[JURIST] Family members of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong [advocacy profile] said Friday that police have informed them of his formal arrest and his decision to dismiss all legal counsel. The legal activist disappeared [Guardian report] in November after publicizing the plight of families of human rights lawyers and activists that have been detained in an effort to stifle opposition to the Communist Party [official website]. Jiang was disbarred in 2009 after publicizing the crackdown on lawyers but continued his activism. Jiang’s wife, Jin, believes that Jiang dismissed his lawyers [AP report] under conditions of torture. Jiang’s family and lawyers have not been allowed to meet with him despite requesting numerous meetings. According to state media [official website], Jiang is accused of “inciting subversion of state power” and is being held at a secret location.
China has faced continued international criticism for its treatment of human rights defenders, ranging from filing of arbitrary criminal charges, suspension or dismissal of law licenses, and disappearances. In December the UN called on China to investigate the disappearance of human rights lawyer [JURIST report] Jiang Tianyong, after he had been missing for two months. The same month China suspended the law license [JURIST report] of prominent human rights lawyer Li Jinxing, over his apparent allegedly unacceptable behavior in court while defending a client. In September China handed down a 12-year sentence [JURIST report] to prominent human rights lawyer Xia Lin. In July China announced plans to prosecute [JURIST report] prominent human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng on charges of subverting state power, furthering its recent crackdown on political dissidents. In April a civil rights lawyer was arrested [JURIST report] for posting an image online mocking Xi Jinping in relation to the Panama Papers release.