11 May 2017

China releases two human rights lawyers after almost two years

China has released two prominent human rights lawyers who had been detained for 22 months after allegedly confessing in court to collaborating with foreign organisations and media to damage Communist Party rule.

The two men were held at a time in 2015 when China held hundreds of human rights campaigners. Xie Yang and Li Heping were suddenly freed after their two-year ordeals with both making statements that they were sorry for their alledged subversion of state power.

Allegedly pleaded guilty

Mr Yang was releases a short time after he pleaded guilty in a ‘trial’ to inciting subversion of state power. Reading from a statement he denounced his past activism and warned other human rights lawyers not to engage in such activity. He also recanted previous allegations of torture which had gained international attention. It's not clear whether he had been sentenced. Similarly Mr Li who was released on Tuesday had alledgedly confessed during a secret trial to attacking and discrediting China's political and legal systems for which he received a suspended three-year sentence.