The scene of the crime: Dream City at Xiongfeng Hotel
Yesterday saw new developments in the case of Deng Yujiao, an employee of a leisure center in Hubei who stabbed a goverment official to death. According to Deng, she was acting in self-defense against a man who was sexually assaulting her, but the police and government have been advancing the idea that she was emotionally unstable and killed the official unprovoked.
Late last week, Deng's lawyers complained that they were being stonewalled by police as they attempted to collect evidence of sexual assualt. Then yesterday, the Baodong County government issued a statement announcing that Deng's lawyers had been dismissed for incompetence.
The lawyers fired back with their own statement questioning the government's actions. Here are the two statements, courtesy of Hecaitou, who posted both of them to his blog:
Badong County government spokesperson releases latest developments in Deng Yujiao case
Badong County government press spokesperson Ouyang Kaiping has released the latest developments in the Deng Yujiao investigation.
For several days, the police have increased their efforts to investigate the Deng Yujiao case. The spokesperson's release said that because the Dream City at the leisure center of Xiongfeng Hotel was suspected of being connected to the sex trade, police had summoned hotel manager He Dehong in accordance with the law. Further questioning of Deng Yujiao and witnesses and a return to the scene of the crime proved that there was no truth to the allegation that Deng had been raped. Deng, her mother, and her family were very upset that their lawyers had been publicizing the "Deng Yujiao rape case" without regard for the truth. Deng's mother Zhang Shumei has now stated that she has dismissed the lawyers, reason being that the lawyers had not carried out their duties, had not provided any material legal assistance, and had diverged from their role as advocates. An investigation revealed that the "third party" who came to public attention in the Deng Yujiao case was Deng Zhongjia of the financial offices of Yesanguan, Badong County. Police determined that he had not broken the law.
In addition, now that the Deng Yujiao case has come to the attention of the public at large, to insure transparency, timeliness, accuracy, and authoritativeness of information, Badong County government press spokesperson Ouyang Kaiping will be responsible for issuing information and reporting on the latest developments in the case.
Deng's (former) lawyers responded with a blog post:
A statement on the Deng Yujiao case
Early this morning, we read a press release on the Changjiang Badong website that claimed that Deng Yujiao's mother Zhang Shumei had declared that she had dismissed the two of us as legal counsel. We were shocked. Ever since Zhang had been taken off by Yesanguang police station director Tan Jing on May 21, straightforward communication had been difficult, and we were entirely unaware as to whether we had been dismissed. In addition, for this statement to come directly from the mouth of the government was highly irregular and very suspicious.
At 10:40 am, Zhang Shumei telephoned us to say that what the government press release said about her statement was false. She had not decided to dismiss us, and she asked to see us in person. We waited, and at around 4pm, Zhang suddenly called us to ask to dismiss us as legal counsel. She was unwilling to talk to us in person.
Prior to this, the media reported that we had discovered possible evidence of "rape" in this case. These were false reports. We brought up "sexual assault," which would constitute the crime of "attempted rape," not "rape" as it is colloquially understood.
We wish to express our strong indignation at the improper actions of the government, and we express our gratitude to our seniors and colleagues Zhang Sizhi and Pu Zhiqiang for their Letter to Xia Lin on the Deng Yujiao case.
Beijing Huayi Law Offices
Xia Lin, Xia Nan
In the letter from Zhang Sizhi and Pu Zhiqiang, the two well-known activist lawyers express their support and reassurance to Deng's lawyers.
Update (2009.05.25): An Internet analysis of the situation, translated by ESWN.
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