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China’s ‘war on law’: victims’ wives tell US Congress of torture and trauma

Women whose husbands were targets of Communist party crackdown on human rights lawyers call for US sanctions

The wives of some of the most prominent victims of Xi Jinpings crackdown on civil society have stepped up their campaign for justice, backing calls for US sanctions against Chinese officials involved in allegedly barbaric instances of torture and abuse.

Addressing a congressional hearing in Washington on Thursday, the status of women, whose husbands were among the key targets of a Communist party offensive against human rights lawyers, detailed the physical and psychological trauma incurred by Chinas so-called struggle on law.

Chen Guiqiu, who fled to the United States in March, told of how her husband, the lawyer Xie Yang, had been imprisoned and viciously tortured because of his operate defending victims of country grabs, religion abuse and dissidents.

She described her husbands ordeal as an example of Chinas lawlessness and claimed that at his most recent trial Xie had been was necessary to refute detailed claims that he had been the victim of sustained and brutal campaign of being subjected to torture.

Wang Yanfeng, the spouse of Tang Jingling, a lawyer and democracy activist who was prison in 2016 in what campaigners described as a gross unfairnes, said her husband had suffered repeated incantations of abuse, menaces and torment. Today other[ solicitors and political prisoner] are still suffering from such torment, Wang replied, calling on US president Donald Trump to challenge China over such abuses.

In a video content, Li Wenzu, the spouse of lawyer Wang Quanzhang, said she had heard good-for-nothing from him since he was seized by police at the start of the campaign against solicitors in July 2015. I am profoundly concerned about my husbands safety. I dont known better his health is. I dont know whether he has been left disabled by the torment. I dont even know whether he is alive.

Wang Qiaoling, whose partner, Li Heping, recently emerged from a 22 -month stint in detention, said he returned home seeming 20 years younger and had told of being forced to sit for hours in stress positions and being shackled with chains. He suffered from very cruel and sick torment, Wang added.

Also giving testimony was Lee Chin-yu, whose partner, the Taiwanese human rights activist Lee Ming-che, vanished into Chinese custody in March after travelling to the mainland. I stand alone before you today to plead for your help for my husband, Lee replied, calling on Washington to pressure China to end her husbands illegitimate detention.

Since Chinas crackdown on solicitors began nearly two years ago, its victims wives have risen as a relentless and forceful voice of opposition, often use humorous online videos and public concerts to champion their cause. They say they have done so in defiance of awareness-raising campaigns of state-sponsored intimidation that has seen them trailed by undercover agents, are working to enrol their children into schools or be evicted from their homes.

Terry Halliday, the author of a book about Chinas human rights lawyers, said the lawyers wives had opened up a brand-new path of conflict that we have not verified before in China.

These females have become a very powerful and visible public existence both of criticism of the governmental forces, of pleas for the release of their loved-ones but also impugning China in the eyes of the world. It is remarkable.

Its a whole new front, Halliday added. It is not so easy for the government to silence wives and daughters.

Thursdays hearing was part of a move by human rights groups to convince the Trump administration to use a law “ve called the” Magnitsky Act to deliver sanctions such as travelling forbids or property seizures against Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses.

We should be seeking to hold accountable any Chinese officials complicit in torment, human rights abuses and illegal detentions, replied Chris Smith, the Republican congressman who chaired its present session and said he was compiling a listing of possibilities targets.

Smith said he hoped such action could help objective the shocking, offensive, immoral, barbaric and inhumane treatment of Chinese activists that has accelerated since Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

While President Xi Jinping seems feted at Davos and lauded in national capitals for his public commitments to openness, his government is torturing and mistreating those seeking rights guaranteed by Chinas own constitution, Smith replied.

China has rebuffed claims of torture against the human rights lawyers it has imprisoned, dismissing such allegations as fake report.

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