Tag Archives: China

China: Chinese academic stopped from teaching after criticising party leadership

March 25, 2019

Law professor made public statements blaming administration for problems facing China

A constitutional law professor who wrote a series of essays critical of China’s Communist party leadership has been stopped from teaching at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, Xu Zhangrun has written thousands of characters and given multiple speeches where he drew upon ancient Chinese philosophy, literature and political theory to criticise sharply decisions made by the country’s top leadership.

In a long essay published in July on the website of a liberal think-tank, Mr Xu touched upon some of the party’s most sensitive fears when he obliquely blamed Mr Xi for stoking tensions with the US, abandoning the reform efforts of Deng Xiaoping and repressing China’s intellectuals. Mr Xi’s rule has been marked by a crackdown on dissent.

Mr Xu was stripped of his positions and stopped from his teaching at Tsinghua, one of China’s leading universities and Mr Xi’s alma mater, according to two individuals who had confirmed the news with Tsinghua staff. As news of his situation spread on Chinese social media on Monday, a number of liberal media outlets reposted Mr Xu’s writing.

https://www.ft.com/content/8af0cfdc-4f11-11e9-b401-8d9ef1626294

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2019/03/tsinghua-university-fires-xi-critic-xu-zhangrun/

https://www.firstpost.com/world/chinese-professor-publishes-scathing-critique-of-xi-jinpings-administration-calls-out-presidents-personality-cult-4868461.html

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2019/03/26/professor-dismissed-after-criticizing-china%E2%80%99s-leadership

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xu_Zhangrun

China: Trial of Rights Lawyer Li Yuhan April 9th

March 25, 2019

#TrialAlert Hearing in lawyer Li Yuhan “picking quarrels” case scheduled for 4/9 in Shenyang. Li is Wang Yu’s former lawyer & has been detained/mistreated in retaliation. UN called on China to release & compensate her in Oct 2018, but govt has refused

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders Facebook, 25/03/19)

https://www.nchrd.org/2017/12/li-yuhan/?fbclid=IwAR18NqLhiOG8xNhiYr87gtfb2bS-q-jIn1LBYLZakrZEH7ud18R_oX2tglE

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/women-rights-03082019143354.html

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/2185307/china-faces-barrage-criticism-over-jailing-human-rights

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/li-yuhan

https://chinachange.org/tag/li-yuhan/

https://www.lrwc.org/china-joint-statement-to-the-40th-session-of-the-human-rights-council-by-ishr-joined-by-lrwc/

http://www.camerepenali.it/cat/9791/avvocati_minacciati_in_cina.html?fbclid=IwAR2Q4TDJJ-ob__0cVezgFf6cQGL_9J_GodGkz5Y3vRAm0FvnCYFPrlyI5f0 (ITALIANO)

 

China: Wife of Tortured Chinese Rights Lawyer Calls For Him to Leave China

March 11, 2019

Jiang Tianyong, a human rights lawyer in China, is shown in an undated photo.

The wife of prominent Chinese rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong has called on the government to allow him to travel overseas to seek medical treatment following the end of his jail term last week.

Authorities in the central province of Henan allowed Jiang, 48, to return to his parents’ home three days after his release at the end of a two-year jail term for “incitement to subvert state power.”

But his U.S.-based wife Jin Bianling said she is concerned for his health after he was tortured by cellmates in a bid to get him to “confess” to the charges against him.

“I would like to have Jiang Tianyong come to the U.S. to seek medical treatment,” Jin said. “I hope that international rights organizations will carry on … calling for freedom for Jiang Tianyong and the other human rights lawyers.”

She said her husband has shown signs of ill-health since his return to his parental home, where he remains under close surveillance by state security police.

“I asked Jiang Tianyong why he always has tears in his eyes, and he told me he didn’t know, and that perhaps it was to do with the fact that he hadn’t been allowed outside in a very long time,” Jin told RFA. “He told me he couldn’t sit up straight, but could only sit sideways or lie down.”

