China's state media is slamming a group of detained lawyers as rabble-rousers while the authoritarian government wages an unprecedented crackdown on human rights attorneys by detaining dozens of them and accusing them of illegal activism.

The rights advocacy group Amnesty International now says that 25 human rights lawyers and civil activists have been detained or are missing in the crackdown that began last Thursday.

Dozens more have been warned not to speak up or act on behalf of those detained.

Rights groups and foreign governments are increasingly concerned about the developments.

The U.S. state department has condemned the detentions and urged that the lawyers be released.

Meanwhile, state media on Tuesday accused them of seeking fame for personal gain and trying to sabotage China's legal system with protests outside courts.