Hundreds of lawyers and scholars have signed a “stern declaration” condemning court police in Nanning, capital of southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, who allegedly beat an attorney and tore his clothes off on Friday after he refused to hand over his phone for inspection.
Wu Liangshu shows a scrape on his finger, which he suffered at the hands of Qingxiu District Court police, Nanning, Guangxi region, June 3, 2016. Courtesy of Wu Liangshu
The attorney, Wu Liangshu, told Sixth Tone the quarrel started because the court refused to give him a receipt after he tried to file a contract dispute case.
A letter signed by more than 800 lawyers and scholars was posted online on Sunday by Wang Fu, a partner in a Beijing law firm. In it, the signatories ask for the court to release security camera footage of the incident and for the people involved to be punished.
Ao Xuanshan, a partner at the Guohai Law Firm, where Wu works, told Sixth Tone they hope “the relevant departments will conduct an objective and fair investigation” into the incident.
On Monday afternoon the All China Lawyer’s Association put out a short announcement on its website saying they are assisting in the investigation.
According to a statement posted to the website of the Nanning Qingxiu District People’s Court, court police will be severely punished if they are found to have made transgressions.
On Monday calls to the court by Sixth Tone went unanswered.
The court’s statement said Wu was making recordings on his phone while he filed complaints to the court’s petition office and discipline inspection office. After Wu refused to hand over his phone, a tussle began between him and court police, it said. The scuffle was so intense that the stitching in his clothes gave way, and Wu was left without a large part of his right pant leg, exposing his underwear.
The court stressed that Wu was repeatedly offered a new pair of pants but refused them.
Wu was later photographed outside the courthouse with his pants torn and his shirt open, exposing his chest and stomach.
The lawyers’ letter said Wu wasn’t making any recordings to begin with, and that court police were being overly suspicious. It also stressed that making recordings in a courthouse is only forbidden during court hearings, so Wu would not have been doing anything illegal either way.
“If this court behaves in such a way,” the lawyers’ letter said at the end, “could it be that so-called justice for the people and rule of law are a joke?”
Additional reporting by Wang Lianzhang.
(Header image: Wu Liangshu poses for a picture in front of the Qingxiu District Court after his pants were torn by court police, Nanning, Guangxi region, June 3, 2016. Courtesy of Wu Liangshu)