China detains rights lawyer critical of President Xi Jinping

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Jan 19: Chinese authorities have detained rights lawyer Yu Wensheng while he was taking his child to school, Reuters reported citing his wife.

“Early on Friday morning, as Yu was taking his child to school, he was stopped by a squad of four police vehicles and over 10 officers, and taken into custody,” Yu’s wife Xu Yan was quoted as saying in the report.

Image: Reuters
Chinese rights lawyer/activist Yu Wensheng Image: Reuters

Yu Wensheng, a Beijing-based lawyer and activist’s detention on Friday came days after he was stripped of his license to practice law for criticizing President Xi Jinping, the report said.

According to the report, Yu’s license was revoked by the Chinese authorities on Monday citing rules that require him to be employed at a registered firm, but the lawyer has asserted that the decision was in part reprisal for an open letter he wrote criticizing Xi’s ‘totalitarian’ rule.

It is still not known where Yu is being held by the authorities and on what charges.  The activist’s wife has said that she too did not receive any legal document about Yu’s detention and wonders what charges led to his detention.

The lawyer, critical of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is said to have repeatedly criticised the ruling Communist Party over a sweeping crackdown on rights lawyers and activists, which has resulted in the detention of hundreds and arrests of dozens in recent years, the report added.

Yu is said to have released another open letter on Thursday calling for changes on China’s constitution to make elections fairer, reduce military power and delete a preamble that gives the Communist Party primacy in national leadership.

Yu’s wife has said that she is in the process of searching a lawyer for her husband if the need be.
The Beijing-based lawyer-activist has plied his trade in numerous high-profile and politically sensitive cases which includes defending fellow human rights lawyers.

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