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Crackdown on human rights lawyers in China

The FCC is gravely concerned at the Chinese government’s continuing crackdown on human rights lawyers, legal workers and civil society activists, an FCC statement said on July 17

At least 205 lawyers, law firm staff and human rights activists have been detained, questioned or had their freedom of movement temporarily restricted since the crackdown began on July 9, according to the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.

Among those reportedly in detention is Zhou Shifeng of the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Zhou was taken away by police after attempting to meet his client, former Die Zeit news assistant Zhang Miao, who had herself just been released after nine months in custody. Zhang was detained last year after attending an event in Beijing in support of the Occupy Movement in Hong Kong.

“Freedom of speech and of the press can only be guaranteed when there is the clear and unfettered rule of law.” the statement said. “By attacking lawyers who are dedicated to defending civil liberties, the Chinese authorities are clearly undermining the rule of law and sending a very chilling message to both journalists and lawyers working in China.”

The FCC expressed its strong support for and solidarity with the legal community in China and calls on the authorities to immediately halt their suppression of human rights lawyers, and allow them to continue with their work in protecting the civil liberties of all Chinese citizens.

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The Correspondent, April - June 2021