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Sweden rights advocate 'confesses' on Chinese national television

[JURIST] Peter Dahlin, a Swedish rights advocate who had been detained in China [JURIST report] on charges of endangering state security, confessed his crimes [YouTube video] on Chinese state television on Tuesday. In the interview, which aired on State Broadcaster CCTV, Dahlin said "I have caused harm to the Chinese government. I have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. I apologize sincerely for this. And I'm very sorry that this ever happened." Dahlin co-founded Chinese Urgent Action Working Group [advocacy website], a non-profit organization [Reuters report] that provides training for uncertified rural defense lawyers of potential human rights abuse victims.

The Chinese Urgent Action Working Group reported that Dahlin was detained earlier this month on suspicion of endangering state security. It is believed by rights groups that the detention is part of a crackdown [BBC report] on rights lawyers and members of groups seeking reforms of the country's legal system. Chinese state media recently criticized [JURIST report] detained human rights lawyers for undermining the rule of law. Last month prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was released [JURIST report] after receiving a suspended sentence. Pu was detained [JURIST report] in 2014 on a charge of "causing a disturbance" after he attended a weekend meeting that urged an investigation into the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and was subsequently denied [JURIST report] bail. The Tiananmen protests began in April 1989 with mainly students and laborers protesting the Communist Party of China. The Chinese government declared martial law in May and initiated the violent dispersal of protesters by the People's Liberation Army on June 4.

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