May 4, 2017
Chinese authorities have launched a nationwide crackdown on supporters of jailed rights lawyer Xie Yang after they gathered outside a court in the central province of Hunan in the hope of attending his trial last month.
Xie, who has made a long and detailed report of torture in detention, was due to stand trial at the Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on April 25, facing charges of “incitement to subvert state power” and “disrupting court order.”
But the proceedings were postponed after dozens of supporters, foreign journalists and diplomats flocked to the court in the hope of witnessing the trial from the public gallery.
Now, China’s state security police is targeting some of those supporters in their hometowns.
“It’s now payback time, the aim of which is to sow more fear [among rights activists],” Xu Qin of the China Rights Observer group told RFA on Thursday.
“They want this group of people to feel scared, so that they don’t ever dare to go anywhere to show support ever again,” she said.
Ou Biaofeng, a rights activist from Hunan’s Zhuzhou city, said he was summoned by his local police station and questioned for an hour over his trip to Changsha.