China: Imprisoned lawyer denied from visiting dying father


Date:                         January 14, 2022


Lawyer Yu Wensheng
(Photo: Xu Yan's Twitter)


(Beijing, China—January 14, 2022) The father of Beijing human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, who is imprisoned in Nanjing prison, passed away on January 9. Yu Wensheng was not allowed to see his father for the final time before his death.

Lawyer Yu Wensheng’s wife Xu Yan posted on her personal Twitter account:

Dad, the father of lawyer Yu Wensheng, passed away at 3:10 pm on January 9, 2022, in the hospital’s intensive care unit after emergency efforts failed. Have a pleasant journey, Dad! The farewell ceremony will be held tomorrow, and I hope Yu Wensheng can come back to send his father off on his final journey.

After lawyer Yu’s father was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, Yu’s brother found out and thought his father might only have about one to two days left. Lawyer Yu’s wife Xu Yan, Yu Wensheng’s lawyer, his brother, and their relatives sent a request to the Nanjing Prison to ask for assistance from the leaders of the facility to allow lawyer Yu Wensheng the chance to see his father one last time.

The Nanjing Prison authorities told them that their appeal had been reported to the section chief, who politely declined the request on the grounds that he was not allowed to visit him in another location. Xu Yan asked the Nanjing Prison authorities to report to the higher-ranking officials for assistance. However, their attempt proved unsuccessful.

Yu Wensheng’s father used to be a technical officer of the CCP’s Air Force, and later took charge of the “political task” of receiving foreign guests at the government’s China Travel Agency.

Yu Wensheng used to be a successful business lawyer. He represented the well-known case of 709 lawyer’s arrest (2015), suing the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and its minister. In January 2018, authorities revoked his lawyer's license and arrested him for advocating constitutional reform. On April 19, lawyer Yu was charged with “inciting subversion of state power.”

According to the verdict, Yu Wensheng will be released after finishing his full sentence on March 1, 2022, but his father left before his release and did not see his son before he passed away.

Yu Wensheng is currently imprisoned in Nanjing Prison. The last time his wife Xu Yan and his lawyer Huang Hanzhong successfully met with him was on December 18.

The feedback from the meeting was more optimistic than before. Lawyer Yu Wensheng’s living conditions at the prison have improved. On December 1, Nanjing Prison officials brought lawyer Yu to the dentist to have his teeth checked. His Dermatitis that lasted about five months was also cured.

“I walk and do push-ups every day, and my physique has improved compared to before,” Yu Wen Sheng told his lawyer and wife, Xu Yan.

But Yu Wensheng’s tremor on his right hand had worsened compared to the previous month, and he still could not write. Prisons rarely allow outdoor “ventilation,” it happens about one to two times a month.

Xu Yan told her husband that his case had garnered the attention of many embassies in China. In November of last year, the British embassy in China and seven human rights officials from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, and New Zealand had a meeting with her.

When asked by Xu Yan if he had anything he wanted to say, lawyer Yu responded by telling her how much he loves her and misses her a great deal; he is counting the days every day. He also told Xu Yan that he would listen to her after he comes home, to which she responded with she’ll listen to him when he comes home.

Xu Yan recounted her visit to ChinaAid sources:

“Thirty minutes is very short. Towards the end, with one hand placed on opposite sides of the glass, we had our eyes fixed on each other and were unable to part as we waved goodbye with our other hand. Then, he was yelled at by the officer inside and had to leave quickly. When I saw this scene, I felt so helpless and heartbroken for my husband. During the visit, I saw that the bones of his right wrist could be clearly seen, there is very little flesh, it seems to be only bones and skins, has it been long since he could write, or have the strength to brush his teeth and eat, and are some of his muscles atrophied? I feel so heartbroken for him; with that being said, I look forward to the successful release of lawyer Yu Wensheng in about two months, and after he returns home, he can try his best to treat and recover his right hand.”

Four years ago, when Yu Wensheng had just lost his freedom for a few days, someone took a three hours car ride to request a meeting with Xu Yan, and when they met up, that lady specially brought her a Bible. Later, someone gave Xu Yan a copy of Mother Teresa’s Works of Love Are Works of Peace for her to read. “It took about four years to finish reading this Bible with 66 books, about 2,096 pages, on January 3, 2022,” Xu Yan revealed.

From Xu Yan’s many Twitter posts, there are many traces of her faith and journey of becoming a Christian. As a Christian organization, all the staff at ChinaAid Association sincerely pray blessings upon this family.


~ Gao Zhensai, ChinaAid Special Correspondent


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