URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY
CHN 003 / 1020 / OBS 119
Arbitrary and incommunicado detention /
At risk of torture
October 28, 2020
The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) andFIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.
Descriptionof the situation:
The Observatory has been informedby the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) about the arbitrary andincommunicado detention of Mr. Chang Weiping, a prominent human rightslawyer known for taking on sensitive human rights cases and filling lawsuitsagainst companies for discrimination in the workplace against women, LGBTQ+persons, and individuals affected by HIV/AIDs.
According to the informationreceived, on October 22, 2020, Mr. Chang Weiping was arrested at his home inFengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, by police officers from Baoji City. Laterthe same day, Mr. Chang Weiping’s wife received a phone call from a policeofficer who informed her that her husband had been placed under “residentialsurveillance in a designated location” (RSDL), a form of enforced disappearance.
On October 26, 2020, the BaojiCity Public Security Bureau denied two separate requests presented by Mr. ChangWeiping’s lawyers to meet with their client. Furthermore, one of the lawyerswas informed that Mr. Chang Weiping was suspected of “subversion of Statepower” and that the case involved “State secrets”. At the time of publicationof this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Chang Weiping had not been formally charged and hiswhereabouts remained unknown.
Six days before his arrest, onOctober 16, 2020, Mr. Chang Weiping published a video statement on social mediadenouncing the physical and psychological torture he had been subjected towhile in detention in January 2020, including being tied to a “tiger chair”.
On January 12, 2020, Mr. ChangWeiping, was arbitrarily arrested by Shaanxi police and placed under RSDL in anunknown location on charges of “subversion of State power” (Article 105(1) of China’s Criminal Law), in connection to a private meeting organisedby academics, human rights lawyers and activists in December 2019 in Xiamen,Fujian Province, to discuss the situation of the rule of law and human rightsin China.
On January 13, Mr. ChangWeiping’s license to practice law was cancelled. Previously, in October 2018,the Baoji City Judicial Bureau had suspended his law license in retaliation forhis human rights work.
On January 21, Mr. Chang Weipingwas released on bail pending trial. Nonetheless, he was requested to leave hiscity of residence and was confined to his family home in Baoji, where heremained under strict police scrutiny, including daily phone calls and weeklymeetings with the police. Furthermore, he was prevented from being reunitedwith his family.
The Observatory expresses itsutmost concern over the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Chang Weiping asit seems to be only aimed at punishing him for his legitimate human rightsactivities and urges the Chinese authorities to immediately disclose hiswhereabouts and unconditionally release him and all other human rightsdefenders, including labour rights defenders, arbitrarily detained in thecountry.
Please write to the Chinese authorities to urge themto:
i. Guarantee inall circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr.Chang Weiping as well as that of all other human rights defendersin China;
ii. Immediately disclose Mr. Chang Weiping’swhereabouts and releasehim immediately and unconditionally as his detention is arbitrary since it onlyseems to aim at punishing him for his human rights activities;
iii. Guarantee Mr. Chang Weiping’s accessto his family members and to lawyers of his own or his family’s choosing;
iv. Carryout an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation intothe above-mentioned allegations of torture in order to identify all thoseresponsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them asprovided by law;
v. Put an end to all acts ofharassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. ChangWeiping and all other human rights defenders in the country, so that theyare able to carry out their work without hindrance and fear of reprisals, aswell as against their family members;
vi. Comply with the provisionsof the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the GeneralAssembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with itsArticles 1 and 12.2;
vii. Ensure inall circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms inaccordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and otherinternational human rights instruments signed or ratified by China.
· Mr. LiKeqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. GuoShengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Email:email@example.com
· H.E.Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic ofChina to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· H.E.Mr. QU XING, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China inBrussels, Belgium, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomaticrepresentations of China in your respective countries.
Geneva-Paris, October 28,2020
Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human RightsDefenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call theemergency line:
· TelOMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39
· TelFIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
 For more information, see https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23997