(Lüliang City, Shanxi Province—July 31, 2021) On July 23, lawyer Fang Xiangui met with Lüliang City procuratorate regarding the case of Taiyuan Xuncheng Reformed Church’s Preacher Zhao Weikai, charged with “illegal holding of materials promoting terrorism and extremism.” Attorney Fang planned to appeal to the procuratorate regarding Wenshui County Public Security Bureau’s Law Enforcement misconducts. Concerns include:
- illegal confiscation of Minister Zhao’s personal belongings,
- illegal administrative detention of Minister Zhao, and
- illegally preventing Lawyer Fang from meeting with Minister Zhao.
A young female staff walked over to Lawyer Fang and scolded him, “You are not allowed to bring a cell phone into the building.”
“Is there any article of the law pertaining to that rule?” Lawyer Fang asked. “You don’t allow me to bring my phone, so why did you direct me to call 12309?
At that time, a security guard came over.
Lawyer Fang told the security guard that lawyers do not need to go through a security check. He asked, “Which article of the law specifies that lawyers are not allowed to bring a cell phone inside the detention center. Unable to answer Attorney Fang’s questions, the security guard walked away.
Two procuratorates then approached Lawyer Fang. One asked him, “Are you here to help your client, or to perform a show for him?” As the other procuratorate video recorded him, Lawyer Fang challenged them regarding the reason for shooting videos. When Attorney Fang photographed them, the procuratorates threatened to call the police.
One of the procuratorates asked Lawyer Fang to show them his attorney’s license and delegated authorization letter. He asked Lawyer Fang. “Why did you not bring any photocopies of your license?”
Lawyer Fang said, “I have he has been working in legal field for many years and this is the first time anyone has requested to see photocopies of my legal license….” He reported that he sensed the procuratorates’ hostility toward him when they asked him to step outside, go through the security check, deposit his cell phone, and step back in.
After he left the procuratorates, Lawyer Fang continued to call 12309. The operator answered this time and established a group call that included the Shanxi provincial procuratorate, the Lüliang City procuratorate, and him. During the phone call, Lawyer Fang complained about the Wenshui County Public Security Bureau’s illegal confiscation of Minister Zhao’s personal belongings, their illegal administrative detention of him, and illegal prevention of preventing him, his lawyer from meeting with Minister Zhao.
1. Why was there no on-call procuratorates available to answer phone calls when I initially called 12309?
2. Is there any article of the law that forbids lawyers from bringing cellphones to a procuratorate? Detention officers asked me to call 12309, however, they did not allow me to bring my cell phone inside the facility. How can lawyers handle such conflicting requests?
On October 23, 2020, Nanhu police summoned 12 other lawyers with Attorney Fang to their station (in Qingxiu District, Nanning City, Guangxi Province) for exposing the “Banmeila fraud case” to Guangxi Province politics and law committees.
~ Yubing, ChinaAid Special Correspondent
ChinaAid Media Team