TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -"We call on China to release Mr. Wang immediately and allow him to reunite with his family," U.S. Department of State spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. "We remain concerned by the deteriorating situation for the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms in China, and continue to urge China to uphold its international human rights commitments and to respect the rule of law."
The state department's admonishment follows China having sentenced Wang Monday to 4 and a half years in prison on the charge of subverting state power.
Wang, 42, has defended political activists, victims of land seizures and members of Falun Gong, a religious group that is banned in China.
He was one of the first individuals arrested in 2015 during the Chinese government's crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. During what is now called the 709 crackdown for the day it began on, July 9, 250 lawyers and activists were arrested with some still awaiting trial, the Guardian reported.
Wang was tried behind closed doors Dec. 26, 2018, away from journalists and foreign diplomats, a trial Amnesty International called a "Cruel charade."
"Wang Quanzhang has already been unjustly held for more than three years, during which his family suffered the anguish of not knowing whether he was alive until recently. He must be immediately and unconditionally released," said Amnesty International's China researcher Doraine Lau.
His wife Li Wenzu was blocked from attending the trial in Tianjin.
Until a lawyer was able to meet with Wang in July 2018, his family was unsure if he was alive following his arrest on Aug. 3 2015.
"We are troubled that China has subjected Mr. Wang to a three-and-a-half-year period of pre-trial detention, and has been held incommunicado, has been deprived of legal counsel of his choosing, and that his chosen lawyer has been subjected to reprisals," Palladino said.