China - April 2023
Prominent human rights lawyers handed lengthy jail terms
Two of China's most prominent human rights lawyers, Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, were sentenced to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively, on 10 April, convicted of subversion of state power following closed-door trials. The move follows as Xu and Ding had taken part in a peaceful meeting of activists in Xiamen in December 2019, pushing for democratic rights. Prior to their sentencing, Xu and Ding were arbitrarily detained and subject to torture. The two activists were prominent members of the New Citizens' Movement, a loose network of civil rights activists promoting government transparency and exposing corruption. Rights experts note that the sentences highlight the increasingly repressive situation for human rights defenders in China under President Xi Jinping's administration.