Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

12 August 2011

Detained Chinese activist Wang Lihong goes on trial

Detained Chinese activist Wang Lihong goes on trial

A Chinese activist detained for organizing a demonstration in support of bloggers must be released, Amnesty International said as her trial took place today in Beijing.

Wang Lihong, 56, was arrested in March on charges of "assembling a crowd to block traffic" amid a government crackdown on dissent following protests in the Middle East and North Africa. In the court, she pleaded not guilty.

"Wang Lihong is one of many Chinese activists locked up in recent months on spurious charges, simply for exercising their right to peaceful freedom of expression," said Catherine Baber, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

"Her trial is a farce and she should be released immediately."

Wang Lihong was taken from her home by nine police officers on 21 March 2011.

The charges relate to her participation in a peaceful protest in April 2010 in support of three internet activists from Fujian province who were charged with defamation for posting questions online about an alleged police cover-up in the death of a young woman.

If convicted of “assembling a crowd to block traffic or undermine traffic order”, Wang Lihong could face up to five years in prison. The court verdict is expected within a month.

Wang Lihong's lawyers say they had limited access to her case documents, in violation of legal provisions on lawyers’ rights, and that during the trial - which only lasted a few hours - they were not given enough time to present a proper defence.

Wang Lihong suffers from chronic back pain and her health has deteriorated after several months in detention.

Many activists in China have been campaigning for Wang Lihong’s release and they gathered outside the court room in Beijing today.

"The Chinese authorities must ensure Wang Lihong has access to the legal representation of her choice, and that she is not tortured or ill-treated in custody," said Catherine Baber.

Wang Lihong is a widely known human rights activist who often provides food and clothes for those living on the street waiting to seek justice.

She frequently moves in with activists under police surveillance to provide emotional support. She has visited the wives of detained activists to help them with cooking and child care, and often has helped them find financial support and secure legal aid for their spouses.

Read More

China's 'Jasmine' activists (Feature, 5 May 2011)

Issue

Activists 
Detention 
Freedom Of Expression 

Country

China 

Region

Asia And The Pacific 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

29 August 2014

The execution of two men in Japan on Friday flies in the face of growing calls in the country to halt the use of capital punishment, said Amnesty International.

Read more »
29 August 2014

Russia’s official branding of a civil society organization as a “foreign agent”, an expression akin to “spying”, for speaking out on Ukraine is a sign of the country’s... Read more »

29 August 2014

Peaceful activist Mohamed Bachir Arab has been held in secret since he was arrested by the Syrian intelligence forces on 2 November 2011. He is one of Syria's many "disappeared... Read more »