The son of human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang has been prevented from attending a private school following a request by local authorities. Chen previously assisted Xie Yang, a fellow rights lawyer who was arrested during the so-called 709 crackdown in 2015.

On his social media account, Chen wrote that he received a call from a private international school at which he was enrolled, saying that Beijing’s Tongzhou District Education Commission asked them not to accept him, RTHK reported. The school had earlier admitted his son, and Chen already paid a school fee of over 50,000 RMB (HK$58,000).

Chen Jiangang. Photo: China Change.

China launched a massive crackdown on human rights lawyers in 2015, with a campaign of mass arrests commencing on July 9. Last month, activists in Hong Kong held a silent march to mark the two-year anniversary of the incident, also known as the 709 crackdown.

Earlier this year, Chen was detained along with his family and friends during a trip to Jinghong, Yunnan. Over 100 Chinese lawyers subsequently signed a statement calling for his release.

The detention came after Chen released a detailed interview transcript in which his client, Xie Yang, accused police of using sleep deprivation, long interrogations, beatings, death threats, humiliations on him while in custody, risking his safety and career to do so.

After the transcript was posted online, the authorities replaced Chen and forbade him from meeting with Xie.

However, Xie’s account met with condemnation from Chinese state media, which said it was “fake news” fabricated to cater to western media.

On May 8, Xie Yang was tried at Changsha City Intermediate People’s Court for “inciting subversion of state power” and “disrupting court order” – charges often used by China to silence dissent.

Xie Yang (L) with Li Heping, another lawyer detained in the 709 crackdown. Photo: RFA.

Xie was released on bail, but according to Human Rights Watch citing a Voice of America report, he was “soon after taken away along with his parents to live in a remote village in Hunan province.”

Xie’s wife, Chen Guiqiu, fled the country with their two daughters earlier this year and now lives in Texas, Associated Press reported.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.