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/leave-03112019100918.html

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/2189070/freed-chinese-human-rights-lawyer-jiang-tianyong-threatens

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/visit-03042019111406.html

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/2188374/jailed-chinese-human-rights-lawyer-jiang-tianyong-back-home

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-47406389

https://lawyersforlawyers.org/en/side-event-freedom-of-expression-in-china/?fbclid=IwAR2tmZcVHLBcqgvGVQEoTS7Vx8oupLjnLNAZzhXr-plXvE7mVxqf9h2HF_c

http://asianews.it/news-en/Lu-Tingge-arrested:-he-asked-for-the-rule-of-law-and-real-power-for-NPC-46422.html?fbclid=IwAR0otCuSG6V3-O4hxl9iirisUQjRtLgWBj6yFRmcK-yh1d6-952V80-rVhQ

https://www.lrwc.org/china-and-saudi-arabia-oral-statement-to-the-40th-session-of-the-un-human-rights-council/?fbclid=IwAR37SnKqn3WsEZRnH8reSsz71z4Q5_-S0k589LdZNgJEyMxQSSoaH9jfMzM

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/erased-03132019132914.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/13/ngos-urge-eu-press-china-human-rights

http://www.chrlawyers.hk/en/content/joint-letter-calling-safe-release-jiang-tianyong?fbclid=IwAR2cG12sMdkP2PAc0Jmtkq7O174pgAL7geSfq0Hy9JrF7lNZZh_x_kjCdyU

https://www.hrichina.org/en/press-work/statement/fate-lawyer-jiang-tianyong-and-family-again-exposes-true-face-chinas?utm_source=HRIC%20Updates&utm_campaign=460c60d04c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_03_01_12_04&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-460c60d04c-259223637

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2186816/confidence-chinas-judicial-system-damaged-secret-trial-human

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/lawyer-02222019114645.html

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/protest-02082019152934.html

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3354939

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/2185307/china-faces-barrage-criticism-over-jailing-human-rights

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/22/china-frances-macron-should-press-xi-rights?fbclid=IwAR3n82AKVGaWguRxGh3uXd2DaTzlinNtdsgy9hctM6Ml2rINZBAAQRvUUJ4

https://www.thestandnews.com/china/%E9%97%9C%E6%B3%A8%E6%B1%9F%E5%A4%A9%E5%8B%87%E5%AE%89%E5%85%A8%E7%8D%B2%E9%87%8B%E8%81%AF%E7%BD%B2%E8%81%B2%E6%98%8E/ (CHINESE)

https://www.voachinese.com/a/china-rights-attorney-jiang-tianyong-set-free-20190302/4810544.html (CHINESE)

https://thestandnews.com/china/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E5%A4%A7%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB%E5%85%AC%E6%9C%83%E5%B0%B1%E7%8E%8B%E5%85%A8%E7%92%8B%E4%B8%80%E6%A1%88%E4%B9%8B%E8%81%B2%E6%98%8E/?fbclid=IwAR01tygHUWT-oX9tV9MNnn5yua8Ml-fI2vklLiTIjRuj6vBDtxCgC7iutBI (CHINESE)

http://www.rfi.fr/asie-pacifique/20190228-chine-avocat-droits-homme-disparait-apres-liberation (FRANCAIS)

https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/03/22/chine-macron-devrait-faire-pression-sur-xi-quant-aux-violations-des-droits?fbclid=IwAR1zNT20NxhGH5XmJflhnli9uvii6dNgzmMUVDSWN6RncRUvT3rbC18rx84 (FRANCAIS)

China: Disappearing textbook highlights debate in China over academic freedom

February 1, 2019

A constitutional law textbook written by one China’s best-known reform-minded legal scholars has been pulled from book shops, apparently the latest text to run afoul of a government campaign against “Western influence”.

The author, Zhang Qianfan, a professor at Peking University known for his advocacy of constitutionalism and judicial reform, dismissed any suggestion his writing excessively promoted Western ideas as “utter nonsense”, and said the academic world should not be politicized.

Since taking office in 2012, President Xi Jinping has tightened the Communist Party’s control over society including the legal system and education.

