After spending more than two years in pre-trial detention, human rights lawyer Qin Yongpei was tried at the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court on 31 December 2021. His family and lawyer were informed of the trial date only on four days before, on 27 December 2021. The presiding judge rejected the request by the human rights defender’s lawyer to call defence witnesses. Apart from his lawyer and his wife, who obtained permission to defend her husband in court, no other family members, including the human rights defender’s daughters, were allowed to attend the trial. The trial ended without a verdict.
In a legal career spanning more than a decade, Qin Yongpei has defended other human rights lawyers facing reprisals from the authorities, provided legal assistance to vulnerable groups, and took up cases involving unlawful administrative detention, industrial pollution, forced demolition of housing, and wrongful convictions. He is the founder and director of the Guangxi Baijuming Law Firm, where several human rights lawyers in Guangxi also worked. In July 2015, he was briefly taken and questioned by police in what has become known as the “709 Crackdown” targeting human rights lawyers and other defenders across China. He has often taken to online platforms to comment on State policies and actions, including incidents of abuse of power by officials and human rights violations. He has had multiple social media accounts shut down because of his online postings critical of the government.
On 30 September 2021, the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court contacted human rights defender Qin Yongpei’s lawyer and his wife, Deng Xiaoyun, and invited them for a pre-trial preparatory meeting on 13 October 2021. In May 2021, the Court approved an application by Deng Xiaoyun to be Qin Yongpei’s defender.