Wang Yu and Li Heping are human rights attorneys in China who have defended scholars and academics whom CCS has also advocated for. Both attorneys were detained in 2015 and have been held incommunicado for almost a year. They have both, now, been charged with “subversion of state power”. The charge could carry as much as a life sentence in a Chinese prison.
CCS has written on behalf of these attorneys in the past and is requesting an update of their case.
June 7, 2016
President Xi Jinping
The State Council General’s Office
People’s Republic of China
Re: Wang Yu and Li Heping
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write today to renew our concerns for human rights attorneys Wang Yu and Li Heping. Both have defended scholars and academics for whom our Committee has advocated in the past.
Wang Yu, a recent winner of the prestigious Ludovic Trarieux Prize for her work defending human rights, disappeared on July 10, 2015 and was formally charged on January 13, 2016 along with her husband, and accused of “subversion of state power,” a vague charge that could result in a life sentence.
Li Heping was reported to have also disappeared almost a year ago, on July 10, 2015. On January 8, 2016, he, too, was charged with “subverting state power”.
Both arrests were apparently part of a widespread crackdown in which many human rights lawyers and legal assistants were arrested or detained. In both cases, they were prevented from consulting with lawyers of their choice and have, instead, been required to use government-appointed attorneys.
We expect from a country such as China that is involved in global leadership, and is engaged in scientific and academic collaborations, to demonstrate the greatest respect for the rule of law, human rights and treaty obligations. These detentions and arrests of lawyers and legal staff reflect poorly on respect for the rule of law and obligations to international human rights agreements to which China has been a party.
On September 8, 2015, and again on January 22, 2016, we wrote to you to protest the detention of Wang Yu and Li Heping. We urge you now to provide us with an update on the status of their cases. While still in detention, they must be allowed legal representation of their choice and regular contact with family members.
Thank you for addressing our concerns. We look forward to receiving your response.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
- China Arrests Two Human Rights Lawyers on Unspecified Charges (concernedscientists.org)
- Mass Suppression of Lawyers Reveals True Nature of Xi’s “Rule by Law” (hrichina.org)