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    July 08, 2020

    Reacting to the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN Security Council draft Resolution that would have renewed the provision of cross-border humanitarian aid to civilians in Syria, Sherine Tadros, Amnesty International’s Head of UN Office, said:

    “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring the crossing points, delivering vital aid, stay open. For millions of Syrians, it is the difference between having food to eat and starving. For hospitals, it is about having enough supplies to save lives. That’s why Russia and China’s abuse of the veto power is despicable and dangerous.”

    There have been months of negotiations between Security Council members over which crossing points into Syria should remain open for the delivery of humanitarian aid and other key services, including health and education. The UN cross-border delivery mechanism, set up in 2014 and renewed ever since, is due to expire in just three days, on 10 July. If that happens it will severely impact the ability to deliver aid to millions of Syrians in time.

    June 30, 2020

    Responding to today’s passing of a national security law for Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:

    “The passing of the national security law is a painful moment for the people of Hong Kong and represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history. From now on, China will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses.

    “The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully.

    “The fact that the Chinese authorities have now passed this law without the people of Hong Kong being able to see it tells you a lot about their intentions. Their aim is to govern Hong Kong through fear from this point forward.

    June 18, 2020
    No-one could have predicted the disruptive start to 2020 brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. As our world experiences its most profound societal changes for a generation, and life is put on hold for many, fighting for human rights must continue if we are to ensure a stable, just and secure future. Here we take a look at the human rights successes, against all odds, won in late 2019 and the first months of 2020…   December 2019

    A group of girls who had been forced to leave school when they became pregnant, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2016

    June 12, 2020

    Responding to Zoom’s compliance with a Chinese government request to end meetings related to the Tiananmen crackdown and suspend the accounts of a group of US-based activists hosting meetings, Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Analyst William Nee said:

    “The Chinese government goes to great lengths to ensure that no one in China commemorates or even mentions those killed on 3-4 June 1989. By complying with Beijing’s request to end meetings on the Tiananmen crackdown, Zoom risks contributing to this assault of freedom of expression.

    “Zoom has said it will take steps to ensure users ‘outside mainland China’ are not targeted by such interventions in the future, but in so doing it seemingly turns a blind eye to the repression of users on the mainland.

    “Tech firms such as Zoom must put principles before profit and defend internet freedom, rather than bowing to repressive governments’ demands to stifle it.

    “Zoom must respect human rights throughout all its business operations and not become a tool in China's powerful censorship system."

    Background

    May 27, 2020

    Gulshan Abbas © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 88 HERE

    Retired doctor Gulshan Abbas (古丽先.阿巴斯) has not been seen or heard from since she went missing in Urumqi on 10 September 2018. There are serious concerns for her wellbeing because she suffers from multiple chronic diseases that require consistent monitoring and regular treatment. While her family believes that she may have been sent to a “transformation-through-education” facility, they have never received any official information about Gulshan Abbas from the Chinese authorities. 

    Because some relatives of Gulshan Abbas told her family at the end of 2018 that she was “studying”, they thought that Gulshan Abbas might have been sent to a “transformation-through-education” facility. However, after more than 20 months, no official information about the whereabouts of Gulshan Abbas has been shared with her family. 

    May 22, 2020

    Responding to the Chinese government’s proposal to enact new national security legislation for Hong Kong, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and South East Asia, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:

    “China routinely abuses its own national security framework as a pretext to target human rights activists and stamp out all forms of dissent. This dangerous proposed law sends the clearest message yet that it is eager to do the same in Hong Kong, and as soon as possible.

    “The Hong Kong government has progressively embraced the mainland’s vague and all-encompassing definition of ‘national security’ to restrict freedom of association, expression and the right to peaceful assembly. This attempt to bulldoze through repressive security regulations poses a quasi-existential threat to the rule of law in Hong Kong and is an ominous moment for human rights in the city.

    May 13, 2020

    Ekpar Asat © Private

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 79/20 HERE

    Ekpar Asat, a Uyghur entrepreneur and philanthropist, was convicted in a secret trial on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination” and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He went missing in April 2016, after returning to Xinjiang from the USA. He had been attending the International Visitors Leadership Program organized by the US State Department. 

    May 07, 2020

    Chen Mei © Amnesty International

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 74/20 HERE

    Chen Mei and two other contributors to a crowd-sourced project known as Terminus2049 were taken away by police in Beijing on 19 April 2020. Their arrest is suspected to be related to their involvement in a project to retroactively archive censored articles relating to COVID-19. With no information about Chen Mei’s whereabouts or current condition, there are grave concerns that he is at serious risk of torture or other ill-treatment.  

    Chen Mei is one of three contributors to Terminus2049 who were arrested on 19 April. While the families of the two other individuals have received some basic information about their arrest, Chen’s family has yet to receive any details about his status. 

