China: prominent lawyer arrested, held incommunicadoEvent
- Initial Date
- Oct 22, 2020
- Event Description
The Observatory has been informed by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) about the arbitrary and incommunicado detention of Mr. Chang Weiping, a prominent human rights lawyer known for taking on sensitive human rights cases and filling lawsuits against companies for discrimination in the workplace against women, LGBTQ+ persons, and individuals affected by HIV/AIDs.
According to the information received, on October 22, 2020, Mr. Chang Weiping was arrested at his home in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, by police officers from Baoji City. Later the same day, Mr. Chang Weiping’s wife received a phone call from a police officer who informed her that her husband had been placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL), a form of enforced disappearance.
On October 26, 2020, the Baoji City Public Security Bureau denied two separate requests presented by Mr. Chang Weiping’s lawyers to meet with their client. Furthermore, one of the lawyers was informed that Mr. Chang Weiping was suspected of “subversion of State power” and that the case involved “State secrets”. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Chang Weiping had not been formally charged and his whereabouts remained unknown.
Six days before his arrest, on October 16, 2020, Mr. Chang Weiping published a video statement on social media denouncing the physical and psychological torture he had been subjected to while in detention in January 2020, including being tied to a “tiger chair”.
On January 12, 2020, Mr. Chang Weiping, was arbitrarily arrested by Shaanxi police and placed under RSDL in an unknown location on charges of “subversion of State power” (Article 105(1) of China’s Criminal Law), in connection to a private meeting organised by academics, human rights lawyers and activists in December 2019 in Xiamen, Fujian Province, to discuss the situation of the rule of law and human rights in China.
On January 13, Mr. Chang Weiping’s license to practice law was cancelled. Previously, in October 2018, the Baoji City Judicial Bureau had suspended his law license in retaliation for his human rights work.
On January 21, Mr. Chang Weiping was released on bail pending trial. Nonetheless, he was requested to leave his city of residence and was confined to his family home in Baoji, where he remained under strict police scrutiny, including daily phone calls and weekly meetings with the police. Furthermore, he was prevented from being reunited with his family.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Chang Weiping as it seems to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately disclose his whereabouts and unconditionally release him and all other human rights defenders, including labour rights defenders, arbitrarily detained in the country.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to liberty and security
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 22 October 2020, Chang Weiping, human rights lawyer, was arrested and held incommunicado on false charges by the police days after denouncing the previous tortures he suffered in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, China.