Human Rights

New measures including holding social media moderators responsible for content posted in their forums, the end of anonymous posting and an upcoming ban on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are the latest blows to what is left of internet freedom in China.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/10/13
By: Cedric Alviani

In the months prior to the Communist Party of China’s 19th Congress, which begins on 18

Credit: Greg_Baker-AFP

October, President Xi Jinping has been deploying a major arsenal of repressive measures against online social networks with the aim of perfecting the “Great Firewall” that censors the Internet in China.

Just weeks ahead of the Congress, which is expected to renew Xi’s mandate for another five years, the U.S. encrypted messaging app WhatsApp suddenly began malfunctioning in China, in a sign that a new turning-point had been reached in the Party’s censorship. Use of WhatsApp had until then been tolerated.

In fact, control of the Chinese internet has grown day by day for more than a year. President Xi, who likes to call himself the New Helmsman in an allusion to Mao Zedong (known as The Great Helmsman), has established a very sophisticated system of information censorship and surveillance in recent years, one that has now gone to a whole new level.

Since becoming president, Xi has proved to be a determined enemy of press freedom, pursuing complete control of the media in order protect China against what he calls the influence of “hostile foreign powers.”    [FULL  STORY]

Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law are being described as Hong Kong’s ‘first political prisoners’ after being sent to prison for actions in the days before the 2014 Umbrella Movement.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/08/17
By: Edward White

Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), Alex Chow (周永康) and Nathan Law (羅冠聰) were today sent to prison for their roles in the events that sparked the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.

The trio was last year found guilty of offenses related to entering Hong Kong’s Civic Square on Sept. 26, 2014 – days later the mass Occupy protest began with more than 100,000 taking to the streets in protest of China’s decision to pre-screen Hong Kong’s leadership candidates.

At the sentencing last year they escaped jail time – Law and Wong were given community service and Chow a suspended sentence – but an appeal by Hong Kong Department of Justice prosecutors was today successful.

Wong, 20, will serve six months, Law, 24, eight months and Chow, 26, seven months.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese risk their lives to tell others about communist persecution

Epoch Times
Date: July 21, 2017
By: Irene Luo, Epoch Times

For months, Li Guiqin, a 58-year-old retired scientist now living in the United States, would

Chinese paramilitary police marching through the downtown shopping area of Chongqing in February 2013. Chinese authorities recently indicted a Canadian for allegedly stealing state secrets. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

crowd into the back of an eight-seat van and cruise the streets of Harbin as she and others made phone calls to China’s public security officials, telling them to stop persecuting her faith community.

The constant motion was a must for this dangerous work. Staying stationary would have made it easy for the Chinese Communist Party’s omnipresent surveillance apparatus to triangulate her position and swarm in with the equivalent of a SWAT team.

So she and a few others—usually three or four, often retired, men and women who practiced the Chinese spiritual tradition of Falun Gong—plied the streets of the gritty northern industrial city near Siberia, making phone call after phone call from the van.

Some of the officials they reached responded with malice, some with indifference. But others responded with a hard-won acceptance of the truth that years of violence failed to conceal.

Chinese police are still in firm control of detention centers.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/07/23
By: Margaret K. Lewis

Last Saturday, the window closed for comments on the draft PRC Detention Center Law. The

Photo Credit: AlexVan @ Pixabay CC0

Ministry of Public Security touts the draft law’s ability to protect human rights (人权保障), and the release of the long-awaited draft at least indicates the government’s acknowledgment that existing legal provisions are inadequate. Yet any celebrations about an improvement to current detention practices is premature.

This post briefly explains why detention centers are a focal point of concern and will introduce the draft law. It then urges a skeptical wait-and-see attitude both because other recent criminal justice reforms on paper have fallen short of expectations and because the draft law retains the fundamental power structure that emboldens the police.

Concerns for Human Rights Protections in Detention Centers

In February 2016, the United Nations Committee against Torture reported that the PRC has failed to implement robustly the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee seriously questioned China’s claim that it is making “enormous efforts” to stop torture: “[T]he practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the [PRC] criminal justice system . . .” (para. 20). The Committee’s report largely reiterated existing concerns rather than breaking new ground, but it was noteworthy for being a scathing rebuke from an international body.

The PRC submitted its follow-up response to the report in January 2017. The response contended that “China has always attached great importance to strengthening the protection of the right of detainees to see a lawyer and to notify family member” and that “[d]uring inquiries into allegations of torture by the public security police, [procuratorates] are able to ensure the independence of the investigation.” The release of the draft Detention Center Law followed on the heels of this rebuke of the UN committee’s findings.    [FULL  STORY]

Epoch Times
Date: July 16, 2017
By Petr Svab

Every time Huang Wanqing walks past a promotion of “Body the Exhibition”, he may wonder if

Brothers Wanqing Huang and Xiong Huang with their family in China. (Courtesy of Xiong Huang)

it’s the mutilated body of his brother staring at him from the posters.

Mr. Huang’s brother, Huang Xiong, was persecuted by communist authorities in China for his beliefs. He was held at a labor camp and monitored after release. In 2003, he disappeared in Shanghai. Huang believes his brother was kidnapped by the regime and likely died in custody.

