08/27/2009, 00.00
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Liaoning: activist arrested and beaten for defending Falun Gong members

Yonghang Wang, a lawyer, was arrested for "using a cult seeking to damage the legal and social system." Beatings suffered at the time arrested led to a broken ankle. In prison he suffered further violence. A new case of violation of human rights which contrasts with the recent release of two activists.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese authorities have beaten and arrested Yonghang Wang, lawyer and activist for human rights in Dalian, a city in Liaoning province in northeast China. The association Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), reported today that he is being charged with "using a cult seeking to damage the legal and social system."

The incident dates back to July 4, but only emerged in recent days thanks to the testimony of his wife. Yu Xiaoyan said that was Wang "blocked by dozens of police officers" who, during the arrest, "brutally bet" him. Because of the violence inflicted, the human rights activist - known for his fight in defence of members of Falun Gong, a movement banned in China - has a fractured ankle and numerous injuries throughout his body.  

Notification of the detention order against Wang was filed on August 11 last year, the same day that the man was operated on because the injury to the ankle was infected. The surgery was performed at the hospital in Dalian, without the family being informed or giving consent. He is imprisoned in the city jail and is subject to constant beatings and abuse. "I know nothing – says Yu Xiaoyan - not even the outcome of the operation”.  

"The arrest and torture of Wang - said Jiang Yingying, a CHRD researcher – sends a chilling signal to the community of Human Rights activists”. According to a recent report by the group in 2009 at least 18 lawyers lost their professional license in their struggle for human rights.  

The news of the arrest and torture of Wang contrasts with signs of detente recently shown by Beijing, in the August 23 release of 36-year old Xu Zhiyong,  human rights activist and member of Gongmeng. Last year he had supported the struggle of the victims of the scandal of melamine-tainted milk. Xu was arrested July 29 and his whereabouts was unknown. The arrest follows the closure of the Association, imposed by the authorities following a conviction for “tax fraud”.

On 22 August Ilham Toth, an ethnic Uyghur economist, who disappeared in the explosion of violence in Xinjiang, was also released. He was arrested on charges of inciting riots among the Muslim ethnic minority, that caused hundreds of deaths. Two days after the start of the protests in Urumqi - July 5 - the authorities confined him to house arrest. Last week he was cleared of all charges and released.

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