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US Congress to hear cases of detained Chinese rights lawyers, Taiwanese NGO worker

The wives of three Chinese human rights lawyers and a Taiwanese NGO worker who are detained in mainland China will testify at a US Congress hearing Thursday afternoon.

The four women are: Lee Ching-yu, wife of Taiwanese NGO worker Lee Ming-cheh; Chen Guiqiu, wife of rights lawyer Xie Yang; Jin Bianling, wife of ex-lawyer Jiang Tianyong; and Wang Yanfang, wife of lawyer Tang Jingling.

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(L-R) Lee Ching-yu, Chen Guiqiu, Jin Bianling, Wang Yanfang. Photo: RFA/Apple Daily/Wikimedia Commons.

Their testimonies will be presented before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations. The witnesses will be hosted by Christian human rights NGO ChinaAid in Washington DC.

Congressman Ed Royce said the hearing aims to “examine the torture, disappearances, and detention of human rights lawyers and democracy advocates in China,” according to a press release from the NGO.

The three wives of the imprisoned Chinese rights lawyers are already living in the United States. While Jin Bianling relocated long before her husband was arrested last year, Chen Guiqiu was only confirmed to have arrived in Texas last week after escaping through Thailand.

See also: Safe in Texas: Wife of Chinese rights lawyer Xie Yang seeks US asylum after brazen escape

Lee Ching-yu departed for the US capital from Taiwan on Tuesday. Lee and others accompanying her to the US told Where Is Lee – a website supporting her husband – that she had no choice but to seek international assistance.

“We completely understand that the Taiwanese government is unable to do more in relation to Lee Ming-cheh’s disappearance, because cross-strait relations have completely broken down,” they said.

According to ChinaAid, the delegation will also speak to government officials and NGO leaders.

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US Congress building. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Among the four subjects of Thursday afternoon’s congressional hearing, rights lawyer Tang Jingling was the first to be detained in 2014. Fellow attorney Xie Yang was arrested during the Chinese government’s nationwide crackdown on rights lawyers in July 2015.

Jiang Tianyong was a former lawyer whose licence was revoked after he represented clients in a number of prominent rights cases. He disappeared in November 2016 following an attempt to visit the imprisoned Xie Yang. Authorities confirmed he was being held in custody in December.

Lee Ming-cheh disappeared after crossing the Macau border into mainland China earlier this year. The government said in late March that he was being held under suspicion of activities that endanger state security.

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US Congress to hear cases of detained Chinese rights lawyers, Taiwanese NGO worker