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Gao Yu's garden 'forcibly destroyed'

The garden of former DW journalist Gao Yu has reportedly been destroyed by Chinese authorities, who claim a wall was built in the premises without a permit. Gao Yu's lawyer Shang Baojun tells DW it is an illegal action.

DW: Why did this incident take place?

Shang Baojun: My client Gao Yu has a ground-floor apartment with a private garden. The edge of the garden is close to a controversial public land. Many residents have demarcated their premises. According to Gao, she had built a brick wall to separate her territory from the disputed land. She told me that the authorities seemed to have no problem with it for many years. But now the authorities have forcibly removed her garden. It is "selective enforcement" because the authorities didn't do this to the owners of other ground-floor apartments.

Is this legal?

According to Chinese law, the officials must inform the owners before undertaking an action like this. A written warning follows. If the owner doesn't respond, the building authorities or government officials may inform the resident about their intentions in writing.

The documents needed to undertake such measures in my client's apartment are missing. They are therefore illegal; in the same way that assault and the use of violence are also punishable by law.

Zhao Meng, Gao Yu's son, was injured by civilian police during the evacuation…

On that day, I spoke to Gao Yu's son on the phone, who told me that his injuries weren't serious. He said he only had minor injuries on his hand, and had called the police to make a complaint. Gao was understandably upset about this and lodged a disciplinary complaint with the police, the public order office and the executing authority.

Gao Yu has long been trying to travel to Germany to receive medical treatment. What are her chances at the moment?

As far as I know, her application for medical treatment in Germany doesn't seem particularly promising.

Does this mean that authorities won't allow her to travel abroad during the medical parole?

I am afraid so.

Will she continue to fight for this?

Of course, but if the authorities don't give the go-ahead, then there is nothing either she or her legal counsel can do about it.

The interview was conducted by Li Shitao.

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