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US urges China to release human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang

The Department of State published an appeal to Beijing on Tuesday

Wang Quanzhang and his wife Li Wenzu (left), Wang's arrest warrant (right)

Wang Quanzhang and his wife Li Wenzu (left), Wang's arrest warrant (right) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. has urged China to release detained human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang.

In a press statement published Tuesday by U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Pallandino, the government expressed deep concern for Wang’s treatment and called on China for his release so that he can be reunited with his family.

Pallandino wrote the government is troubled that Wang was subject to a three-and-a-half-year detention period prior to his trial, held incommunicado, and deprived of the right to choose legal counsel.

“We remain concerned by the deteriorating situation for the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms in China, and continue to urge China to uphold its international human rights commitments and to respect the rule of law,” Pallandino wrote.

Wang was the last person brought to trial of those apprehended by Chinese authorities in the “709 crackdown”, which targeted human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents viewed to be threatening the control of the Communist Party. Many arrested in the 2015 clampdown now face lengthy jail sentences or are under round-the-clock surveillance.

Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court convicted Wang of subverting state power in December, and announced he is facing a four-and-a-half-year jail sentence in an online statement on Monday. Wang will also be deprived of political rights for five years.

China was put on blast earlier this month by Human Rights Watch in the NGO’s World Report 2019, which reviews human rights conditions over the prior year in every nation. The report specifically mentions the detention without trial of Wang Quanzhang alongside the incarceration and torture of other human rights activists at the hands of the Chinese state.

Updated : 2022-01-29 15:48 GMT+08:00