Urgent Action Update: Labor Activists Held in Secret Detention (China: UA 37.19)
August 6, 2019
Wei Zhili (pictured below) and Ke Chengbing, both editors of labor rights news and advocacy website “New Generation” (xinshengdai), have been held in incommunicado detention since March 2019. Their detention comes amid a crackdown across China on students and activists advocating for worker’s’ rights. Denied access to a lawyer of their choice, they are at grave 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
Email: [email protected]
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,
I am writing to express my concern about the ongoing incommunicado detention of Wei Zhili and Ke Chengbing who were first taken away from their homes by police on 20 March 2019. Prior to their detention, the activists used the online platform “New Generation” (xinshengdai) to publish information about cases of migrant workers from Hunan Province who had contracted occupational lung disease, while also helping them to defend their rights and lodge labor rights complaints to the authorities.
On 26 and 27 March, Shenzhen City Ping Shan Public Security Sub-bureau informed the families that Wei and Ke were criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in Shenzhen City No. 2 detention center. Three weeks later however, the police notified the family that they had been transferred to residential surveillance at a designated location.
Family members of the two activists have also been facing pressure from the police to dismiss their lawyers and remain silent about their cases. Wei Zhili’s wife, Zheng Churan, is a well-known feminist activist who has relentlessly campaigned for Wei’s release. Facing continued harassment, Zheng’s WeChat accounts have been deleted and she has been evicted by her landlord. Denied access to legal counsel of their choice, their families or others, Wei Zhili and Ke Chengbing are at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Therefore, I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release Wei Zhili and Ke Chengbing unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that they have committed an internationally recognized offense and are granted a fair trial in line with international standards; ensure that Wei Zhili and Ke Chengbing are not subjected to any torture or other ill-treatment and have regular and unrestricted access to a lawyer of their choice and are able to communicate with family members, without interference unless justified in line with international human rights law; and end all harassment against family members of Wei Zhili and Ke Chengbing.Yours sincerely.