Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi, lawyers of the “new citizens movement”, tried in China

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Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi are to be tried behind closed doors on Wednesday June 22 and Friday June 24 in eastern China. As often in this kind of political trial, the two human rights activists are accused of “subversion of state power”.

From our correspondent in Beijing, Stephane Lagarde

Xu Zhiyong did not see his lawyer for three months before his preliminary hearing, four months for Ding Jiaxi, which means that human rights associations fear the worst in these trials described as “unfair” in a court in Linshu County, eastern Shandong Province.

Xu Zhiyong, the enemy of the regime

It was on this same east coast of China that the “Xiamen rally” took place in December 2019. Dozens of lawyers and activists came to speak about the emancipation of civil society and the fight against corruption, themes dear to the “New Citizens Movement”. This informal movement, launched by Xu Zhiyong just a decade ago, has quickly become the regime’s enemy to be defeated.


Arrested again in February 2020 after criticizing the management of the Covid-19 crisis, supporting Hong Kong protesters and calling for the resignation of the Chinese president, the lawyer has long been held incommunicado.

tiger chair

According to the statement from the Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Group, Ding Jiaxi and Xi Zhiyong were deprived of sleep and food during their detention. They would also have suffered the ordeal of the “tiger chair”, a metal interrogation chair that immobilizes suspects for long hours until their legs swell. On the eve of these trials, foreign diplomats, including the French Embassy in China, called for the immediate release of the two lawyers.

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