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China Change, March 31, 2019 Liu Xiaoyuan (刘晓原) stands prominent among China’s human rights lawyers. In 2004, he came to Beijing to practice at the age of 40. In the roughly one decade up to mid-2015, he represented countless rights cases. Some of the more notable of these include the appeal of a death sentence by farmer Li Zhiping (李志平) in Dingzhou, Hebei Province; the Yang Jia (杨佳) police murder case in Shanghai; the case of the three netizens in Fujian (福建三网民); the case of journalist Qi Chonghuai (齐崇淮) in Shandong; and the case of Ji Zhongxing (冀中星), the migrant worker who threw a homemade bomb at the Beijing Capital Airport in 2013. Cases Liu Xiaoyuan has taken on in recent years include the “separatist” […]


Wang Yu, July 1, 2018   Wang Yu (王宇), born 1971 in Inner Mongolia, was a lawyer with the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when she was abducted in the early morning of July 9, 2015. The date of her detention marks the beginning of, and gives name to, the most notorious human rights event over the last two years – the 709 Crackdown. That same evening, her husband and son, en route to Australia for the son to attend school, were also detained. Wang Yu and her husband Bao Longjun, also a lawyer, were released on bail in August 2016 and the family of three was sequestered in an apartment in Ulan Hot, Inner Mongolia, under severe surveillance. This continued until late 2017, when they […]


China Change, May 14, 2018     Following the ‘709 crackdown’ — a large-scale attack against human rights lawyers that began on July 9, 2015 — China has continued to target this small group (about 0.1% of China’s 300,000 lawyers) who have taken on cases to defend basic human rights and other forms of social injustice. While torture and imprisonment have failed to cowe them, the government is now resorting to simple disbarment, or more subtle techniques, like preventing them from getting work so as to force their licenses to lapse, in order to take human rights lawyers off the field. The government regards this group of lawyers and those they defend a threat to communist rule; their determination to eliminate them is meeting with […]


May 9, 2018       Background On July 9, 2015, Wang Yu (王宇) became the first target in a campaign of mass arrests against human rights lawyers in China. Over the next roughly two weeks, over 300 rights lawyers were arrested, interrogated, detained, and threatened — thus begetting the notorious ‘709 Incident.’ After over a month in secret detention at a black site in Beijing, Wang Yu was transferred to Tianjin for a continuation of her detention, then under so-called ‘residential surveillance at a designated place’ (指定居所監視居住). For over a year she was not allowed to see her lawyer, family, or communicate with the outside world. Another 20 or so lawyers and activists, including Wang Yu’s husband Bao Longjun (包龍軍), were given similar treatment. […]


Wang Yu, November 13, 2017   Wang Yu (王宇), born 1971 in Inner Mongolia, was a lawyer with Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when she was abducted in the early morning of July 9, 2015. The date of her detention marks the beginning of, and gives name to, the most notorious human rights event over the last two years – the 709 Crackdown. She was released on bail on August 2016, but until recently Wang Yu, her husband and son have been sequestered in an apartment in Ulan Hot, Inner Mongolia, under severe surveillance. The family returned to their home in Beijing recently. Below is an excerpt of Wang Yu’s account of her first two months in Beijing from July to September, 2015. She is currently […]


China Change, November 13, 2017     Today in Tianjin, lawyer Wang Yu’s 18-year-old son Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩) was again blocked from leaving China. He was due to fly to Tokyo. The border control in Tianjing told him and his parents that he is “a national security threat,” and mutilated his passport on spot (see photo above). According to Wang Yu, her son has passed IELTS and is awaiting admission from the University of Melbourne.  On July 9, 2015, Bao Zhuoxuan, on route to Australia to study, was stopped and detained in Beijing Capital Airport along with his father who accompanied him. That same night, his mother was abducted from home, marking the beginning of the 709 Crackdown. The community of Chinese human rights lawyers responded to […]


