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    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

    March 21, 2018
    New Amnesty campaign launches as Apple chief executive Tim Cook co-chairs business forum in Beijing Millions of Chinese iCloud users face huge new privacy risks after data transfer to joint venture Campaign’s Orwellian theme a nod to Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ TV advert

    Amnesty International is launching a new social media campaign targeting Apple over its betrayal of millions of Chinese iCloud users by recklessly making their personal data vulnerable to the arbitrary scrutiny of the Chinese government.

    In a nod to Apple’s iconic ‘1984’ advert, the campaign takes an Orwellian theme with the line “All Apple users are equal but some are less equal than others”. It launches as the tech company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, touches down in Beijing to co-chair a prestigious business forum.

    “Tim Cook is not being upfront with Apple’s Chinese users when insisting that their private data will always be secure. Apple’s pursuit of profits has left Chinese iCloud users facing huge new privacy risks,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    March 20, 2018

    Responding to the news that China’s legislature today passed the Supervision Law, Amnesty International’s East Asia Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin said:

    “The Supervision Law is a systemic threat to human rights in China. It places tens of millions of people at the mercy of a secretive and virtually unaccountable system that is above the law. It by-passes judicial institutions by establishing a parallel system solely run by the Chinese Communist Party with no outside checks and balances.

    “The law eviscerates China’s legal system. It allows for arbitrary and prolonged incommunicado detention without any meaningful oversight and increases the risks of torture and forced ‘confessions’.

    “Under the new system, supervision bodies can detain and interrogate Communist Party members or public sector personnel - virtually anyone working directly or indirectly for the government. Judges, academics and personnel of state-owned enterprises could all face up to six months detention without charge or legal process, and without guaranteed access to lawyers or their families being told.”

    Background

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 06, 2018

    Responding to the Chinese authorities’ admission on Tuesday that Gui Minhai, a bookseller with Swedish nationality, is again being detained and faces criminal charges, William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International commented:

    “This is a brazen and outrageous move by the Chinese authorities. They have yet to provide adequate explanation as to why they took Gui Minhai away while he was traveling with Swedish diplomats. Gui Minhai must be released. He and his family have suffered enough, their nightmare should be over not recurring.

    “It is ludicrous for the Chinese government to lecture others about respect, when they have shown utter contempt for fair trials and other human rights.

    “It is crucial that while Gui Minhai remains in detention he receives adequate health care as necessary or requested, is granted consular access, and can meet lawyers of his own choosing. The Chinese government cannot simply sidestep international law because they arbitrarily deem a case to be ‘serious’.”

    Background

    February 01, 2018
    DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

    This is Tashi Wangchuk. He is from Tibet, a region of China.

    Before the government put him in detention in January 2016, he was a shopkeeper. Now he is a prisoner of conscience (POC).

    POCs are people in jail whose beliefs and actions have not been violent. Amnesty International believes that all POCs should be free. 

    Here is why Tashi is a POC.

    Tashi has a niece and a nephew. Although they are Tibetans, they cannot use their own language. In 2015, he looked for classes where they could learn Tibetan.

    He visited five schools in three provinces. He was sad to find that the Chinese government does not value Tibetan and that teachers in all the schools are using Chinese.

    Language is one of the most important ways to keep a culture alive. So Tashi decided to go to Beijing, China’s capital city, to campaign for students’ opportunity to learn Tibetan in schools. 

    The New York Times newspaper made a video about his efforts. It is called “A Tibetan’s Journey for Justice”. 

    January 04, 2018

    The trial today of a Tibetan language education activist, who could face up to 15 years in jail for “inciting separatism”, has exposed how ludicrously unjust the case against him is, Amnesty International said.

    December 26, 2017
    Reacting to the news that human rights activist Wu Gan received his verdict and was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment on 26 December in Tianjin, while human rights lawyer Xie Yang had his trial reconvened and was found guilty but exempt from punishment in Changsha on the same day, Amnesty International’s China Researcher Patrick Poon said:   “It is disgraceful that the Chinese authorities have chosen the day after Christmas to deal with two of the remaining people left in legal limbo from the unprecedented July 2015 crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. Carrying out unfair trials and politicized sentencing of human rights defenders at the very time when diplomats, journalists, international observers and the general public are less likely to be able to respond reeks of a cynical political calculation”.   “By trying to avoid scrutiny from the press and the international community, the Chinese government betrays the fact it knows well these sham trials cannot withstand scrutiny”.  
    November 30, 2017

    The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China today released an Open Letter calling Prime Minister Trudeau to place human rights at the top of his agenda during his visit to China this week, including by rigorously pursuing human rights protections in discussions related to trade and by firmly calling for the release of prisoners of conscience – including 16 individuals with close Canadian connections - unjustly imprisoned in the country.

