(From AP)

In halting televised confessions and emotional courtroom testimony, Chinese lawyers and activists held in a government crackdown have voiced the same ominous message: Shadowy foreign forces are funding, directing and encouraging activities bent on destabilizing China’s government and smearing its reputation.

Chinese lawyer Zhou Shifeng was sentenced to seven years in prison for subversion July 4

The familiar narrative of a country besieged by foreign enemies – with the United States implied as ringleader – is a key element of China’s yearlong campaign to stamp out the country’s burgeoning legal activism movement. That effort drew new attention this week with the carefully scripted trials of a lawyer and three activists on subversion charges.

Though the tactic is far from new, political observers say the trials are a reminder of how the administration of President Xi Jinping has wielded the specter of foreign threats with far greater frequency and force, a reflection of the leadership’s deeply seated belief that China is locked in a pitched, strategic and ideological battle against the West. Read More

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