Statement by the Spokesperson on the conviction of Chinese lawyers and other human rights defenders on charges of state subversion (05/08/2016)
The conviction this week of Zhai Yanmin, Hu Shigen, Zhou Shifeng and
Gou Hongguo, detained since mid-2015 as part of a wave of detentions of
more than 300 lawyers and human rights defenders, runs contrary to
China's stated commitment to strengthening the rule of law.
The Chinese authorities
should abide by China’s international obligations, including respect for
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They should respect the
rights of all citizens, as recognised by the Chinese Constitution, and
release all those detained for seeking to protect these rights.
The lack of adherence in the
trials to China's own Criminal Procedure Law, the many infringements of
the defendants’ rights to a proper defence, including the lack of access
to lawyers of their own choice, as well as preventing detainees' family
members from attending the trials, are contrary to Chinese and
The EU calls for the
immediate release of those who have just been sentenced and the
reinstatement of their right to practise their profession. All charges
still pending against the other lawyers and human rights defenders
detained since July 2015 should be dropped. China should allow trial
observation by foreign diplomats.