CHN 003 / 0917 / OBS 101
Arbitrary detention /
Torture / Judicial harassment
September 19, 2017
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.
Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang, a human rights lawyer with Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing. Mr. Wang was detained in the context of the “709 crackdown”.
According to the information received, since Mr. Wang Quanzhang’s arrest by police in August 2015, Chinese authorities have repeatedly prevented his wife and his lawyers from having access to him.
After he was taken into custody on August 3, 2015, Mr. Wang was held under “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL) for six months, until he was formally arrested on January 8, 2016 and transferred to Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. His family assumes he is still detained at Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center but neither his wife nor his lawyer has been able to meet him since his transfer to Tianjin. On some occasions, Tianjin police claimed they did not know where Mr. Wang was.
On February 14, 2017, Mr. Wang was indicted on charges of “inciting subversion of State power” (Article 105 of the Chinese Criminal Law), punishable with prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.
Moreover, it is strongly believed that Mr. Wang was subjected to various forms of torture, including electric shocks, while in custody. Since his arrest, his relatives have also been subjected to harassment. In particular, his wife, Ms. Li Wenzu, has been constantly monitored, and was arbitrarily detained on several occasions. Their son has also been forcibly removed from kindergarten by police order.
Mr. Wang has been practicing law since 2003, and has represented a wide array of clients in human rights cases, including Falun Gong practitioners, members of the New Citizens’ Movement, housing rights activist Ni Yulan, and journalist Qi Chonghuai. He also wrote or co-authored many articles on the legal profession and human rights, and led many human rights and legal training sessions for less experienced human rights defenders around China. He has faced constant harassment and suffered retaliation for his work.
The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang, and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, ensure his right to access to his relatives and a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing, and respect his rights including those stipulated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.