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A Human Rights Lawyer's "Confession" Is Being Used As A Warning

The hashtag #AlertAgainstColorRevolution began trending on Weibo after Wang Yu's televised confession with the help of official Communist Party accounts.

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Wang Yu, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer, was detained over a year ago in an unprecedented crackdown on the country's legal community. On Monday, Wang gave a televised confession that is suspected by many to be scripted.

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People close to Wang have been unable to contact her, but Hong Kong's Oriental Daily somehow managed to speak to Wang, who is reportedly free on bail, on the lawn of a restaurant in Tianjing.

Wang told Oriental Daily she and her colleagues were trained by foreign organizations to interfere rights cases and to "mess up" China. And she said her son, who was stopped by Chinese authority at Beijing International Airport en route to attend high school in Australia, was taken hostage by these unnamed foreign organizations to attack the Chinese government. The son has been under house arrest since the arrest of both his parents. Wang's husband was also a human rights lawyer.

She also used the same language the Chinese government has recently begun using to reject a European human rights award, saying she "won't acknowledge, won't recognize, and won't accept" the award.

Wang has been held without trial since July last year.

Forced TV confessions have become fashionable for Chinese authorities looking to silent dissidents. Other recent confessors include a Hong Kong bookseller who sold political satires and a Swedish human rights worker. Both have spoken out on what really happened after they left China.

Meanwhile, a video has started to circulate on Weibo in which Wang Yu's case has been used to warn against so-called "color revolutions" in China. The official accounts of People's Daily and the Party's Youth League have posted it, receiving thousands of comments.

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It might seem to be odd that a human rights lawyer could be tied to the pro-democracy protest movements that swept the former Soviet Union in the early 2000s. But the Chinese government has long considered such revolutions as a tool of US foreign policy and been highly wary of the same thing occurring within their own borders. Since the beginning of this year, the country has tightened up ideological control with The Journal of Red Flag, a Communist Party academic journal, writing that "the most primary place the U.S. wants a color revolution is China."

The video argues that past color revolutions in other countries such as Ukraine have brought nothing but misery to the people of those countries. They also claim that the revolutions were almost always triggered by single "extreme" human rights cases, which lawyers like Wang stand for.

And the comments are overwhelmingly agreeing with the video's sentiments.

Weibo

A user self-identified as a former army soldier commented that "any scheme to overthrow China's regime and Party's leadership will be spotted and destroyed by the bright eyes of the great people who are more and more rational and alert, under the shining light of the motherland that gets stronger and stronger." Their comment got almost 800 likes.

It is common for Chinese social media to censor comments, or to "harmonize" the society.

On contrary, people on Twitter, including famed artist Ai Weiwei, are acting in support of the lawyer. He recorded a mocking confession, saying repeatedly "I won't acknowledge, won't recognize, won't accept it."

不承认,不认可,不接受。https://t.co/2YI58UXbgV @liu_xiaoyuan

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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