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    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.”

    Background

    July 11, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada, PEN Canada and the Toronto Association for Democracy in China welcome news of Liu Xia’s release from China and commemorate the work of Liu Xiaobo on the first anniversary of his death on July 13, 2017.

    Liu Xia, a poet and artist, has suffered from depression since being placed under house arrest in 2010, after her late husband Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. During that time, she has been surveilled relentlessly, and effectively detained since the death of Liu Xiaobo on July 13, 2017.

    “This is what international pressure can do for human rights,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Thanks to tens of thousands of people who spoke up as part of the ‘Free Liu Xia’ campaign, she has at long last been freed and is now safely in Germany.”

    Liu Xiaobo was a writer, literary critic, human rights activist, and co-author of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform in China. He was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment. 

    July 10, 2018

    Responding to reports that artist Liu Xia, widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, has left China and is traveling to Germany, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, commented:

    “It is wonderful news that Liu Xia is finally free and that her persecution and illegal detention at the hands of the Chinese authorities has come to an end, nearly one year since Liu Xiaobo’s untimely and undignified death.

    “Liu Xia never gave up on her wrongfully imprisoned late husband, and for this she was cruelly punished. The Chinese authorities tried to silence her, but she stood tall for human rights. However, after eight years under illegal house arrest her health is a cause for genuine concern.

    “Now, the harassment of Liu Xia’s family who remain in China must end too. It would be most callous of the Chinese authorities to use Liu Xia’s relatives to put pressure on Liu Xia to prevent her from speaking out in the future.”

    Background

    May 29, 2018

    JOINT RELEASE OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CANADA   PEN CANADA   TORONTO ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRACY IN CHINA

    Amnesty International Canada, PEN Canada and the Toronto Association for Democracy in China jointly announced today the kickoff of the Liu Xiaobo Memorial project to erect a bronze sculpture of an empty chair to commemorate his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

    Liu Xiaobo was a writer, literary critic, human rights activist, and co-author of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform in China. He was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment. 

    Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. At the award ceremony in Oslo, the award was presented to an empty chair. In 2017, Liu became the second Nobel Peace Laureate to die in state custody.

    May 22, 2018

    The five-year prison sentence against Tibetan language education activist Tashi Wangchuk for “inciting separatism” highlights the Chinese authorities’ unyielding assault on Tibetans who peacefully defend their cultural rights, Amnesty International said.

    Tashi was sentenced on Tuesday morning at Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, northwest China. According to his lawyer, the main evidence presented against Tashi at his trial in January 2018 was a short video documentary produced by The New York Times in 2015, which documented Tashi’s campaign for Tibetan language education in schools.

    May 16, 2018

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL & PEN AMERICA JOINT PRESS RELEASE

    Troubling Reports of Liu Xia’s Worsening Health Condition Stir Immediate Action from Artists and Activists

    NEW YORK—Dozens of celebrated writers, poets, and artists have called for the lifting of all restrictions on Chinese poet and artist Liu Xia, held under illegal house arrest without charge since October 2010.

    This show of literary solidarity comes following revelations about Liu Xia’s declining health, which she revealed in April during a harrowing phone conversation with friend and exiled writer Liao Yiwu.

    Rita Dove, Paul Auster, JM Coetzee, Khaled Hosseini, Hu Ping, and Michael Chabon are among the group of writers who have read excerpts of Liu Xia’s poetry as part of a video campaign advocating for her freedom.

    Khaled Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner, said: [I support this campaign for Liu Xia] as artists who are free to speak must do so on behalf of other artists whose voices are being stifled.”

    April 26, 2018

    A video in which detained Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng says he would never dismiss his own chosen lawyers was released by his family on Thursday. Filmed prior to his detention, the video contradicts police claims that Yu Wensheng willingly dismissed his lawyers. Responding to the developments, Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “The video strongly suggests that Yu Wensheng has been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention to force him to dismiss the lawyers hired by his family. The notion that Yu Wensheng, a human rights lawyer who has been tortured in detention before, would voluntarily dismiss his lawyers beggars belief.

    “The government should immediately grant Yu Wensheng access to lawyers of his or his family’s choosing. Yu Wensheng’s right to receive a fair trial is seriously undermined by the fact that he has been detained for more than three months without access to a lawyer of his choice.”

    Background

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