On 16 May 2014 human rights defender and lawyer Mr Tang Jingling was taken from his home by police in Guangzhou and detained on charges of 'picking quarrels and provoking trouble'.
A day earlier, it was confirmed that fellow lawyer and human rights defender Mr Liu Shihui is being detained by police in Shanghai, following his sudden disappearance on 13 May 2014. Both Tang Jingling and Liu Shihui are Guangzhou-based legal activists whose licenses to practise law have been revoked as a result of their work in defence of human rights.
At around 10am, police officers reportedly arrived at the home of Tang Jingling and carried out a search of his home that lasted two hours. During this time, Tang Jingling and his wife were instructed to sit still and were not permitted to use the telephone. When the search concluded, the police officers detained Tang Jingling and confiscated a desktop computer, a laptop, three mobile phones and a number of books. Prior to his detention, Tang Jingling had reportedly received a number of warnings from the police for his involvement in commemoration activities surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and the subsequent crackdown in 1989.
Liu Shihui has been repeatedly targeted due to his work, which has included numerous investigations into rights abuses and helping victims of these abuses file lawsuits. On 20 February 2011, Liu Shihui was brutally assaulted as he attempted to photograph a street protest in Guangzhou. Two days later he was disappeared and held in incommunicado detention for 108 days, an experience which he later blogged about. Since then, he has been subjected to constant harassment by the state security services and has been forced to return to Inner Mongolia several times.
Tang Jingling and Liu Shihui join dozens of human rights defenders around the country who have been detained in advance of the 25th anniversary of the violent crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests on 3-4 June 1989. Among those detained are Messers Pu Zhiqiang, Hu Shigen, Xu Youyu, Hao Jian and Ms Liu Di, about whom Front Line Defenders issued an Urgent Appeal on 6 May 2014.