Human rights attorney Yu Wensheng sentenced to 4 years in closed-door trial
by Wang Zhicheng

Neither his wife, family members, nor his lawyer were warned of the trial. Yu is part of the group that Beijing tried to destroy with the 2015 "709" operation. In 2014 he was beaten and tortured for expressing support for the "umbrella movement" in Hong Kong. In 2017, he accused Xi Jinping of wanting to drag China towards a totalitarian state.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng has been sentenced to 4 years in prison for "subversion". The sentence was passed yesterday by the people's intermediate court in Xuzhou (Jiangsu), in a closed-door trial, without prior warning from family members.

Yu's wife, Xu Yan, was called on the phone only after the verdict. She tells Rfa: "Yu Wensheng was sentenced alone, in secret, without my knowledge or that of his other family members, his lawyers or people who are concerned about him….The Chinese authorities have totally disregarded the law, and the rules [of due process]”.

Xie Yang, the attorney that Xu had chosen to defend Yuu, was never able to meet his client. He believes the sentence is for what Yu Wensheng wrote and published on the internet.

Yu was indicted in February 2019. Since then he has been held in a  "black prison", a secret place, without being able to contact anyone.

Yu is known to be part of the group of human rights lawyers that the Party has been trying to destroy since 9 July 2015 (the operation is called "709", from the date it started in July).

Many of those arrested - at least 50% - are Christians (Protestants and Catholics) who use the bottlenecks of Chinese law to defend communities, priests and pastors from the abuses of local authorities. Several of them defended the Zhejiang communities during the campaign to destroy the crosses. Yu had also tried to defend one of the group's protagonists, Wang Quanzhang, who was recently released.

In 2014, Yu was beaten and tortured while in prison for expressing support for Hong Kong's "umbrella movement (Occupy Central)". He was also detained in October 2017 for signing an open letter criticizing President Xi Jinping for wanting to drag China towards a totalitarian state.