January 29, 2018
Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, who was detained over a week ago, has been put under a form of secret detention and charged with “inciting subversion of state power.”
Yu was seized by around a dozen people, including a SWAT team, as he left his Beijing apartment to walk his son to school on January 19. Hours earlier, he had circulated an open letter calling for reforms to China’s constitution. He has not been permitted to see a lawyer since he was detained, despite efforts by several lawyers to see him.
But on Saturday, police in Xuzhou – in the coastal province of Jiangsu – told his family members that Yu is suspected of “inciting subversion of state power.” Yu, who lives in Beijing, was previously facing a less serious charge of “disrupting public service.”
A notice from police to Yu’s family members also said that he was being held in Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL.) Yu can therefore be held in solitary detention for up to six months at a secret location without access to a lawyer or his family members.
Messages attributed to Yu’s wife Xu Yan were circulated online stating that police gave her the notice on Saturday night and had her accompany them during searches of her husband’s office and residence.