China lawyer abducted, tortured - rights group

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BEIJING, Oct 2 (Reuters) A Chinese lawyer who represented as online dissident, an imprisoned environmentalist and the leader of a Christian sect was abducted and badly beaten by men he believes worked for Beijing's police, a rights group said.

Li Heping was abducted late on Saturday afternoon from the parking lot of his office building by around a dozen men who were not in uniform, the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in a statement late on Monday.

It said they placed a hood over his head, bundled him into a car with no license plates, and drove him to a basement in a unknown location where he was stripped to his underwear and beaten with electric rods for hours.

The men taunted him and laughed at him, while telling him to leave Beijing. The group said that several days before the assault, Beijing police had verbally ordered Li and his family to leave Beijing. Li had refused.

Beijing has been cracking down on dissidents ahead of a highly sensitive Communist Party meeting that starts on Oct. 15.

The government is keen to ensure stability ahead of the five-yearly, closed-door meeting at which important leadership and policy decisions are expected.

Eventually around midnight the men put the hood back on Li and drove him to a wooded hill in the city's suburbs.

When he got home, he found his laptop had been reprogrammed and his lawyer's identification card and other personal belongings were missing, the statement added.

Reuters SZ DB0957

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