Chinese lawyer Li Yuhan, who assisted “709” lawyer Wang Yu, has been detained by the Public Security Bureau for an unknown crime, according to two NGOs – China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group and Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Wang Yu, whose arrest on July 9, 2015 marked the beginning of the so-called 709 crackdown on human rights activists, was released on bail in August. But Li, her lawyer, said in September that Wang and her family remained under tight surveillance by police.

Li Yuhan (left) and Wang Yu (right).

Li’s family disclosed on Wednesday that the 60-year-old lawyer has been held under criminal detention by the Heping branch of the Shenyang City Public Security Bureau. Li was last heard from on October 9, when her brother received a text message from her saying that she was being taken away by police officers.

Following her disappearance, her family called the Shenyang Letters and Visits Bureau for assistance, and was referred to a police officer in the criminal investigation division. The officer confirmed her detention and said that he has obtained Li’s legal authorisation letter for appointment of lawyer, disclosing no further information.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders said that after Li took on Wang’s case, her family members were warned by the authorities to “keep their distance” from Li or “face severe consequences.”

Li has experienced physical assault in the past over her involvement in human rights cases, and also suffers from heart disease.

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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.