Urgent Action: Labor Activist Detained Without Lawyer (China: UA 37.19)

Wei Zhili, an editor of “New Generation” (xinshengdai) a website which monitors and reports on internal migrant workers in China, was taken away by police from his home in Shenzhen on 20 March 2019. No direct contact has been made with him since his arrest and, without access to a lawyer of his choice, he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



  1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 37.19. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Song Yiya
Director of Shenzhen City Pingshan District Public Security Bureau
1 Longping Lu, Pingshan Qu, Shenzhen, 518118,
People’s Republic of China
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 495 2266 I Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Director Song,

Wei Zhili, was taken away from his home in Shenzhen by a group of public security officers at around 2am on 20 March 2019. No arrest or search warrant was shown by the police while they were searching Wei Zhili’s room and questioning him for an hour prior to his arrest.

The police officers told Wei Zhili’s father that they took him away based on the allegation of “disturbing social order”. Confiscating his computer and his mobile phone, the police said that Wei Zhili would be criminally detained and that they would send the family a formal criminal notification in a couple of days.

A police officer further threatened Wei’s father that they would “educate” Wei Zhili in the detention center, accusing him of “not having a proper job although graduating from a good school and being “brainwashed” to engage in anti-Communist and counter-revolutionary activities that disturb social order”.

Without any contact with Wei Zhili since he was taken away, his wife and family-appointed lawyers visited several public security authorities in Shenzhen and Guangzhou to seek information. Finally, on 26 March, Shenzhen Ping Shan District Police told his wife over the phone that Wei Zhili was detained in Shenzhen City No. 2 Detention Center on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. There are fears that, without access to a lawyer of his choice, Wei Zhili is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Ke Chengbing, also an editor of the website “New Generation” (xinshengdai), went missing on 20 March too however it is unclear whether he has also been detained by the police. 

Therefore, I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release Wei Zhili unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that he has committed an internationally recognized offense and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards; ensure that Wei Zhili is not subjected to any torture or other ill-treatment and has regular and unrestricted access to a lawyer of his choice and are able to communicate with family members, without interference unless justified in line with international human rights law. 

Yours sincerely,