Two of China’s top human rights lawyers “detained”

Of all the slimeball tactics employed by China’s secret police, this one is the most despicable: When a whistleblower wins too much attention, concoct some crime and throw them in jail for committing it. (We’ve all read about the reporters for Southern Metropolitan News who were charged with corruption days after exposing atrocious government scandal like the SARS cover-up.) And now, here they go again.

China has detained two of the nation’s top human rights advocates shortly before a blind rights activist was due to stand trial on Friday, marking what observers said may be a concerted crackdown on activists.

Xu Zhiyong, a law academic from Beijing, was held by police in eastern China’s Shandong province on Thursday, where he was preparing to defend activist Chen Guangcheng against charges of disrupting traffic and destroying property during a protest there in February, according to other lawyers defending Chen. Xu remained in police custody on Friday, hours before Chen’s trial was due to start.

Also on Friday, Beijing police told state media they had detained Gao Zhisheng, a combative human rights lawyer who has also campaigned for Chen’s release. Gao was held “for questioning for his suspected involvement in criminal activities,” the official Xinhua news agency said without offering further details.

Chen, 34, a blind, self-taught legal activist, drew international attention last year by accusing local officials of enforcing late-term abortions in a harsh population control drive.

According to a post in the forum (no link to the source article, sorry), they put a black bag over Gao’s head and led him away in handcuffs.

And we had such high hopes for the Hu regime. This piece from a year ago shouldn’t be forgotten:

For some Chinese political analysts and dissidents, these attacks on leading journalists dashed hopes that a new era of media freedom would begin when President Hu Jintao and his deputy, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, took power in early 2003.

There were encouraging signs when, soon after taking office, Hu called on the media to play a more active watchdog role in the battle to combat widespread official corruption and government inefficiency. However, by the end of 2003, critics complained that Hu had begun a campaign to suppress the media.

Kind of reminds one of Mao urging people to write letters detailing their issues with the government and letting 1,000 flowers bloom. They’re so good at raising our hopes, and even better at abruptly dashing them.

The Discussion: 5 Comments


Interesting comparison with the Hundred-Flowers campaign. Hopefully this is not going to turn into a similar widespread witchhunt.

August 18, 2006 @ 7:29 am | Comment

Hate to say it, but I told you so (figuratively). Hu and every other member of the CCP have no mandate. They are members of an illegal organization of thugs who have the Chinese people as their prisoners. Every nation, every business that deals with these criminals is aiding and abetting their disgraceful practices. It’s time to call for an all out revolution to eliminate these cowards once and for all. Everyone who cares about the Chinese people will do whatever they can to denounce the so-called government and not buy into the crap they promote like the Olympic BS, space flight, economic expansion at all costs, etc.

Why would anyone have “high hopes” for members of the worst kind of tyrannical organization like the CCP? One can only for their early demise.

August 18, 2006 @ 7:55 am | Comment

But Ahmet, things were gonna be different once Hu was given some space to loosen up and be himself! (Seriously, some bloggers actually made that claim.)

August 18, 2006 @ 9:33 am | Comment

“for questioning for his suspected involvement in criminal activities,”

You can get held for questioning someone’s suspicion? I’d be hilarious if it weren’t so f’d up.

August 18, 2006 @ 11:26 am | Comment

I’m just not surprised by this anymore. Nothing else to say.

August 18, 2006 @ 11:31 am | Comment

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