South China Morning Post: ‘709’ crackdown: Chinese human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng released after 7 years in prison for subversion

The SCMP reports

  • Zhou was the first rights lawyer to face trial from the nationwide crackdown in 2015 which saw over 300 lawyers and activists detained
  • Observers note that his release coincides with the jailing of his law school classmate Fu Zhenghua, a senior police chief at the time of the purge

Zhou Shifeng, the first Chinese rights lawyer to face trial during the nationwide crackdown on advocates and activists in 2015, has been released from prison after serving a seven-year sentence for subversion.

“Thank you very much for caring about my situation. I believe this shows the care for the rule of law and human rights law in China,” Zhou told the South China Morning Post by phone on Monday after his release on the weekend.

His tone was buoyant but the 57-year-old said now was not a good time for him to speak up about his situation.

Wang Quanzhang, a friend of Zhou and also once a prominent human rights lawyer, also talked to Zhou on the phone.

“Zhou reckons that the ‘709 crackdown’ is a major historical, political and legal event. Lawyers and human rights defenders involved in this event are important contributors in the history of the rule of law and human rights protection in China,” Wang said.

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