Aug. 21 (UPI) — A Chinese human rights lawyer who was arrested in 2015 in a nationwide crackdown has had his license confiscated after a career of defending political dissidents.
Xie Yang, one of more than 200 people who were detained in 2015, has had his license revoked by the Justice Department of Hunan Province, the South China Morning Post reported.
The notice of the decision, posted last week, claimed Xie was being penalized for “disrupting court order,” according to the report.
On Thursday, the human rights lawyer said he would try to overturn the order.
“The reasons [the department] cited happened in 2015, and this was already beyond the legal period,” he said. “They could not punish me with these charges.”
Xie pleaded guilty to subversion in December 2017, and authorities agreed to exempt him from additional penalties after delivering a three-year prison sentence. Xie was released after being forced to retract a statement claiming he was tortured in Chinese detention.
China has stepped up crackdowns that target human rights lawyers and activists who are critical of the government.
In July, Luo Shengchun, wife of human rights lawyer Ding Jiaxi, said Ding was being tortured in Chinese detention.
“He’s being deprived of sleep, and they have to sleep with the lights on, so he has 24-hour exposure to [fluorescent lighting] but no access to daylight,” Luo said, according to Radio Free Asia.
Xie had said Ding and others were being treated as political prisoners and do not have the rights protection available to other suspects in China’s criminal justice system, the report said.
China’s 709 crackdown is named after the date it began — July 9, 2015. It involved the arrest of hundreds of defense lawyers and human rights advocates.
Last month, the U.S. State Department urged Beijing to honor its international human rights obligations on the fifth anniversary of the incident.