Sweden rights advocate detained in China

Sweden rights advocate detained in China

The Chinese Urgent Action Working Group [advocacy website] said Tuesday that Swedish human rights worker Peter 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 Urgent Action Working Group, a non-profit co-founded [Reuters report] by Dahlin, provides training for uncertified rural defense lawyers of potential human rights abuse victims. The foreign affairs ministry of Sweden has posted [text] on Twitter about the matter, saying that the Swedish embassy is “looking into this and has requested to visit him.”

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 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 reports] 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.