While authorities have not confirmed they ordered the book withdrawn, and no reason for its disappearance has been given, it comes after the government launched a sweeping review of teaching materials.

The Ministry of Education in early January launched a nationwide check on the content of all university constitutional law textbooks, according to posts on the Jiangxi and Zhejiang province Education Ministry websites.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-law/disappearing-textbook-highlights-debate-in-china-over-academic-freedom-idUSKCN1PQ45T

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/2184713/law-textbook-pulled-shelves-china-amid-campaign-against-western

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinas-scholars-fear-curbs-on-freedom

https://www.icj.org/hrc40china/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Qianfan

China: China’s attack on human rights and the rule of law continues

January 31, 2019

ON JULY 9, 2015, China launched its war on lawyers. Over the course of a few weeks, some 300 lawyers, legal assistants and other advocates for the rule of law were rounded up. One of the most prominent, Wang Quanzhang, disappeared into secret detention on Aug. 3, 2015; after being held incommunicado for nearly 3½ years, he was the last to go on trial. On Monday, he was sentenced to 4½ years in prison on charges of subversion, putting a punctuation mark on one of the principal means of repression used by President Xi Jinping to consolidate power.

Since taking office six years ago, Mr. Xi has employed corruption investigations to purge rivals in the Communist Party; stepped up censorship of social media; and conducted a massive campaign against Muslims in the Xinjiang region, hundreds of thousands of whom have been confined to concentration camps and forced to undergo “reeducation.” Meanwhile, he has sought to stifle dissent by targeting the lawyers who defend human rights activists and religious believers or bring cases against local authorities for corruption.

Most of the lawyers and activists detained in what became known (for its July 9 date) as the 709 campaign were held for a few weeks; a number were later stripped of their licenses or driven out of business. But at least four besides Mr. Wang have been sentenced to prison. In August 2016, lawyer Zhou Shifeng and activist Hu Shigen were given terms of seven and 7½ years, respectively; in November 2017, lawyer Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years. The next month, human rights activist Wu Gan was handed an eight-year term.

Mr. Wang’s trial may have come last because of his refusal to buckle under pressure — including, according to his wife, physical torture. While some lawyers signed confessions or publicly confessed to plotting against the government, Mr. Wang resisted to the end. When his closed trial was held on Dec. 26, he threw a wrench into the proceedings by firing his government-appointed lawyer.

His wife, Li Wenzu, bravely advocated on his behalf, speaking out about his treatment and shaving her head in protest of judges’ refusal to uphold Mr. Wang’s rights under Chinese law.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/chinas-attack-on-human-rights-and-the-rule-of-law-continues/2019/01/31/305067ee-2410-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html?utm_term=.81e93c8b523d

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/jailing-reaction-01302019114154.html

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/home-affairs/human-rights/press-release/bar-council/101522/bar-council-expresses-grave

https://www.newkerala.com/news/read/95980/usa-slams-china-over-wang-quanzhangs-sentencing.html

https://www.icj.org/hrc40china/?fbclid=IwAR2BkxuPBA6MYp9E0MMuxp34wcxareOaLKEOUvAHCDYroVl4Si-n-I7OY7I

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Quanzhang

https://www.actuall.com/criterio/democracia/a-prision-por-defender-los-derechos-humanos/ (ESPANOL)

http://lepersoneeladignita.corriere.it/2019/01/31/cina-la-settimana-dei-processi-al-dissenso/ (ITALIANO)

China: HRIC among 40 NGOs Worldwide Urging UN Resolution on China’s Rights Abuses

January 30, 2019

In an open letter sent to heads of government missions to the UN in Geneva, Human Rights in China joins 39 other NGOs to press for a UN resolution to address the deteriorating human rights situation in China.

The NGOs call for governments to use the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council (February 25-March 22, 2019) as an opportunity to push with “one voice”: for accountability for the steeply worsening rights abuses in China which have been gaining increasing international attention.

