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China human rights lawyer missing, thought detained: rights group

[JURIST] Chinese rights activist Teng Biao has disappeared and is thought to have been detained by state authorities, rights group China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group [advocacy website] said Friday. Teng, a lawyer with close ties to civil rights activist Hu Jia [Radio Free Asia profile], did not return home Thursday evening, and neighbors witnessed an unidentified man being dragged into a car. In September 2007, Teng and Hu wrote an open letter [text] requesting that the international community investigate China's promises to improve its human rights record. China has been criticized in recent months for cracking down on human rights activists and political dissidents [JURIST report] ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

Hu was formally arrested and charged with inciting subversion of state power [JURIST report] last month. Last year, Hu made public [JURIST report] letters and recordings from Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng alleging that Gao was tortured into confessing to subversion charges. In November 2007, rights group Dui Hua reported that the number of political arrests in China more than doubled in 2006 [JURIST report].

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