Date
28 March 2017
Wang Yu, the lawyer of human right activist Cao Shunli, was among those detained in a recent crackdown by Chinese authorities. Photo: Reuters
Wang Yu, the lawyer of human right activist Cao Shunli, was among those detained in a recent crackdown by Chinese authorities. Photo: Reuters

Detained Chinese lawyers plead guilty: State media

Chinese human rights lawyers arrested during a recent crackdown have admitted to a range of offences including inciting disorder, according to state media.

The People’s Daily said many of the suspects had confessed to hyping up and politicizing ordinary legal cases in order to attract international attention, Reuters reported.

Nine lawyers and four other staff members at Beijing-based Fengrui legal firm have been charged with disrupting trial proceedings and violating court rules.

Zhou Shifeng, the director of the firm, is said to have pleaded guilty.

The Fengrui firm has been accused of orchestrating protests outside courts to help secure favorable verdicts for clients.

State news agency Xinhua described such behavior as “very close to blackmailing”.

Nearly 200 lawyers and activists have been detained or questioned during a campaign launched by public security bureaus this month.

Among those arrested were the prominent human rights lawyer Wang Yu and Wu Gan, a former employee of Fengrui who blogs on human rights and free speech issues, Reuters noted.

Human rights group Amnesty International called the crackdown “unprecedented” and said last Thursday that 31 of those detained remained in custody.

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FL/RC

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