Nearly 100 scholars, researchers and lawyers from home and abroad have signed a letter of solidarity with lawyer Tang Jitian, asking the Chinese government to allow him to travel to Japan to care for his seriously ill daughter on humanitarian grounds. At present, Tang has already booked a flight to Japan and hopes that the Chinese authorities will allow him to leave the country to accompany his daughter, who is unconscious.
Daughter’s serious illness makes father anxious
In a May 30 interview with the Voice of America, lawyer Tang Jitian said his daughter began to feel sick in mid-April and was worried that she might have contracted the New Coronavirus, but later the test results were negative. He was just feeling a little more secure when he lost contact with his daughter. Tang Jitian’s daughter is 25 years old and went to Japan two years ago to study.
With the help of a friend, Tang learned that his daughter had been admitted to a local hospital in Tokyo on April 30 with tuberculosis and her condition was very serious. He said his daughter’s serious illness has made him anxious and he hopes to be able to go to Japan immediately to look after her.
He said, “My daughter’s condition is really very serious and she has not been conscious for more than 20 days. The companionship of her relatives is very crucial to her health, especially in terms of recovery of consciousness. It’s not just about general affection, but I also consulted some professionals, so I wanted to be able to be by her side earlier (in Japan).”
Tang, a Beijing-based lawyer and human rights activist who has represented numerous human rights cases, walked out of the Luzhou City Central Court in Sichuan in April 2009 in protest of the judge’s repeated denial of his rights to defend his client. In 2010, the Beijing Judicial Bureau revoked Tang Jitian’s license to practice law for allegedly “disrupting court proceedings.
In February 2011, he was illegally detained and tortured during the Beijing authorities’ crackdown on Jasmine, and in October 2013, he was detained by the Jixi City State Security for five days for helping Falun Gong practitioners detained in a “study class. On November 11, 2017, while on his way to Hong Kong for medical treatment due to illness, Tang Jitian was banned from leaving the country by Shenzhen Luohu Customs on the grounds that he might “endanger national security.
Fearing that the previous ban would happen, Tang approached the head of Beijing’s Dongcheng District State Security Detachment, hoping they would allow him to visit and care for his daughter in Japan on humanitarian grounds. Tang Jitian said that while the other side initially responded positively, he was later told that “things were a little difficult” and that he should approach the Jilin public security department, where he is originally from. Tang said that the Beijing State Security Bureau has been in charge of his “control” and that it is up to the Beijing State Security Bureau to allow him to leave the country.
Humane hope for release
“As of May 30, nearly 100 experts, scholars, professors, and lawyers have signed the letter, including New York University law professor Kong Jierong, University of Chicago visiting professor Teng Biao, and Taiwan’s Academia Sinica Law Institute assistant researcher Chen Yujie. D., and others.
The appeal letter states that “Lawyer Tang is now anxiously trying to travel to Japan to visit his critically ill daughter, who is currently receiving treatment for tuberculosis in the Japanese intensive care unit,” and hopes that “the Chinese government will allow Lawyer Tang Jitian to travel to Japan to care for his daughter on the basis of humanitarianism and respect for his human rights obligations. .”
The appeal letter states that Article 13(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” However, “Lawyer Tang has been told that his departure from China would endanger national security, but the authorities have never clearly informed him how his departure would endanger national security.”
In an interview with Voice of America, Dr. Chen Yujie, an assistant researcher at the Institute of Legal Studies at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, said that Chinese authorities should let Tang Jitian leave the country based on humanitarian and human rights obligations, as his daughter is seriously ill in Japan and has no family to care for her. She said that leaving and returning to China is a basic human right of every citizen, and Tang Jitian has not committed any crime and should be allowed to leave the country, whether on the basis of humanity or kinship.
After all, kinship is universal, so we really hope that Tang Jitian can personally go to Japan to take care of his daughter,” she said. Therefore, we specifically mentioned in our letter that based on humanitarian considerations and based on China’s human rights obligations, both should allow lawyer Tang Jitian to go abroad to visit his daughter.”
Authorities suppress, ban from leaving the country
Chinese authorities often use various excuses to prevent or ban people they believe may endanger China’s national security from leaving the country. On January 28 of this year, Guo Feixiong (real name Yang Maodong), a prominent Chinese human rights defender and rights activist, was banned from leaving China by border control officials for allegedly “endangering national security” when he was preparing his passport and obtaining a visa to board a flight from Shanghai Pudong Airport to the United States to care for his cancer-stricken wife, Zhang Qing.
Chinese human rights lawyers also often face discontent and repression from the authorities for representing human rights cases, and since July 9, 2015, Chinese authorities have arrested, detained, summoned, and interviewed hundreds of human rights lawyers and defenders in 23 provinces. Some of them were later sentenced to prison, some had their lawyer’s license revoked, some were forced to “confess” publicly, and some were placed on a list of people banned from leaving the country. The Chinese authorities’ crackdown has been dubbed the “709 Lawyer Arrest Case.
The epidemic of the new coronavirus is still a global pandemic, and the outbreak in some parts of Japan has yet to be effectively controlled. Despite this, the Japanese government has granted Tang Yoshida a visa to Japan on humanitarian grounds. Due to the epidemic, many direct flights between China and Japan have been suspended, and Tang Jitian can only arrive in Japan by connecting flights.
Tang thanked his family, friends and people at home and abroad for their concern, support and help for more than a month on the condition of his seriously ill daughter. He said his daughter will be grateful if she gradually recovers. As a father, his only hope now is that the authorities will allow him “to go to Japan to accompany his daughter without any problems.