Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2018, 12:49 GMT

China: End relentless repression against human rights lawyers on first anniversary of crackdown

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 7 July 2016
Cite as Amnesty International, China: End relentless repression against human rights lawyers on first anniversary of crackdown, 7 July 2016, available at: [accessed 17 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Chinese authorities must end their ruthless assault against human rights lawyers and activists, Amnesty International said ahead of the first anniversary of the start of an unprecedented crackdown.

At least 248 human rights lawyers and activists were targeted during the nationwide sweep which began on 9 July 2015. One year on, 17 individuals caught up in the onslaught remain detained, eight of whom could face life imprisonment after being charged with "subverting state power".

"Human rights lawyers have faced the full wrath of China's secretive machinery of repression. The detained lawyers must be released and this systemic assault against individuals defending the rights of Chinese people must end," said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

"President Xi Jinping has the gall to claim the Chinese government upholds the rule of law even when lawyers face life in jail for trying to do just that."

The authorities have used an armoury of repression in an attempt to break the lawyers. Most of those detained in the crackdown were denied legal counsel and contact with their family, a clear violation of their rights.