Human Rights

The Herald Courier
Date:  Dec 7, 2017
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — Hundreds of participants attended the opening of a human rights forum in

Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi speaks during the South-South Human Rights Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. China opened a human rights forum attended by developing countries Thursday in its energetic drive to showcase what it considers the strengths of its authoritarian political system under President Xi Jinping. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Mark Schiefelbein

Beijing on Thursday in the latest installment of China’s energetic drive to showcase what it considers the strengths of its authoritarian political system under President Xi Jinping.
Beijing’s new outreach comes as the U.S. turns inward under President Donald Trump, who has set aside traditional U.S. advocacy of democracy and human rights in favor of an “America first” approach That has seen Washington withdraw from key forums from the Paris climate agreement to negotiations on a U.N. migration compact.

The “South-South Human Rights Forum,” drawing some 300 participants from over 50 mostly developing countries, follows a conference of political parties last weekend in Beijing also attended by hundreds of delegates, some of whom sung the praises of Communist Party rule. The gathering also comes on the heels of a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress in October, at which Xi declared that China now stood “tall and firm in the east” and had entered a new era seeing China “moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

Addressing Thursday’s opening session, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the party congress had “identified the goal of forging a new field in international relations and building a community of shared future for mankind.”
“This is China’s answer to the question of where human society is heading, and it has also presented opportunities for the development of the human rights cause,” Wang said.
[FULL  STORY]

Fox News
Date: November 16, 2017
By:  Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press

BEIJING –  Activists are describing a drastic deterioration in China’s treatment of human rights campaigners as the country’s most powerful leader in a generation associates China’s rise as a global power with highly authoritarian, one-party rule.

A Human Rights Watch researcher and others say there are more secret detentions and closed-door trials and less regard for due process. Political prisoners are held in harsh conditions and their health is ignored.

Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch describes the situation as the worst since 1989’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. “We feel we haven’t hit bottom yet.”

China’s government rejects accusations of rights abuses but it also says no outsider has the right to challenge its judicial sovereignty and dismisses universal rights as a Western notion that would undermine Chinese society.    [FULL  STORY]

CNN News
Date: October 5, 2017
By Marco Rubio and Chris Smith

Editors Note: Marco Rubio and Chris Smith: In recent years, China has increased censorship, restricted personal freedoms, and violated international standards
The Trump administration should develop a policy approach that holds China accountable for such actions, they write

(CNN)Next month, President Donald Trump plans to visit Beijing, a trip that will come amid

Sen. Marco Rubio

rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, persistent trade concerns and a raft of other thorny issues in US-China relations.

While the President has sought to build a strong personal relationship with Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping — in part to yield cooperation on North Korean proliferation — the administration must develop a long-term policy approach that challenges China to abide by its international commitments, adhere to universal standards and embrace the rule of law.

Principled American leadership is needed now more than ever. In recent years, the bipartisan

Rep. Chris Smith

Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s (CECC) annual reports have found that under President Xi’s leadership, China has failed to deliver on long-promised economic reforms and has become more authoritarian domestically. It is also increasingly dismissive of international norms and “Western” ideas, and more assertive in its extraterritorial reach.

The CECC’s 2017 Annual Report, which will be released on Thursday, documents even more regression.

Although President Xi has stressed the need for global connectivity and openness, domestic censorship leaves little room for journalism and public debate — just last week the use of WhatsApp, a popular messaging app, was blocked. As stated in the report, China “continues to strengthen the world’s most sophisticated system of internet control and press censorship and forges ahead with what it calls ‘internet sovereignty.'”    [FULL  STORY]

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.
[SOURCE]

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.
[FULL  STORY]

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.
[FULL  STORY]

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]

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