China human rights lawyer arrested after urging for democratic reform
China human rights lawyer arrested after urging for democratic reform

Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was reportedly charged [HKFP report] Saturday with “inciting subversion of state officials” after writing a letter calling for reform to China’s constitution.

Yu was arrested outside his home in Beijing nearly two weeks ago for “disrupting a public service,” just hours after he wrote an open letter urging for democratic changes, including multi-party presidential election. His wife was summoned on Saturday, at which time she learned of the more serious incitement charge now against him. Authorities searched Yu’s office and residence, and seized documents and data related to his more recent cases. Yu is reportedly being held under Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location (RSDL) [text, PDF, in Chinese] and is out of communication with his family and attorney. Those detained a a RSDL can be detained for six months with no outside communication. In addition, the current charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Since July 2015, more than 300 human rights activists and lawyers have faced charges in China. Yu himself was detained [RFA report] for 99 days in 2014 “for showing public support for the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong.”