Two reviews of China’s rights practices at the UN last year, in particular—by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and China’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR)—highlighted deeply concerning developments, including the mass internment of Uyghur and other ethnic Muslims in so-called “vocational retraining camps,” in gross violation of religious and cultural rights; the broadening control over information and expression especially online in the name of cybersecurity; the continued persecution of human rights lawyers and defenders; and the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, in violation of the “one country, two systems” principle.

Reaching beyond its borders, China has also been waging a sustained challenge to the existing international human rights framework, which is based on the principle of the universality of human rights.

https://www.hrichina.org/en/press-work/hric-bulletin/hric-among-40-ngos-worldwide-urging-un-resolution-chinas-rights-abuses

https://www.hrichina.org/en/press-work/joint-statements/ngo-joint-letter-upcoming-session-human-rights-council-states-should

https://www.lrwc.org/china-at-upcoming-session-of-human-rights-council-states-should-pass-resolution-to-address-human-rights-violations-in-the-peoples-republic-of-china-letter/

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/2019/01/d25220/

https://www.lrwc.org/china-statement-demanding-an-acquittal-of-lawyer-wang-quanzhang-joint-statement/

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/NGOs-urge-UN-to-adopt-resolution-on-China-s-human-rights-abuses

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190130/p2a/00m/0in/018000c

https://www.courthousenews.com/white-house-presses-china-for-release-of-human-rights-lawyer/

https://chinachange.org/2019/01/30/acceptance-speech-for-the-2018-french-republic-human-rights-prize/

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/jailing-reaction-01302019114154.html

China: Statement: Demanding an Acquittal of lawyer Wang Quanzhang

January 29, 2019

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

【要求無罪釋放王全璋律師之聲明】
(English version below)

2019年1月28日,天津市第二中級人民法院開庭,以「顛覆國家政權」罪,判處著名中國維權律師王全璋入獄4年零6個月,剝奪政治權利5年。我們強烈譴責天津市第二中級人民法院(天津二院)對王全璋律師一案所作出的有罪判決及刑罰。

王全璋在被捕前於鋒銳律師事務所執業,過去一直代理敏感人權案件,如法輪功案、土地維權案等。自2015年8月3日被警方帶走以來,至今一直未能會見家人或家屬委任的辯護律師,並長期處於秘密羈押狀態,期間有消息指他遭到酷刑及不人道對待。2016年1月,他被控「顛覆國家政權」,及後案件於2018年12月26日審理。天津二院稱王全璋案「因涉及國家秘密」而不公開庭審。

我們認為中國政府對王全璋進行長期秘密羈押,不但侵犯人權,更違反諸如《中華人民共和國憲法》(《憲法》)、《中華人民共和國刑事訴訟法》(《刑訴法》)、《公民與政治權利國際公約》(《公約》)等多條法律和國際公約。

[秘密審訊缺乏公正性]
我們強烈質疑天津二院對王全璋一案以秘密審訊形式進行的依據。中國憲法規定庭審以公開為原則,除涉及國家秘密、未成年人及隱私保護外,一切庭審須向公眾開放。中國刑訴法雖然訂明當案件牽涉國家機密時,法院可選擇以不公開方式審理案件,然而中國法規中「國家秘密」的定義廣泛含糊,往往被當局濫用以針對維權人士,情況一直受到國內外的詬病,此案亦不例外。

參照《約翰奈斯堡關於國家安全、言論自由和獲取資訊自由原則》(下稱:《約翰奈斯堡原則》),除非當局能夠提出充份而堅實的證據,證明「公開審訊」有害於保護合法的的國家安全利益,亦即保護國家存續或領土完整,否則被告人獲得「公開審訊」的權利根本不應被剋減。而且,即使證明有必要剋扣「公開審訊」的權利,在審訊中有關的剋減也須嚴謹止於「考量、審視被定義為國家秘密的證據」之部分。

直至到現在,檢控方還未有充份而堅實的證據說明有何必要限制王得到「公開審訊」的權利。我們質疑法院此次不公開審理欠缺法律基礎,有違中國憲法中公開審訊之原則。

[無視律師委任及會見權]
由王全璋家屬委任代理案件的程海和藺其磊一直未能成功會見王律師,而官方卻單方面委派劉衛國律師代理王全璋案,其訴訟權利並沒有得到保障。2018年修訂的《關於依法保障律師執業權利的規定》第七及第八條,列明保障辯護律師有權利會見被告人,即使要解聘辯護律師,律師可以要求會見被告以當面確認。

