In China today, there are human rights lawyers being held in prison cells, deprived of food, water and sleep and repeatedly tortured and taunted by those who hold them.
The charge against them is subversion. They are treated as enemies of the state.
They have dared to take on the government and defend those who have had their rights abused.
For this, they are accused of sabotaging the country’s legal order. For this, they have found themselves suddenly thrust into the back of an unmarked police car and held for months, or in some cases years, without trial.
This week we spoke to the parents of Jiang Tianyong. They have been warned not to speak to journalists - especially foreign journalists - but they were willing to take the risk because they believe that it will only be pressure from the international community that ultimately helps their son.
His mother Wei Ziyuan said: “I am so worried. We’ve been told they are torturing lawyers. Sometimes, they are not even allowed to drink water."
They told us their son’s only crime was to try to help others.
Their concerns have been heightened since the release of documents exposing the torture being endured by a lawyer held in the same place as their son.
Lawyer Chen Jiangang decided to risk his career and his safety to reveal the abuse suffered by his former colleague Xie Yang.
“They have choked him, slapped him, punched him and made him sit up straight for 22 hours a day," he said.
"Every day for the past six months, the police have taken turns to torture him.”
Chen said it was the most devastating anti-lawyer action since the Cultural Revolution.
Human rights lawyers are being painted by the state media as con artists, sexual predators and foul-mouthed hooligans.
In the years leading up to the crackdown, the number of lawyers willing to take on politically sensitive cases had started to grow. But not now.
Human rights lawyers are the enemies of the government.
On the outskirts of Beijing, in a rented apartment, the families of lawyers Li Heping and Wang Quachang are now living together.
Since the men were arrested in July 2015, their wives have been campaigning for their release and that has come at a cost.
Li Wenzu’s seven-year-old daughter Jianmai was not allowed to take up her place at school, and Wang Qiaoling’s four-year-old son Guang Wei has been denied access to nursery.
In the eighteen months since their fathers have been illegally detained they’ve come to develop their own understanding of what’s going on.
Wang Xiaoling said: "My son asked me, are they monsters? I said yes, they are. He said I will grow up quickly to beat the monsters and rescue daddy. I said, good boy."
The wives themselves have been subjected to harassment, and now live together because they’ve been forced to move apartments so many times. Each time, the police tell their landlords they are anti-government, and they get thrown out.
The European Union has called on China to investigate the reports of torture, and in the US Senate this week Senator Marco Rubio raised the cases of Jiang Tianyong and Xie Yang.
International pressure is mounting on the Chinese government to defend its so-called ‘War on Law’, and explain why in 2017 being a lawyer can make you an enemy of the state.