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    April 28, 2016

    The Chinese government must scrap a new law aimed at further smothering civil society, Amnesty International said today.

    China’s National People’s Congress adopted on 28 April a fundamentally flawed law governing Foreign NGOs and their domestic partners. The new law will have severe consequences for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, which are already sharply curtailed under existing laws and policies.

    “The authorities – particularly the police – will have virtually unchecked powers to target NGOs, restrict their activities, and ultimately stifle civil society,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International. 

    “The law presents a very real threat to the legitimate work of independent NGOs and should be immediately revoked.”

    The law is the latest in a raft of legislation aimed at bolstering government power under the guise of national security and at the cost of human rights. A sweeping National Security Law, passed in July 2015, defines “national security” in such broad and vague terms that the authorities are essentially given carte blanche.

    March 30, 2016

    March 2016 marks the 10th year that Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil has spent in a Chinese prison.

    As Prime Minister Trudeau prepares for a trip to China later this year, he must raise Huseyin Celil’s case with the Chinese authorities and call for his release.

    Huuseyin Celil, an ethnic Uighur, was imprisoned and abused while in prison in China in the 1990’s. He fled the country with his wife and they were resettled to Canada as refugees.  He became a Canadian citizen in 2005.  Huseyin Celil was detained by the Uzbek authorities and deported to China in 2006 while on a family visit to Uzbekistan.

    Amnesty International believes Huseyin Celil is imprisoned because of his advocacy on behalf of the rights of the Uighur minority group in China. He was originally sentenced to death, which was commuted to life in prison in 2007.  This sentence was further reduced, to less than 20 years in February 2016.  A reduction in his prison term is not enough.  Huseyin Celil has never had a fair trial and must be released from prison.  

    March 25, 2016

    The Chinese authorities must call off their manhunt against those it believes are behind the publication of a letter calling on President Xi Jinping to resign, Amnesty International said, after it was revealed close family members of a prominent dissident are the latest to have been detained.

    Chinese blogger and government critic, Wen Yunchao, 45, who currently lives in New York, said on Friday that his mother, Qiu Qiaohua, 65, father, Wen Shaogan, 72, and younger brother Wen Yun’ao, 41, were taken away by police in Guangdong province, southern China on 22 March.

    Police are believed to have detained at least 20 people in connection to publication of an open letter criticizing President Xi. This includes 16 people who work for Wu Jie News, the website which published the letter earlier this month, who the BBC reported on Friday have been detained.

    “The authorities should call off the political hounding of those suspected to be behind the open letter and release all those detained in connection with it,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    March 06, 2016

    Chinese women’s rights activist Su Changlan has been in prison since October 27, 2014. She was held incommunicado for months. In February 2017, the court extended the deadline for issuing its verdict for the fourth time. Meanwhile, Su Changlan continues to be held in deplorable, cramped conditions while her health deteriorates. At times she has been denied access to her family and lawyer.  Her brother and husband were arrested and detained for a month simply for advocating on her behalf. She has conducted weekly hunger strikes since November 2016 and plans to do so until a verdict is issued in her case.  

    So what is Su Changlan’s ‘crime’? “Inciting subversion” for making online posts in support of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. It is believed that the charges against her are partly due to her activism on women’s rights issues. She is now paying a terrible price for her peaceful work and faces life imprisonment.

    February 05, 2016

    The Chinese authorities are showing total contempt for due process and the rule of law in the case of five detained Hong Kong booksellers, Amnesty International said, after police in Guangdong in southern China confirmed that three of the men missing since last October are in their custody and being investigated.

    Guangdong police confirmed late on Thursday that Lui Por, Cheung Chi-ping and Lam Wing-kee are suspected of “illegal activity”. The Hong Kong publishing company that the men work for, Mighty Current Media, is known for its books on Chinese leaders and political scandals, which are banned in China but are popular with mainland Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong.  

    “The latest official disclosures about the last three missing book publishers are anything but satisfactory. The Chinese authorities need to end their smoke and mirrors strategy and come clean with a full and proper explanation,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    January 29, 2016

    Three Chinese human rights campaigners who were handed jail sentences on Friday for publishing books on democracy and activism are the latest victims of politically motivated “national security” charges used to silence government critics, Amnesty International said.

    Tang Jingling, 44, Yuan Xinting, 44, and Wang Qingying, 31, were convicted by Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate People’s Court for “inciting subversion of state power”, and were sentenced to five years, three-and-a-half years and two-and-a-half years in jail respectively.

    “Today’s verdict against the three activists is a gross injustice. Their peaceful and legitimate work never threatened state security, this is solely about the authorities arbitrarily silencing government critics,” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities appear to be stepping up the use of spurious “national security” charges as they escalate their attack against human rights activists and peaceful critics of the government’s abuse of power.”

    January 14, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT Friday 15 January 2016 

    -        Top scholars call on Chinese government to respect academic freedom, in an open letter to President Xi Jinping on second anniversary of Uighur academic’s seizure

    Four hundred academics from across the world have called on China’s President Xi Jinping to immediately release Uighur Professor Ilham Tohti, on the second anniversary of the day he was taken into custody by authorities.

    In an open letter to President Xi, scholars from globally recognized academic institutions - including Harvard University, The University of Hong Kong, and the University of Oxford, among many others - write that the immediate and unconditional release of Professor Ilham Tohti would be “an important way of demonstrating China’s commitment to academic freedom”.

