A group of nearly a dozen Chinese human rights lawyers who attempted to investigate an extralegal “brainwashing center” in the southeast of the country were violently set upon by guards on May 13, before being handed over to police, who beat them further and held them overnight before releasing them.
The lawyers went to visit the Er’ehu Legal Education Center in the city of Ziyang, Sichuan Province. The term “legal education center” is a euphemism employed by Chinese authorities to refer to places that carry out “thought reform,” otherwise known as brainwashing, on practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline. The Falun Gong website Minghui.org, documents a long and detailed history of mental and physical torture against Falun Gong at Er’ehu.
Seven lawyers were first arrested outside Er’ehu for “obstructing official business,” according to China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a research and advocacy network.
Four more lawyers were detained after rushing to Ziyang to intervene in the arrests; CHRD reports that they were detained and questioned before being released.
Jiang Tianyong, one of the individuals first reached after the incident, said in a May 14 interview with The Epoch Times: “We just arrived at the legal education center and didn’t expect them to be so aggressive and violent.