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Chinese Rights Lawyer Arrested in Laos After Fleeing China

A Chinese rights lawyer who had his license revoked for taking on sensitive cases has been arrested in Laos, sparking concerns among activists and family members that he may be sent back to China where he could face imprisonment.

Lu Siwei was apprehended by Laotian police while boarding a train to Thailand. He was en route to Bangkok to catch a flight to the United States to reunite with his wife and daughter.

Lu’s wife, Zhang Chunxiao, expressed deep anxiety for his safety, stating that he would undoubtedly be imprisoned if he is deported back to China.

Lu had a history of defending individuals involved in sensitive cases, often navigating the risky landscape of advocating for political targets. During the “709 crackdown” in 2015, he defended several activists and rights lawyers who were arrested.

In 2021, Lu’s legal license was revoked after representing a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist attempting to flee to Taiwan. Following this incident, he was prohibited from leaving China and had an exit ban imposed on him.

Lu has been separated from his wife and daughter for over a year, as they resettled in the United States last year.

Bob Fu, founder of the Texas-based religious rights group ChinaAid, received a request for assistance from Lu’s family to help him escape China two weeks ago. Fu verified Lu’s claims by sharing pictures of Lu’s passport.

Lu was under surveillance but was not being investigated or charged with a crime. His arrest in Laos demonstrates Beijing’s effort to pursue critics beyond its borders, instilling fear in Chinese dissidents.

Fu has reached out to the U.S. embassy in Laos to advocate for Lu’s release.

Dissidents fleeing from China have reported instances of harassment in Southeast Asia, highlighting the challenges they face in seeking refuge.

Source: AP News

Unique Perspective: The plight of human rights lawyers, like Lu Siwei, serves as a reminder of the risks faced by individuals who challenge the Chinese government’s authority and defend those who are deemed politically inconvenient. Their courage is commendable, as they navigate a hostile environment where legal rights and freedoms are often undermined. The international community must continue to shed light on these injustices and support those fighting for justice, even if it means risking their own safety.

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