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Statement of Protest against the Secret Trial of Lawyer Yu Wensheng


The trial of rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, now detained for almost 500 days, has been pushed back for several times, until his wife Xu Yan was notified recently that it had taken place behind closed doors. The fairness of this secret trial remains dubious.

The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) and the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network (TCLN) hereby condemn Lawyer Yu’s closed-door trial arranged by the authorities, and demand the Chinese government and court to –

1.    Arrange re-trial of Lawyer Yu in open court to ensure his right to fair trial,

2.    Secure the Lawyer Yu’s right to be defended in court, and

3.    Respect the right to know of Lawyer Yu’s family and his defense lawyers appointed by his family


Unlawful Secret Trial

On 9 May, Lawyer Yu Wensheng was tried behind closed doors in the Intermediate People’s Court of Xuzhou City without any announcement on the court’s website. His wife Xu Yan said neither she or the defense lawyers appointed by her for Lawyer Yu had received any prior notification before the trial. 

The secret trial of Lawyer Yu breached the principle of fairness. It deprived Lawyer Yu’s right to counsel, showed no respect for his family’s right to attend court, and deliberately forbade the public’s knowing and thus their attending of Lawyer Yu’s trial. The proceedings constituted a serious breach of China’s national law, Constitution and the international laws.


Court’s Long-standing Omission

Rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was once the defense lawyer of Wang Quanzhang after the 709 Crackdown. The Beijing-based lawyer was detained and deprived of the right to practice after voicing support for the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. Before his arrest on 19 January 2018, he published statement and articles to call for Xi Jinping’s removal from office and to promote justice and political system reform through constitutional amendment. He was then charged of inciting subversion of state power. Till now, he has been put under residential surveillance at a designated location (RSDL) and detained for about 500 days.

After Lawyer Yu’s arrest, his wife Xu Yan has been ceaselessly requesting to meet with him in the detention center, while making countless enquiries to the judicial bodies, namely the court and the Bureau of Justice, about the trial schedule and arrangement. Yet, the court has neglected its duty, by claiming not to have any information about Lawyer Yu’s case registration in the computer server on 9 April, and by prolonging the investigation period of Lawyer Yu’s case, thereby postponing his trial. Being held without prior announcement, the closed-door trial of Lawyer Yu revealed the court’s intention to minimize the public’s concern and support of his case.  

Therefore, CHRLCG and TCLN call on the international community, the public and the media to pay continuous attention to the case of Lawyer Yu Wensheng.


China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group 中國維權律師關注組 

Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network 臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡


14 May 2019