China rights lawyer ‘confesses’ to attempting to overthrow government

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Originally published by Jurist on August 22, 2017

[JURIST] Chinese human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong confessed at a trial on Tuesday to attempting to overthrow the Chinese government. Jiang has been in custody since November of last year. At the trial, he stated [NYT report] that Western laws led him to attempt to overthrow the country’s Communist government and that he helped fabricate tales of torture for another human rights lawyer, Xie Yang, who had a trial in May. Jiang has represented human rights issues in China for over 10 years. The Chinese government had removed his law license in 2009. Supporters of Jiang , including his wife, have stated that his confession was coerced after being tortured. Sentencing for Jiang will take place at a later undetermined date.

Many human rights lawyers and defenders in China have seen been the target of the Chinese government in recent years. In February, the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders  (CHRD) [advocacy website] released [JURIST report] a report detailing crackdowns of human rights defenders by China. In December the UN called on China to investigate the disappearance of Jiang Tianyong, [JURIST report] after he had been missing for two months. The same month China suspended the law license [JURIST report] of prominent human rights lawyer Li Jinxing, over his apparent allegedly unacceptable behavior in court while defending a client. In September China handed down a 12 year sentence [JURIST report] to prominent human rights lawyer Xia Lin. In July 2016 China announced plans to prosecute[JURIST report] prominent human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng on charges of subverting state power, furthering its recent crackdown on political dissidents. In April 2016 a civil rights lawyer was arrested and released [JURIST report] for posting an image online mocking Xi Jinping in relation to the Panama Papers release.

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