China: Dissenting lawyers and activists push back against government repression

by birtanpublished on July 11, 2020

To China now where some of the 300lawyers and activists arrested in 20th2015 crackdown on human rightssupporters are being released they hadpushed back against President XiJinping's moved to tighten restrictionson free speech but were arrested and

Sentenced for subversion of power wehear now from one lawyer just out ofprison who is rebuilding his life aswell as his desire to support individualrights a family reunited Wang Chan jionga prominent human rights lawyer was

Released from prison two months agohe's one of more than 200 lawyers whowere detained in 2015 when China'sgovernment started an unprecedentedcrackdown on lawyers when you losesomething important and then you get it

Back I could not find the right wordsfor this feeling it feels like somethingexceptionally precious but there is alsothe fear that I might lose him againone Chen John spent almost five yearsbehind bars many things are new to him

Like this app that recognizes the namesof plants before now I've been releasedI feel drawn to nature I often go out toenjoy it that's how I started payingattention to plants I want to know theirnames during these years of his

Imprisonment also took a toll on hiswife who was our dad uncle these peoplecame to my house and blocked theentrance when I tried to open the door aman told me if you come out I'll killyou

China's government was taking theirrevenge on her campaigning on his behalfthe son Chen Chen also witnessed theugly scenesI wanted to take my sword and fightagainst them this is what I really want

To do 1 chen jang was taken withoutwarning after that his wife did not hearanything about him until his trial wasannounced more than 3 years later I amvery tense very nervous I could notsleep on December 26th of 2018 one Shin

Jung was charged with state subversion aserious offense in China Lee was hopingto get a glimpse of him in court butagain state security had gathered infront of her house I'm nervous I've beenin this situation often me that every

Time is different this is not about therights of relatives this case is aboutstate secrets now the family is tryingto put these experiences behind themwill take time for them to get back to anormal life after my release my son and

I were very affectionate with each otherat least on the surface but theestrangement is quite obvious when Itell him something he opposes me herebels this gives me a headache I feelembarrassed I want us to become closer

To each other right now Wang Chan Janghas a lot of time to spend with hisfamily authorities have revoked hislawyer's license but he's alreadyplanning to appeal and to sue thegovernment for its wrongdoings

Well DWS Clifford Coonan has alsoreported extensively from China andjoins us nowClifford it's been five years sinceChina's so-called7:09 crackdown in which many lawyers and

Activists were rounded up in jailed havethings calmed down a bit since then oris that crackdown still ongoing well theway it works is the things Evan flow sowe had the situation on 709 where thewhere they were all rounded up

Particularly firms like Whangarei havethe law firm we became gradually awarethat there was a crackdown happening andthen we were all surprised in Beijing atthe extent of it but then after thatthings calm down because most of the key

Players have been have been rounded upbut since then the pressure has hasmaintained it's still there but it's notas intense as it was back then how muchis this campaign to quash dissentattributable to the rule of Xi Jinping

And I think it's directly attributableto the rule of Xi Jinping he's been inpower now for eight years and duringthose eight years we've seen a lot of amajor crackdown on all areas of civilsociety in in China and even though he's

Not he's just doing what previousleaders did but in a much more intenseway and much more focused way what canwe expect then moving forward not justfor mainland China but also perhaps forHong Kong in terms of how authorities

Deal with critical voices and dissentwell this is the big fear in China youhave the Constitution which guaranteesfreedom of speech and and otherliberties but clearly that that isn'tapplied in many cases and the rule of

The Communist Party trumps everythingand this is the fear now in Hong Kongthat a similar situation will prevailbecause under the new security law theexisting rules guaranteeing one countrytwo systems'

Have seemed to have been done away withand now the fear is that's going toapply as well to other areas of lifeincluding the legal system in Hong Kongso it's a very real fear that we couldsee more oppression of lawyers in Hong

Kong lawyers and anyone who voicesdissent in China they're facing someserious risks what options do they haveto to support their cause wellinternational pressure is what a lot ofexcuse me a lot of lawyers there for

Example an activists hope forinternational pressure to highlighttheir their situation Hong Kong is againa very interesting test case becausethat's where the eyes of the world areon Hong Kong at the moment some people

Have made parallels like Joshua Wongwith Hong Kong and Berlin that a lot ofthis these two systems which are nowcompeting the Chinese communistgovernment system and the Westernsystems are actually competing in Hong

Kong and and that's going to bringinternational focus and attention tothings like lawyers and activists so Ithink they're going to be looking verymuch of what happens in Hong Kong in thenext few months

Clipper thank you very much for yourinsight UW's Clifford Cooneyyou

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