[控罪薄弱 判決違反憲法所保障的權利]
根據中國當局提交至法院的起訴書,當局指控王全璋曾向境外機構提供中國人權狀況的報告、於2013年在建三江發起示威活動及代理所謂「邪教」的宗教案件中抹黑中國政府,並指上述行為足以構成煽動顛覆國家政權。

我們必須在此指出上述指控無疑是違反了國際社會就危害國家安全罪行的標準,亦無視了王全璋的示威及言論自由。根據《約翰奈斯堡原則》,除非中國當局能證明王的行動及言論煽動即時暴力顛覆政權,否則當局不應因為王行使他的表達自由,包括發表批評政府的言論,而以國家安全的名義來限制他,更遑論對他施以處罰。而根據中國憲法,中國公民享有言論自由及示威自由這兩項至為重要的基本權利,所以,因進行三項活動而被指控的王全璋,只是行使了這兩項正當權利而已。

此次將王全璋定罪及判刑明顯違反中國憲法,令人難以信服。

[欠缺法理的長期秘密覊押 疑遭酷刑對待]
王全璋在是此審訊之前已經被中國當局扣押了超過一千二百日。然而,在這一整段時間中,當局並沒有向外界交待長期覊押王全璋的理據,包括其家屬及其委任的律師。中國刑訴法雖然有訂明在最高人民法院批准下,法院有權延長羈押,但任何法院亦應同時保障當事人在憲法保障下不受任意羈押之權利。超過一千二百日的審前羈押明顯不合理時,法院仍然容許羈押不斷延長,其獨立性令人質疑。再者,家屬及其委任律師在整個程序中無法核實王全璋有否遭受到酷刑和不人道對待。

我們非常擔憂王全璋律師的人身安全及健康狀況。我們得悉王律師失蹤前沒有長期病患紀錄,但卻在羈押期間被迫服食高血壓藥。之前亦有「709大抓捕」受害者因被迫服藥導致健康轉差,令我們擔心王全璋律師或面臨同等景況及遭受不同程度酷刑之苦。

[家屬長期被騷擾監視]
王全璋妻子李文足三年多來堅毅不屈、從不間斷地為親人抗爭,逾30多次到最高人民法院抗議,最近的「我可以無髮,你不能無法」削髮抗議行動,成功引起國際社會強烈關注。然而,法院一方面拒絕受理,另一方面李文足亦持續受到公安的監控和騷擾,兒子的教育權曾被剝奪,官方以株連手法對待維權律師家屬,手段極為卑鄙。

在判刑前過去三年時間,世界各地多個人權組織、律師專業團體、甚至是政府已經向中國政府發表了多篇的公開信及聲明,要求中國政府嚴格遵從國際人權公約、中國憲法及法律,保障王全璋律師的基本權利。但過去三年,中國政府卻擺出傲慢的姿態,對這些聲音充耳不聞,最後更以重刑來處罰獲國際高度關注的王律師。這些所作所為也反映了中國政府所說的依法治國從一開始就是謊言,國際公約,甚至是本國的憲法及法律亦從沒打算遵守,說到底還是以政治權力壓倒法律及人權。

我們對是此判決表示極度憤怒。我們亦重申在沒有公正公開審判的情況下,根本不能接受任何對王全璋的有罪判決,更遑論是現在4年6個月的有期徒刑。王此次的判決和刑罰從未通過一個公正法律程序,因此本身就是不公正。

有鑑於此,我們強烈要求天津市第二中級人民法院:
1. 撤銷有罪判決,改判王全璋無罪並立即予以釋放;
2. 就王全璋所受到的權利侵害提供相應且合適的賠償;
3. 追究「709案」中所有執法人員違法違規行為的法律責任;
4. 停止針對李文足及其兒子的任何形式的打壓。

