Human rights lawyer Chang Weiping was officially charged with “subversion of state power” on April 16, 2021, six months after police officers took him away for publicly detailing incidents of torture that he experienced during an earlier detention in January 2020. He is currently being held incommunicado at Feng County Detention Centre. Given his isolation and the reports of the torture Chang previously endured, there are grave concerns for his physical and mental wellbeing.
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Director He Dong
Baoji City Public Security Bureau
Weibin Qu, Baoji Shi,
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 / Fax: 202 495 2138
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear Director He,
I am writing to express my concern for human rights lawyer Chang Weiping (常玮平) who, according to an arrest notice received by his family on April 16, 2021, has been charged with “subversion of state power” (颠覆国家政权). As he appears to have no access to a lawyer of his choice and has previously been subjected to torture while in detention, I am deeply worried for his current and future wellbeing. Chang is currently being held at Feng Country Detention Centre.
Taken away by the authorities on October 22, 2020, Chang Weiping’s detention came six days after he had publicly detailed incidents of torture that he experienced during the 10 days he previously spent under “residential surveillance in a designated location” in January 2020. I find it distressing that the only visitor Chang Weiping has been allowed to see since he was taken away was his father on November 25, 2020. Allowed to talk for only 10 minutes, Chang reportedly behaved in such a peculiar way that his family fears he might again be subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. Despite multiple applications, all requests by Chang’s lawyers to see him have been rejected.
Meeting lawyers of one’s own choosing is an integral part of right to a fair trial and a fundamental safeguard for the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment. Denying Chang Weiping access to legal representation and to family members is in contravention of international human rights, including the Basic Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment. I am also concerned that Chang’s parents and other family members have faced ongoing surveillance and intimidation. Followed whenever they leave their house, their phones have been taken away and any visitors they receive are questioned by the police. Alarmingly, Chang’s wife was threatened that she might lose her job if she continues to speak out on Chang’s case.
I therefore call on you to:
- Release Chang Weiping immediately and unconditionally, unless there is sufficient credible and admissible evidence that he has committed an internationally recognized offence and is granted a fair trial in line with international standards;
- Pending his release, ensure that Chang Weiping has regular, unrestricted access to family and lawyers of his choice and is not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment;
- Immediately stop surveillance, harassment and intimidation against the family members of Chang Weiping.