Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Chinese human rights lawyer defies his travel ban, reaches United States


Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at wnobserver.com

As a direct challenge to the decisions of the Chinese authorities, which have banned travel since April, a Chinese human rights lawyer arrived Sunday in the United States aboard a plane.

“I arrived with my family at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York late on the night of August 3, 2019,” Chen Jiangang said in a statement to AFP.

Customs officials at Beijing airport prevented him from leaving in April as he was preparing to board a flight to Seattle and was told he was not allowed to leave the country.

Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang was chosen to study English in the United States under the Hubert Humphrey Program, named after the late US Vice President, who provides a one-year scholarship in the United States to emerging leaders from around the world.

China has defended the travel ban as “in line with Chinese law,” and the State Department has said it is worrisome. His work as a human rights lawyer has caused him problems with the Chinese authorities.

Chen has been the defense of Chi Yang, a lawyer who handles sensitive political issues, particularly the defense of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, which included a campaign of arrests in 2015 of about 250 activists and lawyers.

Chen remained adamant in defense of the case, although the Chinese authorities had withdrawn his proxy for Xie Yang, and he stressed that his client had been tortured during the police custody.

In a separate incident in 2017 denounced by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chen stopped during his holiday with his family in Yunnan province in the south of the country.

His wife and two children were allowed to return to Beijing on board an airplane, while Chen said he was taken to Beijing on a car with a trip of 3,200 kilometers, accompanied by police.

“I have been directly threatened by officials representing the Chinese government simply for exercising my profession in following and defending the law,” Chen said, adding that he had been threatened with “enforced disappearance, torture and death”.

Read also: Police tests the patience of Hongkongers Tsunami with heavy tear gas shelling

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