    December 22, 2015

    The three year suspended prison sentence handed down against human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang is a deliberate attempt by the Chinese authorities to shackle a champion of freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    On Tuesday, a court in Beijing sentenced Pu Zhiqiang to three years in prison, suspended for three years, for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and “inciting ethnic hatred”. The conviction was primarily based on seven social media posts, in total approximately 600 characters, in which Pu criticized government officials and polices.

    “Clearly it is positive that Pu Zhiqiang is unlikely to spend another night in jail, yet that cannot hide the gross injustice against him. He is no criminal and this guilty verdict effectively shackles one of China’s bravest champions of human rights from practicing law,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    December 15, 2015

    Tech firms must reject the Chinese authorities’ efforts to influence global internet governance in ways that would curb freedom of expression and exacerbate human rights abuses, Amnesty International said ahead of China hosting a major internet summit.

    President Xi Jinping is expected to address senior executives of global tech firms attending the three-day World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, eastern China, which starts on Wednesday.

    The Chinese government runs one of the world’s most repressive internet censorship regimes. The authorities continue to use vaguely-worded laws to arbitrarily target individuals for solely exercising their right to freedom of expression online. Since President Xi Jinping came to power, hundreds of people have been detained solely for expressing their views online.

    “Under the guise of sovereignty and security, the Chinese authorities are trying to rewrite the rules of the internet so censorship and surveillance become the norm everywhere. This is an all-out assault on internet freedoms,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    December 11, 2015
    Delayed trial of renowned human rights lawyer due to start on Monday Amnesty International’s human rights experts on China available for interview

    The Chinese authorities must end their persecution of prominent human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, Amnesty International said, ahead of his trial which is set to begin on Monday in Beijing.

    According to his lawyers, Pu Zhiqiang faces up to eight years in prison on the charges of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and “inciting ethnic hatred”, primarily on the basis of seven social media posts, in total around 600 characters, in which he criticized the government.

    “The chances of Pu Zhiqiang receiving a fair trial are close to zero. He is being punished solely for standing up to the Chinese government in his courageous defence of human rights,” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    November 27, 2015

    The six-year prison sentence against leading Chinese human rights campaigner Guo Feixiong for his peaceful advocacy of human rights and political reforms is a clear-cut act of political persecution, said Amnesty International today, as it called for his and two other activists immediate and unconditional release.

    Guo Feixiong, 48, the better-known pen-name of writer and human rights advocate Yang Maodong, was convicted of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, by a court in Guangzhou, southern China.

    Fellow activists, Liu Yuandong, 37, and Sun Desheng, 32, were sentenced to 3 years and 2 and a half years in prison respectively after being found guilty of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place”.

    “It’s a dark day when people advocating for press freedom and democracy are subjected to torture and other ill-treatment and sentenced to lengthy prison terms after sham trials,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    November 11, 2015

    Released  22:01 GMT Thursday 11 November 2015

     China’s criminal justice system is still heavily reliant on forced confessions obtained through torture and ill-treatment, with lawyers who persist in raising claims of abuse often threatened, harassed, or even detained and tortured themselves, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    The report, No End in Sight, documents how criminal justice reforms hailed as human rights advances by the Chinese government have in reality done little to change the deep-rooted practice of torturing suspects to extract forced confessions. Attempts by defence lawyers to raise or investigate torture claims continue to be systematically thwarted by police, prosecutors and the courts.

    “In a system where even lawyers can end up being tortured by the police, what hope can ordinary defendants have?” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    October 29, 2015

    Chinese women will remain at risk of intrusive forms of contraception and coerced or forced abortions, despite the authorities announcing a change to the country’s decades-long one-child policy, Amnesty International said today.

    State media reported today that all urban married couples will now be allowed to have two children instead of one.

    “The move to change China’s one-child policy is not enough. Couples that have two children could still be subjected to coercive and intrusive forms of contraception, and even forced abortions – which amount to torture,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The state has no business regulating how many children people have. If China is serious about respecting human rights, the government should immediately end such invasive and punitive controls over people’s decisions to plan families and have children.”

    October 19, 2015

    The Hong Kong authorities must uphold international standards of fair trials in the two cases involving Ken Tsang Kin Chiu, a protester who was beaten and kicked by seven police officers during the pro-democracy protests last year, said Amnesty International today.

    The seven policemen were suspended shortly after the incident and formally charged last Thursday, 15 October, exactly a year after the incident. That same day, Ken Tsang was formally arrested and charged as well, for allegedly having assaulted police officers and resisted arrest in an incident that took place about 10 minutes before the beating took place, in what the Hong Kong Department of Justice said was a “different” case.

    “The government is trying to draw attention away from this important case of police accountability through what many see as the politically-motivated timing of Ken Tsang’s simultaneous arrest and prosecution” said Mabel Au, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

    September 27, 2015

    Released: 16:01 GMT Sunday 27 September, 2015

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release eight mainland activists detained for supporting last year’s pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Amnesty International said on the first anniversary of people taking to the streets in the city.

    Five of the activists, Su Changlan, Chen Qitang, Wang Mo, Xie Wenfei and Zhang Shengyu, have since been formally arrested on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”. A sixth person, Sun Feng, has been indicted with the same crime. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

    Two others, Ji Sizun and Ye Xiaozheng, could face up to five years in prison on the charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Ji Sizun faces an additional charge of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place”, which also carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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