    Chen Mei appears to have been arrested simply for collecting and archiving public information about COVID-19. Freedom of information is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression as recognized in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    April 30, 2020

    Wang Quanzhang was the last lawyer awaiting a verdict in connection with the Chinese government’s mass crackdown in 2015, which targeted nearly 250 human rights lawyers and activists. “In the three years leading up to his sham of a trial, the authorities disappeared Wang Quanzhang into a black hole, where he was likely tortured”, said Doriane Lau, China Researcher at Amnesty International, in January 2019. “Wang’s family, who continue to be harassed by the authorities, didn’t even know if he was alive until recently. His continued imprisonment only prolongs their suffering.”

    At the end of January 2019, a Chinese court found human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang guilty of “subverting state power” and handed him a prison sentence of four and a half years. Amnesty International described the verdict as a gross injustice.

    April 20, 2020

    Tashpolat Tiyip (left) receives an honourary degree from the Sorbonne in 2008 © Nury Tiyip

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 119/19 HERE

    The whereabouts of prominent Uyghur academic Tashpolat Tiyip remain unknown and the risk of execution cannot be ruled out. His family received reports in September 2019 that he had received a suspended death sentence. While Chinese authorities have since indicated that he is being tried on corruption charges, his current condition remains unknown. Without any official information about the charges and proceedings against him, there are grave fears for Tashpolat Tiyip’s future.

    Tashpolat Tiyip was forcibly taken into custody in 2017, while on the way to a conference in Germany with a group of students. 

    March 18, 2020

    Responding to the effective expulsion of journalists working for three major US newspapers in China, the Head of Amnesty International’s China team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:

    “This shameful assault on freedom of expression targets journalists who have uncovered the reality of numerous human rights violations in China, from Xinjiang to Hong Kong. These publications have also been among those providing in-depth investigations into Wuhan’s COVID-19 outbreak.

    “This latest escalation of the tit-for-tat row between Beijing and Washington threatens to severely undercut the flow of accurate and independent information from China. At a time when the world needs to work together to combat the devastation wrought by the virus, the banishment of these journalists could potentially have grim public health consequences – globally and within China.

    March 03, 2020

    Gui Minhai via Twitter

    DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF UA 21/18 HERE

    Bookseller Gui Minhai was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for five years on the charge of “illegally providing intelligence to foreign entities” on 24 February 2020. Without access to his family, a lawyer of his choice and consular officials, there are grave concerns for his health and that Gui Minhai is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. 

    Gui Minhai appears to have been tried and convicted in secret, denying him any chance of a fair trial. Despite the claim that he handed over ‘intelligence’ while in their custody, it appears that his conviction is primarily based on his attempted trip to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats in 2018.

    Without any further information provided, the court notice also stated that Gui Minhai had reapplied for Chinese citizenship in 2018. This would mean he could not rely on his Swedish citizenship any longer. As Gui Minhai has been held in custody since 2015, the true intention of this decision cannot be verified. 

    February 20, 2020

    Spokespeople available for interview

    China is systematically harassing Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups even after they have left the country, according to new testimonies gathered by Amnesty International.

    The case studies, published online today, reveal how China targets members of the Uyghur and other diaspora communities across the globe through pressure from its embassies abroad, as well as through messaging apps and threatening phone calls.

    “These chilling accounts from Uyghurs living abroad illustrate how the far-reaching shadow of repression against Muslims from China extends far beyond its borders,” said Patrick Poon, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    “Even when Uyghurs and members of other minorities flee persecution in Xinjiang, they are not safe. The Chinese government will find ways to reach them, to intimidate them and, ultimately, attempt to bring them back to face a grim fate – including by pressuring other governments to return them.”

    February 17, 2020

    Responding to the arrest of prominent Chinese activist and legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, who has been targeted since attending a meeting of human rights lawyers and activists and who recently criticized President Xi Jinping over the coronavirus crisis, Amnesty International’s China Researcher Patrick Poon said:

    “The detention of Xu Zhiyong shows that the Chinese government’s battle against the coronavirus has in no way diverted it from its ongoing general campaign to crush all dissenting voices and its ruthless assault on freedom of expression.

    “Xu has been in the authorities’ sights ever since he attended a meeting of human rights activists in Xiamen in December, and he has since criticized President Xi’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

    “He now joins the several others who have been targeted for investigation by the authorities for attending the Xiamen meeting and who currently languish in detention under constant risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

    February 07, 2020

    Responding to the death of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who was reprimanded by Wuhan police after he tried to issue the first warnings about the novel coronavirus and was then diagnosed with the virus himself, Amnesty International’s Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin said:

    “The case of Li Wenliang is a tragic reminder of how the Chinese authorities’ preoccupation with maintaining ‘stability’ drives it to suppress vital information about matters of public interest.

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