The wife of high-profile rights lawyer Xie Yanyi won a limited award from a district court in Beijing on Tuesday, January 14, against the landlord who, under pressure from the police, evicted her family last year.
The hearing for the lawsuit filed by Yuan Shanshan opened in the Miyun District People’s Court in a suburb of Beijing, with judges deciding the process would continue in spite of the defendant’s absence.
The judge found that Yuan was entitled to the reimbursement of rent monies paid in advance, but not for the recovery of personal items lost in the forced eviction process.
Yuan was also ordered to pay court costs, she told RFA after the case was wrapped up.
“I told the judge that the landlord called me two days ago to try to settle, and said that it was the Miyuan urban management police, or “chengguan”who wouldn’t let him rent the place to us,” she said.
But the judge denied Yuan’s request to have the local chengguan added to the case as a defendant, she said.
The judge also rejected witness testimony provided by Yuan, although video footage was allowed.
“The court let the police station very obviously off the hook, and didn’t force the landlord to appear,” Yuan said. “If I had had no video evidence, he wouldn’t have even [ordered my rent repaid].”
“All of this persecution stems from the fact that the human rights lawyers [detained, questioned and jailed] since July 2015 have stuck to their principles,” she said.
“I don’t even want to think about how bad it could get in future: I have to just carry on.”
A nationwide police operation under the administration of President Xi Jinping has targeted more than 300 lawyers, law firms, and related activists for questioning, detention, imprisonment, debarring, and travel bans since it launched in July 2015.
Li Wenzu, whose lawyer husband Wang Quanzhang was jailed in the crackdown after spending years in pretrial detention, said she has also been targeted for eviction after police put pressure on her landlord.
“Our family also experienced persecution in the form of forcible relocation after July 2015,” Li told RFA.
“The authorities target the families of dissidents and prisoners of conscience for eviction. It’s a very common method, which is aimed at causing huge psychological pressure and trouble for us.”
Beijing-based rights activist Ye Jinghuan agreed, saying the authorities were acting in a criminal manner.
“They have used such methods in all of the July 2015 cases to perpetrate violence against family members [of rights lawyers],” Ye said.
“It is appalling and criminal behaviour.” (Source: RFA)