UN office decries reports that Chinese police seized lawyer

The U.N. human rights office is calling on China's government to "halt the harassment" of lawyers and their relatives after police in southwestern Yunnan province reportedly took into custody a defense lawyer for another detained lawyer.

The office said Friday it was "deeply troubled" that Chen Jiangang was reportedly detained by police two days earlier with no official explanation, saying his whereabouts remain unclear.

Chen has defended Xie Yang, a lawyer who held since July 2015 and whose trial on charges including "inciting subversion of state power" did not begin as scheduled last week.

In March, Chen told The Associated Press that Xie "absolutely" had been tortured.

According to transcripts of January meetings with his lawyers, Xie said he had been punched, kicked, and subjected to abuse like sleep deprivation.