Ding Jiaxi remains in custody following 1226 Crackdown arrest
Former human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi remains detained following an arrest by police in Shandong Province, China on 26 December 2019. Ding’s arrest is part of a large-scale crackdown targeting human rights lawyers and citizen activists, which has been labelled the 1226 Crackdown. Neither such anti-activism crackdown nor Ding Jiaxi’s arrest are a first.
Ding, a Beijing-based human rights lawyer, began his activism in 2010 by pushing for the rights of migrant workers’ children to take college entrance exams at the location of their current residence rather than needing to return to a place of origin.
Following his involvement in the New Citizens Movement, which advocated for greater government transparency, the rule of law and an end to corruption, Ding was disbarred and sentenced to three and a half years in prison in 2014 for ‘gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place’. After serving his full sentence in 2017, Ding was released. After his release, Ding was given a travel ban, which prevented him from reuniting with US-based family.
Although no formal charges have been brought against Ding, Shandong Police has indicated that Ding, along with Dai Zhenya and Zhang Zhongsun, two activists detained by the same police department, are charged with ‘endangering state security’ and ‘inciting subversion of state power’. The detainees have been placed under ‘residential surveillance at a designated location’ (RSDL), a measure associated with disappearance, detainment and torture of dissenters. They are denied access to a lawyer and their families.
Lawyers for Lawyers has grave concerns about the situation of lawyers and human rights activists in China and urges the Chinese authorities to ensure that all lawyers in China can carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions. Lawyers for Lawyers calls upon the Chinese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ding Jiaxi and his fellow detainees.
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