March 23, 2017
Call on China to Ensure the Right to a Fair Trial
A Joint Statement by Legal Professional Groups & Human Rights NGOs
on the forthcoming Trials of
The cases of the 709 Crackdown
(23 March 2017 – Hong Kong/ Taiwan) Since 9 July 2015, the Chinese government has questioned, summoned and/or detained over 300 human rights lawyers, law firm staff and human rights defenders in a manoeuvre now commonly known as the “709 Crackdown”. Some of these individuals were subsequently indicted for their “crimes”. In early August 2016, four individuals – human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng and defenders Hu Shigen, Gou Hongguo and Zhai Yanmin – were convicted and sentenced in a deeply flawed trial process that breached both domestic and international laws. 
Lawyers Li Heping, Xie Yang and Wang Quanzhang as well as legal activist Wu Gan have been indicted following the Crackdown. It has remained a concern that no trial arrangements have thus far been made for the cases. To caution against repeating the rights violations that took place in the August 2016 hearings, we, the undersigned, solemnly call on the Chinese government to abide by its laws and Constitution as well as international human rights standards by ensuring that respective judicial processes, when take place, will be conducted in full compliance with the basic principles of due process, including the right to a fair trial. Specifically, we are concerned about violations related to independent and impartial courts; the presumption of innocence; the right to counsel; and an open trial. We also express our grave and continued concern about the status of lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who has been held in secret detention since 21 November 2016. We also express our grave and continued concern about the status of lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who has been held in secret detention since 21 November 2016.