China Change, October 31, 2017     On the afternoon of October 31, lawyer Li Yuhan’s (李昱函) family revealed that she had been criminally detained by Shenyang Public Security Bureau. The charges against her are unclear. She was last heard from on October 9 when she texted her younger brother that she had been taken away by police from Shenyang PSB Heping District. Over the past three weeks, her relatives called the municipal government offices for her whereabouts. She is one of the two lawyers who have represented lawyer Wang Yu (王宇), the first human rights lawyer detained during the massive 709 Crackdown on human rights lawyers. During Wang Yu’s detention, lawyer Li made numerous trips to Tianjin to try to meet her client but […]


China Change, July 7, 2017   “Wang Yu (王宇) was at home by herself that night, having just seen off at the airport her husband Bao Longjun (包龙军), and their son Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓軒). A group of men began idling about outside her home, and when she yelled out asking who they were, they shrank away and kept quiet. About an hour later, when she was unable to raise her husband and son on the phone, and just beginning to get anxious, the lights in her apartment suddenly went out. Her internet was also cut. The harsh buzz of an electric drill shattered the silent darkness and within a few minutes the lock had been drilled out, falling to the ground. A gang of men […]


Wen Donghai, July 6, 2017        With the second anniversary of July 9, 2015 approaching, and as someone who has witnessed it first hand and served as the defense lawyer for one of the prominent 709 detainees, I’ve racked my brains about what to say. I feel that I have so much to say — but at the same time, it seems that only being as quiet and still as a mountain could truly encompass the full meaning of the 709 Crackdown. Naturally, the first people I was worried about when the crackdown began were my client Wang Yu (王宇) and her family. Prior to 709, she was extremely active as a human rights lawyer, gaining the nickname “Goddess of War” (战神) for […]


August 6, 2016     Over the last week, we all wondered whether the American Bar Association would go ahead with conferring its inaugural International Human Rights Award to the Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu. On August 1 she appeared on camera in China, repenting her courageous work fighting for justice and the rule of law, and repudiating the ABA award because she is a Chinese person and loves her country — as though receiving the award would be a betrayal of China. It was indeed Wang Yu speaking, but from an undisclosed location, after nearly 13 months in secret detention, to three people whose faces and identities were hidden. We cannot begin to fathom what has happened to her and dozens of other […]


Liang Xiaojun, July 25, 2016 Xie Yanyi (谢燕益) is a human rights lawyer, and one of the 709 detainees. – The Editors   It was probably somewhere around the end of 2008 that I started receiving occasional group emails from someone writing under the name Liang Buzheng (梁不正)—“Crooked Beam.” Sometimes the emails would contain this person’s views on politics, while other times they would describe the actions he was taking in the legal sphere. In those days much of my time was spent handling commercial cases in order to make a living, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to public interest law or human rights issues. As a result, I would often simply skip over those emails from “Crooked Beam” without really reading […]


By Eva Pils, July 8, 2016   In April and early May 2016, I got the chance to speak to some twenty-odd old and new acquaintances amongst the targets of the so-called 709 Crackdown – the latest and largest crackdown yet on China’s already beleaguered human rights lawyers.  Named after the 9th of July, the date it began with the night-time detention of Lawyers Wang Yu and Bao Longjun and their sixteen year old son, Bao Zhuoxuan, the 709 Crackdown mainly targeted three groups connected to rights advocacy: rights lawyers and assistants connected to Fengrui Law Firm;’ Lawyer Li Heping and his colleagues (with some overlap between these groups); and another group around activist Hu Shigen that included rights lawyers as well as more ‘grassroots’ […]


Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, July 8, 2016     Like the rest of us, they traveled around the country through rain and shine and choking smog, assisting the most vulnerable. Like the rest of us, they were exhausted looking after their parents’ health and finding a school for their children. Like the rest of us, they embraced the lofty China Dream, believing in “governing the country according to the law,” and stepping into the role of defending justice and human rights, committed and tireless. But that dream was shattered on July 9, 2015.   It began with the arrest of lawyer Wang Yu’s entire family in the early hours of July 9, 2015. Thereafter, the state’s machine of coercion shifted into full gear, raiding […]


