China: Arbitrary arrest of Mr. Chen Weixiang

Urgent Appeal
(c) CLB

CHN 003 / 1219 / OBS 110
Arbitrary arrest
December 20, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by China Labour Bulletin about the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Chen Weixiang, also known as “Xiangzi”, a labour rights defender well known for helping sanitation workers defend their rights. Mr. Chen Weixiang runs a public blog on the messaging app WeChat called Heart Sanitation (心环卫), which publishes news about sanitation workers’ struggles and provides information about their legal rights.

According to the information received, Mr. Chen Weixiang was arrested at his home in Guangzhou on December 17, 2019. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, no information was available on the reason for Mr. Chen Weixiang’s arrest, and his whereabouts remained unknown.

Three days before Mr. Chen Weixiang’s arrest, on December 14, 2019, Heart Sanitation published an article [1] on the situation of 130 sanitation workers in Guangzhou’s University Town district who are owed 1.8 million yuan (approximately 230 850 Euros) in wage arrears.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Chen Weixiang as it seems to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately disclose his whereabouts and unconditionally release him and all other human rights defenders, including labour rights defenders, arbitrarily detained in the country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in China, urging them to:
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Chen Weixiang as well as of all human rights defenders, including labour rights defenders, in China;

ii. Immediately disclose Mr. Chen Weixiang’s whereabouts and release him immediately and unconditionally as is detention is arbitrary;

iii, Guarantee his unhindered access to a lawyer of his choosing and his family members;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Chen Weixiang and all other human rights defenders, including labour rights defenders, in China, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

v. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by China.


• Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 659 611 09 (c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Email:
• Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 793 70 14, Email:
• H.E. Mr. Qu Xing, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32-2-7792895; Email:
• Mr. Li Jianguo, Chairman of All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), 10 Fuxingmenwai Street, 100865 Beijing, China, Phone: +86 10 6859 2114, Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of China located in your country.

Paris-Geneva, December 20, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail:
• Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] See :

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