08/21/2020, 09.26
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Human rights lawyer, Xie Yang, banned from practice

The punitive measure was imposed by the province's Justice Department. He is accused of fomenting disorder in the courts and posting comments against the state. In 2017, the lawyer was convicted of "inciting" subversion. He was arrested in 2015 during the "709" operation. The regime continues to crack down on dissent: lawyers and academics are first in line.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Hunan Justice Department has deprived human rights lawyer Xie Yang of his professional license.

Xie himself reported the news yesterday, explaining that the provincial authorities’ notice dates back to last week. He is accused of having tried on several occasions to create disorder in the work of the courts and of having posted comments on social media that are defamatory or dangerous to national security.

The lawyer was sentenced three years ago for "inciting subversion against the state". He revealed that he pleaded guilty and retracted earlier allegations of being tortured in prison in exchange the authorities’ commitment not to inflict further penalties.

The police arrested him in 2015 in a security operation called "709" (which began on July 9 of that year), which targeted 300 other colleagues - including some Protestant and Catholic Christians. Many of them were tried and then sentenced; several "confessed" their sins on video; others emerged from prison physically and psychologically shattered due to the torture they suffered.

Xie rose to prominence for defending various political activists, especially members of the New Citizens' Movement, which has fought for a democratic transition in the country for years. He said he would appeal the provincial Justice Department's decision.

Wang Quanzhang, a colleague and friend of Xie, who was also arrested in Operation 709, announced in May that he wanted to appeal his sentence. Wang spent more than four years in prison for "subversion against the state", finishing his sentence last April. In a recent interview, he confirmed that he was tortured in prison.

According to several observers, the Chinese regime is engaged in a campaign to suppress dissent. In recent days, Cai Xia, a retired professor from the Central Party School, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and lost her pension rights for attacking the authorities in public comments. The 68-year-old academic had also defended Ren Zhiqiang, the dissident billionaire who was targeted by the regime for calling Xi Jinping a "power-hungry clown".

Another well-known academic, jurist Xu Zhangrun, was recently punished for criticizing Xi and calling for democratic openings. The Qinghua University lecturer was arrested on 6 July for "soliciting prostitution". Released a few days later, his university then fired him for "moral corruption".

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