Skip to content Skip to navigation

Dissident Nears Trial Without Legal Representation

October 20, 2005

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that political dissident Xu Wanping, who has been in custody for half a year with no access to a lawyer, may soon go to trial on charges of subversion.

Xu Wanping, a key political activist based in Chongqing, was detained by Public Security Police who escorted him from his home on March 30 without producing a warrant or other legal documentation. Police reportedly interrogated Xu regarding his participation in a signature campaign related to a recent anti-Japanese protest, then carried out a search of his home and removed his computer, documents and other personal effects. On May 24, Xu was formally charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” and has been held in the Chongqing Municipal Detention Center ever since.

HRIC’s sources say a well-known lawyer handling dissident cases, Gao Zhisheng, attempted to register as Xu’s legal counsel through his assistant Wen Haibo on June 2, but has been refused access to Xu on grounds of state secrets. Xu’s wife, Chen Xianying, has also been denied access to Xu when she has attempted to deliver clean clothes and other personal items.

HRIC’s sources say Chen Xianying most recently went to the Municipal Public Security Bureau on the morning of October 20 with Xu’s elderly mother, Tong Zhengfen, and spoke with bureau chief Li Ming, who again refused to allow them to see Xu. The two women went to the detention center once more that afternoon in hopes of being allowed to visit Xu, but the detention center duty officer reportedly told them that Xu had been indicted and would go to trial within the next few days, and advised them to hire legal counsel. However, apart from this verbal statement by the detention center officer, neither Xu’s family nor his lawyer has been provided with any formal notice of Xu’s impending trial.

Xu Wanping was a participant in the 1989 democracy movement, for which he served eight years in prison. Since his release from prison, Xu has been a strong advocate for democracy and human rights and has participated in many nationwide campaigns for political reform. In 1998 he was sentenced to three years of Reeducation Through Labor because of his participation in the democratic movement. He has been detained many times since then.