November 7, 2018
As the United Nations urged Beijing to release prominent detained rights lawyers, authorities in China’s southwestern region of Guangxi raided a legal consultancy set up by attorneys struck off by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, RFA has learned.
Human rights experts at the U.N. currently reviewing Beijing’s rights record found that “the deprivation of liberty of Wang Quanzhang, Jiang Tianyong and Li Yuhan, being in contravention of articles 9, 10, 11 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is arbitrary.”
“The appropriate remedy would be to release Mr. Wang, Mr. Jiang and Ms. Li immediately and accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law,” the working group on human rights said in a draft statement issued on Wednesday.
It called on the Chinese government to investigate their detention and to take “appropriate measures against those responsible,” and said it had referred their cases to the U.N.’s Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
International rights groups have repeatedly called on China to release all human rights lawyers who remain behind bars, after more than 300 lawyers, law firm employees and activists were detained and questioned in the crackdown.
While many were released from immediate detention, some lost their license to practice, while others found themselves and loved ones subjected to round-the-clock police surveillance and travel bans.
Human rights lawyers, who frequently represent vulnerable clients or cases deemed politically sensitive by the authorities, continue to be targeted under the administration of President Xi Jinping.
Wang Quanzhang has been held incommunicado for the past three years on subversion charges, while rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on subversion charges in November 2017. His family say Jiang has been force-fed unidentified medication and now suffers from memory loss.