Beijing indicts Chinese activists for discussing 'human rights' at meeting

7 months ago 87

China has indicted twenty or so lawyers and activists who gathered at a rental villa near the Chinese seaside for discussing besieged human rights movement.

Beijing | China | Human Rights


China has indicted twenty or so lawyers and activists who gathered at a rental villa near the Chinese seaside for discussing besieged human rights movement.

Chris Buckley, writing in The New York Times said that a weekend get-together in 2019 offered Beijing a chance to deliver a blow to the "rights defence" movement. Now, two key participants face the prospect of years in prison.

The two best-known attendees -- Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi -- are awaiting trial on subversion charges related to the gathering, according to indictments.

Get-togethers like this, once common among Chinese rights campaigners, have become increasingly risky under Xi Jinping's hard-line rule.

Under him, many journals, research organizations and groups that once sustained independent-minded activists in China have been dissolved, said Buckley.

As he prepares to extend his era in power, those who still speak out are wondering how China's human rights movement can survive a tightening ring of monitoring, house arrest, detentions and trials.

"This shows how they're terrified of even small buds of Chinese citizen consciousness and civic society," Liu Sifang, a teacher and amateur musician who took part in the gathering, said in an interview from Los Angeles, where he now lives.

He fled abroad in late 2019 after the police began detaining those who attended the villa get-together. Border police in China have blocked his wife from joining him, he said.

Several people who attended the weekend session in Xiamen, in eastern China, were soon detained, spending weeks or months locked up before the release, reported The New York Times.

One attendee, the lawyer Chang Weiping, was detained for a second time and arrested on the charge of subversion after stating on video that interrogators had tortured him during his first stint of detention.

Xu, 48, and Ding, 54, both have told lawyers that they did nothing illegal, but they face prison terms of 10 years or even longer if a party-controlled court convicts them, as seems almost inevitable.

While Western governments have focused on mass detentions of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, the prosecution of Xu and Ding highlights the Chinese Communist Party's intense campaign against dissent all across China, said Buckley.

Security officials have vowed to root out any political opposition ahead of a party congress later in 2022 when Xi is poised to gain another five-year term as top leader.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Read Entire Article