Prominent human rights lawyer released, still under government control

China Aid
By Brynne Lawrence

(Tianjin—Aug. 1, 2016) After forcing her to confess to her crimes on television, government personnel in Tianjin released a prominent human rights lawyer on bail today. Despite her supposed freedom, she is believed to still be under government control.

On the morning of July 9, 2015, authorities apprehended Wang Yu as part of a whirlwind crackdown on human rights lawyers throughout the country and sentenced her to “residential surveillance in an undisclosed location,” otherwise known as a “black jail.” For six months, officials held her in secret, formally arresting her on Jan. 8 for “subverting state power” and transferring her to the No. 1 Detention Center in Tianjin. During her incarceration, government personnel repeatedly interfered with her lawyers’ attempts to defend her by refusing to take their accusations into account and disallowing them to represent her.

Additionally, Wang was allowed no contact with her family and lawyers for the duration of her incarceration. Currently, her husband is also imprisoned on trumped up charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” and her parents and 16 year-old son are under constant government surveillance after an attempted escape to the U.S. via Myanmar.

Shortly before her release, officials televised her confession. China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group reported that she spoke in incomplete sentences, which they mentioned as an oddity, as she is usually well-spoken.

Despite these abuses, Wang attests that authorities have upheld all of her legal rights, raising international suspicion that she is still being controlled by the government.

In an interview published by news organization in Hong Kong, Wang denounced her previous work as a human rights lawyer and accused the U.S. of trying to attack China. Zhao Wei, another recently released lawyer taken during the crackdown, made similar comments, solidifying suspicions that both are being used as government mouthpieces. Since her supposed release, Zhao has not returned to her family, and her lawyer has been apprehended.

Information for this report was provided by China Human Rights Lawyer’s Concern Group.

China Aid reports on abuses, such as those suffered by Wang and Zhao, in order to promote human rights in China.

China Aid Media Team
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