Yu Wensheng (54) is a human rights lawyer in China who drew the ire of government authorities by defending other lawyers detained in the 709 crackdown and calling for constitutional reform. Wensheng is detained since 2018; he has been harassed, disbarred, and convicted in secret for inciting subversion against state power. Reports also say that while in custody, Wensheng has been tortured and is denied medical care. In December 2020, a regional Court of Jiangsu province upheld an appeal against his four-year prison sentence. He has now been sent to Nanjing prison, 1045 Km away from his family who could recently briefly talk to him via videoconference.
His wife, Xu Yan, welcomed her husband’s nomination to the Martin Ennals Award: “It is an honor for my husband, but also an encouragement to all Chinese human rights defenders to pursue their work despite the hardships”, she said. Xu Yan keeps relentlessly fighting for her husband’s freedom while his health is failing behind bars: “My husband always helped others and defended the rule of law. He was never guilty and should be acquitted immediately”.
“In 2020, Chinese authorities harassed human rights defenders raising concerns about COVID, defending ethnic minorities, and standing up against corruption. Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan deserve all our support as they bravely call for basic human rights and the rule of law”, says Andrew Anderson, Front Line Defenders Executive Director and member of the Jury. Continue