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China Lawyer Yu Wensheng loses his license and is arrested

22 Jan 18 

On 19 January 2018 lawyer Yu Wensheng was arrested was detained by several police officers as he accompanied his son to school on suspicion of ‘disruption of public services’. On 27 January 2018, the wife of human rights defender Yu Wensheng learned that the defender’s criminal charge has been raised “inciting subversion of state power”. Earlier in January it was reported that Yu’s license to practise law had been revoked. This was reported by Frontline Defenders on their website.

Yu Wensheng is a human rights lawyer based in Beijing. He represented clients in sensitive cases, most notably human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang.

On 19 January 2018, Yu Wensheng was detained by several police officers as he accompanied his son to school. On 20 January 2018, Yu Wensheng’s wife received official notice that he is being held under criminal detention on the charge of “disrupting public service” On 27 January 2018 the wife of Yu got the official message that the indictment now reads ‘inciting subversion of state power’. A day before his arrest, Yu Wensheng published an open letter recommending amendments to the Chinese constitution, calling for fair elections and an oversight system for the Chinese Communist Party, amongst other reforms.

On 15 January 2018, Yu Wensheng received a letter of Beijing’s Bureau of Justice, informing him that his legal license would be revoked, on the basis that he had not been employed by a law firm in over six months.

Yu Wensheng attempted to establish his own independent law firm but in January 2018, the human rights lawyer was informed that his application to establish a law firm had been denied. According to a source, the reason for this was his behaviour, according to the Chinese government, his behaviour does not suffice to the standards of those of practising lawyers.

This is not the first time Yu Wensheng was arrested. He was arrested in 2014 and disappeared for three months in connection to his public protest after he was not allowed to visit his client in detention. After this, according to a source, he was arrested once more in 2015 and alleged abused in detention.

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about Yu Wensheng and will continue to closely monitor his situation.


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