[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official website] on Tuesday expressed concern [press release] over China’s recent crackdown on lawyers and activists. The commissioner stated that civil society workers should be protected by the state, not harassed. He stated that during their meeting in Geneva, China’s response to his concerns indicate that they are confusing legitimate work of civil society workers with threats to public order and security. The Chinese authorities have detained more than 250 civil society workers since the crackdown began in July. The commissioner urged China to release all of the workers without reproach immediately.
Chinese state media recently criticized [JURIST report] detained human rights lawyers for undermining the rule of law. Last month Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] high profile human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband on charges of political subversion. In December 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.