Four Chinese activists shave heads to protest 'persecution' of husbands
By Christian Shepherd BEIJING (Reuters) - The wives of four of China's most prominent rights lawyers and activists shaved their heads on Monday in protest over what they called the 'persecution' of their husbands by the government.
By Christian Shepherd
BEIJING (Reuters) - The wives of four of China's most prominent rights lawyers and activists shaved their heads on Monday in protest over what they called the "persecution" of their husbands by the government.
Since taking office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a crackdown on dissent, with hundreds of rights lawyers and activists being detained, arrested and jailed.
Four wives of lawyers detained during a July 2015 sweep known as the 709 crackdown gathered in the central park of a sleepy Beijing apartment complex and cut off their hair in front of neighbours and a small group of invited foreign journalists.
The women took turns shaving each other's heads, placing the hair in see-through plastic boxes alongside pictures of them with their husbands, before heading to China's Supreme People's Court to petition over their husbands' treatment.
Li Wenzu, who says she has been unable to visit her husband, rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, since he went missing in the 2015 crackdown, told reporters that the act was to protest against the way her husband's case was being handled.
Li said judges in Wang's trial had unlawfully delayed proceedings and prevented her from appointing a lawyer of her choosing.
Wang is being held in Tianjin on suspicion of subverting state power, but both Li and seven lawyers she has appointed to try and represent Wang have been unable to visit him, she said.
"We can go hairless, but you cannot be lawless," they announced at the end of the ceremony, a pun in Chinese, as the words for "hair" and "law" sound similar.
Requests for comment faxed to China's Supreme People's Court and the Tianjin Number 2 Intermediate People's Court, where Wang's case is set to be heard at an unknown date, went unanswered.
Li, Wang and other family members of rights lawyers and activists who have been detained or jailed have in recent years taken up their loved ones' causes and attempting to keep pressuring the government into allowing their release.
The authorities have responded using "soft" detention measures, such as house arrest, to keep family members from getting their message out, rights activists have said.
(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.