June 14, 2017
Authorities in the Chinese capital have warned off a lawyer hired by the family of detained human rights attorney Wang Quanzhang, saying that he will be represented by a government-appointed lawyer instead.
Wang has been held at an unknown location without trial or access to a lawyer or family visits for nearly two years after being detained in a nationwide July 2015 police operation targeting rights lawyers and associated activists.
Recently, the Beijing branch of the China Law Association contacted his defense attorney Yu Wensheng to inform him that he is no longer instructed to act for his client.
“The Tianjin branch of the Law Association has appointed a lawyer, but we don’t yet know who the lawyer is,” Yu said in a recent interview. “But I and [fellow defense attorney] Cheng Hai want to stand up for our right to represent him.”
“We plan to go to Tianjin, because according to the rules, I and Cheng Hai are his lawyers, and we can only have our instructions terminated by Wang Quanzhang himself,” he said.
Yu said the authorities are likely making it as hard as possible for detained lawyers like Wang to defend themselves.
“If there’s any point to it at all, then it’s to do with stability maintenance,” he said.
Cheng said the Law Association is working with the judicial affairs bureau to control Wang’s choice of lawyer.