ICC Note: It’s appalling to witness the total disregard that the Chinese government has for anyone or any government that might express its disagreement with its human rights abuses. The U.S. President must express our serious concerns about China’s current crackdown on human rights and religious freedom during Chinese President Xi’s visit to Washington later this month.
By Tom Phillips
9/02/2015 China (The Guardian)
Wang Yu knew they would come for her. “Nobody is safe under a dictatorship,” the human rights lawyer told a visitor to her Beijing home at the start of this year.
For months, friends and colleagues had urged this outspoken defender of China’s voiceless to flee the country, but she resisted. “She said if they wanted to go after her they could go after her,” one recalled.
Then, in the early hours of 9 July, the knock finally came. “My flat’s electricity has been cut off all of a sudden,” Wang, 44, wrote in a post on WeChat. “I heard the sound of people trying to break in.” When a worried friend reached her home just a few hours later, she was gone.
Wang Yu’s detention was the opening salvo in what activists call an unprecedented government crackdown on China’s small but energetic community of human rights lawyers.
Over the following days, dozens of attorneys known for defending underground Christians, political dissidents and social activists were detained or interrogated across the country. State media accused them of forming an “organised criminal gang”.
Nearly two months on, more than 20 people remain missing or in custody. “It is a very scary scenario,” said Yu Wensheng, a Beijing attorney who knew Wang and spent 24 hours in custody after speaking out over her detention.
The escalating repression has appalled human rights activists, with some calling on Barack Obama to cancel Chinese president Xi Jinping’s first state visit to the US later this month.
Yet there has been only muted public criticism from foreign governments, who fear damaging their ties with the world’s second largest economy.