Update to UN on Yu Shiwen – August 21, 2015

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Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers


CHRD reply to the Chinese government’s response to the communiqué submitted on behalf of Mr. YU Shiwen

Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) respectfully submits on behalf of Mr. Yu Shiwen (于世文) a reply to the Chinese government’s response to the communiqué sent by the Working Group regarding his case. Following an urgent appeal sent on behalf of Yu in February 2015, (see: https://www.nchrd.org/2015/06/submission-to-un-on-yu-shiwen-february-19-2015/), a communiqué by the Working Group was sent in March 2015 to the Chinese government, which responded through a letter dated May 28, 2015. Upon receiving the government’s response, CHRD informed Yu Shiwen’s family and lawyer, and obtained information that refutes the government’s claims and provides updated information on the case.

1. Rebuttal to the government’s claim that during Yu Shiwen’s detention, “the staff of the detention house attached great importance to his health condition and under no circumstances did they neglect his medical treatment.”

Since Yu Shiwen was detained in May 2014, personnel at Zhengzhou City No. 3 Detention Center in Henan Province have not provided him effective treatment for both pre-existing medical conditions and damaging effects from a stroke he suffered in July 2014. In addition, Yu has faced physical mistreatment, and the detention center has refused to conduct a comprehensive physical examination. In his late 40s, Yu Shiwen has had congenital cardiovascular disease and hypertension since his 30s, as well as depression, according to his wife, the activist Chen Wei (陈卫). Prior to his detention, Yu had been managing illnesses with medication, but after he was taken into custody, authorities refused to provide any of his necessary medicine, which his family had sent him. Only in May 2015, during a visit by lawyer Ma Lianshun (马连顺), did Yu indicate his illnesses were finally being managed with the medicine from his family.

Due to effects of the stroke in July 2014, Yu’s lower body became severely swollen and he developed urinary problems. Although he was sent to the detention center hospital for limited treatment for several months, his hands and feet were shackled to his bed. The mistreatment of Yu escalated after he was transferred to another hospital, where he was shackled to the bed almost all the time. Yu himself requested an end to his hospital stay in November 2014, mainly so he would no longer be subject to the mistreatment there.

After Yu’s stroke, authorities did not provide adequate medicine because most of the drugs Yu needs are costly, according to his wife. Yu’s wife fears that he is at great risk to have another stroke, given the overall lack of adequate medical treatment along with his poor health history. (Yu suffered a stroke in 2012 and was hospitalized again in 2013, and several of Yu’s family members have died from the same heart condition that he suffers from.) Ms. Chen is also worried about his mental health because Yu suffers from depression, which she suspects has worsened in detention. Both his wife and lawyers, Ma Lianshun and Zhang Xuezhong (张雪忠), have applied for Yu’s release on medical bail, but these requests have been denied or gone unanswered. When rejecting the requests, authorities have stated that Yu’s medical conditions were not at a level of seriousness for him to be released as prescribed under the law.

Denying Yu proper medical treatment until his health seriously degenerated and refusing him necessary medication to manage illnesses violate Chinese laws and provisions. According to China’s “Regulations on Administrative Detention Facilities,” detention centers are required to provide adequate and prompt medical care to ill detainees. In addition, the Ministry of Public Security’s “Provisions on Informing Detainees of their Rights and Obligations by Criminal Detention Facilities” stipulate that a physical examination be done upon an individual’s admission to a facility.

2. Rebuttal to the government’s claim that “the litigation right of Yu’s defense lawyer was guaranteed sufficiently.”

Violations of Yu’s right to defense counsel have occurred throughout his pretrial detention. After being taken into custody in May 2014, Yu was denied access to a lawyer for nearly four months; he met with his lawyers for the first time on September 10, 2014. This deprivation violates China’s Criminal Procedure Law (CPL), which states a defendant should be given access to a lawyer within 48 hours of a request (Article 37). Yu, being charged with “creating a disturbance,” a public order crime, does not require approval to meet with his lawyer, yet authorities denied his right to legal counsel. (In cases involving endangering state security, terrorism or particularly serious bribery, a lawyer must seek the permission of the investigating authority to meet with a client.)

In addition, Yu has been in detention for nearly 15 months without being brought before a judge, even though the Guancheng Hui District People’s Court in Zhengzhou City accepted Yu’s case in February 2015. According to China’s CPL (Article 202), a court must conduct a trial and provide a verdict no later than three months after accepting a case from a procuratorate—a time limit that passed in May. In addition, once the court has accepted a criminal case, lawyers are allowed to access case materials, but Yu’s lawyers were prevented from seeing the court documents until April 22, 2015, approximately two months after the court accepted Yu’s case. When Yu’s lawyers demanded a reason for Yu’s prolonged pretrial detention, the court provided no explanation or legal documents to justify the delay in conducting a trial.

Furthermore, harassment and threats against Yu Shiwen’s lawyers by local authorities have undermined the attorneys’ independence and lawful work. For example, soon after Yu was initially detained, lawyer Ma was warned not to take on Yu’s case, and he was also detained for a day in early June 2015 while working on a different case. Authorities have also warned lawyer Zhang not to defend Yu Shiwen at trial, or else he would be arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power.


Date: August 21, 2015

Related Documents:

May, 29, 2015 – Chinese government reply on case of Yu Shiwen

February 19, 2015 – Submission to UN on Yu Shiwen

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