The Bar Council of England and Wales expresses grave concerns about the recent conviction of Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang.

Mr Quanzhang was found guilty of 'subversion of state power' and sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison by the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People's Court. Mr Quanzhang was one of the approximately 250 lawyers and human rights defenders detained in 2015 as part of the 709 crackdown, and was the last still awaiting trial. He had been held incommunicado for more than 3 years, posing serious risks to his health. The Bar Council of England and Wales has on a number occasions raised concern about his detention and repeatedly called on Chinese authorities to abide by its international obligations (see previous statements here).

Christian Wisskirchen, Head of International at the Bar Council, said:

"We are deeply concerned that despite repeated calls from the international community for Mr Wang Quanzhang's release, the Tianjin Municipal Intermediate People's Court have issued this decision, and particularly that the Court decided not to hold an open trial for the case. We once again urge Chinese authorities to reaffirm and ensure full respect of the fundamental rights of all human rights defenders in China, as guaranteed under its Constitution, Chinese Criminal Procedure Law, international conventions and the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers."


Notes to editors  

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

2. The Bar Council previously wrote to the President of the People's Republic of China about Wang Quanzhang's situation, along with 19 other international legal assocations. Read the letter here.

3. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board