Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of a Chinese lawyer who was detained last month after exposing his experience of torture at the hands of authorities.
Human rights lawyer Chang Weiping, known for defending the rights of people facing discrimination, was taken away by police officers in Baoji City, Shanxi Province, on Oct. 22.
He is reportedly being held incommunicado under “residential surveillance in a designated location” on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” said an Amnesty International report.
The arrest of Chang came six days after he posted a video on YouTube sharing details about his experience of torture during the 10 days he spent in detention in January.
“The fact that Chang was subjected to torture before and is being denied access to his family and lawyer increases the risk that he might be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment,” read an Amnesty International statement.
A report from Radio Free Asia said Chang’s lawyers have already filed a formal complaint to the government but had received no response.
Chang’s video detailed his torture during his detention in January, during which he was forced to sit in a “tiger chair” for prolonged periods.
Human rights lawyer Wen Donghai said authorities maintained that the release of the video was a “breach of an agreement” for the release of Chang during his first detention.
“But there was no breach,” Wen said. “Is exposing torture illegal? This was entirely about retaliation,” he said.
Chang’s detention came after rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi and activists Zhang Zhongshun and Dai Zhenya were detained following a meeting with New Citizens’ Movement founder Xu Zhiyong, who was himself later detained.
Xu was arrested after publishing an “open letter” calling on Xi Jinping, Communist Party general secretary, to step down. He was among five writers highlighted by PEN America’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer on Nov. 15.
According to PEN America’s Freedom to Write Index, China is the “worst jailer” of writers and public intellectuals worldwide, with 73 behind bars in 2019.