Two mainland lawyers who helped the families of 12 Hongkongers arrested by the Guangdong coast guard in August were told by the authorities on Monday that their licences will be revoked.
Lu Siwei, who is from Sichuan, and Henan-based Ren Quanniu, were among the lawyers hired by relatives of the group of detainees in Shenzhen.
The Department of Justice in Sichuan said Lu had repeatedly made inappropriate remarks on the internet, seriously damaged the image of the legal sector and had an adverse impact on society.
Authorities there said what he did had violated relevant laws governing lawyers.
They said Lu had three days to request a hearing to argue his case.
Similarly, Henan authorities wrote to Ren, saying he had violated regulations over a case he handled in 2018, when he represented a religious cult.
Ren, too, was given three days to seek a hearing to defend himself.
The families of the 12 Hongkongers condemned the "oppression by mainland authorities", saying the moves against the lawyers were clearly revenge for their involvement in the detainees' case.
The relatives said they were thankful for the lawyers' help in spite of the serious pressure they had faced.
"Even while they were faced with unreasonable obstruction by authorities in Shenzhen at every turn, these lawyers were steadfast in defending the fundamental rights [of the detainees]," the families said in a statement.
"The Chinese authorities are using the case of Lu and Ren as an example to threaten other human right lawyers, such that no one else would dare to participate in politically sensitive cases."
The families expressed concern that the lawyers would face further oppression, and called on the people of Hong Kong to show them support in order to "protect" them.
Ten of the detainees were last week sentenced to between seven months and three years in jail for allegedly crossing into mainland waters last August while apparently trying to flee to Taiwan. The other two detainees, who were minors, were sent back to Hong Kong.
All of them either faced protest-related charges in the SAR or had been arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law.
Lu and Ren and other lawyers hired by the families had been denied access to the defendants, who were believed to have been represented at their trial by lawyers appointed by the mainland authorities.
Last updated: 2021-01-04 HKT 16:29
Lawyers for HK detainees to lose their licences
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