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    January 15, 2019

    Responding to a death sentence given by a Chinese court to Canadian citizen Robert Schellenberg for drug smuggling, William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, commented: 

    “The death sentence given to Robert Schellenberg does not deliver justice. We urge the Chinese authorities to revoke this sentence. Drug-related offences do not meet international standards for the use of capital punishment.

    "China's death penalty system is shrouded in secrecy, which contributes to why many will be questioning the timing of this decision. We have seen before that in highly politicized cases the trial is often a mere spectacle with the outcome already decided.

    “The sudden re-trial and apparent rush to judgment has highlighted the numerous flaws in China’s judicial system. We hope that Robert Schellenberg and his defence counsel are given adequate time to prepare and respond to the prosecution’s new evidence when the case is finally brought up for appeal."

    Background 

    January 09, 2019

    DROP PROJECT DRAGONFLY

    Google publicly exited the search engine market in China in 2010, citing restrictions to freedom of expression online. Since then, the Chinese government has strengthened its controls over the internet and intensified its crackdown on freedom of expression. 

    Indicating a reversal in strategy, Google is now preparing to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, and is developing a new, search engine app codenamed “Dragonfly” that would facilitate China’s online censorship and surveillance. This would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights, and a dark day for internet freedom as it would legitimize China’s model of internet repression for other governments and set a precedent for tech companies compromising human rights in exchange for access to new markets.

    It has been reported in the media that Google is now planning to drop its Dragonfly project. While this is amazing news, it isn't confirmed yet, so we intend to keep the pressure on until it it official.

    December 26, 2018

    The trial of Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang is a cruel charade and he should be immediately and unconditionally released, Amnesty International said.

    Wang is one of the few lawyers still held in detention after the Chinese government’s mass crackdown in 2015, which targeted nearly 250 lawyers and activists. He is on trial at the Tianjin Municipal No.2 Intermediate People’s Court accused of “subverting state power,” which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

    “This is a sham trial in which Wang Quanzhang is being persecuted only for peacefully defending human rights,” said Doriane Lau, China researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Wang Quanzhang has already been unjustly held for more than three years, during which his family suffered the anguish of not knowing whether he was alive until recently. He must be immediately and unconditionally released.”

    Wang was taken away by police on 3 August 2015. It was only in July 2018 that his family learnt from a trusted lawyer that Wang Quanzhang was alive and being held in Tianjin.

    December 17, 2018

     “Going ahead with Project Dragonfly would represent a massive capitulation on human rights by one of the world’s most powerful companies” – Kumi Naidoo

    Responding to media reports that Google is planning to shut down Project Dragonfly, its controversial censored search app for China, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Media reports that Google is shelving Dragonfly follow intense criticism of the project from human rights groups and Google’s own staff. 

    “We would welcome a decision by Google to drop Dragonfly and abandon its plans to cooperate in large-scale censorship and surveillance by the Chinese government.

    “Going ahead with Project Dragonfly would represent a massive capitulation on human rights by one of the world’s most powerful companies.

    “It’s worrying that these reports suggest that Project Dragonfly has been shelved due to discrepancies over internal process, rather than over human rights concerns.

    November 27, 2018

    Want a job at Google?
    (To apply you’ll need good coding skills… and absolutely no morals).


    watch video

    In 2010, the largest search engine in the world made a promise not to support China’s censorship of the internet. But it was recently revealed that Google is preparing to break its promise.

    Google has been working on a secretive program to re-launch its search engine in China code-named Google Dragonfly - even if it means cooperating with the Chinese government’s repressive online censorship and surveillance.

    November 16, 2018
    Trial of nine Umbrella Movement leaders due to start on Monday

    The Hong Kong government must drop the politically motivated prosecution of nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests, as it amounts to an attack on free speech and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said ahead of the start of their trial on Monday.

    Among the nine activists facing trial at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts are the co-founders of the “Occupy Central” campaign – legal scholar Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, sociologist Professor Chan Kin-man and retired pastor Reverend Chu Yiu-ming – who each face a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment if convicted. Six other defendants in the case include student leaders, lawmakers and political party leaders.

    November 02, 2018

    China’s human rights record to come under scrutiny by UN Human Rights Council

    The Chinese government must tell the truth over the mass internment of up to one million predominately Muslim people in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) when the country’s human rights record comes under review at the UN Human Rights Council next Tuesday, Amnesty International said.

    In the face of mounting evidence that a campaign of mass internment, arbitrary punishment and torture has taken place since early 2017, the Chinese government finally acknowledged the camps’ existence last month, but claimed they are “vocational training centres.”

    October 16, 2018

    Responding to comments by the governor of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) northwest China, who described the camps in which up to a million predominantly Muslim people are currently detained as “free vocational training” centres, Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “The governor’s remarks fly in the face of all available evidence and are an insult to both those suffering in the camps and the families of those missing. No amount of spin can hide the fact that the Chinese authorities are undertaking a campaign of systematic repression in the XUAR with up to one million people arbitrarily detained.

