A source close to Yu who asked to remain anonymous said he had helped some of the most vulnerable people in the province lodge petitions and complaints with government departments. "Some of the victims [in these cases] had no way to resolve their complaints through normal channels," the source said. "So Yu went to government departments with them to try to stand up for social justice." "He played a coordinating role, so that officials and petitioners would have a better way to resolve complaints about unjust treatment," the source said.
A defense attorney hired by Yu's family withdrew from the case last month, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, and an officially approved rights lawyer was appointed instead, the source said.