Beijing Lawyer Yu Wensheng Detained for “Picking Quarrel and Making Troubles” and Deprived of Lawyers’ Visit for 88 Days As a Result of Performing his Defense Duties A Statement by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

6th January, 2015 (Hong Kong) : The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (The Concern Group) expresses grave concerns today regarding the detention of Beijing lawyer Yu Wensheng, charged for “Picking quarrel and Making Troubles”, and calls for more public and international attention on the case.

Mr. Yu, who has been involved in a number of human rights cases (see Appendix A), is a veteran lawyer well respected by the legal community in mainland China. He was arbitrarily arrested by the Beijing Police last October as a result of his perseverance in carrying out his legal duties. He has been held incommunicado for 88 days. As neither his family nor his lawyers have managed to contact him, his personal safety is worrisome.
The Concern Group urges the Beijing authorities to comply with the Central Government’s pledge for ‘rule of law’ and implement laws that safeguard citizens’ basic rights by immediately releasing Mr. Yu, and investigate into the illegal acts of the law enforcing departments of the local government.

Noting the plight of Mr. Yu, Albert Ho, Chairperson of the Concern Group points out that Yu’s case has demonstrated that continual unruliness of certain local level governments in the mainland has rendered no improvement in lawyers’ working environment despite the coming up of the policy of ‘comprehensively promoting rule of law’.

“The case of Mr. Yu Wensheng is by no means an exceptional one. In China, it is not uncommon for a lawyer to be made captive as a result of conducting his legal duties. With lawyers’ legal rights being incessantly violated, it contradicts not only the principle of ‘enhancing judicial protection of human rights’ and that of ‘realizing procedural justice in law enforcement’, vehemently upheld by the 4th plenum of the eighteenth meeting of Chinese Central Party. It has also rendered Xi Jinping’s claims for ‘judiciary to be the ultimate frontier for protecting fairness and justice’ and that for ‘promoting judicial credibility’ sheer rhetoric if not a ridicule of the international community.
On 11 October 2014, Mr. Yu submitted a request to the Beijing Fengtai Detention Center for meeting his client. With his request denied for no reason, Mr. Yu stayed in front of the Detention Center as a gesture of protest. He later posted about the incident online. He was forced to leave by the police around midnight. Two days later, however, Mr. Yu was criminally arrested by the Beijing Daxing District Public Security Bureau for the charge of ‘picking quarrels and making troubles’. To date, Mr Yu has been detained for almost three months, but neither his family nor his lawyers have received any official notification about his detention. They could not get in touch with them either.

The eight defense lawyers entrusted by Mr. Yu’s family had successively made meeting requests to the Detention Center, but all of them were refused on the pretext that ‘approval of department heads or investigation organs are obligatory’, ‘Mr. Yu is unwilling to meet with lawyers’ or that ‘lawyers’ documents need to be further verified’. The eight lawyers thereafter resorted to different legal remedies, including sending applications to Beijing No.1 Detention Center for the disclosure of government information, requesting administrative review to Beijing People’s Government, and making complaints to Daxing Procuratorate and Beijing Procuratorate about Beijing Daxing and No.1 Detention Center’s denial of lawyers’ meeting requests. No reply has been received so far.

The Concern Group holds that Mr. Yu’s request to meet with client is part of his duties as a defense lawyer. It is also a legal right enshrined in the Chinese laws. Moreover, Mr. Yu’s stay in front of the detention center to express his discontentment did not disturb public order and it therefore did not amount to committing the crime of ‘picking quarrels and making troubles’, as prescribed in the Chinese Criminal Law. Daxing District Public Security Bureau’s detention of Mr. Yu lacks legal basis and it constitutes arbitrary detention.

The Concern Group has also highlighted the significance for lawyers to fully play their role and assist clients in exercising their rights. The presence of lawyers is imperative in protecting citizens’ rights, in promoting the exercise of administrative functions in accordance with law, and in ensuring the proper implementation of laws, so as to enhance the judicial credibility and authority. Whether the judicial system of a country is healthy and just is therefore closely hinged upon the extent to which lawyers’ professional rights are protected.

The United Nations’ “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers” further notes that ‘Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.’

The Concern Group strongly condemns the authorities implicated in Mr. Yu’s case, including the Beijing Daxing District Public Security Bureau, Beijing Daxing District Detention Center, Beijing No.1 Detention Center and Beijing Daxing District Procuratorate, for violating the Chinese Criminal Procedural Law and the Lawyers’ Law, and for having seriously infringed the rights of Mr. Yu, those of his family’s and his lawyers’. The Concern Group urges the authorities to investigate the case and hold officials accountable for obstructing the effective implementation of the rule of law.

