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Chinese lawyers provide voluntary legal assistance to Detained Tibetans
Epoch Times[Tuesday, April 08, 2008 20:34]
By Xin Fei

According to recent media reports in China, several hundred Tibetans were arrested during the "March 14" unrest in Tibet. Expressing their serious concerns about the incident, eighteen lawyers in China openly signed on as volunteers on April 2 to provide legal assistance to the detained Tibetans. More lawyers are expected to join the campaign.

Wen Haibo, a lawyer associated with the Yitong law firm in Beijing, was among the group of attorneys who stepped forward first. When interviewed by The Epoch Times on April 4, Wen said, "We believe Tibetans may encounter greater cultural and legal difficulties. With these considerations in my mind, I feel, as a lawyer, I have the obligation to provide some free legal assistance to them."

Talking about the difficulties of mediating the case and the potential pressure from the Chinese regime, Wen said, "Personally, I would stay rather calm. From my standpoint, I don't treat it as a very sensitive, politically charged case. Instead, I view it as a regular legal matter."

When asked how he viewed China's suppression of Tibetans, Wen commented, "I have very limited information at the present moment. As I begin my involvement in the case and receive more detailed information, I should gain a more comprehensive understanding of the situation." During the interview, he emphasized that case investigation is a process of continuous efforts in digging out and accumulating deeper understanding of the facts.

As to the Chinese communist regime's allegation that Tibetans have been seeking "Tibet Independence" or agitating "riots," Wen remarked, "Because I wasn't present on the site of the incident in question, I can't adopt that logic directly. For bringing forth any personal opinion, I will need to conduct a practical investigation before reaching any conclusions." He added, "Being lawyers, we should not politicize the event. At least, I will treat it as a regular criminal case and handle it purely from the angle of legal techniques."

Wen also urged the authorities to strictly obey the procedure as stipulated in the constitution and the legal codes related to criminal investigation when the detained Tibetans are prosecuted. "Inquisition by torture for confession should be eradicated," he insisted.

In the wake of the Tibet incident, the international society's condemnation over the Chinese regime's violent suppression and voice to boycott the Beijing Olympics keep escalating. Political leaders of various countries have indicated in succession that they would not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

Wen said, "I am aware of this. I respect their decision if it is made based on their understanding of the facts. The Olympic Games have certainly become a sensitive issue now." He also said that he would not change his decision of providing legal assistance to the Tibetans because of such sensitivity.

The lawyers who have signed on to provide the Tibetan detainees with free legal assistance are: Cheng Hai (Zhenghai law firm in Beijing), Guo Yan (in Guangdong Provnince), Jiang Tianyong & Li Xiongbing (Gaobo Longhua law firm in Beijing), Li Dunyong (Gongxin law firm in Beijing), Li Subing, Liu Yajun and Wen Haibao (Yitong law firm in Beijing), Mo Hongluo (Runluo law firm in Henan Province), Peng Jian (Han Liang law firm in Beijing), Sun Jianguo (Jialan law firm in Jiangsu Province), Teng Biao (Huayi law firm in Beijing), Tang Jingling (Guangdong Province), Wei Rujiu (Shengting law firm in Beijing), Wu Hongwei (Haiming law firm in Beijing), Zhang Hai (Huaguan law firm in Shandong Province), Zhang Jiankang (Sha'anxi) and Zhang Jianguo (Dongfang Hengxin law firm in Beijing).

The e-mail address for lawyers' sign-on is: tibetlawyer@gmail.com.
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