Clampdown of China critics takes on "worrying pattern"

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Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at a press conference. UN File Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

The harassment and intimidation of government critics, lawyers and NGO workers in China has taken on a "worrying pattern," according to the UN human rights chief.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein shared his concerns about the clampdown on Tuesday.

Police have detained about 250 human rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists across the country since an apparent nationwide crackdown began last July, although many were subsequently released.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

The UN High Commissioner for human rights is raising concerns and seeking clarifications from the Chinese authorities about the recent arrest, harassment and intimidation of human rights advocates.

In January, 15 human rights lawyers were formally arrested.

Ten of the lawyers were subsequently jailed for the crime of "subversion of state power" which carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Among those facing the charge are leading human rights lawyers Li Heping and Wang Yu.

Zeid is urging the Government of China to release all of them immediately without conditions.

He recalled that civil society actors, including lawyers, journalists and NGO workers have a right to carry out their work and that it was the Member States' duty to protect and support them.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 48''


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