Chinese language human rights lawyer arrested for ‘inciting subversion’: police – NDTV

Xie Yang Previously Detained for Almost Two Years During the “709 Raid” (File)


A human rights lawyer has been arrested in China on suspicion of “inciting subversion,” according to an official statement his wife received weeks after he spoke out on behalf of a hospitalized teacher.

Xie Yang, who has previously defended Christians and democracy activists, has not been heard from since he was arrested in Changsha city, Hunan province, more than a week ago.

Beijing has ramped up its crackdown on civil society since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, tightening restrictions on free speech and arresting hundreds of activists and lawyers.

The police statement seen on Monday, seen by AFP, said Xie, 49, was arrested on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power and “starting disputes and provoking trouble” — a class charge often against dissidents and activists.

“I am very angry that he was arrested on fabricated charges,” his wife, Chen Guiqiu, told AFP from the United States, where she lives with their two children.

According to Chen, his home was also ransacked.

“Anything that could be opened was opened or ripped open, even his pillows were ripped apart,” she said, adding that two computers and his safe were missing.

His detention comes weeks after he attempted to visit a teacher, Li Tiantian, who friends said was forcibly committed to a psychiatric hospital after expressing sympathy for views supporting Beijing’s narrative on the questioned the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.

The historical tragedy is an extremely sensitive issue in China.

Li was believed to have been detained after she publicly sympathized with a Shanghai professor who questioned the official death toll of 300,000 attributed to the six-week rampage of murder, rape and destruction.

Xie has been a vocal advocate for the 27-year-old pregnant teacher, who authorities say was willingly hospitalized.

He tweeted video in December showing a placard outside the local police headquarters calling for their release.

The Changsha Public Security Bureau declined to comment, while the detention center and the local propaganda department refused to take phone calls.

“Xie Yang has been involved in almost every sensitive issue in China,” rights activist Cheng Xiaofeng, who tried to visit the hospital with Xie, told AFP.

“His actions are probably very uncomfortable for the authorities.”

Xie had previously been jailed for nearly two years during the 2015 “709 crackdown” on human rights activists and lawyers, when he said he had been tortured.

Another human rights lawyer, Yang Maodong, was also arrested last week on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” according to a police statement shared with AFP. He had been detained in the megacity of Guangzhou since last month.

Yang has been repeatedly imprisoned for his advocacy.

Yang’s wife died of cancer in the US last week after he was prevented from leaving China to reunite with her.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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