Renowned human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was released in March of this year after serving four years in prison for proposing to amend the Constitution and demanding that the government respect human rights.

According to RFA’s exclusive interview with Yu, despite being released, Yu and his wife are still under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Before and after European Council President Charles Michel’s visit to China on December 1, the Yu family was put on a week-long stay-at-home lockdown by the authorities because of pandemic prevention.

Yu Wensheng said that after serving his prison term, he took a break to heal the physical and mental injuries resulting from the horrific four years of prison.

He shared that the days of having to live in cold and hungry conditions in prison have caused his old illnesses to recur, and so far, his hand still can’t hold a pen.

Yu also confided that he regretted that the prison prevented him from seeing his father one last time. His father passed away more than a month before he left the prison.

Yu said he still has to comply with three years deprived of his political rights. His wife has also been restricted from leaving the country since 2018.

Yu said that his family could not leave China at the moment. For him, life right now is basically the same as when he was in prison.

Yu Wensheng and many other lawyers had active human rights protection activities before being arrested. He said that the lawyers who joined him were all suppressed by Chinese authorities.

Despite the government’s repression, many lawyers have returned and gathered together to defend human rights. Yu said he was happy with the news but also worried that the authorities would repeat their usual repressive activities.

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