Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been released from prison and placed into 14 days of quarantine. According to Wang’s wife, Li Wenzu, Wang was released on Sunday morning and transported to Shandong province, some 400km from his family in Beijing.
Quanzhang was initially arrested in 2015 as part of a government crackdown on lawyers and human rights defenders - some 300 individuals were detained at the time. In 2019, the attorney was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on charges of "subversion of state power." There were reports that Wang was mistreated while detained, with several others who were arrested at the same time recounting incidences of physical and psychological torture. Wang himself suffered the onset of serious health issues while imprisoned, including hearing loss.
Upon the lawyer's release, a European Union Spokesperson said that it “considers that his rights under China's legislation and international commitments were not respected during trial and detention" and urged the authorities to investigate claims that he was mistreated while in custody.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes the release of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, however we reiterate that he should never have been detained in the first place, and are deeply concerned that he is still being denied his freedom. Wang has devoted years of his life to defending the rights of the most vulnerable, and the Chinese government must now ensure that he is truly free and allowed to reunite with his family, and not subject to house arrest or any restrictions on his rights and freedoms.
"CSW calls on the international community to carefully monitor Wang Quanzhang’s case, and to make use of bilateral and multilateral engagements to press China to allow him and his family full freedom. We also continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained in connection with the defence of human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, in China.”