    “The mass internment camps are primarily places of punishment and torture, not learning. There are consistent reports of beatings, food deprivation and solitary confinement. This is having a devastating toll on the lives of up to one million people. It’s time the authorities come clean on what is really happening in the XUAR.”

    Background

    September 24, 2018
    An estimated up to one million predominantly Muslim people are held in internment camps in Xinjiang in northwest China Families tell Amnesty of their desperation for news on missing loved ones

    China must end its campaign of systematic repression and shed light on the fate of up to one million predominantly Muslim people arbitrarily detained in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The past year has seen an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against the region’s Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups. Most of the detainees’ families have been kept in the dark about their loved ones’ fate and are often too frightened to speak out.

    August 30, 2018

    In response to the release of concluding observations on China by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Amnesty International’s Deputy East Asia Director Lisa Tassi said:

    “The Committee’s findings highlight the systematic oppression of ethnic minorities in China, including the mass arbitrary detention of Chinese Uighurs and others in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

    “The Chinese government must now heed the call to tackle serious human rights violations. Rather than dismissing the Committee’s recommendations, it must immediately set out next steps to address them.

    “The international community has a responsibility to hold China to account for its repression of ethnic minorities and cultures, specifically in in the XUAR and Tibet Autonomous Region.”

    Background

    The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s concluding observations were issued on Thursday following the review of China on 10 and 13 August.

    The Committee highlighted serious human rights violations against ethnic minorities in China including:

    August 28, 2018

    Google’s reported plans to launch a censored search engine app in China would represent an alarming capitulation on human rights, and could have devastating consequences in a country where people are routinely persecuted for expressing their views, Amnesty International and other human rights groups said today.

    In an open letter to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, published on Tuesday, Amnesty International and 13 other human rights groups are calling on Google to answer basic questions about an app, known internally as “Project Dragonfly”, which would block certain websites and search terms to fit with Chinese state censorship rules. Details of the app were published by The Intercept on 1 August, but Google has so far failed to respond publicly.

    August 03, 2018

    In response to prominent Chinese activist Sun Wenguang, 84, being taken away by police as he gave a live TV interview at his home, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “It's shocking and outrageous to see Sun Wenguang taken away in this way. If he is being detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, he must be immediately and unconditionally released. 

    "This disgraceful police action against a prominent intellectual is a vivid example of the Chinese authorities’ ruthless clampdown on freedom of expression. It is disturbing that police can harass dissidents anytime and anywhere they like in this way.”

    Background

    Professor Sun Wenguang was in the middle of an interview with US broadcaster Voice of America when police broke into his home in Ji’nan and forced him off air on Wednesday. The 84-year-old has been openly critical of the Chinese government in the past. He was last heard to say "I have my freedom of speech”, before being stopped from speaking further.

     

     

    August 01, 2018
    DOWNLOAD LATEST ON UA 259/15 HERE

    Dong Guangping was sentenced on 13 July 2018 to 42 months in prison, almost one year after his trial in July 2017. No notification about the trial or sentencing has been communicated with his family and lawyer. Held incommunicado since being forcibly returned from Thailand in 2015, he remains at grave risk of torture.

    Dong Guangping was convicted of “inciting subversion” and “crossing the national border illegally” on 26 July 2017.  According to state media, Dong Guangping’s conviction of “inciting subversion” was based on his attendance at two gatherings in Thailand that the Chinese government considered to be aimed at “subverting state power” and “overthrowing the socialist system”. Undisclosed sources have told his family that Dong Guangping pleaded not guilty at his trial and has filed an appeal. 

    August 01, 2018

    Responding to a report in The Intercept that Google is allegedly developing a search engine app that complies with strict Chinese censorship rules in order to re-enter the search market in the country, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, commented:

    “It will be a dark day for internet freedom if Google has acquiesced to China’s extreme censorship rules to gain market access. It is impossible to see how such a move is compatible with Google’s ‘Do the right thing’ motto, and we are calling on the company to change course.

    “For the world’s biggest search engine to adopt such extreme measures would be a gross attack on freedom of information and internet freedom. In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory.

    July 31, 2018

    In response to the detention of 30 individuals who were peacefully protesting in support of factory workers’ attempt to form their own trade union at Jasic Technology in Shenzhen, southern China, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International commented:

    “The detention of the workers and their supporters is deplorable. The workers’ demand to form a union of their choice to protect their rights is entirely legitimate. Instead of trying to silence the protesters, the authorities should address the underlying allegations of abusive working conditions and respect the workers’ right to freedom of association. 

    “The charges against many of those detained by police are nothing more than an attempt to restrict their rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. All those involved in the protest should be released immediately and unconditionally unless there is evidence that internationally recognized crimes were committed.”

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