Joint statement on the continued enforced disappearance of Chang Weiping
In a joint statement, Lawyers for Lawyers, the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, and ChinaAid voice concern about the residential surveillance at a designated location (RSDL), under which Chang Weiping has been detained since October 2020. To date, his whereabouts are unknown.
Chang Weiping is a human rights lawyer known for his public interest litigation in the defense of the rights of people facing discrimination based on their health status, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. He has provided legal counsel to human rights defenders, victims of defective vaccines, as well as to many groups that face discrimination in the workplace, such as women, LGBT persons, and persons living with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B.
Mr. Chang first faced an administrative sanction in January 2020, when his license to practice law was revoked. After his license was revoked, Mr. Chang was detained for 10 days, from 12 January 2020 to 21 January 2020. Mr. Chang reported on social media that he had been subjected to torture in this period, leading to permanent injury to his right hand.
According to our information, on 22 October 2020, Mr. Chang was taken into custody again and was held at an undisclosed location under RSDL. Mr. Chang was able to meet his father shortly on 25 November 2020, but his family and lawyers have not been able to contact him since. To date, Mr. Chang’s whereabouts are unknown. Our sources confirmed that applications for Mr. Chang’s bail were denied several times, the last time on 11 March 2021. Our sources also reported that Chang Weiping’s parents, wife and child have been subject to harassment by the authorities.
In the statement, the undersigned organisations express serious concern about the use of RSDL in general and specifically against Mr. Chang in this context and call upon the Chinese authorities to respect fair trial guarantees and the safeguards laid down in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Lawyers for Lawyers, the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, and ChinaAid respectfully urge the Chinese government to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Chang Weiping, put an end to all acts of harassment against him and his family, and ensure that he is able to carry out his activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals;
- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Chang Weiping;
- Ensure Chang Weiping to have timely and confidential access to his lawyers;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers, including human rights lawyers, in China are able to carry out her legitimate professional duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
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