Debarred Lawyer Tortured and Arrested in Northeastern China

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Debarred Lawyer Tortured and Arrested in Northeastern China

(Chinese Huma Rights Defenders, August 27, 2009)- CHRD learned today that Wang Yonghang (王永航), a former lawyer from Dalian City, Liaoning Province, has been formally arrested for “using a cult to damage social and legal system”. When Wang was taken into police custody on July 4, he was severely beaten, causing fractures in his right ankle. Wang’s family and lawyer have not been allowed to meet Wang because, according to the police, his case involves “state secrets”. It is believed that Wang has been detained for his work defending Falun Gong practitioners.

According to Wang’s wife, Yu Xiaoyan (于晓艳), Wang was beaten when he was taken into custody by two dozen Dalian policemen on July 4. Wang’s right ankle was fractured, but he was not given appropriate treatment until his ankle became seriously infected. Wang was operated on August 11, a month after his injury was first inflicted, in a Dalian hospital. Police had not notified Wang’s family about the operation, nor sought their authorization prior to it.

Wang is held in Dalian City Detention Center, where he reportedly been subjected to more beatings.

On August 11, Yu received her husband’s arrest notice, issued by the Dalian Procuratorate dated August 10. Yu has repeatedly complained to the relevant government departments about Wang’s beating and mistreatment, but so far she has received no response.

“They refused to notify me when they operated on my husband, and they still refuse to let us know how the operation went. And on that very same day of the operation, they issued an arrest notice for my husband! I really don’t know what to say about this way of doing things”, says Yu.

Wang lost his license to practice law when it was not renewed by the judicial authorities following the conclusion of his annual review on May 31, 2008. Wang has continued to defend Falun Gong practitioners, however.

“Wang’s arrest and torture sends a chilling signal to the community of human rights lawyers, especially those who have been debarred like Wang―that they could suffer a similar fate if they dare to continue their legal work defending human rights,” says Jiang Yingying, CHRD’s Researcher. This year, at least eighteen human rights lawyers lost their licenses following their annual review on May 31.

CHRD is concerned about this recent development of the targeting of human rights lawyers and the use of violence against them by the Chinese government.

CHRD calls for Wang Yonghang’s immediate and unconditional release.

The torture suffered by Wang violates his right to be protected against cruel treatment as guaranteed by the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which China ratified in 1988. The UN Committee against Torture, which reviewed China’s implementation of the Convention ten months ago, has recommended that China “take immediate steps to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment throughout the country”.

CHRD demands the Chinese authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged torture of Wang and, if the allegation is confirmed, those responsible for torture be punished according to the law. While Wang remains in custody, he should be granted adequate medical treatment without delay.


Wang Yonghang has published several open letters online in which he advocated religious freedom and explained his views on the persecution of Falun Gong members. Wang has defended Falun Gong practitioners and his advocacy and legal work has led to persistent harassment from local police.

Media contacts:

Renee Xia, International Director (English and Mandarin): +852 8191 6937
Jiang Yingying, Researcher (English and Mandarin): +852 8170 0237

For more information:

Three Lawyers Detained for Defending Falun Gong Practitioners, July 15, 2009,

Licenses of 18 Rights Lawyers Still Not Renewed a Month after Deadline, July 2, 2009,

Police Beat and Detain Lawyers Representing Family of Man Who Died in RTL Camp, May 14, 2009,

Beijing Lawyer Cheng Hai Assaulted by Officials for Representing Falun Going Practitioner, April 14, 2009,

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