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Release Yu Wensheng! Hold the Authorities Accountable for Secret Trial without Any Judgement 

A Statement Regarding the First Anniversary of Lawyer Yu Wensheng’s Secret Trial


On 9 May 2019, Lawyer Yu Wensheng was secretly tried after a detention for nearly 500 days due to publishing an open letter with recommended amendments to the Chinese Constitution to enable fairer elections and better oversight for the Chinese Communist Party. His wife Xu Yan and the family-appointed defence lawyers were not informed prior to the trial.


China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (the Concern Group), Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HK Alliance) and Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network (the Network) strongly condemn the Chinese authorities for Lawyer Yu’s secret trial, and their inability to pass down a judgement a year after the said trial. We hereby demand the Chinese authorities to:


  1. Immediately and unconditionally release Lawyer Yu Wensheng;
  2. Hold those who deprived Yu Wensheng of due process accountable;
  3. Stop obstructing Yu Wensheng’s family and lawyers’ lawful means of rights defence;
  4. Abolish all judgments passed down against the principle of a fair trial.


Lawyer Yu Wensheng was seized in Beijing on 19 January 2018, and was later put under detention at the police station of Xuzhou City. Lawyer Yu was secretly tried in May 2019, and his family and defence lawyers have not had the chance to meet him since his detention. The Court has not passed down a judgment, despite already far exceeding the legal limitation, and yet still refuse to release Yu Wensheng. The Court failed to guarantee the right to defense exercised by Yu’s family-appointed lawyer, and even deliberately tried to stop his family and the public from knowing about the trial, depriving them of their right to attend the trial as an audience. Such practices deeply violate the Chinese Constitution, Chinese law, as well as international human rights standards, putting into question how fair would the trial and judgment (if any) be for Yu Wensheng’s case.


Yu Wensheng and his family have always lived in Beijing, yet Yu was detained in Xuzhou, which is 800km away from Beijing. In the past two years, his wife Xu Yan has had to travel between Beijing and Xuzhou in her fight for her husband’s freedom and rights, and was even summoned three times by the police on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”, for which her longest detention was 19 hours. Xu has also been constantly harassed, surveilled and occasionally stripped of freedom of movement by the authorities. Yu Wensheng has already lost his freedom for 842 days, during which there have been news of ill treatment and torture being imposed on Lawyer Yu. The international community has expressed worries over Yu’s state of being. 


We continue to ask the international community, the public and the media to continue to pay close attention to the latest developments of Yu Wensheng’s case.