709 crackdown

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The 709 Crackdown (Chinese: 中国709维权律师大抓捕事件; pinyin: Zhōngguó 709 wéiquán lǜshī dàzhuābǔ shìjiàn or 709案 "709 Case" for short) was a nationwide crackdown on Chinese lawyers and human rights activists instigated during the summer of 2015. It is known as the "709 crackdown" as it started on 9 July 2015.[1]

Wang Yaqiu of Human Rights Watch commented that "the 709 crackdown dealt a terrible blow to China’s rights-defense movement, which significantly contracted as rights lawyers were jailed, disbarred or placed under surveillance".[2]

List of people targetted by the 709 crackdown[edit]

More than 200 people were detained as part of the 2015 crackdown.[3] Some of the notable people affected by the crackdown are listed below.

  • Li Heping, lawyer given a suspended sentence in April 2017, and released in May 2017
  • Wang Quanzhang, arrested in August 2015, stood trial from December 2018 to January 2019, sentenced to 4.5 years imprisonment for subversion of state power,[4] and released from prison on 4 April 2020. Moved by authorities to his former residence in Jinan for two-week COVID-19 isolation period; his wife believes the government used the epidemic as an excuse to keep him under house arrest.[5]
  • Wang Yu, lawyer charged with inciting subversion of state power, but released on bail in 2016
  • Wu Gan, human rights activist known as the "Super Vulgar Butcher", who was sentenced to eight years in December 2017
  • Xiang Li, activist forbidden from leaving China during the crackdown, but who was smuggled out of China to Thailand in January 2018

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sudworth, John (22 May 2017). "Wang Quanzhang: The lawyer who simply vanished". BBC News. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  2. ^ Green, David (26 December 2018). "Chinese rights lawyer fires his own state-appointed lawyer in a dramatic court appearance". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  3. ^ "China's 'Super Vulgar Butcher' activist Wu Gan gets eight years". BBC News. 26 December 2017. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  4. ^ Chin, Josh (28 January 2019). "China Civil-Rights Lawyer Sentenced to 4½ Years in Prison for Subversion". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Wang Quanzhang: China releases jailed human rights lawyer". BBC News. 5 April 2020. Archived from the original on 7 April 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.