Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Mr Wang Quanzhang was convicted of "subversion of state power" and sentenced to four years and six months of imprisonment by the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate Court on 26 December 2018, more than three years after his detention in August 2015. The sentence was announced only on 28 January 2019. Mr Wang Quanzhang disappeared in August 2015 during a nationwide crackdown on human rights lawyers, known as the "709 crackdown".
The defendants' rights under China's Criminal Procedure Law and international law obligations, to a fair trial, without undue delay, proper defence and access to a lawyer of his own choice were not respected. Family members as well as the public, including journalists and diplomats, were denied access to the trial as observers.
There have been alarming reports regarding the serious mistreatment of Mr Wang Quanzhang during his detention. If verified, this mistreatment would amount to torture. The European Union expects the competent authorities in China to investigate, without delay, the allegations of torture in these cases, abide by China’s international law obligations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and respect the rights of all citizens as guaranteed by China's Constitution.
The European Union expects the immediate release of Wang Quanzhang, as well as other detained and convicted human rights defenders and lawyers including Huang Qi, Liu Feiyue, Ilham Tohti, Tashi Wangchuk, Li Yuhan, Qin Yongmin, Gao Zhisheng, Yu Wensheng and EU national Gui Minhai.