Alert: 7 people are still imprisoned 1 year after crackdown on human rights in Belarus
China
17.09.21
Urgent Interventions

China: Acts of torture against human rights lawyer Chang Weiping

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information
CHN 003 / 1020 / OBS 119.1
Arbitrary detention /
Torture and other ill-treatment
China
September 17, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in China.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) about the acts of torture and ill-treatment perpetrated against 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.

On September 14, 2021, Chang Weiping was allowed to meet his lawyer for the first time since his arbitrary arrest on October 22, 2020. During the meeting, which took place at the Feng County Detention Centre, in the area of Baoji City, Shaanxi Province, Chang Weiping reported having been subjected to numerous forms of physical and psychological torture in the six-month period he spent under “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL), a form of enforced disappearance[1], from October 2020 to April 2021. Chang Weiping was subjected to the “tiger chair”[2] for six consecutive days, subjected to sleep deprivation, placed under 24 hours video surveillance, denied food and allowed to shower only five times during the six-month period. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Chang Weiping remained detained at the Feng County Detention Centre, at high risk of renewed acts of torture.

The Observatory recalls that Chang Weiping was arrested on October 22, 2020 at his home in Fengxiang County, Shaanxi Province, by police officers from Baoji City. Later the same day, Chang Weiping’s wife received a phone call from a police officer who informed her that her husband had been placed under RSDL. Following his detention, the Baoji City Public Security Bureau denied two separate requests presented by Chang Weiping’s lawyers to meet with their client. Furthermore, one of the lawyers was informed that Chang Weiping was suspected of “subversion of State power” and that the case involved “State secrets”.

Six days before his arrest, on October 16, 2020, Chang Weiping had published a video statement on social media denouncing the physical and psychological torture he had been subjected to while in detention under RSDL from January 12 to 21, 2020, including being tied to a “tiger chair”. Arrested on charges of “subversion of State power” (Article 105(1) of China’s Criminal Law), Chang Weiping was released on bail pending trial on January 21, 2020. 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 acts torture to which Chang Weiping has been subjected during his detention and alerts about the high risk of further acts of ill-treatment and torture he is facing while in detention.

The Observatory urges the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and all other human rights defenders, including labour rights defenders, arbitrarily detained in the country, and to guarantee in all circumstances their physical integrity and psychological well-being.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Chinese authorities to urge them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Chang Weiping as well as that of all other human rights defenders in China;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Chang Weiping as his detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing him for his human rights activities;

iii. Guarantee Chang Weiping’s access to his family members and to lawyers of his own or his family’s choosing;

iv. Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the above-mentioned allegations of torture in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by law;

v. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Chang Weiping and all other human rights defenders in the country, so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance and fear of reprisals, as well as against their family members.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Li Keqiang, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Email: premier@mail.gov.cn
  • Mr. Guo Shengkun, Minister of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, Email: gabzfwz@mps.gov.cn
  • H.E. Mr. Zhaoxu Ma, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, E-mail: chinamission_gva@mfa.gov.cn
  • H.E. Mr. Qu Xing, Ambassador, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brussels, Belgium, Email: chinaemb_be@mfa.gov.cn

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of China in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, September 17, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39
  • Tel FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18

[1] For more information, see https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=23997

[2] The “tiger chair” is a metal chair regularly used by Chinese police officers as a restraint to immobilise suspects during interrogations and obtain forced confessions. Detainees can be bound for hours and days to the chair.

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