Hong Kong Activists call for release of 'political prisoners'

ANI | Updated: Apr 07, 2018 09:55 IST

Beijing [China], April 7 (ANI): A Hong Kong-based non-profit organisation, along with pro-democracy groups and lawmakers, has demanded the release of the "political prisoners" from Beijing.

China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, whose stated objective is to advocate for the protection of human rights lawyers and legal rights defenders in China, noted that Wang Quanzhang, who was arrested in China's 709 crackdown on human rights lawyers in 2015, has been missing for 1,000 days, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

The organisation said, "We, therefore, urge the Chinese government to release lawyer Wang Quanzhang unconditionally; we protest the long-term surveillance of his wife Li Wenzu."

Quanzhang was held in August 2015 during a nationwide crackdown that detained more than 200 rights activists.

Activists said that the "709" crackdown as it is now known - a reference to 9 July, the date it began - was a sign of the growing intolerance of dissent under President Xi Jinping.

Nearly three years on, most of those detained are in prison or under house arrest.

Quanzhang, who was charged with "subversion of state power," has been denied access to a lawyer.

According to the report, the protestors also noted that the supporter of the Umbrella Movement in 2014, human rights activist Yu Wensheng, has been under residential surveillance since January.

The group further said, "We demand that Yu Wensheng be allowed to meet with lawyers to ensure his right to legal representation."

The Umbrella Movement is a political movement that emerged during the Hong Kong democracy protests of 2014. Its name arose from the use of umbrellas as a tool for passive resistance to the Hong Kong Police.(ANI)