Xi's true colors show in crackdown on rights lawyers

Xi's true colors show in crackdown on rights lawyers
China's President Xi Jinping
PHOTO: Reuters

TOKYO - President Xi Jinping's Maoist bent is becoming increasingly evident as promises of judicial, economic and social reform give way to crackdowns and market manipulation.

Before dawn on July 9, more than 20 police officers raided the home of Wang Yu, a lawyer, in Beijing. Known as the "bravest female lawyer in China," Wang has been involved in various politically sensitive human rights cases, including that of Ilham Tohti, a Uighur academic who called for the rights of the Muslim Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region to be protected. Last year, Tohti was sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism.

At least 249 lawyers and activists have been detained, denied contact with the outside world or subjected to other restrictions on their freedom, according to China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, a nongovernmental organisation based in Hong Kong. As for Wang, all contact with her has been lost since she was taken away by police.

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