China on a mission to silence dissent

Advertisement

The arrest of the activists transpired when China indicted twenty or so lawyers and activists who gathered at a rental villa near the Chinese seaside in 2019 for discussing besieged human rights movement….reports Asian Lite News

In yet another escalation in China’s crackdown on human rights, the country is violating the right of the detained activists accused of “subversion of state power” in carrying out the legal procedures to defend themselves.

This comes as the security officials have vowed to root out any political opposition ahead of a party congress later this year when Chinese President Xi Jinping is poised to gain another five-year term as top leader.

Chinese activist Xu Zhiyong and human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi were accused by China of “subversion of state power” and they will be tried separately on June 17 and June 20. However, the social media posts by Jiaxi’s wife have exposed the Chinese authorities to their meddling with the facts.

In her tweet, Ding Jiaxi’s wife stated that the lawyers were not allowed to meet the detained activists nor were they given a copy of the files.

Xu Zhiyong a former lecturer at the Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications turned into a civil rights activist and founded the “New Citizens Movement” which aims to facilitate the transition of China toward constitutionalism.

The arrest of the activists transpired when China indicted twenty or so lawyers and activists who gathered at a rental villa near the Chinese seaside in 2019 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.

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 Xi Jinping 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.

One attendee in the gathering, 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. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Global outrage over China’s Xinjiang abuses

[mc4wp_form id=""]