The news that Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been reunited with his family in Beijing is welcome. The Chinese Communist Party unjustly detained Mr. Wang for five years before releasing him on April 5, under international pressure. But for weeks he was barred from traveling to Beijing and seeing his wife and child.
The United States, the European Union and international human rights monitors called on China earlier in April to allow Mr. Wang’s freedom of movement after his release and expressed concern over reports that he had been mistreated in prison.
Mr. Wang was arrested in the sweeping round-up of more than 300 human rights lawyers and legal associates that began July 9, 2015, as Chinese President Xi Jinping clamped down on China’s peaceful civil society.
As a human rights lawyer, Mr. Wang for years defended poor villagers in land rights cases, as well as members of Falun Gong, a peaceful group that the Chinese Communist Party has persecuted for decades. After trial delays and continued refusal by Mr. Wang to confess to any crime, he was sentenced in January 2019 on specious charges of subverting state power.
In the written statement in which the United States urged China to allow Mr. Wang’s freedom of movement, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus also said that the United States continues “to call for the release of all of those unjustly detained, such as [human rights attorneys] Li Yuhan and Yu Wensheng, as well as other Chinese citizens who are in detention simply for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms in pursuit of a more equitable and just society, governed by the rule of law.
“We remain concerned by the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China’s] weak rule of law, arbitrary detentions, torture in custody, and continued violations and abuses of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals inside its borders,” said Spokesperson Ortagus. “We urge the PRC to uphold its international human rights commitments and promises made in its own constitution.”