BEIJING – The embassies of Germany and the United States in China jointly criticized on Wednesday the recent sentences of Chinese activists Wu Gan and Xie Yang.
The two activists were sentenced on Tuesday in what was seen as part of a campaign by the Communist regime against lawyers and activists since the beginning of 2015.
The two diplomatic legations “are deeply disappointed that Chinese human rights defender and blogger Wu Gan and Chinese attorney Xie Yang have been convicted on vague charges of ‘subverting state power,’” said the joint statement.
The statement called for Wu Gan, sentenced to eight years in prison – the most severe penalty since the start of the campaign – to be released.
As for Xie, sentenced for the same charges as Wu but exempt from prison term for confessing his crime, the two embassies urged for him to be allowed to return to his law practice.
“In light of the allegations of serious mistreatment of Wu Gan and Xie Yang while in detention, and Xie’s public confession on state media, we call on the Chinese authorities to adhere to procedures established by law and respect China’s international human rights obligations and commitments,” the statement stressed.
It also urged the Chinese authorities to “view lawyers and rights defenders as partners in strengthening Chinese society through development of the rule of law.”
In the same statement, Germany and the US also called for the immediate release of Wang Quanzhang, another lawyer who has been held in an unknown location by the authorities for more than two years.
Xie, Wu, Wang and hundreds of lawyers and activists were held in the summer of 2015 during a spate of crackdowns.
According to human rights groups and members of the international community, the campaign is a tool to suppress voices critical of the authoritarian government led by President Xi Jinping.