Continued from page 1

“I worry about him all the time. What if the police are torturing him? But I don’t know what I can do,” she said.

Also missing are Teng Biao, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, and Tang Jitian, who was disbarred last year after he represented a member of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Ding Fangguan, an activist who writes under the pen name Gu Chuan, also is missing.

The three lawyers were taken away Feb. 19, three days after they attempted to meet with a group of other lawyers to discuss ways to help Chen Guangcheng, an activist being held under house arrest with his family despite having already served jail time.

The Chinese human rights group said 11 writers and activists in provinces ranging from southwestern Sichuan to coastal Jiangsu to northern Heilongjiang have been officially detained on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power,” or face the more serious charges of “subversion of state power” and “endangering state security.”

An official detention usually leads to prosecution in court.

The use of extralegal measures has unsettled other rights lawyers who wonder how far Beijing will stray from the rule of law that the government frequently says it promotes.

“The law gives us the biggest certainty. But what I am seeing now is that it’s harder and harder to protect its authority,” said Li Fangping, another prominent rights lawyer. “I am definitely concerned about my safety because of the three lawyers’ disappearance.”

Mr. Teng’s wife, Wang Ling, said this was the lengthiest time her husband has been in police custody.

Mrs. Wang said her 5-year-old daughter has asked after her father. “I tell her that he is just out of town for work … but I think she knows something because some days she tells me she worries that I will be caught and taken away.”