China detains human rights lawyer who mocked censorship of news about Panama Papers

A newspaper shows a front page photo of Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping (centre) attending a tree planting ceremony, at a news stand in Beijing on April 6, 2016.
A newspaper shows a front page photo of Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping (centre) attending a tree planting ceremony, at a news stand in Beijing on April 6, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - The Chinese police have detained prominent human rights lawyer Ge Yongxi, his lawyer was quoted by the BBC as saying.

Mr Ge was taken from his Guangzhou home overnight, the unnamed lawyer said.

Some reports suggested that Mr Ge's detention may be linked to social media posts he made mocking China's censorship of news about the leaked Panama Papers, the BBC has said.

At least eight current and former top Chinese leaders have been linked by through their relatives to offshore firms, making China possibly the state with the most number of ruling elite named in the documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm.

Mr Ge has been accused of "publicly humiliating others", according to the BBC's Shanghai Correspondent Robin Brant.