Advocacy group calls for the release of three human rights activists arbitrarily detained in Changsha

For Chinese Human Rights Defenders, the trio’s only fault was defending people living with disabilities or HIV-AIDS. Held on suspicion of national security breach, they were tried for subversion. A UN body called for their release six months ago.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) issued a statement on Tuesday calling on Chinese authorities to release three human rights lawyers arrested last year for helping vulnerable citizens in Changsha (Hunan) exercise their rights.

Through their own advocacy organisation, Changsha Funeng, lawyers Cheng Yuan, Liu Dazhi and Wu Gejianxiong provided legal assistance to people living with disabilities or HIV-AIDS.

They were arrested on 22 July 2019 on suspicion of committing crimes against national security.

On 10 September 2020, their families were informed that the three were tried between 31 August and 4 September for “subversion”.

Relatives were unable to attend the trial and have had no direct contact with the three prisoners for more than 15 months.

CHRD is calling for the release of Cheng, Liu and Wu in accordance with China’s laws.

The group urges Chinese authorities to implement the recommendation made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The latter, which wrote to the Chinese government six months ago, calls for the immediate release of the three activists, as well as compensation for their unjust detention.

In view of the ongoing pandemic and the high risk of infection in prison, CHRD wants Chinese authorities to act quickly.