The party’s attempts to project confidence do little to disguise its panic: It is beset by economic strife, antagonism between officials and the people, corruption, ecological disasters, unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet, and its own sense of ideological crisis. Democracy Digest reports.
Several Chinese human-rights lawyers and advocates detained in a crackdown on legal activism this month have confessed to being part of a criminal gang responsible for interfering with judicial processes and inciting disorder, according to Chinese state media WSJ’s Chun Han Wong reports:
Zhou Shifeng (left) and some of his associates at the Beijing Fengrui law firm—known for taking on politically sensitive cases—have admitted to wrongdoing ranging from hyping up legal cases to spreading smears against China’s legal system, according to a report published Saturday by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party mouthpiece, People’s Daily.
The “Black Friday” arrests of represents the biggest crackdown on lawyers since China’s legal system was reestablished in 1980 after the Cultural Revolution, says Teng Biao, a human rights lawyer and a visiting fellow at New York University’s U.S.-Asia Law Institute.
It is also just part of the purge that President Xi Jinping has carried out against civil society since he came to power in late 2012, he writes for The Washington Post:
Those hit by this comprehensive suppression have included political dissidents, nongovernmental organizations, government petitioners, underground churches, Internet users, news organizations and universities. More than 1,500 rights defenders have been arrested or thrown into jail, including well-known lawyers Xu Zhiyong, Pu Zhiqiang and Tang Jingling.
The question of whether the confessions are true is a real one, as many appear to have been coerced or concocted in the past, China Digital Times* adds:
Journalist Gao Yu was sentenced to seven years in prison in April for distributing state secrets, based largely on a televised confession reportedly made after investigators threatened her son. Harvard-based rights lawyer Teng Biao [right] highlighted the possibility of more direct coercion on Twitter last week:
But isn’t there a profound dread lurking behind this barbarism? Teng asks in the Post:
President Xi has done much to bring back the ideological patterns of the Mao Zedong era, including the recycling of old slogans, the shutting of NGOs, the arrest of dissidents and enhanced controls on the spread of information — all of it is a sign of the party’s deep fear of a color revolution. But the party no longer has the ability to carry out the frantic, Mao-style mobilizations of the past. Its ideology has lost all attraction, and the public’s frustration with the party is growing. People are more willing to criticize the regime in public, and the spread of access to the Internet has stunted the effect of the party’s propaganda.
Increasingly, it’s not just those targeted by the regime that fume: The stock market’s recent crash led even the middle class to fury and disappointment. The party’s attempts to project confidence do little to disguise its panic: It is beset by economic strife, antagonism between officials and the people, corruption, ecological disasters, unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet, and its own sense of ideological crisis. RTWT
The World Movement for Democracy and Initiatives for China are very concerned that repressive measures will continue against human rights defenders in China. Please show your solidarity with the repressed lawyers, activists, and their families by sending a message to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the global community is watching and condemns the crackdown against human rights lawyers.
Please share this message on Twitter and Facebook:
Other statements in support for human rights lawyers and activists in China:
- Amnesty International
- Freedom House
- S. Department of State
- European Union
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group
- International Services for Human Rights
- Christoph StrÃ¤sser (Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid)
- Front Line Defenders
- Congressional-Executive Commission on China
- Taiwan Association for Human Rights
- Initiatives for China
- Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers
- China Human Rights Defenders
- Progressive Lawyers Group
- The Federation for a Democratic China (FDC) (in Chinese)
- Chinese Human Rights Defenders
- Human Rights Now(in Chinese)
- The Legal ECs
- The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong
- Law Council of Australia
- The Law Society
Religion with ‘Chinese Characteristics’: Persecution and Control in Xi Jinping’s China
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China holds a hearing, featuring Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress; Losang Gyatso, service chief of the Tibetan Service at Voice of America; Bob Fu, president and founder of ChinaAid; and Anastasia Lin (left), actress, human rights advocate, and Miss World Canada.
10 a.m. July 23, 2015
Venue: CVC-210, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC.
*A grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy.