According to a news release from ChinaAid, on Monday morning, Zhang Kai traveled to Linfen, Shanxi, to file an administrative lawsuit for the on behalf of the sentenced pastors in the Linfen Church case. (See www.helplinfen.com/stories.html)
ChinaAid said this was his fourth attempt to ask the court to allow the administrative suit to be filed, since the first three were rejected by the court. As he approached the doors to the courtroom, the first guard allowed him to enter the intermediate court. After looking at the name on his attorney’s certificate, the police officer guarding the inner room suddenly asked, “Are you Zhang Kai the attorney?”
When Zhang Kai said he was, the police officer immediately blocked him from entering. ChinaAid reported he said, “You are not allowed to go in.”
ChinaAid said Zhang Kai asked why they were treating him differently than others entering the courthouse, and the police officer informed him that they had received an “order from their superiors, ” saying that the attorney Zhang Kai was forbidden to enter the courtroom. The officer vaguely referred to the reason as being a matter of national security.
ChinaAid said this latest restriction on Zhang Kai’s movements and rights as an attorney follows soon after a recent event at a Beijing airport on July 4, where he was prevented by customs officials from traveling to the U.S. for a legal training conference.
ChinaAid said on July 4, Zhang Kai arrived at the airport with legal colleagues, Dai Jinbo (Floyd) and Yang Peng (Daniel), as the prepared to leave for a week-long legal training seminar in Chicago, IL. As the men filed through customs and prepared to board the plane, officials stopped Zhang Kai at the gate.
China Aid said Yang Peng recalled, “At the airport when he (Zhang Kai) was blocked, there was no official explanation. Zhang Kai said it was an ‘order from higher officials.’ He said they told him if he were to leave the country, he would harm national security.”
ChinaAid said Yang Peng was concerned about the explanation. He said, “We were invited to come to the U.S. for professional law training. It is difficult for me to see how it relates to national security.”
Fellow lawyer Dai Jinbo also expressed his regrets. “I am sorry that Zhang Kai was not able to join us. I feel bad that he missed out on such a great opportunity to learn.”
China Aid said that both Mr. Yang and Mr. Dai recently successfully completed legal training, and are grateful for the opportunity to learn more about legal issues from experts in the field.
“According to legal experts, ” said ChinaAid President Bob Fu speaking in a news release, “This may be the first time the authorities have forbidden a licensed, practicing lawyer to enter into a court yard, without legal justification or previous official restrictions on his license. Zhang Kai is one of the lawyers representing the Linfen case. It directly contradicts the rights of attorneys and rule of law.”
ChinaAid urges the Chinese authorities to justify the restrictions against Zhang Kai according to the law. The group said, “We encourage the international community to pray for Mr. Zhang’s restored freedom of movement and ability to practice law according to the Chinese Constitution.”
For more about ChinaAid go to www.ChinaAid.org