Article: The New York Times – The Lonely Crusade of China’s Human Rights Lawyers

Thankyou NYT for publishing this wonderful if rather sad overview.

Any lawyer worth their salt thinking they can do business in China should be putting articles like this at the top of their summer reading list.

Liang Xiaojun had just finished breakfast when he received the first instant message: His friends were disappearing from their homes and offices. By itself, this news was unremarkable. As a human rights lawyer in China, Liang had come to accept that periodic spasms of repression were an unavoidable risk of his profession. He also had grown intimately familiar with the rituals of pressure and coercion by which China kept its dissidents in line — the meetings over tea with government minders, the frequent check-ins from the judicial bureau, the police harassment. But on the morning of July 10, 2015, Liang knew that something far graver was underway.

A disturbing event from the previous day, he now realized, had been merely a prelude. That morning, he awoke to startling news from a promi­nent rights lawyer named Wang Yu. After dropping her husband and son off at the airport for a red-eye flight, Wang returned to her apartment to find that the power and internet had been cut. In the early-morning hours, she sent out a frantic group message, describing how several men were trying to break in. Wang then dropped out of contact. That day, Liang and his colleagues in the human rights community circulated a petition, calling on the government to release her swiftly and without harm. But, he told me, ‘‘we didn’t think a lot about it. These things happen. We worried about her, but not about ourselves.’’

Read on ……