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Statement of Congressman Smith on the Reported Detentions of Human Rights Lawyers in China

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Congressman Chris Smith
Statement of Congressman Smith on the Reported Detentions of Human Rights Lawyers in China
July 10, 2015

Washington, DC — As many as 20 human rights lawyers were reportedly detained today in a countrywide sweep by China’s security forces, including prominent rights defense attorneys such as Wang Yu, Li Heping, Wang Fan, Bao Zhuoxuan, and others. Congressman Chris Smith, Chair of the Global Human Rights Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China “condemned” the detentions saying they were part of an “increasingly muscular campaign to crush dissent [and] set an ugly tone for President Xi’s U.S. visit in September.”

Congressman Smith has met some of the lawyers detained and calls them “some of China’s brightest and bravest people…whose skills and energy should be embraced, not repressed.” Smith released the following:

“This looks like a coordinated, countrywide sweep of human rights lawyers and is another step in President Xi’s increasingly muscular campaign to crush dissent. I condemn the detentions in the strongest terms. The lawyers detained are some of China’s brightest and bravest people, people I admire, whose skills and energy should be embraced, instead of repressed. The detentions come only two weeks after the end of the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue and set an ugly tone for President Xi’s U.S. visit in September. We are facing a Chinese government that is more aggressive with its neighbors, more willing to plunder U.S. personal information in cyberspace, and quicker to suppress alternative voices within China than its predecessors. It’s past time for a new U.S. strategic approach to China. President Xi wants a ‘new type’ of U.S.-China relationship, but that won’t happen if the price is acquiescence to repression.”


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