Chinese rights lawyer Ge Yongxi detained

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 have detained prominent human rights lawyer Ge Yongxi, his lawyer says.

Mr Ge was taken from his Guangzhou home overnight, with no explanation from the authorities, the lawyer told the BBC.

Some reports suggest Mr Ge’s detention may be linked to social media posts he made mocking China’s censorship of news about the leaked Panama Papers.

Those papers showed that relatives of several Chinese leaders had links to offshore firms.

It is understood that Mr Ge has been accused of “publicly humiliating others”, the BBC’s Shanghai correspondent Robin Brant reports.

The civil rights campaigner was last detained 10 months ago, then released after a public petition, our correspondent adds.

Image copyright
Chen Jinxue

Image caption

Human rights lawyers have gathered outside the police station, requesting a meeting with Mr Ge

His detention 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.

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