    November 27, 2017
    Interested in the rights of women in China? Take action in support of Ni Yulan during the Write for Rights letter-writing marathon.

    By Lü Pin, Chinese Feminist Activist

    The tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men spurred millions of women to speak up online about their disturbing experiences.

    Ten years after African American activist Tarana Burke coined #MeToo after meeting a victim of sexual violence, the social media campaign is an unexpected victory for the women’s movement. Due to the bravery of these women the offenders may finally be held to account.

    November 08, 2017

    The passing of Chinese writer and government critic Yang Tongyan underlines an alarming lack of accountability for the pattern of deaths of activists released on medical parole, Amnesty International said.

    Yang Tongyan, 56, passed away on Tuesday, according to his close friends. The prominent activist spent nearly half his life in detention and was released in August on medical parole. He underwent an operation to remove a brain tumour on 23 August.

    “Yang Tongyan was a peaceful champion of human rights and democracy, who made a huge personal sacrifice to stay true to his principles. The authorities feared the power of his writing and did all they could to silence him. He should never have spent a single day in jail let alone nearly half his life,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    October 04, 2017

    Poet Wu Mingliang, better known by his pen name “Langzi”, and Peng Heping were released on 22 September after being criminally detained since August. It is believed Wu Mingliang’s detention was was related to poems that he had helped produce that commemorated Liu Xiaobo.

    Wu Mingliang was released on bail on 22 September 2017 after having been criminally detained at Haizhu District Detention Centre in Guangzhou on suspicion of “illegal business operations” since 18 August 2017. 

    Wu Mingliang’s lawyer and friends believe that he was detained due to his involvement in producing an anthology of poems in memory of Liu Xiaobo, who had passed away on 13 July 2017. Wu Mingliang was administratively detained for 10 days on 1 July 2017 after co-signing a letter of support of the detained Liu Xiaobo. During that time he was repeatedly asked by the police about an anthology of poems he took part in writing, editing and compiling to commemorate Liu Xiaobo, the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

    August 30, 2017
    Nathan VanderKlippe

    By Nathan VanderKlippe

    Amnesty note: On August 23 Nathan VanderKlippe called Amnesty in Toronto to contact a member of the Uighur Society in Canada. A few minutes later he was arrested.

    Late in the evening of Aug. 23, I drove a rented car to Elishku township in Yarkand County. Within 15 minutes of arrival, police began to arrive. Local villagers, I believe, had reported my presence. I was escorted to a local government office, where I was questioned by the local party secretary, police chief, officials from the propaganda department and local waiban, as well as agents from the Ministry of State Security. When police demanded to look through my photographs, I called my contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who after a lengthy phone call said the local officials would only heed his intervention if he sent a formal document. As it was midnight by this time, this was not a feasible option. My MFA contact, however, said the local officials had agreed to only look at and not delete photographs. I showed them my pictures. They did not delete any, largely because there were none to delete.

    August 11, 2017

    Almost 70,000 people from across the world have urged China’s President to lift all restrictions and end the harassment against poet and artist Liu Xia, one month after the death of her husband, Nobel Peace laureate, Liu Xiaobo.

    Liu Xia has not been heard of since her husband’s hastily arranged funeral ceremony and sea burial on 15 July. Prisoner of Conscience, Liu Xiaobo, passed away in custody two days earlier.

    In an open letter to President Xi Jinping, nearly 70,000 people call on the Chinese authorities to lift all arbitrary restrictions against Liu Xia, and ensure she can travel freely.

    “Liu Xia is being cruelly punished for never giving up on her wrongfully imprisoned late husband,” said Lisa Tassi, East Asia Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International.

    “Liu Xia’s immeasurable loss is being callously compounded by the Chinese authorities’ vindictive and illegal attempt to silence her. Our message to President Xi is clear: end the harassment and free Liu Xia now.”

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