China Change, May 18, 2016   On October 6, 2015, the two Chinese human rights activists Tang Zhishun (唐志顺) and Xing Qingxian (幸清贤) were arrested for attempting to help the son of human rights lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) escape China through Burma, so he could come to the United States to study. Now, seven months after their arrest, the first word of their fates has been heard: Xing Qingxian’s wife was provided with a notice of arrest dated May 5 saying that he is suspected of “organizing human trafficking across borders.” He is currently held in the Tianjin No. 2 Detention Center. The news is a result of months of fruitless efforts on the part of the lawyers and families, though we have yet to […]


By Qin Chenshou, published: March 1, 2016 On social media, lawyer Qin Chenshou (覃臣寿), who now represents Zhang Kai, has provided us with an introduction to Zhang Kai’s biography and work. China Change is pleased to provide a translation. — The Editors   Zhang Kai is a practicing lawyer in Beijing and a Christian member of a house church in Beijing. His main areas of practice are criminal defense and administrative litigation. Biographical Details Zhang Kai is a practicing lawyer and Christian who was baptized in 2003 In 2003, Zhang successfully passed the examination to obtain his legal credentials and began work as an assistant lawyer. In 2004, he began to practice as an attorney. From 2004 to 2006, he dealt with corporate and commercial […]


By Eva Pils, published: January 10, 2016   Meeting people who could be disappeared anytime is a bit unnerving. You keep wondering if this is the last time you’ll see them. You want to ask what you should do in case something bad happens, but you don’t want to distress them by asking too directly. As part of my research on human rights in China, I’ve spent the past several years interviewing Chinese lawyers. I meet with them in coffee-shops, parks, or in their homes, to discuss their work and their experience of repression. I’ve seen them disbarred, watched them being followed and harassed by the police, spoken to them when they were under house-arrest, and met some of them after spells of imprisonment or […]


By He Fei, published: October 17, 2015   Bao Zhuoxuan, the son of prominent rights lawyer Wang Yu and activist Bao Longjun, earlier this month attempted to escape China with the help of his parents’ friends, and was apprehended in Myanmar on October 6. His parents have been under secret detention, and denied access to lawyers, since July. The following post is a response to a report by China Central Television (CCTV) which suggested that Bao had been either deceived or forced into leaving China. The author of this post, published under the pseudonym He Fei on Weiquanwang, chooses to remain anonymous for reasons readily understood. The individual is understood to have strong information about the arrest of rights lawyers and the capture of Bao […]


By Zhao Sile, published: October 12, 2015 “It’s hard to find a word better than ‘terrorism’ to describe the evil way that systematic violence is being used to turn a juvenile into a hostage.”   Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩), who goes by the nickname Mengmeng (包蒙蒙), is a 16-year-old who wants to study law when he gets older. They say he’s tall for his age, but he still has a boyish face and is a bit of a “mama’s boy.” In the eyes of the Chinese state, however, he’s known simply as “hostage.” Late on the night of July 8, 2015, Bao Mengmeng and his father, human rights activist Bao Longjun (包龙军), went to Beijing Capital Airport on their way to Australia, where Mengmeng was preparing […]


October 11, 2015; updated on October 12   Beginning on July 9, 2015, human rights lawyers in China came under cruel assault. Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩), the 16-year-old son of disappeared rights lawyer Wang Yu (王宇) and activist Bao Longjun (包龙军) has been subjected to extralegal and inhumane treatement. On July 9, Bao Zhuoxuan was intercepted and prevented from leaving China at the Beijing Airport, while witnessing his father being arrested. After that, he was put under surveillance at his grandmother’s home in Tianjin. Then he was sent to Inner Mongolia by the police, where he was made to study at a school the police designated, and monitored by local police while he did so. With his freedom limited and passport and other identification seized, he […]


