China arrests woman rights lawyer on subversion charges

Chinese authorities formally arrest most prominent woman human rights lawyer as part of crackdown on activists, accusing her of subverting state power

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Yu who was arrested on subversion charges, gestures in this file photo dated April 18, 2015

Chinese authorities have formally arrested the country’s most prominent woman human rights lawyer over “subversion” charges, her attorney said on Wednesday.

Wang Yu is the best-known human rights lawyer who was targeted as part of a crackdown on activists, who have helped people fight for their legal rights.

"Wang Yu has provided her legal services to people on the lowest rungs of society. I never thought that she would be charged with subversion of state power," Yu’s lawyer Li Yuhan said.

Li said she had not met Wang since her client's detention and police had denied her requests to meet Wang seven times, saying her case "endangered state security."

Last year, China's state media accused Yu of "blabbering about the rule of law and human rights." After the report, she told a Reuter’s reporter that she thought she would eventually be arrested.

China has formally arrested at least five Chinese human rights lawyers on suspicion of "inciting subversion of state power," after being held in secret for six-months, a fellow lawyer said on Tuesday.

Last July, hundreds of lawyers were detained in an unprecedented nationwide sweep by Chinese police.

In China, subversion of state power carries a possible life sentence, which is a charge usually faced by critics of one-party rule.

Yu’s lawyer has also defended other rights activists, including Cao Shunli, an activist who died in jail after being denied medical treatment.

TRTWorld, Reuters