Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan were detained Thursday in Beijing when they were en route to meet a delegation from the European Union.
Yu is one of the most courageous rights lawyers in China active in defending the rights of dissidents and ethnic and religious groups. He won the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law in 2018 and the Martin Ennals Award in 2021 for his achievements.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited China from April 13–15. She told reporters that she expressed her concerns that “the scope for civil society engagement in China is continuing to shrink and human rights are being curtailed” after she met Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
Lin Xin (a pseudonym name for safety), a friend of the family, told The Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times on April 15 that he learned about the arrest from Yu’s son, who is a middle school student.
Lin said that it is most urgent for the couple to meet their lawyers. Yu’s teenage son currently has no one to take care of him.
Chen Jiangang, a Chinese human rights lawyer now living in the United States, posted on Twitter on April 15 that police formerly notified Yu’s son at 1 p.m. on April 15 that Yu and his wife have both been detained for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a common charge under article 293 of China’s Criminal Law that the regime uses to target critics.
Yu’s wife Xu Yan told the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times at 4:30 p.m. on April 13 that both of them were being taken by several police to the Bajiao police station in Shijingshan District in the west of Beijing.
“We are not allowed to go to the embassy [to meet the EU delegation],” she told The Epoch Times.
The Epoch Times called Xu Yan’s mobile phone multiple times on April 14, which replied that “the number you dialed is not available. ”
According to Xu’s post on Twitter at 6:13 p.m., April 13, she and her husband were forced into a car, and the driver, the man in the front passenger seat, and several men in plain clothes were police.
— 余文生律师妻子许艳 (@xuyan709) April 13, 2023
“[The police] want to take Lawyer Yu Wensheng and Xu Yan to the Bajiao police station. The main reason is that [we] are going to the embassy [to meet the EU Delegation]. Please show your concern,” Xu wrote in her Twitter post.
The Epoch Times reached out to the Bajiao police station on April 14. A woman who claimed to be a police officer at the station and who refused to give her name said to The Epoch Times that both Yu and Xu were in the Bajiao police station. She refused to respond to questions about why the couple had been detained and when they would be released.
More human rights lawyers in Beijing were placed under house arrest on April 14.
Wang Yu and her husband Bao Longjun are both human rights lawyers. According to a video clip of Wang, several plainclothes police were outside their home on April 14, prohibiting them from going out.
Wang asked for their names and “reasonable and legal reasons” for doing this.
“Don’t you also want to live in a normal society? It is us [that are under house arrest] today, but it could be you and your family tomorrow,” Wang is heard talking to the men outside her apartment.
Wang’s elderly mother-in-law was frightened.
Human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang and his wife Li Wenzu could not leave their home on April 14, either. The surveillance camera on his door was covered with plaster by plainclothes police. Several men were stationed in the corridor outside their residence, prohibiting them from going outside.
Human rights lawyer Li Heping was blocked from going out to walk his dog at 6:30 a.m. on April 14. He was not allowed to leave his residence on that day.
‘The CCP Is Afraid’: Chinese Human Rights Lawyer
The Chinese authorities prevented human rights lawyers from meeting with foreign diplomats because they wanted to hide their human rights abuses.
“The communist regime is afraid that the international communities [will] come to see its ugly behavior and the bad human rights situation,” Wu Shaoping, a Chinese human rights lawyer now living in the United States, told the Chinese language edition of The Epoch Times on April 15.
These lawyers who are suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are the backbone of China, Wu said. “They are brave enough to resist the CCP and dare to speak out against injustice. These are the people that Chinese society truly needs.”
“These human rights lawyers are defenders of human rights. When their own rights have been so blatantly trampled upon, it can be imagined what the situation is for other individuals who do not have the direct attention of diplomats and who are not lawyers themselves,” he added.
Yu was sentenced to four years imprisonment in 2018 and was released in March 2022. Yu and these human rights lawyers whose freedom has been taken away by the CCP are among hundreds of human rights lawyers who are victims of the communist regime’s “709 crackdown.” Gao Zhisheng, one of the lawyers suppressed in the crackdown, has been missing for over five years.
The EU Delegation to China posted a tweet on April 14 that “@yuwensheng9 and @xuyan709 detained by [Chinese] authorities on their way to EU Delegation.” It added that it “demand[s] their immediate, unconditional release.”
Hong Ning contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times
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