Over 700 postcards were sent to Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun on Tuesday, calling upon Beijing to release lawyers detained in a massive crackdown.

The campaign was led by four Hong Kong organisations including the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. The postcards were presented at Hong Kong Central Post Office by around two dozen human rights activists and politicians who had marched from the HSBC headquarters in Central chanting slogans and carrying protest banners.

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Activists rally in Central to call for release of detain Chinese lawyers. Photo: CHRLCG

At the event, barrister Tanya Chan of the Civic Party: “As legal professionals, rule of law is our faith. What is happening today in China could happen tomorrow in Hong Kong.”

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Lawyers Tanya Chan, Albert Ho and others call on China to release detained lawyers. Photo: CHRLCG

The postcards were collected by the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG), the Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union, the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China in earlier street campaigns.

The groups also sent a joint statement to Guo which was signed by 54 organisations condemning Chinese state media for publishing defamatory reports about the arrested lawyers before any trial was held.

Zhai Minglei / China Change
Getting rid of lawyers is the start of fascism by Zhai Minglei

A source at the CHRLCG, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of her work, told HKFP the group hopes to put pressure on Beijing to respect due legal process when dealing with the lawyers, many of whom were “abducted” by state security agents.

“We believe what we do here can make Beijing feel a certain amount of pressure, although the pressure is limited. We can see the government has slowly released the status of the lawyers, such as whether they are charged, instead of keeping everything quiet,” the source said.

CHRLCG has been keeping tabs on the legal professionals and human rights activists targeted in the nationwide roundup which began early July. The group said 12 lawyers and six others are still under police control while more than 270 people have been implicated so far.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.