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    June 18, 2014

    The secret trial of a prominent Uighur scholar on charges of “separatism” makes a mockery of China’s claims to be a country based on the rule of law, Amnesty International said.

    Prominent Uighur scholar, Ilham Tohti, who was arrested in January 2013, has reportedly been secretly tried by a court of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps – a semi-military organization - according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). If convicted he faces anything from 10 years to life in prison, or even the death penalty.

    “If these reports about a ‘secret trial’ prove to be true, this will truly be another dent in China’s facade of being a country based on the rule of law. Tohti has been held incommunicado for the past six months with no access to lawyers in clear breach of international human rights law,” said William Nee, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    June 13, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must drop spurious charges against a prominent human rights lawyer and immediately release him, said Amnesty International.

    Pu Zhiqiang was formally arrested on 13 June for “picking quarrels” and “illegally obtaining personal information”. He was originally detained by police on 6 May after he attended a seminar in Beijing that called for an investigation into the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

    “These are trumped up charges against Pu Zhiqiang. The Chinese authorities must end the witch-hunt against those championing the rights of others and immediately release Pu," said William Nee, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    "It was a deeply disturbing sign when Pu was first detained. The past month has seen a widespread campaign of repression with the authorities going further than in previous years, both in terms of who has been targeted and the harsh measures being used.”

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter,
    Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    June 06, 2014
    By Trini Leung, Director for East Asia at Amnesty International.

    I’ll never forget the morning of June 2, 1989. I was living in Hong Kong and, together with a few fellow activists, we decided there was nowhere else to be but Beijing, near Tiananmen Square. It was a decision that changed my life.

    We took a flight to Beijing, and within hours found ourselves surrounded by thousands of Chinese men and women, young and old, activists, students and workers – all making history in Tiananmen Square. They were there defying one of the world’s most powerful governments, armed with nothing but words, courage and determination to stand by the students who had for weeks been demonstrating for more open and accountable governance.

    The atmosphere in the square was electric – unlike anything I had ever experienced – as groups of students, workers and other ordinary citizens engaged in lively debates about corruption, freedom, their rights and the country’s leadership.

    Continue reading this blog on CNN.com

    June 04, 2014

    The tragic events of the 1989 demonstrations in Beijing hold special resonance for Ti-Anna Wang. Born the same year, she was named after the Tiananmen Square protests. Her father was an ardent pro-democracy campaigner living in exile in Montreal, Canada since the early 1980s.

    June 04, 2014

    Originally published by Amnesty International UK

    It is our duty to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen protests and crackdown, as Amnesty and as ordinary people outside china. We should do it because we can.

    The opening phrase of a book, The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi, an Italian Jewish chemist and writer who survived the holocaust, has always stuck with me; it quotes a letter from a Nazi soldier who said that the victims of the holocaust would not get to write the history of the holocaust, because they would not exist. History belongs to the victor.

    In a recent poll of students in China, only 1 in 10 was able to identify an image which, for the rest of the world, is iconic. There are few global events with which an image is as entrenched as the Tiananmen protests is with ‘Tank Man’.

    June 03, 2014

    On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Amnesty International has documented a further 30 activists that have been persecuted as the Chinese authorities attempt to suppress those that seek to commemorate the victims of 4 June 1989.

    Those targeted in the past few days include Luo Xi, who was a student activist in 1989, who has been criminally detained and Bao Tong, 81, a former political aide to the late Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang, who opposed the crackdown in 1989. Bao has been forced to leave Beijing.

    At least 66 people have now been detained by the Chinese authorities in connection to the Tiananmen anniversary.

    “The past few days have seen the Chinese authorities ratchet up the repression. They appear willing to stop at nothing in their attempts to prevent people from marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. They have gone further when compared to past years including the 20th anniversary, with more people criminally detained this time,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    June 02, 2014

    The arrest of artist Guo Jian is just the latest in a string of detentions and harassment of activists ahead of the Tiananmen Square protest anniversary.© Hong Kong Alliance

    The Chinese authorities must end the severe persecution against all those attempting to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, said Amnesty International after a Chinese born Australian artist became the latest to be detained for giving a media interview on the crackdown.

    Police in Beijing took away Guo Jian, 52, shortly after publication of an interview he gave to the Financial Times.

    “Guo Jian is the latest victim of the Chinese authorities’ merciless campaign of repression ahead of the Tiananmen anniversary. He along with the scores of others detained for peacefully speaking out about the bloodshed of 1989 must be immediately released,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.
    “This current wave of detentions ahead of 4 June is harsher than in recent years.”

    May 30, 2014

    Tuesday June 3, 2014, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

    10:00 am – Press Conference, Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block
    10:30 am – Commemoration Reception, Room 505 Victoria Building, 140 Wellington Street

    On the 25th anniversary of the brutal crackdown of student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, three Canadians will present their first-hand accounts of the events in the square that night at a 10:00 am press conference at Charles Lynch hosted by David Sweet, MP on Parliament Hill.  They will be introduced by Cheuk Kwan, Chair, Toronto Association for Democracy in China and will bear witness to a massacre that the Chinese government is anxious to erase from our memory.

    Ms. Liane Lee 李蘭菊, representative of the Hong Kong Federation of Students in 1989
    Mr. Yuguo Chen 陳育國, lecturer in political science at Beijing University in 1989
    The Hon. Jim Munson, CTV Beijing Bureau Chief in 1989

    The press conference will be followed by a 10:30 am commemoration reception hosted by the Hon. Consiglio Di Nino at 505 Victoria Building. They will be joined by:

    May 29, 2014

    The deplorable mass sentencing of 55 people at a stadium in China’s north-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region [XUAR] is no solution to addressing public security fears, said Amnesty International.

