< More News

Latest News

Legal Opinions Concerning the Reasons Why Wang Yu Did Not Commit the Crime of Inciting Subversion of State Power

Legal Opinions Concerning the Reasons Why Wang Yu Did Not Commit the Crime of Inciting Subversion of State Power and the Demand to Tianjins Hexi District Public Security Sub-branch to Change the Compulsory Measure against Her and Arrange a Meeting Between Her and Her Lawyers in Accordance with the Law


To Tianjin’s Hexi District Public Security Sub-branch:


We, lawyer Wen Donghai of the Xianghe Law Firm in Henan and lawyer Li Yuhan of the Dunxin Law Firm in Beijing, are Wang Yu’s defenders. In accordance with relevant legal provisions, we hereby present the following legal opinions to your sub-branch:


As your sub-branch did not allow us to meet Wang Yu, we are unable to ascertain directly from our client the facts of the alleged crime and also unable to verify the veracity of the facts of the alleged crime.


In light of your sub-branch’s refusal to inform us the relevant basic information concerning the crime that Wang Yu is alleged to have committed, we are unable to conduct targeted investigation and evidence-collection.


Wang Yu was illegally taken away by your sub-branch from her home in Beijing in the middle of the night on July 9, 2015, and your sub-branch did not inform her family in time in accordance with the requirements under the Criminal Procedure Law. She has been illegally detained for an entire month to date. The way your sub-branch has handled this case has violated conventions and seriously trampled upon legal provisions and the people’s faith in the rule of law. Therefore, we cannot imagine that your sub-branch will be able to handle this case in accordance with the law in the days ahead, and we are unable to guarantee that your sub-branch would not extract confessions from Wang Yu through torture.


Since two of the most important means by which defense lawyers can obtain case information have been deprived by nominally lawful methods employed by your sub-branch, we are left with no choice but to continue our defense duties on the basis of the following sources of information:


1.     Media coverage of this case resulting from confidential investigation information concerning this case that was leaked by your sub-branch to CCTV, Xinhua News and other media outlets;

2.     Information provided by our client and Wang Yu’s colleagues and friends;

3.     Online information concerning the cases handled by Wang Yu.


We are unable to guarantee the aforementioned information is 100% accurate, but as criminal defense lawyers with long years of experience, we believe we are sufficiently capable of making judgments regarding the veracity of certain basic facts.  We are also not in a position to impose on your sub-branch the case information obtained through the aforementioned means, but the heaven is watching over what we humans are doing and time will reveal the truth for all to see.


From what we have gathered, we believe Wang Yu has not committed the crime of inciting subversion of state power, because of the following reasons:


First, judging from the media reports carried by media outlets such as CCTV and Xinhua News, Wang Yu has not committed the crime of inciting subversion of state power. Wang Yu has merely made some radical speeches while handling cases. According to the 18 July 2015 report by Xinhua News, “in April 2015, at a court in Shenhe District in Shenyang City, Wang Yu left her defense counsel seat, began to shout, pointed her fingers at the court police, and cursed the police as thugs and animals, turning the solemn court into a place for cursing and tantrum-throwing and making it impossible for the trial to proceed.” Putting aside question of whether Xinhua’s and CCTV’s reporting is objective and fair, Wang Yu’s actions as reported were limited to cursing people inside a courtroom and at most constituted “disruption of court order”. If there were legitimate and reasonable causes, her behavior would not even constitute disruption of court order and is distinctly different from the lofty crime of inciting subversion of state power. However, according to online information shared by people in the know, CCTV’s broadcast coverage of Wang Yu’s case is not the whole truth and is a smear campaign that left out crucial details. The reality is that the court’s judicial police abused and humiliated Wang Yu in the courtroom. Unable to stop these actions, Wang Yu could not control her own emotions and reacted angrily in protest. As Wang Yu’s defense lawyers and regardless of how imaginative we are, we are still unable to associate Wang Yu’s aforementioned behavior with incitement of subversion of state power.


