Hundreds were targeted in what state media described as ‘a legitimate law enforcement action’ – but activists fear detainees could face torture
Date: 21 July 2015
By: Tom Phillips in Beijing
Nearly two weeks after Beijing launched one of its most comprehensive crackdowns on civil society in decades, at least six people remain missing – believed to have disappeared into the custody of China’s security services.
At least 238 people have been detained or questioned since the clampdown began, according to the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Lawyer Concern Group, which is keeping a tally of the operation’s targets.
The missing – who include a trainee lawyer, a legal assistant and the leader of an underground Christian church – have not been seen since 10 July, after authorities began a major round-up of Chinese human rights lawyers and their associates.
“We just really don’t know [what has happened to them],” said Maya Wang, the China researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Most of the six are likely to have been spirited away into some form of detention where they face the risk of ill-treatment and torture, Wang added while others may have gone into hiding to escape such a fate.