Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) - More than 40 Hong Kong lawyers launched a global petition to denounce the central government's crackdown on human rights lawyers on the mainland.
Since July 10, at least 233 mainland human rights lawyers and advocates had been taken away, summoned or detained by police in the unprecedented crackdown, according to the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. Fourteen are still in custody and six are missing.
The associates of the Beijing Fengrui law firm are particularly targeted. The study advocated for the liberation of several Chinese nationals victims of abuse and harassment by the authorities.
The Hong Kong appeal was launched yesterday as People’s Daily said Beijing Fengrui law firm director Zhou Shifeng had confessed in custody that his firm had been involved in “criminal activities” that in union with activists and petitioners “colluded and provoked trouble”.
Legal experts say confessions from those in mainland custody are often extracted through physical and mental torture.
Detained lawyers have been charged of “incitement of subversion of state power”, unprofessional conduct, including embezzlement and bribery and “inappropriate sexual relations”.
The 16 year-old son of Wang You, one of the charged lawyers, was interrogated by police four times, and his house keys and passport had been confiscated so he could not go to study in Australia as planned. The family was also barred from hiring a lawyer
Political analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu told the South China Morning Post that the smear campaign and the targeting of detainee’s family was a revival of Cultural Revolution-era practice and made a mockery of the party’s promise to rule by law.
The petition is on campaigning website Change.org.