    Fifty five people, believed to be mostly Muslim Uighurs, were sentenced for terrorism, separatism and murder. Three were sentenced to death.

    “Those responsible for the recent violent attacks have shown a callous disregard for human life and must be held to account. But speedy show trials will not deliver justice for the victims. Hastily sentencing people after unfair trials will only exacerbate tensions in the region,” said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International.

    The sentencing took place in front of more than 7,000 people, state media reported on Wednesday. 

    All of those sentenced are believed to be at risk of torture in detention. The local Communist Party leader, Zhang Chunxian said recently that suspected criminals should be “severely punished” before trial.

    May 27, 2014

    The widespread persecution of activists in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown exposes the lie behind President Xi Jinping’s claims to be delivering greater openness and reform, said Amnesty International.

    Dozens of activists have been detained, placed under house arrest or questioned by police in recent weeks for attempting to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protesters and civilians who were killed or injured in the crackdown.

    “The 25th Tiananmen anniversary was a critical test for President Xi’s claims to be delivering greater openness. But Xi has opted for repression over reform,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, who is in Hong Kong this week to pay his respects to the victims of 4 June. 

    “The response by the Chinese authorities to the 25th anniversary has been harsher than in previous years, as they persist with trying to wipe the events of 4 June from memory.”

    May 08, 2014

    The Chinese authorities are using trumped-up charges to target a prominent journalist who has been detained for disclosing state secrets, said Amnesty International.

    Gao Yu, 70, is accused of sharing a ‘secret’ document with editors of a foreign website in August last year, Chinese state media reported on Thursday.

    “Gao is the latest victim of China’s vaguely worded and arbitrary state secret laws which the authorities repeatedly use as a smokescreen to target activists,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    Gao is an outspoken campaigner for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. The past week has seen several prominent activists arrested ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on 4 June.

    “The timing of Gao’s detention is highly dubious and raises serious questions as to the authorities’ true motives,” said Kultalahti.
    Gao’s friends became concerned for her whereabouts when she failed to turn up to an event to commemorate the Tiananmen crackdown. State media have since confirmed that she was detained on 24 April.

    May 07, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release all those detained for trying to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, Amnesty International said, following a spate of detentions in the past week.

    At least five prominent activists have been detained in Beijing, while several others have been questioned by police, as the authorities attempt to supress critics ahead of the 25th anniversary on 4 June.  

    “These latest detentions show how far the authorities are prepared to go to silence those that seek to remember the 1989 crackdown,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Twenty-five years on the authorities have once again chosen the path of repression rather than accept the need for an open discussion about what happened in 1989.” said Kultalahti.

    On Tuesday, Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent human rights lawyer, was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels”, after he attended a weekend seminar in Beijing that called for an investigation into the 4 June crackdown.

    April 23, 2014
     Abdukiram Abduveli was due to be released in 2002 but has repeatedly had his jail term increased  Muslim religious leader is critically ill as hunger strike continues

    The relentless persecution of an ethnic Uighur religious leader must stop, said Amnesty International, as it called on the Chinese authorities to disclose why Abdukiram Abduveli’s prison term has been increased for a fifth time.

    Abdukiram Abduveli, 59, has now served double his original 12-year sentence. According to his family, he has been on hunger strike since mid-February in protest against an additional five-year jail term.

    “The Chinese authorities appear to be singling out Abdukiram Abduveli for his refusal to stop practicing his religion. The authorities must immediately explain on what grounds they are continuing to imprison him,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “This seems to be another extreme case of persecution against ethnic Uighurs at the hands of the Chinese authorities.”

    April 11, 2014
    A court in Beijing has rejected an appeal by Chinese human rights activist Xu Zhiyong (left) against a four year jail sentence.© Private

    A Chinese court’s decision to reject an appeal by prominent activist Xu Zhiyong and uphold his four year jail sentence is an affront to justice, said Amnesty International.

    A court in Beijing on Friday rejected Xu Zhiyong’s appeal against his conviction in January for “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place.”
     
    “Today’s ruling makes a mockery of justice as the decision was a foregone conclusion. The shock would have been if the appeals court had overturned the guilty verdict.  Instead of upholding freedom of expression and assembly, the court opted yet again to trample all over these fundamental rights,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Xu Zhiyong is a prisoner of conscience and he should be released immediately and unconditionally. The authorities must end this merciless persecution of all those associated with the New Citizens Movement.”

    March 26, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately let the family of deceased activist Cao Shunli see her body, said Amnesty International, as fears grow the authorities will cremate Cao to destroy any evidence of her mistreatment in detention.

    Cao’s brother, Cao Yunli, and the family’s lawyer, Wang Yu were prevented from seeing her body when they visited 309 Military Hospital in Beijing on Wednesday.

    Hospital staff claimed that Cao’s body was no longer being held there and refused to disclose any further details. Officials also rejected requests by the family for copies of Cao’s medical records.

    “It appears the authorities will stop at nothing to hide what really happened to Cao Shunli. This has all the markings of a cover-up on the part of the authorities,’ said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    Cao died from organ failure on 14 March at the hospital after six months in detention. Repeated requests by Cao’s family for her to receive medical treatment for serious health problems were repeatedly denied.

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