Urgent Action Update: Human Rights Defenders Face Secret Trial (China: UA 113.19)

Anti-discrimination NGO workers Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze and Wu Gejianxiong remain incommunicado since being detained on 22 July 2019. Cheng Yuan’s wife learned from prosecutors on 10 July 2020 that an indictment was issued in the case on 24 June and that the three now await trial on charges of “inciting subversion of state power”. As the authorities have provided no additional information about the indictment to members of the three men’s families or family-appointed lawyers, there are fears that these human rights defenders could be tried in secret. Without access to families or lawyers of their choice, they remain at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



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Chief Procurator Wang Xunjue
The People’s Procuratorate of Changsha City,
Dujuan Road, Yuelu District,
Changsha 41000, Hunan,
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 Chief Procurator Wang,

I am writing to express my grave concern for three anti-discrimination NGO workers, Cheng Yuan (程渊), Liu Yongze (刘永泽) and Wu Gejianxiong (吴葛健雄), who have been detained incommunicado since 22 July 2019. It is distressing to know that members of the three men’s families have been kept in the dark about the case for almost a year, only finding out about your indictment in the case as a result of a telephone call that they initiated on 10 July.

The three men, now detained at Changsha City Kaifu District Detention Center, have been charged with “inciting subversion of state power” (煽动颠覆国家政权罪) and are awaiting trial by the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court. I am concerned that the three men may have been pressured into firing defense lawyers appointed for them by their families in March 2020.

The three men have now been held incommunicado for more than a year, with no way for their families or lawyers to check their physical and mental wellbeing. Given the limited safeguards protecting those held incommunicado, I am very worried that Cheng Yuan, Li Yongze and Wu Gejianxiong are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. It is upsetting that individuals who advocate for the rights of marginalized groups and work to protect the rights of the most vulnerable people in society, are being detained in such a manner. Given the lack of transparency with which this case has been handled, I am concerned that they may soon be tried in secret.

Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze and Wu Geijianxiong are considered prisoners of conscience, as they have been detained solely for carrying out their professional work and peacefully defending human rights. Therefore, I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release Cheng Yuan, Liu Yongze and Wu Geijianxiong and drop the charges against them as they have been detained solely for carrying out their professional work and peacefully defending human rights; and ensure that each has regular and unrestricted access to family members and lawyers of their choice.

Yours sincerely,