(Shenyang, Liaoning—March 29, 2023) On March 20, ailing Chinese human rights lawyer Li Yuhan was accompanied by her lawyer, He Wei, to undergo relevant examinations in the hospital after years of extended detention. This comes after nearly five years of authorities continuously denying Li’s access to a lawyer and medical treatment.
Lawyer He said, “According to the previous negotiation with the Shenyang Detention Center, ‘arrange for Li Yuhan’s physical examination as soon as possible.’ After the efforts of the detention center, it was agreed that the physical examination of Li Yuhan would take place at Lu General Hospital today, and whether surgery will be performed will be based on the results of the examination.”
“I am very pleased with the humane behavior of the accompanying police officers,” he continued thanking the detention center for their kindness. But there are serious concerns about the fact that a 74-year-old elderly has been in overextended detainment for a significant length of time in Li’s case.
The lawyer expressed that he would send the bail pending trial and a letter of legal opinions to Heping District People’s Court, Chaoyang City, the court handling the case. And if necessary, continue to legally protest the overextension of Li’s detention.
On March 21, Mr. Li Yongsheng, the younger brother of lawyer Li Yuhan, issued a document thanking lawyers Bao Longjun, Wang Yu, and He Wei for accompanying her to the hospital. However, the court forbade Li from meeting with her family members.
Lawyer Li Yuhan was born in 1957 in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. She was admitted to practice law in 1990 and, in 1991, began practicing in Liaoning. In 2006, because she reported the leader of a gang in Shenyang City, she was kidnapped, suppressed, and retaliated against by the police force of Heping District, Shenyang City, who were under his umbrella of protection. She was subjected to detainment by the police many times and various instances of violence. In 2009, she was forced to go to Beijing to practice law at the Beijing City Dunxin Law Firm and insisted on reporting the suppression she was subjected to by the Shenyang gang and its umbrella of protection.
Over the years, she has represented multiple Chinese house churches and used to represent Wang Yu in the “709 crackdown.” Her criticism of the government and police misconduct resulted in retaliation from the Chinese authorities. Her family was also subjected to threats, verbal harassment, violence, and physical attacks.
In October 2017, Li went to Shenyang to work on a case and shortly thereafter sent a text message to her younger brother saying she was being “taken away” by the Shenyang police. Since then, she has had no contact with the outside world and has been kept in solitary confinement. Li had been missing for more than 20 when her family found out she was under criminal detention after calling the Shenyang police.
On November 15, 2017, Li was formally arrested by the police. On March 1, 2018, Li Yuhan’s lawyer learned on the way to the meeting with her that she had been on a hunger strike since February 24 in protest of the detention center denying her the necessary medication, for her extended detention.
On October 27, 2020, on the way to the meeting, it was learned that the authorities had added a new charge of “fraud” to the initial charge of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” Law enforcement authorities in Shenyang City repeatedly detained Li Yuxuan for an extended period using various excuses and publicly the trial would begin on October 20, 2021. However, even after the trial, no verdict has been handed down to this day.
~Gao Zhensai, Special Correspondent of ChinaAid