The murderous communist regime ruling China has been cracking down on opponents in recent weeks and months, disappearing dozens of the nation’s most prominent human-rights activists and lawyers. While the world is watching, the Chinese government continues to intensify its clamp down on critics with zealous brutality and vengeance in what experts say is one of the fiercest episodes of repression in years.

Among the most prominent to be abducted was Ai Weiwei, probably China’s best-known artist internationally. He had been embarrassing the regime for years, suffering brutal beatings at the hands of China’s communist overlords. But it was assumed that his fame would offer him some degree of protection. It didn’t.

On April 4, Chinese authorities picked him up at an airport as he was about to board a flight for Hong Kong. Then, he disappeared, with no official statement on his whereabouts or condition. His family wasn‘t even informed.

The regime claims Ai is guilty of “economic crimes,” but nearly everyone outside of China knows that’s not true. Now, he’s said to be “confessing” to the charges — almost certainly under torture.

One of Ai’s associates, freelance journalist Wen Tao, was abducted the same day. Nothing is known publicly about his fate so far. And Ai’s attorney, Liu Xiaoyuan, only re-appeared on April 19 after being detained by the regime last week. Liu told the U.K. Guardian that he did not want to give details about what had happened. Numerous other friends and associated of Ai have been detained, too.

And they’re not alone. Dozens — possibly hundreds — of high-profile critics, human-rights lawyers, and even bloggers have also been abducted by the communist “security” apparatus since February. Only a handful have been released so far, and all of those have refused to talk publicly about what they endured. At least some of the abductees have been sent to labor and “re-education” camps.

What will happen to the multitude of abducted critics remains unclear. But so far, despite the outcry and intensifying international pressure, the communist dictatorship has only been clamping down even harder.

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