Xie Yang is a Hunan-based human rights lawyer who represented the family of Xu Chunhe, a man shot dead by police in Heilongjiang province in May 2015. He has also represented those involved in the New Citizens Movement , the Chinese Democratic Party, Christians and victims of land grabbing.
According to the lawyer’s wife, Chen Guiqiu, on Twitter, “State security forces took Xie away on January 11, and his whereabouts have been unknown ever since.” In a later tweet, Chen asks the authorities of the city of Changsha, in the center of the country, the immediate release of her husband.
Xie was arrested in 2015 and tried in 2017 for “subversion against the power of the State” and “disrupting the order”, crimes frequently used in China against activists and dissidents. The lawyer, who after his arrest denounced torture by the authorities, finally agreed with them on a confession in which denied them in exchange for not being imposed a criminal sanction and being allowed to continue exercising.
In communications with his lawyers in August 2016 and January 2017, Xie Yang reported being tortured by officers at the Changsha Detention Center, where he was confined: acts of verbal harassment, threats, beatings by the guards and other inmates under the orders of the guards, and hanging from the ceiling.
In the face of international concern, Chinese authorities responded with a smear campaign against another detained lawyer, Jiang Tiangyong, currently imprisoned in Changsha. Chinese media claimed that Jiang Tianyong had colluded with Xie Yang’s wife to fabricate the torture claims; in a televised interview, Jiang Tianyong confirmed this story. Jiang Tianyong’s family and colleagues believe that Jiang Tianyong’s statements were made under duress.
The Chinese authorities have continued to harass Xie Yang’s family and lawyer during his detention. In early March 2017, the authorities tried to block the emigration of Xie Yang’s family from Thailand to the United States; later that month, authorities forced Xie Yang’s lawyer, Chen Jiangang, to drop Xie Yang’s case.
When Xie Yang’s trial was finally scheduled for late April 2017, almost two years after the defender’s arrest, human rights defenders and foreign diplomats planning to attend the trial were frustrated by a last-minute postponement of the trial to an unspecified date.
That made him the the only lawyer of those affected by the “709” raids to keep his license and, in an unpublished case, he was released (supervised) on bail in August 2017, four months before his sentence was known, in which he was not sentence imposed.
However, in 2020 they canceled the work permit of Xie to continue practicing his profession. In November 2021, Xie had problems with her health pass on the phone when she planned to visit Zhang Zhan’s mother, now a citizen. prisoner who reported from Wuhan on the early stages of the pandemic and who went on a hunger strike last year.
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