Yet another crackdown has begun under Chinese President Xi Jinping. This time, the target is so-called “rights lawyers,” loosely defined as those who defend unpopular or dissident clients, or bring cases against the state that rest on claims of individual rights. In recent days, according to U.S.-based nonprofit Amnesty International and other overseas sources, over 100 Chinese rights lawyers have been detained, questioned, or reported missing. According to a July 12 report in Chinese state media, key to the recent crackdown are several lawyers and one administrative assistant from Beijing-based law firm Fengrui, who are suspected of involvement with a “criminal syndicate” that caused “trouble and disorder” on behalf of clients. What does it mean—and why is Beijing doing this now? —The Editors


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