CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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China charges a Swede with incitement to state subversion

Beijing (Agencies): Peter Dahlin, the co-founder of the China Urgent Action Working Group, a non-government organisation which provides assistance to uncertified lawyers who provide legal aid in rural areas, as well as directly aiding disadvantaged groups and individuals who have experienced rights violations, was arrested on his way to Beijing International Airport on January 3 and held at an unknown location, UCAN reported on January 13.

Dahlin was on his way to Thailand when he was detained and his Chinese girlfriend has also disappeared without a trace. 

On January 12, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry posted on its Twitter account that a 35-year-old Swedish national had been detained and that they were looking into the matter and seeking to visit him.

The BBC reported on January 13 that Dahlin is believed to be the first foreign national detained in connection with the drive.

A spokesperson for the China Urgent Action Working Group said that the Dahlin was arrested on charges of endangering state security. “Peter was arbitrarily arrested on the basis of false accusations,” he said.

Dahlin reportedly suffers from Addison’s disease, a chronic illness that requires daily care. It is not clear if the police are allowing the necessary treatment.

The arrest was announced the day after formal charges were laid against seven lawyers who had disappeared during the summer of 2015 when a nationwide crackdown on rights lawyers began. 

The BBC reported on January 12 that Zhou Shifeng, the founder of the Beijing law firm, Fengrui; along with lawyers, Wang Quanzhang, Xie Yanyi, Xie Yang and Sui Muqing; a legal assistant, Zhao Wei; and an intern, Li Shuyun; were charged with incitement to state subversion.

Two days later, it was reported that two others, Wang Yu, together with her husband, Bao Longjun, were similarly charged.

They face a sentence of up to 100 years imprisonment.

 

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