An anti-discrimination civic group said on Friday it was considering legal action over a police raid on the group’s offices that was apparently prompted by its advocacy for five women’s rights activists whose detentions have drawn international scrutiny.
Beijing Yirenping Centre head Lu Jun said he was still seeking more information about Tuesday’s pre-dawn raid on the group’s offices, during which officers carted off computers and financial documents.
The group believed the seizures were illegal and wanted to see whether it could file a lawsuit against the police, Lu said.
The centre is under police lockdown, its advocacy on hold and its staff scattered to avoid being picked up by police.
A security guard at the building confirmed the basic details of the raid, while a Beijing police spokesman said he had no information about the matter but would make inquiries.
Lu said he believed the raid was retaliation for the centre’s campaign for the release of the five women’s rights activists who were detained ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.
They had planned to mark the occasion by distributing anti-sexual-harassment materials to the public in three mainland cities.
Their detention has drawn strong criticism from the European Union and the US.
A ministry spokeswoman defended China’s legal system and demanded such critics “stop interfering in China’s judicial sovereignty in such a manner”.
Wei Tingting, Li Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan and Wu Rongrong have been held in a detention centre for almost three weeks, accused of creating a disturbance. If convicted, they could be jailed up to three years. Five others detained at the same time have since been released.
Lawyers for the women say they are being held under harsh conditions.
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