(English version below)
李文足於今年11月獲頒2018年瑞典「愛德爾斯塔姆人權獎」（The Edelstam Prize），以表揚她對捍衛人權所作出的貢獻。德國總理默克爾於今年5月訪華時亦特意拜訪李文足和余文生律師的妻子許豔，反映國際社會對王全璋及「709案」的關注。
The Final Trial of the 709 Crackdown Release Lawyer Wang Quanzhang Immediately
It has been 3 years since the shocking “709 crackdown”, a widespread persecution of Chinese activists and rights lawyers that had led to the arrest of over a hundred, and many more have been summoned, harassed and intimidated. Among those Zhou Shifeng, Wu Shigen and Wu Gan have since then been sentenced to 7 to 8 years imprisonment for “Subversion of State Power”. As the last detainee in the 709 crackdown who has not yet been tried, Wang Quanzhang will finally appear in court today.
Wang Quanzhang was born in 1976 and began practicing as a lawyer in Beijing since 2007. He was a member of Feng Rui Law Firm. He often represented clients in sensitive cases, such as Falun Gong practitioners and land evictees, and as such incurred the wrath of the authorities. He has also used the pen name “Gao Feng” to write political commentaries, and has published various reports on the state of civil society in China.
Wang Quanzhang was taken away by the police on 3 August 2015, and was charged with subversion of state power in January 2016. He was held incommunicado for a long period of time, and has never been able to meet his defence lawyers appointed by his wife Li Wenzu, nor has Li Wenzu ever saw him in the past three and a half years. His defence lawyer Yu Wensheng was even arrested in early 2018, and charged with “Inciting Subversion of State Power”. During the past three and a half years, the only news of Wang Quanzhang has come from government-appointed lawyers, and the accuracy of such information can never be verified.
The family members of the arrestees in the “709 crackdown”, including Li Wenzu, have fought valiantly for the freedom of their relatives, and developed into the renowned “709 Family”. Using creative and courageous campaign, they have persistently challenged the information blockage and white terror of the Chinese authorities. Actions like the “red bucket protest”, “long march for freedom” and “hairless not lawless”, are all signature campaigns that stood out among civil protests in China in recent years. The activism of the 709 Family has brought human rights issues in China to the international arena. However the price the families have to pay is high; they suffer constant harassment, surveillance and even violence; even the children were affected and have difficulties finding schools.
Li Wenzu was awarded the 2018 Edelstam Prize in November this year, for her outstanding contributions and exceptional courage in standing up for the defence of human rights. When Angela Merkel visited China in May this year, she specially paid a visit to Li Wenzu and Xu Yan, wife of Yu Wensheng, reflecting the level of international attention on Wang Quanzhang and the 709 crackdown.
Today Wang Quanzhang is to stand trial, yet Li Wenzu has been placed under house arrest by national security since yesterday morning, and was not allowed to attend the trial of her own husband. The subversion charge on Wang Quanzhang and other arrestees in the 709 crackdown was absurd in the first place, and the continued control and harassment of the families is even more baseless. We hereby demand the Chinese government to:
1. Immediately and unconditionally release Wang Quanzhang, Zhou Shifeng, Wu Shigen, Wu Gan and Yu Wensheng;
2. Held those law enforcers who have abuse the 709 arrestees accountable;
3. Provide appropriate remedy and relief for the violations of rights suffered by Wang Quanzhang and the 709 arrestees;
4. Stop all form of harassment against Li Wenzu and their child;
5. Abolish the crimes of “Subversion of State Power” and “Inciting Subversion of State Power”
At the same time, we call on international community, the public and the media to continue to pay close attention to the Chinese authorities’ persecution of the civil society, rights lawyers and activists; only by standing together can we stop the ever worsening human rights crisis in China.
Signatories (in alphabetical order):
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
Friends of Conscience
Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China
League of Social Democrats
New School for Democracy
26 December 2018