January 10, 2022 10:21 AM STI

Beijing [China]Jan. 10 (ANI): China has indicted around 20 lawyers and activists who gathered in a rental villa near the Chinese seaside for discussing the besieged human rights movement.
Chris Buckley, writing in The New York Times, said that a meeting weekend in 2019 gave Beijing a chance to deal a blow to the “advocacy” movement. Today, two key participants face years in prison.
The two best-known participants – Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi – are awaiting trial on charges of subversion related to the rally, according to the indictments.
Meetings like this, once common among Chinese rights activists, have become increasingly risky under Xi Jinping’s hardline regime.
Under him, many newspapers, research organizations and groups that once supported independent activists in China have been disbanded, Buckley said.
As it prepares to extend its era in power, those who speak still wonder how the Chinese human rights movement can survive an increasingly stringent network of surveillance, house arrest, detentions and trials.

“It shows how terrified they are even of small buds of Chinese citizen consciousness and civil society,” said Liu Sifang, a teacher and amateur musician who attended the rally, in an interview in Los Angeles, where he lives now.
He fled abroad in late 2019 after police began arresting those who attended the villa meeting. Border police in China prevented his wife from joining him, he said.
Several people who attended the weekend session in Xiamen, east China, were quickly arrested, spending weeks or months locked up before release, The New York Times reported.
One participant, attorney Chang Weiping, was detained a second time and arrested on charges of subversion after he videoed that interrogators tortured him during his first stint in detention.
Xu, 48, and Ding, 54, both told lawyers that they had done nothing illegal, but face prison terms of 10 years or more if a party-controlled court. condemns, which seems almost inevitable.
While Western governments have focused on the massive detentions of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, the lawsuits against Xu and Ding highlight the Chinese Communist Party’s intense campaign against dissent across China, Buckley said.
Security officials have pledged to eliminate all political opposition before a party convention later in 2022, when Xi is set to secure another five-year term as supreme leader. (ANI)