2019年1月28日

發起團體:(依英文字母順序排列)
1. 中國維權律師關注組[China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group]
2. 臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡[Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network]

聯署團體:
3. 墨西哥律師協會[Barra Mexicana, Colegio de Abogados (Mexican Bar Association)]
4. 公民黨[Civic Party]
5. 社區前進[Community March]
6. 香港眾志[Demosisto]
7. 香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會[Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China]
8. 香港職工會聯盟[Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions]
9. Human Rights Now
10. International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger
11. 香港天主教正義和平委員會[Justice and Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese]
12. 工黨[Labour Party HK]
13. 法夢[Law Lay Dream]
14. 律師助律師基金會[Lawyers For Lawyers]
15. 加拿大律師權利觀察[Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada]
16. 社會民主連線[League of Social Democrats]
17. 左翼廿一[Left 21]
18. 區諾軒立法會議員辦事處[LegCo Office of Au Nok-hin]
19. 郭家麒立法會議員辦事處[LegCo Office of Kwok Ka-ki]
20. 朱凱廸立法會議員辦事處[LegCo Office of Chu Hoi Dick]
21. 萊特納國際法暨正義中心[Leitner Center for International Law and Justice]
22. 國際人民律師協會[International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)]
23. 國際人民律師協會監督委員會[Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)]
24. 華人民主書院[New School for Democracy]
25. 日內瓦律師協會[Ordre des Avocats De Geneve (Geneva Bar Association)]
26. 法政匯思[Progressive Lawyers Group]
27. 英格蘭和威爾士律師協會人權委員會[The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales]
28. 聲援中國律師委員會[The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers]
29. 民主黨[The Democratic Party]
30. 愛德爾斯塔姆基金會[The Edelstam Foundation]
31. 勞工組[Worker Com]

*聯署名單截至2019年1 月29日17:30,並會持續更新

—————————————-

【Statement: Demanding an Acquittal of lawyer Wang Quanzhang】

On 28 January 2019, the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court (the Court) gave its verdict on a prominent human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang. Wang was found guilty of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison and 5-year deprivation of political rights. We strongly condemn the conviction and sentence on lawyer Wang Quanzhang by the Court.

Before his arrest, lawyer Wang practiced law at Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing. He has a history of taking on sensitive human rights cases including the cases of Falun Gong and land rights. Since he was taken away by the police on 3 August 2015, he has been denied the access to his family and family-appointed defense lawyers. He has been detained incommunicado, during which he was reportedly tortured and suffered ill-treatment. In January 2016, Wang was accused of “subversion of state power” and his case was subsequently tried on 26 December 2018. Claiming that “due to the state secrets involved in this case”, the Court decided not to hold an open trial for the case.

We maintain that the Chinese government, having imposed a pro-longed incommunicado detention on lawyer Wang, has seriously infringed human rights, domestic law and international treaties including “Constitution of the People’s Republic of China” (the Chinese Constitution), “Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China” (the Criminal Procedure Law), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), etc.

[The Secret Trial Lacks Fairness]
We are highly skeptical about the grounds of holding Wang’s trial in secret by the Court. The Chinese Constitution stipulates that all trials should be conducted in accordance with the principle of open trial and thus shall be open to the public, except the cases involve state secrets, protection of minors or matters of privacy. Despite the fact that a court is entitled to conduct a closed trial when cases involve state secrets under the Criminal Procedure Law, the abusive use of the broad and imprecise definition of state secrecy against rights defenders in China has long and often been criticized both in and out of the country, and Wang’s case is no exception.

According to “the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information” (hereafter “the Johannesburg Principles”), no restriction to the right to open trial should be allowed unless and until evidence is legally sufficient to prove actual harm to a legitimate national security interest, i.e., a country’s existence or its territorial integrity.

Even if it is proved necessary to impose restriction on the right to open trial, the restriction shall only be made “to the extent strictly necessary for the purposes of considering evidence that has been classified as a secret.” The prosecutors have not yet offered legally sufficient evidence to justify the necessity of restricting Wang’s right to open trial. Serious concerns should be raised that the closed trial in this case, without a legal ground, violates the principle of right to open trial set out in the Chinese Constitution.