The Concern Group urges the law enforcement departments and respective supervising organs to immediately resume the legal rights of Mr. Yu which were previously deprived during his detention, including but not limited to meeting with lawyers in time and to r release him with all illegal criminal charges against him revoked.

Meanwhile, the Concern Group would also call for the Beijing Bar Association to immediately initiate its membership rights protection mechanism and offer support to Mr. Yu with updates circulated to other members.

1. K. Chan (China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group) (Tel: +852 2388 1377)
2. Zhang Weiyu (Yu Wensheng’s defense lawyer) (Tel: +86 138 6435 9581)
3. Wang Yu (Yu Wensheng’s defense lawyer) (Tel: +86 139 1107 0328)

Appendix A
Yu Wensheng’s short CV
Mr. Yu Wensheng, resident of Beijing and a lawyer by profession, was a graduate of the School of Law, Peking University. He began practice in 2002, and was director of the Beijing Longju Law Firm (北京市隆聚律师事务) from 2008 to 2010. He has been practicing in the Beijing Daoheng Law Firm (北京市道衡律师事务所) before his arrest.

In 2014, cases that Mr. Yu has represented include: the demolition case of Zhao Yong in Tongzhou, Beijing (北京通州赵勇拆迁案), the case of human rights defender Zhu Yingdi in Zhejiang (浙江维权人士朱瑛娣案), the case of human rights defender Li Huamin, alias Li Yingzhi, in Beijing (北京维权人士李华民, 网名李英之案), the case of Wang Chunmei in Liaoyuan city, Jilin (吉林辽源市的王春梅案), the case of He Bin in Xiangyang, Hubei (湖北襄阳的何斌), the case of Xu Caihong (徐彩虹案), the case of intellectual property rights defender Chen Zhaozhi v State Intellectual Property Office (北京知识产权维权人士陈兆志诉国家知识产权局案), the case of lawyer Wang Cheng v the All China Lawyers Association and the Legal Daily Post (王成律师诉全国律师协会和《法制日报》案), and the Xia Wei case of Qidong city in Jiangsu (江苏启东市的夏薇案 etc.

Lawyer Yu Wensheng has also attended the public hearing on the case of Lawyer Cheng Hai in Changping, Beijing (北京昌平程海律师公开听证会) on 5 September 2014. Yu was one of the 9 lawyers illegally detained in that occasion. Yu and his work was covered in an article published in a journal China Human Rights Bi-weekly in November 2014 (中国人权双周刊:为法治行公义他恪尽职守—记公义维权律师余文生)

Appendix B
Some recent cases of lawyers being arbitrary arrested and detained as a result of trying to perform their legal duties.

Name City/ Province of practice Cases/ Clients represented Date of arrest Charges
Xia Lin夏霖 Beijing Guo Yushan (郭玉闪) , founder of Beijing-based TI China(北京传知行), charged with Picking Quarrel and Making Troubles 8 November 2014 Fraud and deception
Junjie et al
張俊傑等律師 Henan etc Lawyers were demanding for the release of citizens illegally detained in the “Base for Legal Education” in the Qing Long Shang Farm in Heilongjiang. (黑龙 释放被非法关押在黑龙江农垦总局青龙山场「法制教育基地」) 22 March 2014 Endangering the society by using cult activities
(5-15 days of administrative detention)
Chang Boyang常伯陽 Henan Former students leaders in Henan province Chen Wei (陳衛), Yu Shiwen (于世文) and another who were charged with crime of assembli ng a crowd to disturb public order because they organized to commemorate the late Zhao Ziyang 27 May 2014 Assemble a crowd to disturb public order
Qu Zhenhong
Beijing Lawyer Pu Zhijiang(浦志強) for illegally obtaining personal information of the citizens and pick quarrel and making trouble 14 May 2014 Illegally obtaining personal information of citizens
Jiang Yuanmin蔣援民 Shenzhen Defending land rights of villagers of the Talingda Village in Shanya, Hainan
(海南省三亞市天涯鎮塔嶺大村) 18 April 2013 Assembling a crowd to disturb public order
Cai Ying
蔡瑛 Hunan The Shuanggui(a disciplinary measure in the PRC outside the regular legal system under which party members are detained and interrogated) case of Ning Yuan in Hunan (湖南甯遠) 29 July 2012 Bribery, assisting to fabricate evidence