China: Incommunicado detention of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong

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CHN 001 / 0117 / OBS 002
Enforced disappearance /
Arbitrary and incommunicado detention /
Judicial harassment
January 9, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the incommunicado detention of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, a leader of the China Human Rights Lawyers Group[1] and an outspoken supporter of detained rights lawyers from the “709 Crackdown”[2].

According to the information received, since he was taken into custody by public security officers on November 21, 2016, Chinese authorities have failed to disclose Mr. Jiang Tianyong’s whereabouts and have prevented his lawyers from having access to him. Most recently, on December 29, 2016, Changsha Public Security Bureau rejected the request of his defence lawyer to meet him.

On November 21, 2016, Mr. Jiang Tianyong went missing as he was meant to board a train to Beijing from Changsha in Hunan Province, where he had met the wife and lawyers of Mr. Xie Yang, a “709 Crackdown” human rights lawyer currently detained at Changsha City Detention Centre[3]. Mr. Jiang’s family members and lawyers immediately reported his disappearance to the authorities. However, the police refused to file a missing person case.

On December 16, 2016, Chinese authorities finally confirmed through media reports that Mr. Jiang Tianyong had been taken into custody by public security officers, and given a nine-day administrative detention for “fraudulent use of another person’s ID”. They also specified that on December 1, 2016, he was placed under “compulsory criminal measures” for “illegally possessing documents classified as State secrets” (under Article 282 of Criminal Law) and “illegally disseminating State secrets to overseas [sources]” (Article 111) and other unnamed “crimes”. If convicted under Article 111, Mr. Jiang faces life imprisonment.

On December 23, 2016, Mr. Jiang’s family members received a notification from the Changsha City Public Security Bureau, informing that he had been put under residential surveillance at an unknown “place designated by the police”, a form of extrajudicial secret detention, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of State power” (Article 105 (2)). Under such circumstances, in the absence of access to his lawyers, the Observatory fears that Mr. Jiang might be subjected to torture to force him to confess while being interrogated.

The Observatory strongly condemns the incommunicado detention of Mr. Jiang Tianyong, and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him as his detention appears to be only aimed at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Jiang Tianyong’s licence was revoked in 2009 for defending or supporting many high-profile human rights defenders. Since then, Mr. Jiang has taken an active role in organizing Chinese human rights lawyers to provide legal counsel to victims of rights abuses and criticized authorities’ abuses of legal rights.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the People’s Republic of China asking them to:

I. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Jiang Tianyong, as well as that of all human rights defenders in the People’s Republic of China;

II. Immediately disclose Mr. Jiang Tianyong’s whereabouts and release him immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;

III. Guarantee his right to a fair trial, as protected under international law, including access to his lawyers;

IV. Put an end to all forms of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Mr. Jiang Tianyong and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

V. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;

VI. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by the People’s Republic of China.


  • Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 659 611 09 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Email: [email protected]
  • Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216, Email: [email protected]
  • H.E. Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 793 70 14, E-mail: [email protected]
  • H.E. Mr. QU XING, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32-2-7792895; Email:[email protected]

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of the People’s Republic of China in your respective country.


Geneva-Paris, January 9, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by OMCT and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

[1] The China Human Rights Lawyers Group is a network of rights lawyers in China founded on September 13, 2013. In 2016, it had a membership of 315 lawyers.

[2] For more information, see the Joint Statement issued on January 15, 2016.

[3] For more information, see