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Human Rights Activist and Attorney Stripped of his Rights

— January 25, 2017

Chinese human rights attorney Xie Yang claims he was forced into signing a false confession while being detained in China.

Basic human rights.  The very basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural freedoms human beings have come to expect.  We’re all entitled to them.  An individual can be called an activist who lobbies for them.  And yet time and again we hear stories of individuals being stripped of these basics.  We hear of others being discriminated against based on age, gender, race or sexual orientation, what have you, or even horrifying accounts of abuse based solely on these differences.  And then there are the countless stories of those who have been forced into submitting false confessions to crimes they simply did not commit after enduring hours, days, even weeks of painful interrogations or
torturous conditions by members of law enforcement without their attorneys present.  Innocent individuals are sent to prison for signing documents after a total, utter mental, emotional, or physical breakdown while those truly guilty are left roaming the streets.
Image Courtesy of Guardian
Image Courtesy of Guardian

Chinese human rights attorney and activist Xie Yang, 44 years of age, was one such victim, according to his lawyers.  Xie Yang claims he was forced into signing a false confession while being detained in China.  His captors, ten members of law enforcement, beat him and employed various torture techniques, such as depriving him of sleep or forcing him to maintain painful positions for extended periods of time.  He reluctantly offered his signature on the confession statement in order for the abuse to stop.

Xie Yang had reached a “complete mental breakdown” after multiple days of undergoing the stress of his circumstances, an experience recounted to his legal team who ensured his words were immediately transcribed and eventually released, against the will of authorities.  He stated that the police officers grabbed him, punched him, kicked him, kneed his stomach and otherwise attacked him during his captivation.  He had been subjected to a painful position for 20 hours at a time, which included sitting on top of a stack of plastic stools.  Xie Yang was operating on limited sleep, indicating they would only let him rest for two hours each day, and wasn’t mentally sound when his signature was submitted.  He just knew he was in desperate need of peace.

Image Courtesy of China Change
Image Courtesy of China Change

Xie Yang was among more than 300 attorneys and human rights activists detained in July 2015.  He was questioned about joining an illegal anti-Community party network, imprisoned and pretty quickly moved to a secret location.  The events that occurred in the prison are just as confidential and Xie Yang’s statements, unfortunately, are impossible to verify.  However, he has also stated that it was the goal of his captors to drive him mentally insane, and some of the individuals who were detained with him have indeed been diagnosed with serious Post Traumatic Stress related ailments and other mental orders.  Xie Yang’s legal team made the decision to release the transcripts despite the inevitable backlash to make others aware of the ill treatment and to help protest against such abuse.  After all, whether a person has committed a crime or not, everyone is entitled to their basic rights.  Law enforcement should advocate and be “a collective activist” against this behavior, not actively participate in it.


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