Joint letter on the arrest of Chang Weiping
Chang Weiping (Mr. Chang), whose certificate to practice law was suspended in January 2020, was taken away by Baoji City Public Security Bureau in absence of any documents on 22 October. Since then, he has been held in an undisclosed location and has been denied access to lawyers. Mr. Chang’s wife received calls from a national security officer who stated that Mr. Chang was taken away for allegedly “endangering national security”. Mr. Chang’s arrest occurred six days after he spoke publicly about torture he suffered at the hands of local police between 12 and 21 January 2020, when Mr. Chang was held under Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location.
Furthermore, we were informed that on 26 October 2020, Mr. Chang’s father went to the Gaoxin District Branch of the Baoji Public Security Bureau accompanied by two lawyers, to seek additional information, request a meeting with Mr. Chang, present paperwork for legal representation, and submit an application for bail. The police did not allow the lawyers to meet Mr. Chang and refused to disclose any information regarding his arrest other than that he has been placed under Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location.
Lawyers for Lawyers and China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group fear that the arrest of Mr. Chang is connected to, and serves to curb, his legitimate activities as an attorney.
Lawyers for Lawyers and China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group urge the relevant authorities to release Mr. Chang, drop all charges unless credible evidence is presented in proceedings that respect fair trial guarantees, and put an end all acts of harassment against Mr. Chang, including at the judicial level, and guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in the People’s Republic of China are able to carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
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