China

China briefly detains rights lawyer Ge Yongxi over Panama Papers post

Ge Yongxi holding a sign that reads: "Fight for human rights. Don't be a slave." Image copyright Chen Jinxue
Image caption Ge Yongxi holding a sign that reads: "Fight for human rights. Don't be a slave."

Police in China briefly detained prominent human rights lawyer Ge Yongxi over posts he made on social media about the leaked Panama Papers.

Mr Ge was taken from his Guangzhou home overnight but released late on Friday.

He had posted a picture of the Panama Canal, with photoshopped images of President Xi Jinping and two former Chinese leaders in the picture.

The Panama Papers showed that relatives of several Chinese leaders had links to offshore firms.

Mr Ge, a high-profile civil rights campaigner, was last detained 10 months ago, then released after a public petition, the BBC's Shanghai correspondent Robin Brant reports.

He was detained this time for "insulting other people".

Written promise

Mr Ge said police had asked him where he got the picture from and made him write a letter of assurance promising not to post the picture again.

He told the BBC he had been released at 21:40 (13:40 GMT), after 22 hours in detention.

Dozens of human rights lawyers had gathered outside the public security bureau on Friday to show their support for Mr Ge.

Image copyright Chen Jinxue
Image caption Human rights lawyers had gathered outside the police station where Mr Ge was being held

The incident comes just a day after the US criticised Beijing for what it called a "severe crackdown" on lawyers linked to human rights campaigners.

Last July, the Chinese authorities launched what appeared to be an orchestrated campaign, when more than 280 human rights lawyers and activists - along with their associates - were summoned or detained or just disappeared.

While many have since been released, others were formally arrested or charged with subversion.

Related Topics

More on this story