(Beijing—Feb. 17, 2019) The family of an imprisoned Beijing lawyer is worrying about him over the Spring Festival season, since he has been absent since 2018, and no recent update on him is available.
Xu Yan, the wife of imprisoned attorney Yu Wensheng, said that she hoped her husband might return home before the Spring Festival, but her hope vanished as the holiday drew near without any news of him. She and his family miss him very much, fear for his health, and hope the authorities will keep him safe and honor his human rights.
Xu said, “He has no freedom, so I hope he will not be hungry this Spring Festival and that at least he will have enough food and will not be tortured, which would be the safeguarding of the most basic humanitarian law and human affairs. I hope that they will protect Yu Wensheng in this way.”
Yu was first arrested on Jan. 19, 2018, when he was dropping his child off at school. The next day, he was placed under criminal detention and charged with disrupting public service. On Jan 27, officials ordered him to be held under “residential surveillance,” which is the common term for China’s extralegal prison system, known as the “black jails.” Yu was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and officially arrested on April 19. Authorities postponed his case four times, and the procuratorate returned it for supplemental investigation twice, using all protocols and deadlines in favor of the officials. The case was returned to the procuratorate in mid-December, and the officials had until Feb. 2 to decide whether or not the prosecution would proceed, but Xu and the lawyer have yet to receive an update.
During his detention, Yu was stripped of his right to meet with his lawyer, Mr. Chang, and receive family visits, both of which are provided for by Chinese law. Instead, authorities insisted that Yu had another lawyer, despite the fact that he signed a document hiring Chang.
In response, Chang said, “I think the mass media, at home and abroad, both inside China and abroad, should pay close attention to Yu Wensheng’s case. The government promotes itself, saying the rule of the country by the law, but they are, in fact, cheaters.”
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