This article was first published in Amnesty International site [caption id="attachment_3729" align="alignleft" width="250"] Lawyers Xie Yang, being held on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” (weibo.com)[/caption] The Chinese authorities have ratcheted up their crackdown against human rights lawyers and activists, using draconian state security charges to detain at least three people, Amnesty International said today. Lawyers Xie Yang, Sui Muqing, and activist Gou Hongguo are being held on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”, which could carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years. “The use of state security charges is chilling, and only underlines the ferocity of the attack against rights lawyers,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International. “The scale and severity of this crackdown is unprecedented. The authorities appear intent on destroying the growing network of human rights lawyers and activists, and on spreading fear among those willing to stand up for human rights.” The move by the authorities raises fears that many of the 31 lawyers and activists still detained or missing since the crackdown began last Thursday are likely to face similar state security charges. Nearly 200 individuals have been questioned or detained by police in the nationwide crackdown over the past week. The whereabouts of Xie Yang, Sui Muqing, and Gou Hongguo remain unknown, after authorities announced they had been placed under “residential surveillance”. Under a controversial practice, the police could hold the men in unknown locations for up to six months without access to their lawyers and family members. All three men are at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Sui Muqing’s wife refused to follow a police demand to write a letter to her husband telling him to admit to his “crimes”.