China: Concerns Grow Following New Arrests in Ongoing Crackdown on Chinese Lawyers

Chinese lawyers Chang Boyang (常伯阳) and Ji Laisong (姬来松), who were arrested last week on charges of “suspicion of illegal commercial activities” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” respectively, should be immediately released from custody and all charges against them should be dropped, the Committee to Support Chinese Lawyers said today. According to reports, the two lawyers were formally arrested along with five other activists on July 2 in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. Until then, they had been held in Zhengzhou without formal arrest for over a month since being detained in the days leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown of June 4, 1989. Chang, a well-respected legal aid lawyer from Zhengzhou, has spent years representing disadvantaged groups in China, including rural women, migrant workers, and people living with HIV/AIDS. He was initially called in for questioning and detained in May after attempting to visit his clients who had previously been detained on suspicion of “gathering to disturb public order.” Chang and Ji both represented a local disability rights organization, and had participated in a ceremony along with the other activists commemorating the Tiananmen anniversary. The arrests of Chang and Ji are the latest developments in a recent crackdown on human rights lawyers in China. For more, see: http://csclawyers.org/events/67/.