Urgent Action Update: Labor Activist Held Incommunicado (China: UA 37.19)

Wei Zhili, an editor of “New Generation” (xinshengdai) a website which monitors and reports on internal migrant workers in China, has been transferred to secret incommunicado detention since 20 April 2019. Under this form of detention, he does not get access to a lawyer of his choice. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.



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Song Yiyang
Director of Shenzhen City Pingshan District Public Security Sub-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 has been taken away by police along with another colleague since 20 March, amid a crackdown on students and activists advocating for workers’ rights.

On 27 March, Shenzhen City Ping Shan Public Security Sub-bureau informed Wei’s families that he was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in Shenzhen City No. 2 detention center. The detention authorities allowed Wei to meet his family-appointed lawyers on 28 March, 8 April and 18 April. In one of the visits, Wei Zhili told his lawyer that he had not been tortured, but the police had verbally humiliated him and threatened him that they would bring his family to the interrogation room if he continued to “refuse cooperation with them.”

However, on 20 April, police informed Wei’s parents that, since 19 April, Wei had been put under residential surveillance at a designated location – a form of secret incommunicado detention that allowed the police to hold individuals for up to six months outside the formal detention system. Individuals placed under this form of detention would have no access to legal counsel of their choice, their families or others, and be subject to the grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment. The police also requested Wei’s parents to dismiss their lawyers immediately and threatened them not to cause any trouble.

Wei Zhili’s wife, Zheng Churan, who is a well-known feminist activist, has faced continued harassment for merely speaking out publicly about her husband’s detention. Her WeChat accounts, which she used to release information about her husband’s situation, have either been deleted or blocked. In April, her landlord, who has been under police pressure, requested her to move out from her rented apartment.

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 is able to communicate with family members, without interference unless justified in line with international human rights law; and end all harassment against Wei Zhili’s family.

Yours sincerely.