fraudulent behavior.
The video, posted by the the Communist Youth League Central Committee’s official tweeting account, said that Jiang’s claim that he sustained several broken bones in beatings while in detention was “ridiculous.”
It also accused him of becoming a propaganda tool in the hands of “overseas forces.”
Jiang was beaten at the hands of security guards in Sichuan’s Ziyang city in May 2013, fellow lawyer Tang Tianhao, who recorded audio of the incident, told RFA at the time.
|Rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who went missing on Nov. 21,
2016, after meeting relatives of jailed lawyers, in an undated
But it was unclear whether the injuries were sustained in that beating, or on a separate occasion.
Tang Tianhao told RFA that guards at an unofficial detention center known as the Ziyang Municipal Legal Education Center in Sichuan had beaten him, Jiang and fellow rights lawyer Tang Jitian after they tried to visit detained members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement there.
According to the video, Jiang had produced no medical evidence to back up his account of the attack.
“There are so many many cheats and chancers around nowadays,” the video said, referring to Jiang as an “imposter.”
Jin told RFA on Thursday: “I would like to tell everyone that that everything they have said is pure lies.”
“I have here in my possession the clinical diagnostic proof that Jiang Tianyong sustained fractures in eight different places,” she said.
“People are welcome to view the hard evidence, and yet they announce it in this pseudo-official manner that Jiang Tianyong had no evidence,” Jin said. “It’s nothing but lies; a smear campaign.”
Jin said she had recently filed a libel lawsuit against a number of official media outlets claiming that they had infringed Jiang’s rights.
“In the past couple of days I have hired and lawyer, and Jiang Tianyong’s father went with him to the court to file the complaint,” she said.
The lawyer in question, Beijing-based Chen Jinxue, said he would be filing the lawsuit on Friday.
“[The defendants are] the Procuratorate Daily and the Legal Daily,” Chen said. “We are planning to lodge complaints in multiple locations.”
“We will sue Beijing-based media in Beijing, and also media in Guangzhou and Shanghai,” he said.
He said the lawsuits alleged that the media had damaged Jiang’s reputation.
“The content of the reports was not true,” Chen said. “For a start, they allege that Jiang Tianyong doesn’t have a license to practice, but his license was never revoked.”
“They also said that he has been in receipt of funding from overseas for a long time, and that he always gets involved in sensitive cases,” he said.
“But to allege that Jiang Tianyong has broken the law before he has been tried in court is a breach of the presumption of innocence principle.”
Jiang’s parents questioned
In a related development, Jiang’s elderly parents were recently questioned following a visit to their home by diplomats from a number of European countries.
The couple were questioned by police from their hometown of Xinyang in the central province of Henan, acting “on orders from higher up,” sources told RFA.
Police apparently wanted to know all the details of the conversation between them, the sources said.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party under President Xi Jinping is increasingly using allegations of involvement by overseas organizations to target peaceful dissidents and rights activists.
Xi has repeatedly warned against “hostile foreign forces” attempting to overthrow Communist Party rule by infiltrating China with “western” religious practices and ideas like democracy, constitutional government, and human rights.
More than 300 lawyers, law firm staff, rights activists and relatives were detained, questioned, or placed under surveillance or other restrictions in a nationwide police operation targeting the legal profession launched in July 2015.
At least 16 remain in criminal detention on subversion charges, while four have been handed jail terms of up to seven years, according to the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.
Many others have been denied access to lawyers, and to family visits.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.