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7 Jul 2016

Gerry Shih, Washington Post

China crackdown on lawyers, year on, exacts toll on families

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…The Chinese government launched its largest-ever crackdown against human rights lawyers and activists on July 9, 2015, seizing and questioning hundreds of people nationwide in a campaign that sent a chill through the country’s legal system. Nearly two dozen of them remain in detention and face charges, including inciting subversion of state power — charges condemned by international rights groups and Western governments.

Twelve months later, the unprecedented sweep also has exacted a toll on the detainees’ families, who speak of financial ruin, homelessness, and physical abuse at the hands of police. Children have been denied schooling or placed under surveillance…

The families’ stories, detailed in interviews with several of the detainees’ wives, paint a pattern of how China’s government — no stranger to political oppression — has refined its playbook for dealing with dissidents over the past decade while maintaining the veneer that it is abiding by the rule of law.

“Prosecution by media, forced confessions, roping in an entire family and punishing them — it’s a modern, mass-media era take on the Cultural Revolution,” said Jiang Tianyong, a Beijing-based human rights lawyer…

Part of the following timelines

China: More than 300 rights lawyers detained in nationwide crackdown, including lawyers who handled cases on corporate abuses; at least 6 face formal charges

China: A year after 709 crackdown, nearly two dozen human rights lawyers & activists still under detention