The Chinese government should have investigated a lawyer’s torture allegations, not tortured him again

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The Chinese government should have investigated a lawyer’s torture allegations, not tortured him again

(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, September 17, 2021) Forced to sit on a “tiger chair” for six days straight and face round the clock interrogations. Subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation unless he complied with police demands.

These are some of the latest shocking allegations that have emerged after Chinese human rights lawyer Chang Weiping was able to meet his lawyer on September 14, the first meeting such meeting since he was detained in October, according to Chang’s family.

CHRD condemns the Chinese government’s latest alleged torture of Chang Weiping and urges the international community to hold China to account for its blatant disregard of its human rights obligations.

Retaliation for a YouTube Video

Chinese authorities forcibly disappeared Chang after he posted a video in October 2020 on YouTube about being detained and tortured by authorities in January 2020. In the video, Chang described being forced to sit on a “tiger chair” non-stop for ten days, with the exception of bathroom breaks.

Chang was one of several people who were detained by the government after an informal gathering in the southern coastal city of Xiamen in December 2019 to discuss democracy and civil society. Chang and others who attended the Xiamen meeting, including Xu Zhiyong, Ding Jiaxi, were held in a form of incommunicado detention officially referred to as “residential surveillance in a designated location” (RSDL).

Since his most recent detention starting from October 22, 2020, the Chinese authorities had doggedly refused to allow his lawyers to visit him or for his wife to see him on multiple occasions.

Latest allegations of torture and ill-treatment

But on September 14, his lawyer was allowed to visit him, and Chang Weiping accused the police of committing the following acts of torture and other forms of inhumane punishment:

  1. He was once again subjected to the “tiger chair”, including one stint of six days and six nights.
  2. The room in RSDL was very small, roughly 3 by 3 meters, with half being occupied by state security police (guobao).
  3. He was subjected to sleep deprivation. If he didn’t repeat the guobao’s talking points, he wouldn’t be allowed to sleep. He was given very little plain food on daily basis – just three mantou (steamed buns) per day.
  4. He was subjected to psychological torment, which he found most difficult to handle. Police frequently lied to him, threatened him, gave him hope and then dashed them. On September 8, he was interrogated by the procuracy officials, who told him to watch himself when speaking with his lawyer or else suffer consequences. 
  5. In total, he was subjected to RSDL for 5 months and 16 days, in which he was allowed to shower five times. He was subjected to video surveillance 24-7, with no privacy to speak of.
  6. In RSDL, his predominant feeling was that death would be better than continuing to live. At times, focusing on the tragedy of leaving behind his wife and two small children was his only motivation to keep from dying or going insane.
  7. He is now suffering from blood in his stools.

RSDL: A system that must end

“Residential surveillance at a (police) designated location” (RSDL) is a form of incommunicado detention in which detainees are kept in secret locations for up to six months without any access to lawyers or judges or family members. They are at high risk of torture during secret interrogations. UN human rights experts have called RSDL tantamount to enforced disappearance and have repeatedly urged China to abolish it

“Chang Weiping bravely told the world on Youtube about his experiences being tortured in RSDL. The Chinese government should have conducted an impartial investigation into the grave allegations, but instead, predictably, they again put him in secret detention and tortured him,” CHRD’s Research and Advocacy Coordinator William Nee said.

“This barbaric act flies in the face of China’s international obligations under the Convention against Torture, and the Chinese government must be held to account,” added Nee.


William Nee, Coordinator for Research & Advocacy (Mandarin, English), +1 623 295 9604, william [at]

Ramona Li, Senior Researcher and Advocate (Mandarin, English), +1 202 556 0667, ramonali [at]

Renee Xia, Director (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012, reneexia[at], @reneexiachrd

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