Family members and lawyers of detained lawyers and their colleagues gather after another attempt to seek answers at the Hexi District Detention Center in Tianjin on January 8, 2016. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR
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China has formally arrested on "subversion" charges at least seven human rights lawyers and colleagues held in secret for six months in a sweeping crackdown on legal activism, family and associates said Tuesday.More than 130 attorneys and legal staff were summoned or taken away in July for questioning in what campaigners called the fiercest attempt in decades to silence activists attempting to redress injustices in China's tightly controlled courts.Four other people are said to be accused of "incitement to state subversion," which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.State media – which in the past sometimes praised rights lawyers' efforts – have called the attorneys a "criminal gang" who created public disorder by organizing protests outside courthouses.
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