Three Chinese lawyers who were whisked away by plainclothes police last month say they were tortured and threatened. Tang Jitian, Wang Cheng, and Jiang Tianyong were detained while protesting a “black jail” holding practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned by Beijing. The trio told the New York Times they were hung from the ceiling and beaten. Guards also threatened, variously, to bury them alive, take out their kidneys and feed them to dogs “like Kim Jong Un’s uncle,” they said.
Tang, Wang and Jiang were released from a detention center in Heilongjiang province, in China’s northeast, on April 6, after spending 15 days in prison for “using an evil cult to endanger society.” In 1999, Beijing declared Falun Gong an “evil cult” and effectively banned the movement.
“The torture of human-rights lawyers in police custody isn’t just an assault against the individuals concerned, but also against the legal profession,” said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch’s China director, in a statement. “Without an independent investigation and accountability for the abuse, the government’s rule-of-law rhetoric rings very hollow.”