[JURIST] China is set to prosecute prominent human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng on charges of subverting state power, furthering its recent crackdown on political dissidents. Zhou, who has been secretly detained [Reuters report] for months, is the director of the Beijing Fengrui law firm, which has represented several high-profile clients, including political dissident Ilham Tohti. Zhou and other members of his firm have been accused by the media of protesting outside of courts and bringing unneeded international attention through politicizing “ordinary cases.” Though little is known about the case at this time, it is believed that Zhou’s legal representation has been replaced by a government-appointed legal team. Hu Shigen, Cui Yanmin, and Gou Hongguo, three human rights activists, were also being prosecuted on the same charges. These impending prosecutions mark the most recent of the Xi Jinping administration’s attempts to silence those critical of the country’s human rights situation.
Xi’s administration has been noted for increasing censorship of political opposition and rights groups. Last week Amnesty International called [JURIST report] for China to end its current attack on human and civil rights activists. In June civil rights lawyer Xia Lin was put on trial [JURIST report] for fraud. In April another civil rights lawyer was arrested and released [JURIST report] for posting an image online mocking Xi in relation to the Panama Papers release. Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiangon announced in Aprilnthat his license to practice law was revoked [JURIST report] by the judicial bureau. Chinese lawyer and professor Chen Taihe fled China [JURIST report] in March and arrived in San Leandro, California, after he was detained last July as part of a crackdown on rights lawyers. The crackdown culminated in at least 242 people detained or questioned throughout the country. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] in February over China’s recent crackdown on lawyers and activists. In January Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] high profile human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband on charges of political subversion.