China: Ongoing arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang

19/09/2017
Urgent Appeal

CHN 003 / 0917 / OBS 101
Arbitrary detention /
Torture / Judicial harassment
China
September 19, 2017

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

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang, a human rights lawyer with Fengrui Law Firm in Beijing. Mr. Wang was detained in the context of the “709 crackdown” [1].

According to the information received, since Mr. Wang Quanzhang’s arrest by police in August 2015, Chinese authorities have repeatedly prevented his wife and his lawyers from having access to him.

After he was taken into custody on August 3, 2015, Mr. Wang was held under “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL) for six months, until he was formally arrested on January 8, 2016 and transferred to Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. His family assumes he is still detained at Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center but neither his wife nor his lawyer has been able to meet him since his transfer to Tianjin. On some occasions, Tianjin police claimed they did not know where Mr. Wang was.

On February 14, 2017, Mr. Wang was indicted on charges of “inciting subversion of State power” (Article 105 of the Chinese Criminal Law), punishable with prison terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

Moreover, it is strongly believed that Mr. Wang was subjected to various forms of ­torture, including electric shocks, while in custody. Since his arrest, his relatives have also been subjected to harassment. In particular, his wife, Ms. Li Wenzu, has been constantly monitored, and was arbitrarily detained on several occasions. Their son has also been forcibly removed from kindergarten by police order.

Mr. Wang has been practicing law since 2003, and has represented a wide array of clients in human rights cases, including Falun Gong practitioners, members of the New Citizens’ Movement, housing rights activist Ni Yulan, and journalist Qi Chonghuai. He also wrote or co-authored many articles on the legal profession and human rights, and led many human rights and legal training sessions for less experienced human rights defenders around China. He has faced constant harassment and suffered retaliation for his work.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention of Mr. Wang Quanzhang, and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him, ensure his right to access to his relatives and a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing, and respect his rights including those stipulated in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the People’s Republic of China to urge them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Wang Quanzhang as well as that of all human rights defenders in China;

ii. Immediately disclose Mr. Wang Quanzhang’s whereabouts and release him immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing him for his human rights activities;

iii. Guarantee the access of Mr. Wang Quanzhang to his family members and to a lawyer of his own or his family’s choosing;

iv. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by law;

v. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Wang Quanzhang and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance, and put an end to reprisals against family members seeking justice on behalf of detained or disappeared human rights defenders;

vi. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Articles 1, 6(c) and 12.2;

vii. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by China.

Addresses:

· 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: premier@mail.gov.cn
· Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Fax: +86 10 63099216, Email: gabzfwz@mps.gov.cn
· 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, E-mail: chinamission_gva@mfa.gov.cn
· H.E. Mr. QU XING, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32-2-7792895; Email: chinaemb_be@mfa.gov.cn

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of China in your respective countries.

***
Geneva-Paris, September 19, 2017

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

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

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