Huang Xiong practiced Falun Gong, a traditional system of self-cultivation involving meditation exercises and based on principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. Falun Gong has been hugely popular in China during the 1990s and praised by authorities for its health benefits. By 1999, about 70-100 million practiced it, based on government estimates at the time.

Some in the regime’s leadership, however, especially the Communist Party head Jiang Zemin, treated Falun Gong’s rising popularity as an ideological threat to the party’s doctrines and in 1999 launched a statewide campaign of repression and propaganda against Falun Gong.

Liu Xiaobo, one of the most important Chinese dissidents of his generation, has died.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/07/13
By: TNL Staff

The 61-year-old democracy campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner has been jailed for

Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

most of the past decade. He was diagnosed with liver cancer on May 23 and was released for medical treatment days later.

Liu died Thursday while still in custody following a battle with cancer, authorities said, after officials ignored international pleas to let him spend his final days free and abroad. The legal bureau in the northeastern city of Shenyang said on its website that Liu died three days after going into intensive care at the First Hospital of China Medical University.

The writer’s death silences a government critic who had been a thorn in the side of the authorities for decades and became a symbol of Beijing’s growing crackdown on dissenting voices.

Liu’s death puts China in dubious company as he became the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.

Liu was jailed at numerous points in his life, including for two years after the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and for several years in the 1990s for his involvement in democracy and human rights movements in China.    [FULL  STORY]

Focus Taiwan
Date: 2017/07/13
By: Christie Chen and Elaine Hou

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), China’s most famous political prisoner and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died on Thursday at the age of 61 after battling liver cancer, Chinese authorities confirmed.

Liu, who had late-stage liver cancer, died of multiple organ failures, according to the justice bureau of Shenyang City.

The Nobel laureate was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in May and was granted medical parole for treatment at the First Hospital of China Medical University in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang the following month. His condition had deteriorated quickly since then, with the hospital suspending targeted therapy last week.

The Chinese government had come under fire for refusing to allow Liu to travel abroad for treatment, despite calls from human rights activists, foreign governments, as well as Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, for China to do so.

The pro-democracy advocate was jailed in 2009 for co-authoring a manifesto — Charter 08 — calling for sweeping political reforms in China. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”    [FULL  STORY]

‘If President Xi now decides he wants to keep Liu Xiaobo in China and silenced he will have to do so in the full view of the world knowing he is intentionally hastening his death.’

The News Lens
Date: 2017/07/09
By: Edward White

The world is watching to see whether Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) allows

photo credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville/達志影像

terminally ill democracy activist Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) to leave China to receive treatment, Liu’s lawyer says.

The Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who has about three years of an 11-year sentence to serve, was visited in hospital yesterday by cancer specialists from Germany and the United States.

In a statement just released, the doctors say Liu and his family have requested that the remainder of his care be provided in Germany or the United States. While they have recommended Liu receive palliative supportive care, they also say additional options may exist, including interventional procedures and radiotherapy.

“It has been explained to me, to put things more bluntly, that the additional recommended treatments abroad could both extend Liu’s life by several weeks and also reduce the pain that he feels during his remaining days,” says Jared Genser, Liu’s Washington D.C.-based lawyer.    [FULL  STORY]

Democracy activists, alleging police brutality and widespread harassment from pro-Beijing thugs, have called on Hong Kongers to take to the streets this afternoon.

The Nwews Lens
Date: 2017/07/01
By: Edward White
[Additional reporting by AFP]

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong say they are facing an unprecedented level of intimidation from

Credit: The News Lens / Edward White

police and pro-Beijing thugs as Chinese President Xi Jinping concludes his three-day trip to the city.

An attempted protest march in Wan Chai, downtown Hong Kong, was shut down by police this morning after pro-Beijing supporters attacked a small group of democracy activists. The tense, and at times violent, standoff lasted less than one hour before police vans were brought in to remove the pro-democracy activists, several of whom say they were assaulted by police before being let go without charge.

“What we’ve experienced this weekend was a whole new level of intimidation and direct violence,” activist Avery Ng says.    [FULL  STORY]

Chinese Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin has been missing for 41 days since he was ‘forcibly removed’ from his diocese on May 18.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/06/28
By: ZiQing Low

Beijing has warned against outside interference in China’s internal affairs after the Vatican’s

photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein/達志影像

formal rebuke of Chinese authorities forcibly removing and detaining a Catholic bishop.

“China opposes interference from any foreign country or individual in our internal affairs on the basis of individual cases,” In a China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement on June 27.

“China protects the religious freedom of its citizens, religious activities and the rights of religious organizations in accordance with the law. However, similar to other countries, China will tighten legal control over religious affairs,” Lu said.

Shao Zhumin (邵祝敏) was confirmed by the Vatican as the successor of the Wenzhou diocese, in Zhejiang province, in September 2016 following the death of his predecessor. However, Shao is not part of China’s state-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), and the Chinese government views Shao as part of an “underground” religion.    [FULL  STORY]

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