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Startseite Urgent Actions 2018 01 Lawyer detained for «inciting subversion» Appeal rejected, health continues to deteriorate
FI 019/18-6
Abgeschlossen am 22. Februar 2021
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20.01.2021: Suggested tweets

Suggested tweets:

Chinese human rights lawyer #YuWensheng second appeal rejected, upholding original 4-yr sentence for «inciting subversion of state power». He is a prisoner of conscience, detained purely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. #China must release him immediately!
UA 019/18-6

Chinese human rights lawyer #YuWensheng finally saw his wife @Xuyan709 after 3 years of detention. She has expressed grave concerns for his health, as he is malnourished and suffers severe nerve damage. Help call for his immediate release.
UA 019/18-6

We would just like to share a message of appreciation that Xu Yan wanted to pass on to you: «Yu Wensheng appreciates the supports by individuals that worked / continue to work on his case.»

Thank you for your continued support!

Appeal rejected, health continues to deteriorate

AI-Index: ASA 17/3554/2021

On 27 December 2020, the Jiangsu Provincial People’s High Court rejected Yu Wensheng’s appeal of his four-year prison sentence for «inciting subversion of state power», passed down after a secret trial in June 2020. After almost three years without access to his family, Yu Wensheng was finally able to take part in a video call with his wife Xu Yan on 14 January 2021. Afterward, Xu expressed grave concerns about the apparent deterioration of Yu’s health. In addition to being unable to use his right arm due to nerve damage, Yu continues to show signs of malnutrition. He is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and must be immediately and unconditionally released.


Yu Wensheng is a prominent human rights lawyer in Beijing. He represented a number of high-profile human rights cases, including Falun Gong practitioners and fellow human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who was detained and charged with «subverting state power» during the mass crackdown on lawyers and activists starting in July 2015.

On 17 June 2020, Yu was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for three years in a secret trial. Shortly after Yu’s sentencing, an appeal to the Jiangsu Provincial People’s High Court was filed. On 27 December 2020, Yu’s lawyers received the decision in writing from Jiangsu Provincial People’s High Court that Yu’s appeal was rejected, and the court upheld the original sentencing. According to the judgement, Yu is scheduled to be released on 1 March 2022.

Yu Wensheng will soon be transferred from the detention facility to a prison to complete his sentence. It is still unknown which prison he will be sent to. However, Yu requested to be transferred to a prison in Beijing where his hukou (户口) is and where his family is. Hukou is a system of household registration system in China that officially identifies a person as a permanent resident of an area and includes information such as name, parents, spouse and date of birth.

When Yu was granted the first meeting with his lawyer in August 2020, after more than 18 months in detention, he shared that he had been sprayed with pepper spray water and was at times required to sit on a metal chair for an extended period of time, until he partially lost consciousness. Yu also said that he was often not given enough food and that he suffered heatstroke in the summer and was cold in the winter.

Yu’s family and friends believe that his conviction is related to an open letter in which he criticized President Xi Jinping as ill-suited to lead China due to his strengthening «totalitarian» rule over the country.

Yu Wensheng is one of the finalists for the 2021 Martin Ennels Award, an annual prize for human rights defenders. Finalists and the laurate are selected by a Jury of 10 of the world’s leading human rights NGOs. The Award provides protection and support human rights defenders who are at risk.

Yu Wensheng’s wife Xu Yan has been tirelessly fighting for the release of her husband in the past three years. Xu made numerous attempts to visit her husband, who has been detained 800km away from their home in Beijing. Xu Yan has been under constant surveillance and harassment by the authorities since she started to advocate for her husband. She has been summoned, detained and banned from travelling.

Activists and human rights defenders in China continue to be systematically subjected to monitoring, harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention.

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