Commentary By a Well Known Lawyer In China: The Release of Only Mr. and Mrs. Huang Is Insufficient

Falun Gong practitioners Mr. Huang Wei and his wife Mrs. Hao Qiuyan from Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, China were recently released.

The release of Mr. and Mrs. Huang is certainly good news, but behind this release lies a serious issue. That is, the human rights and human dignity of Mr. and Mrs. Huang and their relatives has been denigrated. Furthermore, the principles that support the rule of law have been violated. Before his release, Mr. Huang Wei was detained for over one year and was on hunger strike for tens of days accumulatively. Mrs. Huang persistently refused to eat any food and only drank liquids from the first day she lost her freedom until her release. The value of freedom, above anything else, was once again elaborated through Mr. and Mrs. Huang's experience. Meanwhile, their experience also proves that without exception, in today's China people quite typically pay a heavy price for their personal beliefs.

Mr. Huang Wei was detained at a forced labour camp for three years by the Shijiazhuang City government. From 1999, for three years, all his legal procedural rights were denied. When he was released recently, because of the completion of his three-year imprisonment, most of Mr. Huang's hair had turned grey even though he is only in his thirties. The shock and humiliation from his first detention is still with him mentally.

What is more, he was illegally arrested and detained a second time in 2004. Again, he was denied all proper legal procedural rights that he is entitled to as a citizen.

What was new this time was that the local authorities had fraudulently and arbitrarily filed mandates just to arrest and detain him again. This time, to help get his entitled legal procedural rights, Mr. Huang chose to hold continuous hunger strikes numerous times protesting such illegal treatment. His wife, Mrs. Hao Qiuyan, came to Beijing to find me to be her husband's lawyer. Their lawful action, however, resulted in ruthless revenge from the local authorities. As a result, all the courts in Hebei Province did not accept their case. Mr. Huang's constant hunger striking was in vain. What is worse was that Mrs. Hao's legal enquiry to find a lawyer in Beijing has made the Shijiazhuang City government even more furious.

In the local government's eyes, any legal action against the local government is regarded as anti-government, and as sabotaging the stability of the nation. Therefore, the local authorities this time didn't even bother to follow basic legal procedures, and they behaved like a group of thugs. They ordered a group of policemen to directly ransack Mrs. Hao's home and detained her immediately. No legal procedure was followed while Mrs. Hao was held at the detention centre for six months.

On July 20th, 2005, at the time of the sixth anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, I wrote articles appealing to the government again for fair and humane treatment of Mr. and and Mrs. Huang's case as well as tens of thousands of other Falun Gong practitioners. I also requested humane treatment for the citizens of China, especially citizens who have a faith, and more importantly, to abide by the laws which are made by the government, and to abandon barbaric behaviour with action not words.

Due to continuous efforts by kind-hearted people from both China and abroad, Mr. and Mrs. Huang finally found their freedom.

The release of Mr. and Mrs. Huang is not the result of compassion from the government. Firstly, the release of Mr. and Mrs. Huang is not based on their "innocence," but on "medical bail," and therefore the state still views them as criminals. Secondly, there are still tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in detention centres today. The continuation of such illegal detention of any one of them indicates that the Chinese government will continue to stand on the side of lawlessness, and uncivilised and immoral governance.

The dictator Mao Zedong started the infamous system of the forced labour camp and it continues today. The fact that the Chinese government continues to use this system, a system that has committed unpardonable crimes and was criticised by all free and democratic governments in the world, is the biggest blow to the image of China. It is imperative for the Chinese government to immediately abolish this labour camp system and release all who are detained inside. This is the only way to change such a terrible and inhuman image.

(Gao Zhicheng is a well-known lawyer from China)

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