Concerns grow for health of rights lawyer, dissident detained in Xiamen crackdown

IAPL write

Ding Jiaxi and Xu Zhiyong have spent two years in detention amid reports that they have been tortured.

Two years after a Chinese human rights lawyer was detained on suspicion of “subversion” for taking part in a gathering in the southwestern Chinese city of Xiamen, his wife says she has growing concerns for his safety, with no trial date yet made public.

Ding Jiaxi is currently being held under incommunicado criminal detention in the Linshi Detention Center in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong following his initial detention in the wake of a December 2019 gathering of dissidents and rights activists in Xiamen.

He has been denied permission to meet with either family members or a lawyer, with detainees accused of subversion and held under “residential surveillance at a designated location” (RSDL) and criminal detention.

Ding’s wife Luo Shengchun told RFA that her husband is in poor health after two years in poor conditions.

“The food is still a steamed bun and a bowl of soup … there is still no hot water or infection control, and hygiene is very poor,” Luo said. “Ding has arthritis, diarrhea and swollen legs.”

“You can file a complaint and make freedom of information requests, but they just ignore all of it,” she said.

Ding’s detention came after he attended a dinner with prominent activists in Xiamen, including the founder of the New Citizens’ Movement, Xu Zhiyong, in early December 2019.

He and several others who had attended that dinner were arrested on Dec. 26, including Zhang Zhongshun, Dai Zhenya and Li Shuai.

“They have designated the New Citizens’ Movement … an ‘illegal organization’, and linked the charges against Xu Zhiyong and Ding to a rights website run by an overseas-based NGO,” Luo said.

She said the evidence being used against the detainees includes participating in a Telegram group chat, articles and online posts, and organizing classes in non-violent resistance.