Beijing (AsiaNews) - The human rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband Bao Longjun were arrested yesterday on charges of "inciting subversion of state power". They had already been sentenced to six months in solitary confinement.
Reports also confirm the arrest of six other lawyers, on similar charges over the past few days. The campaign against lawyers who defend the poor, religious figures and activists began last July and aims to stifle a genuine movement that, is attempting to defend human rights through Chinese laws.
Li Yuhan, Wang Yu’s lawyer, said the woman was locked up in prison no. 1 of Tianjin; her husband in prison no. 2.
Within six months of isolation that preceded their arrest, the two were denied any visits from relatives and lawyers, and any news about their case.
Their isolation was followed by a smear campaign against them. The legal center where Wang was working, the Fengrui, was branded by the official media as a "criminal gang" that "drew attention to sensitive cases" and "disturbed social order". The Fengrui has been accused of "creating chaos" in trials and of mobilizing activists outside the courts "to achieve their purposes with ulterior motives."
The director of Fengrui, Zhou Shifeng, and two lawyers, Wang Quanzhang and Li Shuyun, after being detained and isolated last July, were also accused days ago of "inciting subversion of state power".
Two other lawyers, Xie Yanyi, and Xie Yang were arrested on the same charge. Gao Yue, their colleague, was arrested for "assistance in destroying evidence." Another, Sui Muqing, was arrested and then released on bail.
Wang Yu and Bao Longjun had appeared last October on television, apparently prostrate, condemning a failed attempt to smuggle their 16 year old son abroad. Since then, even their son Zhuoxuan Bao, has been under 24 hours surveillance.
According to several analysts, the persecution of lawyers is similar many aspects to the campaigns launched by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution.