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    March 24, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must end the persecution of all those trying to remember victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, Amnesty International said, after a man was jailed for 18 months on Monday.

    A court in Changshu, in eastern China, found Gu Yimin guilty of inciting state subversion after he tried to post images of the crackdown online and applied to stage a protest on the 24th anniversary last year.

    “Gu Yimin should be released immediately and unconditionally. Nearly 25 years on from the Tiananmen Square crackdown the authorities continue to stop at nothing to bury the truth of 1989,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.
    Hundreds if not thousands, of protestors were killed or injured during the military crackdown against student protestors in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989.

    “As the 25th anniversary approaches, this could well mark the start of the annual round-up of activists attempting to remember the tragic events of 1989. Rather than ratchet up such persecution the authorities should acknowledge what really happened and deliver justice for the victims,” said Kultalahti.

    March 20, 2014

    Chinese human rights activist Cao Shunli died from organ failure last Friday at a hospital in Beijing, after six months in detention.© Private

    The Chinese government’s attempt to block a tribute by the UN Human Rights Council to Cao Shunli, a prominent human rights activist who died in detention, is disgraceful, said Amnesty International. 

    China objected to efforts to observe a moment of silence in her memory during a review of the country’s human rights record at the UN in Geneva today.

    “This is a shameful and insulting ploy by Chinese officials. Not only have the authorities shown complete disregard for Cao’s life, they now appear intent on burying the truth as they have so many times before,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International. 

    Cao, 52, died from organ failure last Friday at a hospital in Beijing, after six months in detention. She had repeatedly been denied medical care.

    March 14, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately ensure detained activists receive all necessary medical care, Amnesty International said, after the reprehensible death of a leading campaigner who was repeatedly denied treatment.

    Cao Shunli, 52, died from organ failure on Friday at a hospital in Beijing, after five months in detention. Repeated requests by Cao’s family for her to receive medical treatment for serious health problems were denied.

    "Cao Shunli's death exposes just how callous and calculating the Chinese authorities are prepared to be to silence critics. The authorities today have blood on their hands." said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    "Cao Shunli was a courageous woman who paid the ultimate price for the fight for human rights in China.  She should have never been detained in the first place; but to then deny her the medical treatment she desperately needed is a most barbaric act.”

    March 13, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release the founder of a human rights website who has been detained following a police raid on his home, said Amnesty International.

    Huang Qi, founder of the website 64 Tianwang, was taken away by 11 police officers in Chengdu, in south west China, at around 3pm on Thursday. Police also seized computers, mobile phones and USB sticks.

    The detention is the latest in a series of raids in the past week against individuals that write for 64 Tianwang. All have been accused of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles”.

    William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International commented:

    “There now appears to be a concerted campaign of intimidation by the Chinese authorities against those associated with the 64 Tianwang website. Once again the authorities have shown their intent to stifle debate on human rights within China."

    “These are spurious charges against Huang Qi and others detained solely for their work for 64 Tianwang. They must be immediately released.”

    March 11, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release three citizen journalists detained since the weekend for highlighting a security crackdown in Beijing for the annual parliamentary session currently under way, said Amnesty International.

    Liu Xuehong, Xing Jian and Wang Jing, - who all write for the Chinese website 64 Tianwang - were taken away by police in separate raids in Beijing over the weekend.

    “Journalism is not a crime and these three activists should be released immediately,” said William Nee China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Their detention shows the disturbing lengths the authorities are willing to go to control the message during the National People’s Congress.”

    The three citizen journalists have been criminally detained on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles”. All had been reporting on the plight of petitioners near Tiananmen Square.

    Scores of petitioners are being prevented from protesting as part of a security crackdown during the National People’s Congress  China’s annual parliamentary session which began last Wednesday and runs for 10 days.

    January 25, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 26 January 2014

    The jailing of prominent Chinese legal scholar and activist Xu Zhiyong is a travesty and he should be released immediately, said Amnesty International.

    A court in Beijing sentenced Xu Zhiyong to four years in prison on Sunday for “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place.”

    Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International, commented:

    “This is a shameful but sadly predictable verdict. The Chinese authorities have once again opted for the rule of fear over the rule of law.

    “At best the injustice of prosecuting Xu Zhiyong is hypocrisy of the highest order. On the surface his calls to expose corruption coincide with President Xi Jinping’s own much heralded clampdown.

    “But the message sent from the courtroom today runs far deeper: In Xi Jinping’s China the Communist Party maintains a monopoly on the political process and anyone that speaks out will be severely dealt with.

    January 21, 2014

    The Chinese authorities must immediately release prominent activist Xu Zhiyong, whose trial is due to start in Beijing on Wednesday, Amnesty International said.

    Xu Zhiyong wrote an article in May 2012, titled China Needs a New Citizens’ Movement, which is credited with spurring a loose network of activists who aim to promote government transparency and expose corruption.

    Several other activists are also due to be tried later this week in connection with the New Citizens Movement.

    “Instead of President Xi Jinping’s promised clamp-down on corruption, we are seeing a crackdown against those that want to expose it. The persecution of activists associated with the New Citizens Movement has to end,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    A highly regarded legal scholar, Xu Zhiyong has been detained in Beijing since July. He faces charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place.” He faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

    December 16, 2013

    Released at 00:01 GMT 17 December 2013

    China’s abolition of the “Re-education Through Labour” (RTL) system risks being no more than a cosmetic change, with authorities already stepping up other forms of persecution, Amnesty International said in a briefing released today.

    While RTL camps are being shut down, the briefing details how the Chinese authorities are increasingly making use of so-called “black jails”, enforced drug rehabilitation centres, and “brainwashing centres” to take their place.

    “Abolishing the RTL system is a step in the right direction. However, it now appears that it may only be a cosmetic change just to avert the public outcry over the abusive RTL system where torture was rife,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    “It’s clear that the underlying policies of punishing people for their political activities or religious beliefs haven’t changed. The abuses and torture are continuing, just in a different way.”

    November 15, 2013

    China’s reported decision to abolish "re-education through labour" (RTL) camps nationwide will be little more than a cosmetic measure unless the authorities tackle the deeply entrenched abuses of the country’s overall detention system, Amnesty International.

    “‘Re-education through labour’ camps are just one piece in the intricate network of arbitrary detention centres used by the Chinese government to punish individuals who exercise their human rights in ways the authorities find threatening,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, China researcher at Amnesty International.

    “While abolishing the RTL system is a big step in the right direction, the reality is that the authorities are finding new ways to punish the same types of people, including sending them to other types of arbitrary detention, such as the so-called ‘brain washing centres’ and ‘black jails’.”

    October 09, 2013

    Chinese authorities must end excessive use of force against peaceful Tibetan protesters, Amnesty International said after police fired on and injured dozens of demonstrators.

    Reports emerged today that Chinese police had opened fire on Tibetan protesters in the town of Diriu in the Tibet Autonomous Region on 6 October, injuring at least 60 people, some seriously. It is unclear if the police used live ammunition or tear gas.

    “It is outrageous for the police to start firing on a peaceful gathering. This latest incident shows that the Chinese authorities have done nothing to reign in excessive use of force by their security forces or to increase respect for Tibetans’ right to freedom of peaceful assembly,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    There have even been reports that some of those seriously injured were denied medical care for several days, at least one of whom is still in very critical condition.

    October 09, 2013

    Housing rights activist Ni Yulan was released on October 5th, after serving two years and six months in Tiantanghe Women's Prison in Beijing. She has been reunited with her family, including her husband Dong Jiqin, who was released from prison on April 5th.

    Thank you to more than 10,000 Canadians, and Amnesty International supporters worldwide who spoke out to press for her freedom.

    This news is especially welcome following the very harsh treatment Ni Yulan has experienced at the hands of Chinese authorities.

    Ni Yulan's story

    Ni Yulan has defended people who have been forcibly evicted from their homes by housing developers across China esepcially in the leadup to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, when there was massive urban re-development and forced evictions.

    She herself was also evicted, and watched her home get demolished shortly before the Beijing Olympic Games, when there was massive development and forced evictions.

    September 11, 2013

    Chinese authorities must stop imminent plans to forcibly evict the last remaining residents of the village of Ba Gou just outside of Beijing, Amnesty International said.

    Their homes are to be demolished to make way for a commercial development, and those under threat include a housing rights activist and her family.

    “The local government should immediately halt all efforts to forcibly evict the people of Ba Gou, and also provide adequate compensation to the thousands who have already lost their homes in the village,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director

    Since 2003, more than 5,000 households have been evicted from the village Ba Gou amid intimidation and threats of violence. Han Ying, a prominent campaigner against the evictions and demolitions, has been repeatedly targeted by the authorities.

    She told Amnesty International that  since July, Ba Gou village had received frequent visits by unidentified men in police uniforms and hired thugs who threatened to demolish houses. Han Ying’s elderly mother was injured on 16 August in one confrontation with police who tried to tear down buildings.

    September 09, 2013

    Shi Tao was released on 23 August 23, 2013. Shi Tao served eight years and four months in prison, and his sentence was reduced by 15 months.

    Thank you to everyone who wrote on behalf of Shi Tao. His case was featured prominently in Write for Rights 2007, when Amnesty International supporters worldwide wrote letters on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, urging his release.

    A journalist and poet, Shi Tao was sentenced in 2004 to a 10-year prison sentence for sending an email summarizing a Chinese Central Propaganda Department communiqué on how journalists should handle the 15th anniversary of the crackdown on the 1989 pro-democracy movement.

    Following his release, Shi Tao told Amnesty that his life is getting back to normal. He is recovering and resting right now. A lot of friends have visited him and he has not faced any restrictions on his movements since his release. 

    He shares these words of thanks to members of Amnesty International:

    July 15, 2013

    Set-backs to China’s new criminal procedure law, which came into effect on 1 January 2013, are legalizing violations of human rights, and the limited improvements to the law are not being respected, Amnesty International said in a new briefing released today.

    “It is frustrating that after so many years in the making, the legal changes that took place in the beginning of the year are now legalizing some of the worst practices on the part of police and local authorities,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    Under the new law the police are allowed to detain individuals, and to hold some in secret locations for up to six months, without telling family members why or where they are being held.

    June 14, 2013

    There are growing fears about the fate of a prominent Chinese photographer and journalist who has not been heard from since security police reportedly detained him at his home in Beijing late last month, Amnesty International said.

    Du Bin is a photographer and documentary maker who has done extensive work – including a recent film – to uncover torture and other ill-treatment at China’s re-education through labour camps.

    He has also worked as a freelance photographer for The New York Times and in late May he published a book, Tiananmen Massacre, on the violent military crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing in June 1989.

    “The timing of Du Bin’s detention leaves little doubt that he is being targeted by the Chinese authorities for his courageous work to expose human rights abuses in the country,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Asia Programme Director.

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