China Change, published: October 11, 2015   More details surrounding the disappearance of Bao Zhuoxuan, Tang Zhishun and Xing Qingxian have surfaced as friends continue to look for information in Mong La, Myanmar, as reported by a reporter at the Epoch Times who has close ties with the events. A resident in Mong La, a middle-aged man who wishes to remain anonymous, witnessed the scene of the three being apprehended. He said he saw a dozen or so policemen surrounding the three at a breakfast eatery. From the police conversation, he gathered that the three were Chinese. The lawyer who was looking for the three had gone to Huadu Guest House (华都宾馆), where the three had last stayed, to make inquiries. The women owner told […]


China Change, published: October 9, 2015   Around noon on October 6, 2015, Chinese citizen Bao Zhuoxuan (包卓轩, also known as Bao Mengmeng 包蒙蒙), the 16-year-old son of lawyer Wang Yu (王宇), and two grown men Tang Zhishun (唐志顺) and Xing Qingxian (幸清贤) were taken away by Burmese police from Room 8348 of Huadu Guest House (华都宾馆) in Mongla (also known as Little Mongla) near the border with China while traveling during the National Day holidays. The hotel owner said that a dozen or so policemen had come, displayed Burmese law enforcement IDs, and taken all three away. On October 7, friends and at least a lawyer went to local police bureau to make inquiries about the three, but the police denied of detaining anyone. […]


By Matthew Robertson and Yaxue Cao, published: July 27, 2015   On the heels of a nationally coordinated campaign of arrests and disappearances of rights lawyers in China, Party-run media have aggressively attacked, framed, and sought to defame the same lawyers in articles and news reports (here, here, and here). In one CCTV segment in particular, Wang Yu (王宇), one of China’s most prominent rights defenders, was portrayed as a menace to court order as she loudly remonstrated with bailiffs. Wang was, along with four other lawyers, attempting to defend three practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that is heavily persecuted in China, in a court in Shenyang, Liaoning Province last April. On July 19, nine days after Wang Yu had been taken away […]


By Yaqiu Wang, published: July 22, 2015   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_DvXF5C56E&feature=youtu.be   On May 19, rights activist Wu Gan (吴淦), better known for his online name “Super Vulgar Butcher” or the “Butcher” for short, set up two pull-up standees in front of the Jiangxi Province Higher People’s Court. He was there to protest the court’s denial of the defense’s access to files of the “Leping Wrongful Conviction Case” (“乐平冤案”). In May 2002, police arrested four suspects in a case of robbery, rape, and dismemberment that occurred in Leping, Jiangxi province, in 2000. The four confessed under torture and were sentenced to death with a stay of execution. In early November 2011, a suspect in another case claimed responsibility for the crime. In light of the admission, rights […]


China Change, published: July 9, 2015   The morning of 10 July, following the news of lawyer Wang Yu (王宇, see Statement below) being disappeared, it has just been reported that lawyer Zhou Shifeng (周世锋律师), director of the Fengrui Law Office in Beijing (北京锋锐律师事务所), was kidnapped this morning and his whereabouts are unknown. Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan tweeted earlier this morning: “Yesterday evening, Zhou Shifeng went to the Tongzhou District Detention Center to pick up Zhang Miao (张淼). (Zhang, a research assistant for the German publication Die Zeit, was arrested in October in Hong Kong last year during the Umbrella Revolution, and she was released from the detention center last night.) Later, Wang Lin, Zhang Miao, and Zhou Shifeng stayed at the Seven Days Hotel in […]


China Change, published: July 5, 2015   Violent beatings to the head, electric shocks, forced feeding, injection with drugs, sexual violence, suffocation, denial of toilet, solitary confinement, forced smoke inhalation, and burning. These are some of the forms of torture that Chinese security forces have taken up against lawyers in China, in particular those who dare to use the law as an instrument to protect individual rights, and by corollary limit the arbitrary use of power by the Chinese Communist Party. The brutalization of these lawyers is documented in detail in a new report by the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (《中国律师酷刑个案概览(2006-2015)》. Despite the report’s detail — it looks at the abuse of 34 lawyers, and runs to nearly 50 pages — a version […]


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