Amnesty International (AI) [official website] on Thursday urged [AI report] Chinese authorities to “end their ruthless assault against human rights lawyers and activists.” This call to Chinese officials comes just before the one-year anniversary of a massive police crackdown [AI press release] within the country, which led to the targeting of an estimated 248 activists and lawyers. Of those detained, 17 still remain in custody—the leading charge being “subverting state power.” AI alleges that officials are holding activists without counsel or contact to anyone outside. AI has called this, “a clear violation of their rights.” The organization also claims Chinese authorities are using the security of family members to hold against the activists.
In February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] over China’s recent crackdown on lawyers and activists. Chinese state media recently criticized detained human rights lawyers for undermining the rule of law. In January Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] high profile human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband on charges of political subversion. Also in January Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Chinese government to overturn a verdict sentencing three human rights activists in the Guangdong province to up to five years in prison. In December Chinese authorities released [JURIST report] prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang after receiving a suspended sentence for “causing a disturbance” after he attended a weekend meeting that urged an investigation into the 1989 crackdown of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.