(Minghui.org) On March 28, 2014, Ms. Vani Selvarajah, representative of Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, raised the issue of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China at the United Nations Human Rights Council meetings. In her speech, she also condemned the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) violations of the rights of lawyers who defend practitioners.

Organ Harvesting Issue Raised Again

This was the second time the organ harvesting issue was raised at the UN Human Rights Council meeting, following the speech of Ms. Anne-Tamara Lorre , the UN representative from Canada, on March 12.

Ms. Selvarajah expressed her organization's concern over the issue and cited the December 2013 European Parliament resolution , addressing the same issue, as well as the 1.5 million signatures DAFOH (Doctors against Forced Organ Harvesting) collected and submitted to the Chairman of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.

Claims That China's Human Rights Situation Is Improving Are Inappropriate

The U.S. Department of State's 2013 Human Rights Country Report on China stated that, “When defendants were able to retain counsel in politically sensitive cases, government officials sometimes prevented attorneys from organizing an effective defense. Tactics employed by court and government officials included unlawful detentions, disbarment, harassment and physical intimidation, and denial of access to evidence and to clients.

“In April [2013], a court in Jiangsu Province placed Beijing rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang under a 10-day judicial detention for 'serious violations of court procedure.' The violations consisted of using his mobile telephone to copy a set of original documents he was submitting to the court during the trial of a Falun Gong practitioner.”

Lawyer Gao Zhisheng is still imprisoned for his work defending activists and religious minorities and documenting human rights abuses in China.

Considering the crimes of organ harvesting, obstruction of justice and denial of citizens' rights to legal counsel, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada pointed out that the argument that China's human rights situation is making progress is inappropriate.

Lawyers on Hunger Strike to Protest Persecution

In March 2014, lawyers Tang Jitian, Jiang Tianyong, Wang Cheng, and Zhang Junjie were arrested and tortured because of their legal assistance to Falun Gong practitioners illegally detained at the Jiansanjiang Brainwashing Center in Heilongjiang Province.

On March 25, lawyers Li Jinxing and Zhang Lei started a hunger strike outside of Jiansanjiang Qixing Detention Center to protest the CCP's denial of their access to the four detained lawyers. Their hunger strike passed 48 hours on March 27. They were extremely weak.

Mr. Zhang Junjie was released on March 27. Three of his ribs were broken while in police custody. In the morning of March 29, all lawyers and supporters outside of the Qixing Detention Center were rounded up. Only policemen remained there.

Mr. Tang and Jiang's past persecution experience was documented in the US State Department Human Rights Country Report: “In May [2013] authorities in Sichuan Province detained and beat lawyers Tang Jitian and Jiang Tianyong as they attempted to visit a black jail in Ziyang that reportedly holds followers of the banned Falun Gong movement.”