China's '709' crackdown under President Xi Jinping


23 May 2017

'A Chinese Lawyer who just disappeared from earth'

Chinese lawyer Wang Quanzhang was detained in Aug'15 as part of '709' crackdown on human rights activists and lawyers under President Xi Jinping.

Of all those detained, he is the only one who "simply disappeared from the face of the earth".

His wife Li Wenzu doesn't even know whether he's alive or not.

Let's know more about the brutal '709' crackdown.


What is 709 crackdown?

What is 709 crackdown?

The '709' crackdown (referring to 9 Jul'15, the date it began) is seen as a "sign of growing intolerance of dissent" under President Jinping.

Hundreds have been detained over the past two years.

Two dozen cases, pursued as formal investigations, have reached some conclusion.

But Wang's case is unique. Apart from a brief written arrest notification, nothing of him has been heard at all.

He has disappeared into a black hole: Wang's family

Wang's wife, Li said: "For these two years, he hasn't been allowed to meet the lawyer that we have employed for him, and he has no right to communicate with the outside world. He has been deprived of all rights."

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Detained Lawyers

Beaten, shackled, and tortured

The detained lawyers have been allegedly tortured during detention and force-fed drugs.

Their supporters argue their admissions of guilt cannot be considered true as they are the consequence of the pressure put on them.

The continued incarceration of Wang, who is no stranger to pressure, could be because he is "holding out."

Li thinks Wang's case remains unsolved because he hasn't compromised at all.


Many other lawyers quietly working: Chinese legal system expert

Jerome Cohen, Professor at New York University School of Law and a Chinese legal system expert, said there are many human rights lawyers quietly working hopefully within Communist Party's allowed limits.

They too are feeling the pressure as they watch how the detained lawyers are being abused.

This deters a lot of them, which is the aim of the party.


Communist Party's aim: Keeping lawyers in line

President Jinping feels liberal ideas, such as constitutional rights enforceable in courts, are a danger to Communist Party rule.

It seems the party wants lawyers to help it keep "rule by law" and not keep the rulers in check through "rule of law".

Cohen said Communist Party needs lawyers for economic development but is trying to make them behave like "dentists", with extreme cruelty.

The War

Families, lawyers unite against China's "war on law"

Families, lawyers unite against China's "war on law"

The wives of the detained lawyers come together to publicly advocate for their husbands' release.

Despite facing intimidation and harassment they refused to remain silent.

Some of them, including Li Wenzu, recently addressed a US Congressional hearing on the same issue.

Other Chinese lawyers have come to their support and opposed to the detained lawyers' mistreatment; some of them ended up being detained.

Mounting concern about Wang Quanzhang's fate

Wang's loved ones fear the consequences if he isn't compromising. His friend and lawyer Ge Wenxiu posted a video on Twitter asking Wang if he's alive. He added, "We don't mind if you make a damn confession on Chinese TV and come home. Come home."

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