Lawyers explain the harsh reality facing human rights advocates in China


On May 28, 2020, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang told journalists that the average monthly income of 600 million Chinese was only $ 154, based in Hong Kong. South China Morning Post..

Chen Guangcheng, a well-known Chinese human rights activist and lawyer, said in an interview with the Chinese version of The Epoch Times that Chinese farmers actually earn only $ 46 to $ 77 a year.

Chen became famous in China for his work helping vulnerable groups such as farmers, migrant workers and people with disabilities protect their rights.

According to Chen, Chinese farmers are forced to pay agricultural taxes and various fees with an annual income of $ 539 to $ 555, as reported by local governments to their bosses.

“Many farmers can’t pay,” Chen said from US security.

The game starts with deception

Communist Party officials have ways to trick or threaten farmers to pay, Chen continued. Local civil servants usually tell farmers to sign a document admitting that the money has not been paid, saying, “If you sign the paper, you can pay later.”

“The result of the signature means that the farmers are allowed to pay the government money. Now it’s a loan and the banks have the right to collect it,” said Chen.

He remembered that when the banks came together, a man accompanied the judiciary, who he described as a thug.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is coming in to beat you,” he said.

After beating or vandalism, officials will force the peasant to borrow money from his neighbor. Otherwise, they would break the door of the farmhouse and rob him of his food and livestock to pay taxes.

“This is illegal against Chinese law,” Chen said.

But farmers have no place to appeal for justice.

Many farmers went to him for help, knowing that Chen had successfully helped disabled and migrant workers apply for compensation from the administration.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese migrant workers arrive to board a train at Shanghai Station before returning to their hometown for the Lunar New Year holiday on February 8, 2007. (Mark Ralston / AFP via Getty Images)

Difficult to file a proceeding

In China, Chen assisted farmers in administrative litigation. This is well known in China as a “public lawsuit against the government.”

He explained that this is the most difficult part of Chinese law, as the CCP controls almost everything. He said that under the Communist regime, in addition to good legal knowledge, one needs great courage to file an administrative litigation.

“Some legal scholars and experts at Peking University and Shanghai University have said they would never touch it,” Chen said.

According to Mr. Chen, the first difficulty is to file a proceeding. There are no cases at all, as there is no case filing.

According to the Administrative Litigation Act of CCP, the litigation department is required to issue a written receipt upon receipt of the complaint and related documents. After that, the department has about 5-10 days to verify the proceedings.

You must then notify in writing whether the proceedings have been filed.

“Theoretically, if you think the decision is unreasonable, you can notify the High Court in writing. But in reality, the litigation department does not give you a receipt. It means you didn’t come anywhere in the case because you can’t submit it, “Chen said.

The Communist Party is abusing procedures to make it impossible to file proceedings, Chen said.

He gave one particular case filing experience as an example.

A female officer in the case filing department, named Liu, received complaints from Chen and his clients. She received the material and told her to go home and wait five days for the executive branch to decide whether to file a proceeding.

“I agree to wait five days, as required by law, but I need a written receipt of the complaint,” Chen told Liu.

However, Mr. Liu argued that the proceedings filing department did not have receipts issued by the administrative department.

Chen proposed that Liu file a complaint with the administrative divisions.

She went to the administrative division on the second floor with complaints and materials.

Then Chen said to Liu, “Your litigation department has received my complaint, so I now ask you to follow Chinese law to give me a written receipt. The proceedings are filed. Whether or not it is a decision to be made within a few days, but now you have to give me your receipt. This is a legal regulation, isn’t it? “

Liu lost his word. She admitted that she had received a complaint because she had recorded the entire process. But she wouldn’t have given him a receipt yet.

Chen told her that in this case the documents had to be returned, so she returned to the upstairs administrative division for a copy of the complaints and evidence that Chen had given her.

