Almost no one in China has heard of Zhuang Lu, which is hardly surprising. Plainly dressed and introverted, the 27-year-old office assistant completed her mundane daily tasks – booking tickets, paying bills – with minimum fuss. Then, three weeks ago, she disappeared.
Family and colleagues believe she is being held in a detention house in Beijing. Like her boss Xu Zhiyong, a prominent human rights lawyer who has fought a string of high-profile cases, she was taken from her home at dawn on 29 July by security officials. But unlike Xu’s detention, which has made headlines internationally, her disappearance has gone unnoticed outside her immediate circle.
“Information about her has always been out. But because the main focus has been on Xu, not many people have noticed her case,” said their colleague Yang Huawei.