Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Xi's true colors show in crackdown on rights lawyers

President Xi Jinping's Maoist bent is becoming increasingly evident as promises of judicial, economic and social reform give way to crackdowns and market manipulation.

     Before dawn on July 9, more than 20 police officers raided the home of Wang Yu, a lawyer, in Beijing. Known as the "bravest female lawyer in China," Wang has been involved in various politically sensitive human rights cases, including that of Ilham Tohti, a Uighur academic who called for the rights of the Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region to be protected. Last year, Tohti was sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism.     

Wang Yu, the lawyer of human right activist Cao Shunli, talks on the phone in front of a hospital building where Cao is hospitalized at its intensive care unit in Beijing in this March 1, 2014 file photo, after she was not allowed to see Cao. © Reuters

     Following the raid on Wang's house, police targeted human rights lawyers and activists across the nation, focusing primarily on lawyers affiliated with Fengrui, the Beijing law firm to which Wang belongs.

     At least 249 lawyers and activists have been detained, denied contact with the outside world or subjected to other restrictions on their freedom, according to China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, a nongovernmental organization based in Hong Kong. As for Wang, all contact with her has been lost since she was taken away by police.

     Such crackdowns are not new. Indeed, China's Community Party has long treated human rights lawyers as little more than an inconvenience. KATSUHIKO MESHINO, Nikkei senior staff writer



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