In response to the family of a secretly detained Chinese human rights lawyer, Yu Wensheng, releasing a video contradicting the government’s claim that the lawyer wants to dismiss his legal counsel, Freedom House released the following statement:

“The video shown by Yu’s family makes clear Yu’s pledge that he would never accept lawyers appointed by authorities unless he were tortured, which has apparently indeed occurred,” said Sarah Cook, senior research analyst at Freedom House. “The family’s video directly contradicts a letter purportedly by Yu and released by authorities, saying he wished to dismiss his own counsel. This case is part of the alarming trend of the government denying political prisoners basic due process and forcing them to make bogus confessions. The government’s unlawful behavior in this case began in January when authorities seized Yu outside his home within hours of his publishing a letter calling for open presidential elections and constitutional reforms.”

China is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017. For more information about China, read the latest issue of the China Media Bulletin: China Media Bulletin: Expanding surveillance, app crackdown, Confucius Institute closures (Issue No. 128).

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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