China uses foreign forces as excuse for crackdown

Zhou Shifeng sits for his trial at the Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court in northern China's Tianjin Municipality on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.

BEIJING — In halting televised confessions and emotional courtroom testimony, Chinese lawyers and activists held in a government crackdown have voiced the same ominous message: Shadowy foreign forces are funding, directing and encouraging activities bent on destabilizing China’s government and smearing its reputation. The familiar narrative of a country besieged …

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