June 28, 2022

Trial Looms After Seaside Gathering of Chinese Activists

Trial Looms After Seaside Gathering of Chinese Activists

Trial Looms After Seaside Gathering of Chinese Activists

By Chris Buckley
January 8, 2022

Twenty or so lawyers and activists quietly arrived at a gaudy “Nice Home Party” rental villa near the Chinese seaside. They ate takeout food, sang along to a karaoke machine and played table soccer. But they also had a serious purpose: discussing China’s besieged human rights movement.

Two years after that weekend gathering in December 2019, the two best-known attendees — Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi — are awaiting trial on subversion charges related to the gathering, according to indictments. Police and prosecutors have seized on the weekend meeting to deliver a hammer blow to China’s beleaguered “rights defense” movement of lawyers and activists seeking democratic change.

Get-togethers like this, once common among Chinese rights campaigners, have become increasingly risky under Xi Jinping’s hard-line rule. Under him, many journals, research organizations and groups that once sustained independent-minded activists in China have been dissolved.

As he prepares to extend his era in power, those who still speak out are wondering how China’s human rights movement can survive a tightening ring of monitoring, house arrest, detentions and trials.

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New York Times

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