[Disregarding the Right to legal counsel]

The family-appointed lawyers, Cheng Hai and Lin Qilei, have been disallowed to meet Wang. Nonetheless, the authorities unilaterally appointed Liu Weiguo as Wang’s defense lawyer, disregarding Wang’s right to legal assistance of his or his family’s free choosing .

Articles 7 and 8 of “Provisions on Legally Protecting Lawyers’ Practicing Rights”, which was revised in 2018, clearly stipulate that a defense lawyer shall have the right to meet a defendant. In case where a defendant intends to dismiss the counsels, the defense lawyers can request to meet the client in person as to confirm the termination.

[Weak Evidence against the Rights Enshrined by the Chinese Constitution]

According to the indictment submitted to the Court by the Chinese authorities, the accusations include Wang providing investigative reports on China’s human rights situation to overseas organizations, initiating protests and demonstrations in Jiansanjiang in 2013, and slandering the Chinese government while taking on a so-called “cult” case, claiming the behaviors listed above were sufficient to constitute “subversion of state power.”

We are obliged to point out that the aforementioned accusations undoubtedly are inconsistent with the international standard of “endangering national security”, which fails to respect Wang’s right to demonstration and freedom of speech.

As stated in “the Johannesburg Principles”, the Chinese authorities shall not impose restrictions nor punishment on Wang in the name of “national security” simply due to his exercise of the freedom of expression, amongst others, delivering critical speeches against the government unless and until the evidence is legally sufficient to prove Wang’s behaviors and speeches incited immediate violence for the purpose of subverting state power.

Every Chinese citizen is entitled to two fundamental rights – freedom of speech and freedom of assembly according to the Chinese Constitution. Lawyer Wang, who was accused of “subversion of state power” for his participation in human rights activities, had simply exercised the two legitimate rights he should be entitled to. Therefore, the conviction of Wang is obviously unconvincing as it seriously breaches the Chinese Constitution.

[Prolonged Detention Incommunicado without Legal Basis; Suspected Torture and Ill-treatment]

Wang Quanzhang was detained by the Chinese government for more than 1,200 days before the trial. During the entire detention period, the authorities did not provide a proper account of Wang’s prolonged detention to the public, including Wang’s family and family-appointed defense lawyers. As stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Law, despite the right of the court to extend the detention period upon the approval of the Supreme People’s Court, all courts are obliged to protect a defendant’s right to be free from arbitrary detention which is guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution. Serious concerns are raised over the independence and impartiality of the Court for incessant extension of Wang’s obviously unreasonable detention of more than 1200 days. In addition, Wang’s family and family-appointed defense lawyers had no way to authenticate if Wang had suffered torture or inhumane treatment during the whole procedure.

We express grave concern over lawyer Wang’s personal safety and health condition. We also note that lawyer Wang was forced to take medication for high blood pressure during the detention despite the fact that lawyer Wang had no previous history of chronic illnesses before his disappearance. Considering that some victims of 709 Crackdown was also force-fed medication which led to poor health condition afterwards, we are worried that lawyer Wang might face similar treatment or suffer torture of various levels.

[Constant Harassment and Surveillance on Wang’s Family Members]

Li Wenzu, the wife of Wang Quanzhang, has been relentlessly and perpetually fighting for her husband’s rights in the past three years. She has protested at the Supreme People’s Court for more than 30 times.

The recent head-shaving protest – “We can go bald, but the country cannot be lawless” (我可以无发,你不能无法) – has successfully drawn the international attention. On the one hand, the count has refused to respond to her requests; on the other hand, Li has been placed under constant surveillance and harassment of public security officers. Their child’s right to education was once deprived. It is despicable that the authorities have imposed such restrictions upon human rights lawyers’ family members.

Over the past three years, a number of human rights organizations, lawyers’ associations and even foreign governments all over the world have repeatedly released open letters and statements to call on the Chinese authorities to strictly abide by international human rights treaties, the Chinese Constitution and laws as to protect the fundamental rights of lawyer Wang Quanzhang.

