Chinese Communist Party authorities revoke the license to practice law of Wang Yu, the first human rights lawyer arrested in the “709 incident”

Friday, December 4, 2020

Lawyer Wang Yu (right) & Lawyer Yu Wensheng’s wife Xu Yan 
 call for trial on Yu Wensheng’s case. 
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Beijing, Hebei Province—Dec. 04, 2020) Sunday, November 30, Justice Bureau authorities phoned Beijing Lawyer Wang Yu informing her that the Chinese Government had revoked her license to practice law. Lawyer Wang had defended human rights activist Yu Wensheng, arrested in January 2018, currently imprisoned in Jiangsu, China. Since authorities sieged Mr. Yu, they have not only denied his wife’s visitation rights, they have revoked his rights to communicate with others, and have turned down requests for him to obtain dental treatment. Lawyer Wang has provided support and stood by Ms. Xu Yan, Mr. Yu’s wife, who has continued to fight for her husband’s rights during his detention. 

On November 29, the day authorities revoked Lawyer Wang’s license, she and her husband, Lawyer Bao Longjun, joined with several other human rights lawyers, including Xie Yanyi, Wen Donghai, and Cheng Hai, to host a modest event to advocate for Mr. Yu. The support group petitioned the High People’s Court of Jiangsu to open trials on Mr. Yu’s case and allow his wife to visit him in prison.

As the first human rights lawyer arrested in the "709 incident,"* and because Lawyer Wang has helped Ms. Xu fight for Mr. Yu's rights, as well as helped many others defend their rights, she contravened the Chinese Communist Party CCP authorities’ taboo. 

China typically resorts to implementing a series of suppressions toward human rights activists for example, lawyers face deliberate obstacles when representing human rights cases. In severe situations, they face the risk of police detaining them. If detained, the lawyer’s legal counsel also faces the risk of detainment for representing dissenting cases. Lawyer Wang’s case depicts this scenario. 

In 2015, China’s President Xi Jinping initiated an action plan to weaken nascent human rights movements. CCP authorities apprehended Lawyer Wang in accordance with this plan. Authorities also arrested Lawyer Li Yuhan, Wang’s lawyer, currently serving her sentence in Liaoning, Shengyang. While defending Lawyer Li, Li Boguang, the lawyer who represented her, suddenly died in Jiangsu, Nanjing.

During the process of defending others, the four related lawyers suffered a series of persecutions. In January of 2016, authorities arrested Lawyer Wang, charging her for state subversion. After her imprisonment at a detention center in Tianjin, authorities released Lawyer Wang in July 2016.

As a lawyer’s livelihood depends on practicing law, revoking his or her license to practice law significantly impacts the survival of the individuals’ and his or her families’ survival. The CCP's current practice of revoking licenses of lawyers who defend human rights blatantly deprives them of their right to survive. CCP authorities also revoked the license to practice law for Lawyer Wang’s husband for representing human rights cases. 

Human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang, exiled to America, said: “Both the husband and wife, have been deprived of their way out. Xi Jinping is the number one murderer, the chief CCP oppressor of human rights. Xi Jinping’s era does not allow for real lawyers.”

Lawyer Wang did not violate any laws or regulations during her time practicing law. Governing judicial organs forcibly revoked her license to practice law, against her own will. According to article 49 of “Lawyers’ Law of the People’s Republic of China,” the provincial judicial administration can revoke the lawyer’s license only if the circumstances of violation were severe. 

For the first trial of a person accused of a crime, due process should define the Justice Bureau’s legitimacy and rationality. Only after confirmation can officials instruct the second deviation. Therefore, the punitive measures authorities imposed on Lawyer Wang violated her constitutional and legal rights, a serious crime. 

The CCP perceives the human rights movement as a threat to its regime. Therefore, those like Lawyer Wang, who help wrongly accused and imprisoned rights defenders, as well as their defense lawyers, may also be wrongfully imprisoned. The authorities’ approach aims to put human rights activists in a situation where they’re isolated and without aid. Their ultimate goal? To shake the will of human rights workers. 

In her work to help and defend human rights activists, as Lawyer Wang did not violate the law, the CCP’s punishment, revoking her license to practice law lacked justification.

*Denotes the large-scale unified arrest in July of 2015 when CCP officials sieged more than 300 Chinese human rights defenders.

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