Human rights lawyer Lu Siwei, most well-known for recently defending activists in Hong Kong, was barred from leaving China after receiving a fellowship in the United States. He fled into Laos through Vietnam in July but was detained by Laos for an allegedly fraudulent visa and recently deported to China. He remains separated from his family in the United States.
October 10, 2023
President Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
Xichengqu, Beijing Shi 100017
Dear President Xi Jinping:
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 are writing in regard to Mr. Lu Siwei, a prominent human rights lawyer who lost his legal license in early 2021. Later that year, he was barred from leaving China after receiving a fellowship opportunity in the United States. He fled into Laos through Vietnam in late July but was detained by Laos for an allegedly fraudulent visa and recently deported back to China, where he is reportedly being held in a detention center. He remains separated from his family in the United States.
The CCS is concerned that this detention is part of a recurring pattern of targeting peaceful work by human rights lawyers, even outside of China.
We write to urge your government to release Mr. Siwei without delay, at least on bail, to ensure both his wellbeing and his right to pick his own legal counsel. He should also be assured access to his family and legal counsel. The charges against him should be made clear. Ideally, he should be allowed to reunite with his family in the United States.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We will be closely following developments in this case.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 917 9220
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
People’s Republic of China
No. 2, Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100701
R. Nicholas Burns
United States Ambassador to China
United States Embassy & Consulates in China
United States Embassy Beijing
55 Anjialou Road, Chaoyang District
Beijing, China 100600
Phone: +011 86 10 8531 4000
Fax: +011 86 010 8531 3300