Qinglongshan Brainwashing Center, Jiansanjiang , Heilongjiang Province, China – four defense attorneys as well as a small group of people stood in the cold calling through the gates towards the white stone building for the release of those held inside. Inside the building, the officials and staff remained silent.
The detention center is part of a nationwide campaign from 2013-2015 to force Falun Gong practitioners to give up their beliefs, primarily through beatings and other torture.
“Fang Yuechun, you are committing crimes!” the lawyers with family and friends of those inside called from the front gate, referring to the Center Director.
The campaign to persecute Falun Gong practitioners is illegal in China, where freedom of belief is protected in the Chinese Constitution. The Communist Party, however, places itself above the law, and decides matters of law arbitrarily.
About twenty minutes after the group arrived, two local policemen arrived. When the attorneys asked if they were representing themselves or the police department, the officers didn’t give a clear answer.
The attorneys and family members stood outside the gate for over three hours in the freezing cold. They could not enter, and no one would come out to receive them. So, they called out to the detention center, demanding the release of those inside.
The entire time, the police simply watched.
The group left about 5:30, and shortly afterwards, news of the protest spread through China’s social media. In an interview with US-based radio station, Sound of Hope, Jiang Tianyong, one of the four attorneys, said, “This is a typical illegal detention, according to criminal law. Chinese law allows, for such instances, for anyone to stop the suspects and send them to the police.” In this case, the suspects are CCP officials.
The following day, the lawyers together with family members of those detained went to the Jiansanjiang Procuratorate, which functions as the prosecutor’s office in China.
Mr Jiang spoke with two officers in the Appeals Office about Yu Songjiang, who had been illegally arrested recently and was being held at the detention center. But the meetings finished without any results.
The lawyers requested to meet with the Procurator. Around 2 pm a local police officer threatened the attorneys and family members.
At 3 pm, Hao Hongjun, the Deputy Procurator, spoke with the attorneys and family members. Wang Cheng, one of the four attorneys, asked that the Procuratorate investigate the illegal activities occurring at the detention center. Hao attempted to separate the attorneys and the family members, but was stopped by Mr Jiang stopped him, who stated the legal implications of doing so.
In the end, Hao said he needed three months to provide a response to the cases of illegal detention as they weren’t authorized to address them themselves.