HRT Correspondent – Adam Craddock
It Is Likely China’s Government Will Continue Detainment Of Lawyers and Activists
It is likely China’s government will continue detainment of Chinese lawyers and activists who speak out against the state or take on cases of a sensitive nature relative to disruptions against the state. There is no definitive news on the status of 18 human rights lawyers and activists whom have a due process date that expired on 9 April. The Chinese government detained over 200 human rights lawyers and activists in 2015; releasing few, charged select individuals with crimes, but the government refuses to release the majority of lawyers and activists.
According to the US State Department’s human rights report for 2015, China increased in its human rights abuses from previous years. The report highlights the 2015 crackdown on the legal community when authorities detained over 200 human rights lawyers and activists from July through September.[i] Authorities detained many of these individuals in undisclosed locations for months on end with no contact with their hired attorneys or family members. State officials informed family members that certain detainees fired their current lawyers and requested state lawyers.[ii]
Recently, rights lawyer, Ge Yongxi, posted a picture of Xi Jinping and his relatives along with the Panama papers, which discredited many notable figures throughout the world for illegal monetary procedures. Authorities detained him, but released him on 15 April, citing a threat to not repost the picture or else.[iii]
UN Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, demanded in February that the government release all lawyers detained in 2015 without conditions. Chinese authorities did not follow through with the UN demands. They only acknowledge the police is investigating criminal charges against the lawyers for subverting state power.[iv]
Thirty-eight detainees, due for release in January, remain incarcerated and some have been charged with subversion of state authority, according to Human Rights Watch.[v] Trends of these nature occur frequently within the state. Authorities refuse to release certain groups of individuals and rarely address the issue afterwards.
Analytic confidence for this report is medium. The information is corroborated with reliable sources. The information on this topic is very limited due to Chinese state restrictions. Time constraints were adequate.