Mainland China human rights lawyer hired to represent Hong Kong fugitive accuses authorities of ‘framing’ him to revoke licence

Natalie Wong
·3-min read

A mainland Chinese lawyer hired by the family of one of the Hong Kong fugitives recently jailed in Shenzhen has accused authorities of “framing” him over another case as a pretext for revoking his licence.

Zhengzhou-based Ren Quanniu broke his silence one day after he and another outspoken lawyer, Lu Siwei, received letters from separate provincial judicial agencies saying that their licences could be revoked in as little as three days if they did not request a hearing on the decision.

Without mentioning Ren’s involvement in the Hongkongers’ case, the Henan Provincial Department of Justice said in its letter that the lawyer faced disbarment over his handling of a 2018 case in which he represented a member of Falun Gong, a spiritual group regarded by Chinese authorities as a “cult organisation”.

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Lawyer Ren Quanniu photographed outside the Yantian People’s Procuratorate in Shenzhen in September. Photo: Handout
Lawyer Ren Quanniu photographed outside the Yantian People’s Procuratorate in Shenzhen in September. Photo: Handout

In a statement on Tuesday, Ren said all the views he had expressed in court relating to the Falun Gong case were legal and well-founded.

“The authorities’ accusations that I made adverse impacts to society is purely shameless framing,” he said. “The punishment is entirely a persecution of the profession.”

The human rights lawyer said the provincial judicial agency had no jurisdiction to revoke his licence, and demanded they apologise and immediately “rectify the mistake”.

Fugitive’s lawyer Lu Siwei slams ‘baffling suppression’ as he faces loss of licence

Ren said he would appeal against the revocation of his licence on Thursday at the latest, while Lu said an open hearing on his case would be held next Wednesday, though the legal community on the mainland held out little hope of a successful bid.

The pair had been appointed by the families of two of the 12 Hong Kong fugitives who were arrested by the Chinese coastguard last August while trying to flee to Taiwan, but both said they were repeatedly denied access to their clients.

Ten of the 12 – all but one of whom faced charges in Hong Kong stemming from 2019’s anti-government protests – were jailed in Shenzhen last week over illegal border crossing.

Lawyer Lu Siwei, who has also been threatened with disbarment in recent days. Photo: RTHK
Lawyer Lu Siwei, who has also been threatened with disbarment in recent days. Photo: RTHK

In the four months since the arrest of the Hongkongers, Ren and Lu had defied warnings from mainland authorities to drop the cases, and had complained in person to the Public Security Bureau and People’s Procuratorate in Shenzhen about being barred from meeting the detainees.

Ren did not mention his involvement in the Hongkongers’ case in his statement.

Relatives of Wong Wai-yin – one of the dozen Hong Kong fugitives – who had hired Ren, thanked him for insisting on his representation despite repeated threats from the authorities.

“[He] hasn’t done anything wrong. The revocation of his licence is a loss for Chinese citizens,” they said through a concern group.

Ren has taken on other sensitive cases in the past, including that of Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist sentenced last week to four years in prison for reporting on the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan.

This article Mainland China human rights lawyer hired to represent Hong Kong fugitive accuses authorities of ‘framing’ him to revoke licence first appeared on South China Morning Post

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