According to Mr. Chen, court officials rarely heard lawyers in China. One possible reason is that the authorities have never seen the general public with the courage and determination to enforce the law.

Epoch Times Photo
A 1998 file image of the Chinese plainclothes police asking a farmer with his child while a farmer is trying to turn produce into a falcon at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. (Goh Chai Hin / AFP via Getty Images)

After a while she returned to Chen and his client, but with no paperwork. She said the administrative division wanted to talk to him.

Encounter with administrative divisions

The president of the executive branch, also known as Liu, was called Chaowei. He came downstairs and summoned Chen and his client to the room next to the litigation filing department.

Chen told the Epoch Times that the room had a variety of torture devices, including rubber batons, handcuffs, and shackles.

Liu Chaowei told Chen: [documents], Get them back first. Discuss and confirm whether a proceeding will be filed. “

Chen wasn’t scared. He asked Liu, what does it mean to say, “You bring them back first”? Does that mean that legal proceedings have begun? Will you notify me in 5 days? “

But Liu said Chen had not signed the approval document with the client. Chen replied that he could sign the client immediately because all the clients were there, adding that it would not affect the court proceedings, with or without permission.

After giving many other excuses, Liu couldn’t persuade Chen. In the end, Liu was furious. “What you say doesn’t matter!” He exclaimed.

Chen replied: “Remember that there are laws and regulations in the state. It is illegal if you do not file a proceeding. You will be held liable.”

Liu left the room angry with a complaint and related documents. Chen told the client to follow him to see what he was going to do. Fortunately, Chen’s client was very courageous and chased him to Liu’s office.

Epoch Times Photo
A peasant woman claims to have been brutalized and killed by local authorities on August 18, 2005, when she joined another petitioner lining up outside the complaints office in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, central China. I cry with a picture of my son. Getty Images)

He was shocked when Liu found all three plaintiffs chasing him in his office. He asked them what they were for, and they made it very clear: “We are here for your receipt, the receipt for your file. . “

At that time, a person came out of the office next door and asked what was happening. The plaintiff told him he was there to sue the local town government. “He received our complaint, but he doesn’t give us a receipt,” they said.

The man said: “This should be given to them. Why don’t you give them a receipt?”

Chen said he didn’t know why others intervened. “Maybe he came from another department and had a different opinion,” Chen said. “Under such circumstances, with our efforts and cooperation, the administrative department had to issue us a receipt acknowledging that we had received our complaint.”

Now they have been able to file a proceeding.

Chinese law is just a piece of paper

Chinese popular human rights activist Chen Guangcheng poses in Paris on August 31, 2015.  (LionelBonaventure / AFP / Getty Images)
Chinese popular human rights activist Chen Guangcheng poses in Paris on August 31, 2015. (LionelBonaventure / AFP / Getty Images)

The trouble only continued after the proceedings were filed.

“As a party to the proceedings, you are obliged to go to court when the court tells you,” Chen said.

Courts deliberately afflict plaintiffs, such as persons with disabilities and poor peasants, by calling on them to appear frequently. Frequent trips will be an extra financial burden for the plaintiff.

Local government officials as defendants in the case did not appear in court when the court had to hold a hearing at the allegations of Mr Chen and his client. Under these circumstances, in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, in the absence of the accused, the court should immediately and unconditionally rule in favor of the plaintiff.

“But courts often act as defendants’ agents, causing numerous problems for plaintiffs,” Chen said.

“Actually, the Chinese Communist Party isn’t looking at the law. What the law provides is just a piece of paper. The Communist Party only enforces it if it is beneficial to itself. Let’s do it, “he said.

“As for local governments, they are backed by central authorities. With the support of high power, they are not bothered by the law. Their actions are exactly what happened in the Cultural Revolution. They are their will. I will do whatever I want to do with it, “Chen said.

Mr Chen said he was considered a “national enemy” by the CCP after many years of creating a negative story of the administration by helping Chinese civilians defend their rights.