On 14 December 2020, Chang Weiping’s parents held a protest in front of the Gaoxin branch of the Baoji Municipal Public Security Bureau, seeking his release and raising concerns about the risk of torture in detention. After the protest, both parents were summoned for interrogation several times. A CCTV camera was installed outside their home in Fengxiang county to monitor their movement and any visitors. Their mobile phones have since been confiscated and they are under de facto incommunicado house arrest.
One of Chang Weiping’s brothers-in-law and his father-in-law also had their mobile phones confiscated. Chang Weiping’s older sister was prohibited from visiting her father. Chen Zijuan, Chang Weiping’s wife, has not been able to contact her father-in-law for over two weeks.
On 6 January 2021, Chen Zijuan submitted a complaint to the Baoji Municipal Procuratorate against local public security officials who visited her in Shenzhen eight times between 22 October 2020, the day Chang Weiping was detained, and 23 December 2020. The officials warned her not to conduct public advocacy for her husband. They also pressured her to delete her social media posts on Weibo about her husband’s situation. The officials said she would lose her job if she defied their demands.
The two human rights lawyers who were initially hired to assist Chang Weiping had to withdraw from the case due to intense pressure from the authorities. Two new lawyers who took over the case said they could not give any media interviews due to official pressure. The new lawyers’ first attempt to meet Chang Weiping was not successful. In a statement issued on 16 December 2020, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders said the withdrawal of Chang Weiping’s first lawyers was “telling of the gravity and scale of the situation faced by human rights defenders and lawyers in China.”
Chang Weiping is a human rights lawyer known for his public interest litigation in defence of the rights of people facing discrimination based on their health status, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. He has provided legal counsel to human rights defenders, victims of defective vaccines, as well as women, LGBT persons, and persons living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B who face discrimination in the workplace.