Chinese human rights lawyer Xie Yang has been released on bail after he admitted to his crimes in what critics called a “show trial” on Monday, according to Amnesty International.
Xie has worked on cases considered politically sensitive by the Communist Party, including defending mainland activists who supported the Hong Kong democracy movement. He was detained in China’s crackdown on legal staff and activists in 2015.
Xie was charged with “inciting subversion of state power and disrupting court order.” He admitted to his crimes in court and pleaded guilty. When asked if he was tortured, he said no, contradicting his previous claims that police used long interrogations, beatings, and sleep deprivation on him.
He was apparently released on bail even though a verdict has not been announced, Amnesty said.
“While on bail, Xie Yang is likely to experience constant surveillance and severe restrictions to his freedom of movement as we have witnessed in other such cases,” said the NGO’s China researcher Patrick Poon. “Such tactics appear to be the authorities’ modus operandi against those defending human rights.”
She said in a statement on Thursday that she was able to speak to him over the phone three days ago.
“I asked him why he had to go to the mountains, and not go back to live [with his parents], or at his own home – he said he needed to do physical training in the mountains,” she said.
She said that he spoke very little to his daughters and ended the conversation even though she wanted to continue to talk, saying that the villa he was staying at was closing.
“This is completely unlike the behaviour of someone who had not heard the voices of their wife and daughters for two years,” she said, adding that she feared that drugs had been administered to him.
Chinese state media has called Xie’s claims of torture “fake news.” The EU has expressed concern over his case.