However, not only has the Chinese authorities shown its arrogance and turned a deaf ear to all demands and appeals, but also ultimately imposed severe punishment on the well-known lawyer Wang Quanzhang. These maneuvers have revealed that “the rule of law” in China is just a veneer to deceive the world, while the Chinese authorities hardly has any intention to conform to international treaties as well as the Chinese Constitution and laws. After all, political power has triumphed over law and human rights in China.

We are deeply enraged at this verdict. We reiterate that no verdicts of guilty in Wang’s case shall be accepted in the absence of a fair and open trial, not to mention the 4-year-and-6-month imprisonment. The conviction and sentence on Wang did not go through a just legal procedure, and therefore are unjust in itself. In view of this, we strongly demand the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court to:

1. Repeal the guilty verdict; acquit and Release Wang Quanzhang immediately;
2. Offer corresponding and appropriate compensation for the rights violations against lawyer Wang;
3. Investigate and hold all law enforcers accountable for committing the irregularities and violations of the criminal procedure during 709 Crackdown;
4. Stop any form of suppression against Li Wenzu and their child.

28th January 2019

Initiators: (In Alphabetical Order)
1. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group[中國維權律師關注組]
2. Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network[臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡]

Signatories:
3. Barra Mexicana, Colegio de Abogados (Mexican Bar Association) [墨西哥律師協會]
4. Civic Party[公民黨]
5. Community March[社區前進]
6. Demosisto[香港眾志]
7. Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China[香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會]
8. Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions[香港職工會聯盟]
9. Human Rights Now
10. International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger
11. Justice and Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese[香港天主教正義和平委員會]
12. Labour Party HK[工黨]
13. Law Lay Dream[法夢]
14. Lawyers For Lawyers[律師助律師基金會]
15. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada[加拿大律師權利觀察]
16. League of Social Democrats[社會民主連線]
17. Left 21[左翼廿一]
18. LegCo Office of Au Nok-hin[區諾軒立法會議員辦事處]
19. LegCo Office of Kwok Ka-ki[郭家麒立法會議員辦事處]
20. LegCo Office of Chu Hoi Dick[朱凱廸立法會議員辦事處]
21. Leitner Center for International Law and Justice[萊特納國際法暨正義中心]
22. International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) [國際人民律師協會]
23. Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL)[國際人民律師協會監督委員會]
24. New School for Democracy[華人民主書院]
25. Ordre des Avocats De Geneve (Geneva Bar Association)[日內瓦律師協會]
26. Progressive Lawyers Group[法政匯思]
27. The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales [英格蘭和威爾士律師協會人權委員會]
28. The Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers[聲援中國律師委員會]
29. The Democratic Party[民主黨]
30. The Edelstam Foundation[愛德爾斯塔姆基金會]
31. Worker Com[勞工組]

*Updated as of January 29 2019 at 17:30. The list will be continuously updated.

(China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group / 中國維權律師關注組 Facebook, 29/01/19)

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2019/01/lawyer-wang-quanzhang-sentenced-to-4-5-years-in-prison/

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/jailing-reaction-01302019114154.html

https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/china-human-rights-groups-demand-release-of-jailed-lawyer-wang-quanzhang

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-protesters-demand-release-164300648.html

https://www.lrwc.org/china-at-upcoming-session-of-human-rights-council-states-should-pass-resolution-to-address-human-rights-violations-in-the-peoples-republic-of-china-letter/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Quanzhang

https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/chine/evenements/article/chine-condamnations-de-wang-quanzhang-et-de-liu-feiyue-28-29-01-19 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.nacion.com/el-mundo/politica/abogado-chino-especializado-en-derechos-humanos-es/KHOWMUTHQBBGVD5YIFPPJDJ46E/story/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/china-kritik-an-haftstrafe-fuer-wang-quanzhang.1939.de.html?drn:news_id=971386 (DEUTSCH)

http://ildubbio.news/ildubbio/2019/01/29/condanna-farsa-per-wang-quanzhang-lavvocato-dei-diritti/ (ITALIANO)