China charges rights lawyers held in secret for six months, say families
China has formally charged at least five human rights lawyers and colleagues held in secret for six months after a sweeping crackdown on legal activism, family and associates said…
Zhou Shifeng, the founder of Beijing’s Fengrui law firm and [represented the victim of the contaminated milk powder to sue against the Sanlu Group in 2008], is accused of “state subversion”. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in jail…Four other people are also said to be accused of “incitement to state subversion”, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years…They are virtually certain to face trial in China’s Communist Party-controlled courts, which have a conviction rate of more than 99.9 percent of criminal cases and where forced confessions are often used as evidence.
However, relatives of Li Heping and Wang Yu, two well-known rights lawyers who have also been missing since July’s crackdown, have yet to receive any news on the fate of their loved-ones…China’s ruling Communist party does not tolerate organised dissent, and has tightened controls on civil society under the leadership of Xi Jinping.