Second, fellow Beijing lawyer Chen Jiangang informed us that Wang Yu is the most excellent human rights lawyer in China who has represented clients in a large number of sensitive cases, including the detention of Qiao Liushi for ‘opposing corrupt officials’; the case of excessive security deposit of the Beijing public transportation smart card scheme; the case of Ye Haiyan [who campaigned against sexual harassment of minors by school officials]; the case of sexual assault of elementary schoolgirls in Jiangxi; the Zhang Lin and Zhang Anni case in Anhui; the “Satellite Dish” case in Dalian [involving persecution of Falun Gong followers]; the religious freedom case in Caoyuan [involving persecution of Christians]; the religious freedom case in Pingyang; New Citizen Movement cases; the Fan Mugen case; the Ilham Tohti case; the Cao Shunli case in Beijing; the Jiansanjiang case (involving illegal detention of human rights lawyers); the Jisi case [involving the detention of a human rights lawyer who intervened in the abduction of a Falun Gong follower], the Yao Baohua case [involving the prosecution and conviction of an elderly land rights activist on trumped-up extortion charges]; the case of Yin Xu’an, accused of intentionally leaking state secrets; the case of Butcher Wu Gan, etc etc. All the above cases were closely watched by state authorities, and defense lawyers [in these cases] became the target of government hatred, suppression and persecution. There is also a characteristic running through these cases--Wang Yu is always on the side of those who were humiliated and violated, always standing together with those who pursue fairness, justice, democracy, rule of law, human rights and liberty. Irrespective of how sensitive the aforementioned cases were, Wang Yu as a defense lawyer has always acted within legally prescribed parameters and exercised her rights as a defense lawyer in accordance with the law. If a lawyer’s normal defense activities can be labeled and accused as criminal acts to incite subversion of state power, then we will have a situation where all criminal defense lawyers may be considered criminals. This is because lawyers provide institutional checks and balances against illegal actions by state authorities, and it is their natural duty to supervise, criticise and even berate state authorities.


Third, as many of Wang Yu’s clients have informed us, Wang Yu is a tenacious, tireless, and empathetic human rights lawyer who is zealous for social justice and uninterested in personal fame, always empathetic with the weak and downtrodden. She is kind to others and perhaps due to her heavy workload she rarely participates in discussions of public events. She basically has no time to make any expressions to incite subversion of state power. Even in the relatively private spaces such as WeChat chat rooms, she rarely speaks up.


Finally, we feel it is imperative that we quote from paragraph 2 of article 105 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China: Whoever instigates the subversion of the political power of the state and overthrow the socialist system through spreading rumors, slandering, or other ways are to be sentenced to not more than five years of fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, control, or deprivation of political rights; the ringleaders and those whose crimes are grave are to be sentenced to not less than five years of fixed-term imprisonment. We believe that there is no need for us to provide any technical analysis and interpretation of this provision because anyone who can understand Chinese will not be able to associate Wang Yu’s behavior with this crime.


In summary of the above points, we believe it is impossible that Wang Yu has committed the crime of inciting subversion of state power. When we visited your sub-branch on 5 August 2015 to obtain relevant information, your sub-branch informed us that Wang Yu is alleged to have committed the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” but within a mere two days her alleged crime has become inciting subversion of state power. We can only understand this as your sub-branch’s ostensible effort to prevent us from meeting Wang Yu by intentionally attributing this crime to her.


It is in light of the above facts that we are presenting the aforementioned legal opinions. At the same time, in accordance with provisions under articles 36 and 37 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, we hereby present the following requests to your sub-branch:

1.     Immediately change the compulsory measure of residential surveillance at a designated place imposed on Wang Yu or immediately release her as she has not committed any crime.

2.     Promptly arrange for her to meet her lawyers and provide relevant case information to the lawyers.



Wen Donghai, lawyer of Hunan Xianghe Law firm

Li Yuhan, lawyer of Beijing Dunxin Law Firm


10 August 2015