China / Society

China apprehends suspected paid protest organizers

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-12 15:52

BEIJING - Chinese police have published details on a series of so-called "rights protection" incidents, in which the detainees are suspected of illegally organizing paid protests, hyping public sentiment and fabricating rumors on the Internet to sway court decisions.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Security published on Saturday, the suspects consists of lawyers as the core organizers and social media celebrities and petitioners, who are in charge of planning and implementation.

The statement accused the group, led by Fengrui Law Firm, of disrupting public order and seeking profits by illegally hiring protesters and swaying court decisions in the name of "defending justice and public interests."

Since July 2012, the group has organized more than 40 controversial incidents and severely disrupted public order, it added.

In one high-profile case, a lawful police shooting at a railway station in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province was flaunted as a murder conspiracy, it said.

First, it was the lawyers' job to hype up an incident, according to Zhai Yanmin, a major organizer of the group.

One instance came after police officer Li Lebin shot dead Xu Chunhe on May 2 at Qing'an County Railway Station. Xu attacked Li several times and was shot after multiple warnings. Lawyers spread rumors that "Li opened fire at Xu under the order of an official because Xu was a petitioner." They also raised placards at Qing'an Railway Station and kept pressuring local officials.

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