Global Tuidang Center



Call on China to Immediately Release Lawyer Tang Jitian, Who Has Been Extralegally Detained Since December 2021

Chinese human rights lawyer Tang Jitian - credit: China Change

China Change

Chinese human rights lawyer Tang Jitian (唐吉田) has been detained extralegally since December 10, 2021 by Beijing and Jilin state security under the pretext of “maintaining stability,” while his only daughter, Tang Zhengqi, is in a coma in Japan.

We understand that Mr. Tang has recently made repeated requests to the head of the State Security Bureau of Yanji City and the State Security Detachment of Yanbian Prefecture Public Security Bureau to end his inhumane and illegal detention. However, they all refused, saying that they needed to ask for instructions and consent from the State Security Bureau of the Jilin Provincial Public Security Department, the Beijing Public Security Bureau, and the Ministry of Public Security.

Mr. Tang has explained to the these agencies that his daughter is critically ill, that her care can no longer be delayed, and that continuing his detention will aggravate her condition and endanger her life. He said further that she is also in desperate financial difficulty.

Ms. Tang, who is suffering from severe tuberculosis, has been hospitalized at St. Luke’s Hospital in Tokyo for more than a year. She faces many challenges that only he, her father, can solve, including arranging for her treatment and raising the necessary funds to cover the costs of her medical care. He said that there is no one else who can take responsibility for these matters. Though his ex-wife, Liu Fenglan, is now in Japan taking care of their daughter on her own, Ms. Liu is suffering from both physical and psychological pain, and is on the verge of a breakdown.

Despite this dire situation, the Chinese Communist Party has deprived Mr. Tang of his personal freedom, leaving his ex-wife to struggle alone under the burden of such a devastating disaster, which is a complete violation of basic human decency.

Mr. Tang’s own health has been deteriorating since his detention. Due to previous beatings by the Chinese police, his thighs and elbows were injured; the recurring pain is often unbearable. In addition, he is also suffering from lumbar spine tuberculosis and there is a high risk this his condition could flare up again at any time. He needs to receive regular medical checkups for his medical condition, but he has not been examined by a physician since last year; he is now overdue to have another exam. Furthermore, Mr. Tang receives little sunlight in custody and has no access to normal activities.

In addition, because of worry for his daughter, he has been feeling quite depressed and as a result, his blood sugar levels have risen dangerously. Mr. Tang’s gums are swollen and bleeding, the corners of his mouth are blistered, and he suffers from impaired vision. We recently learned that on the night of June 3, Mr. Tang suddenly collapsed while using the toilet, hitting his head on the ground. He has shown symptoms of a concussion from his fall.

The Chinese government must not turn a blind eye to his suffering and allow yet another tragedy to happen.

Tang Jitian was a prosecutor who could have enjoyed a comfortable life working for the Party and the State. However, for the sake of the rule of law and democracy in China, he decided to become a human rights lawyer to defend the dignity of the law and protect the basic human rights of the Chinese people.

Mr. Tang has been subjected to horrific persecution by the Chinese government. He has been repeatedly harassed, followed, illegally detained and even brutally beaten for his defense of human rights. The Chinese government has done this under the pretext of maintaining stability. Furthermore, his lawyer’s license was illegally revoked by the Chinese authorities in 2010 after he tried to promote direct elections in the Lawyer’s Association.

However, he has never given up fighting on the front lines to defend human rights. As a result, Mr. Tang was recognized for his important work when he was given the 2018 “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” Human Rights Prize of the French Republic, awarded each year by the Prime Minister of the French Government.

Mr. Tang and his family urgently need help. We call on the international community to urge the Chinese government to respect and protect human rights and to fulfill its international obligations to protect human rights as a member of the international community. We also urge China to immediately restore the personal freedom of lawyer Tang Jitian.

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