China lawyer in court in 3rd of series of subversion trials

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese lawyer is in court in the third of a series of subversion trials demonstrating the ruling Communist Party’s determination to shut down independent human rights activists and government critics.

Zhou Shifeng’s trial got underway Thursday morning in the northern city of Tianjin. Zhou had been director of Beijing’s Fengrui Law Firm that took on numerous sensitive cases and represented people who dared challenge the party.

His trial follows those of two legal activists earlier this week, one of whom was sentenced to 7 ½ years and the other given a suspended sentence, both on charges of subversion.

As with the others, Zhou was detained in July of last year amid a sweeping roundup of activists and lawyers, most of whom were eventually released after questioning.

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