Human rights violations of Chinese lawyer

Who we wrote to

The Chinese authorities

What’s the issue

On 28 January 2019, the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court (the Court) issued a judgment in which Mr Wang Quanzhang was found guilty of “subversion of state power”. Mr Wang was sentenced to four years and six months in prison, as well as banned from exercising his political rights and carrying out his profession for five years.

Mr Wang was prohibited from practising as a lawyer. However, we understand that the charge of “subversion of state power” is related solely to Mr Wang’s legitimate exercise of his professional duties, which is protected under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and by international human rights standards.

It’s alleged that the trial was held behind closed doors because the Court held that the case involved matters relating to “national security”. Restrictions on the right to a fair trial, including the right to have a public hearing, can only be justified in certain limited circumstances.

Where there’s no reliable or credible evidence to suggest that there’s an absolute necessity to hold proceedings behind closed doors, even in cases concerning national security, such restrictions constitute a violation of the right to a fair trial.

His previous arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, prolonged pre-trial detention, lack of a public trial, lack of access to a legal representative of his own choosing, and ill-treatment upon arrest (and possibly in detention) are all serious violations of Mr Wang’s human rights.

What we asked for

We respectfully urge the Chinese authorities to bring Mr Wang’s situation into conformity with the relevant domestic and international legal and human rights standards, including those set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We request that the relevant Chinese authorities take all necessary steps to:

  • immediately annul the conviction of Mr Wang Quanzhang
  • immediately and unconditionally release Mr Wang Quanzhang
  • guarantee in all circumstances, until such release takes place, the physical and psychological well-being of Mr Wang and allow him access to his family and a lawyer of his own choosing
  • grant Mr Wang an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law and the decision of the UNWGAD (October 2018)
  • cease all forms of harassment, intimidation and/or reprisal, including of a judicial nature, against Mr Wang and his family


3 August 2015 – Mr Wang was taken into custody by police. We’re aware that his whereabouts were unknown to any third party, including his family, and that he was being held in isolation for most of the time during a period lasting over three years.

29 January 2019 – the Court issued a judgement in which Mr Wang was found guilty of “subversion of state power” and sentenced to four years and six months in prison and a ban on exercising his political rights for a period of five years

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