July 10, 2017
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has been busy traveling the world to deliver the message that China is a responsible power, ready for world leadership. The official Xinhua news agency said of his visit to Hamburg for the G20 gathering: “Chinese President Xi Jinping has demonstrated China’s readiness to join the rest of the world in building a better world for everyone.”
Within China, however, not everyone would agree that a better world was being built for them. Sunday [July 9] marked the second anniversary of the “709 crackdown” against human rights defenders, which began on July 9, 2015. According to China Change, an organization that works with Chinese democracy advocates, more than 300 human rights lawyers and activists have been detained, disappeared, temporarily rounded up and interrogated.
To mark the second anniversary, the China Human Rights Lawyers Group, founded in 2013, issued a statement in which it recalled the first arrests, that of Beijing-based lawyer Wang Yu and her husband, Bao Longjun, and their son, Bao Zhuoxuan.
“This was a prelude to the mass arrests of the July 9 sweep,” the group said. “After July 9, over 360 lawyers and citizens around the country were summoned and subjective to coercive, high-pressure interrogations. The family members of lawyers and rights activities were also implicated and subjected to constant threats and intimidation.”
These events have not gone unnoticed overseas. The New York City Bar Association also issued a statement marking the “709 Crackdown” on Sunday.
Inaugural China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day, Hong Kong, July 9, 2017
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group chairpersn Albert Ho announced the inaugural Day for Human Rights Lawyers in China, followed by a moment of silence, a protest of 7 minutes 09 seconds by Hong Kong lawyers and lawmakers. Some prominent figures from the Hong Kong legal community were present, including Mr Mrtin Lee, Ms. Margaret Ng, Ms Audrey Yu and Mr Eric Cheung. The protest was also joined by a group of young lawyers from the Progrssive Lawyers Group.