Attorneys for a blind rights activist facing trial in eastern China appear to have been detained by police, another lawyer said on Thursday, the day before the scheduled start of the trial.
Chen Guangcheng is due to face trial in Shandong province on Friday on charges of disrupting traffic and destroying property following a protest in his home village in February.
Chen, a blind, self-taught legal activist in his 30s, drew international attention last year after accusing local officials of enforcing late-term abortions in a population control drive. [Full text]
See also “China clamps down on ‘rights protection movement’” from ABC.net.au. For more background on Chen Guangcheng, see the Chinese Human Rights Defenders website. Also Letter to State Leaders on Behalf of Chen Guangcheng – Li Jinsong, one of the lawyers detained, by CDT
UPDATE (8/18/06): See also “Crackdown on Defense Lawyers in Intensified” from the New York Times, via CDT.