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Wang Yu

Wang Yu

HRD, Lawyer
The Guardian Article

The case of Wang Yu, emblem of China's human rights crackdown

The New York Times Article

China Frees Wang Yu, Human Rights Lawyer, After Videotaped Confession

ABA International Human Rights Award

“In honoring Wang Yu, we pay tribute to her steadfast commitment to doing this essential work in China. We recognize her important work to protect human rights and to advocate that the Chinese government respect the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession and observe fair trial and due process standards — all principles guaranteed under Chinese and international law and critical to sustaining progress toward rule of law.” (ABA President Paulette Brown)

Nobody is safe under a dictatorship

Wang Yu is a commercial lawyer who began taking on human rights cases in 2011. In and out of the courtroom, Wang built a reputation as a fearless champion of the downtrodden and a perpetual thorn in the government’s side.

She defended feminist activists, members of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong and Ilham Tothi, the respected Uighur academic who was jailed for life in 2014 for inciting separatism.

In 2013, Wang travelled to the southern island of Hainan to help the families of six schoolgirls who had allegedly been sexually assaulted by their headmaster. In 2014 she acted as lawyer for Cao Shunli, a grassroots human rights defender who died in detention following denial of adequate medical access by the Chinese authorities.


Chinese HRDs face intimidation, harassment, house arrest, abductions, torture and imprisonment. They also work under very restrictive legislation, including laws which criminalize all unauthorized demonstrations and require government sponsorship for NGO registration, which is refused to any organisation touching on human rights issues. Widescale investigations into NGOs with links to overseas organisations took place in 2014 and 2015 resulting in harassment, detentions and forced closures.