Human Rights

The Washington Post
Date: May 16,2018
By: Simon Denyer

BEIJING — Kayrat Samarkand says his only “crime” was being a Muslim who had visited neighboring Kazakhstan. On that

Uighur parents pick up their children from school in Kashgar City, in China’s Xinjiang region, in July 2017. (Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

basis alone, he was detained by police, aggressively interrogated for three days, then dispatched in November to a “reeducation camp” in China’s western province of Xinjiang for three months.

There, he faced endless brainwashing and humiliation, he said in an interview, was forced to study Communist propaganda for hours every day, and chant slogans giving thanks and wishing long life to President Xi Jinping.

“Those who disobeyed the rules, refused to be on duty, engaged in fights or were late for studies were placed in handcuffs and ankle cuffs for up to 12 hours,” he said. Further disobedience would result in waterboarding or long periods strapped in agony in a metal contraption known as a “tiger chair,” he said, a punishment he said he suffered.

Between several hundred thousand to just over 1 million Muslims have been detained inside China’s mass “reeducation” camps in the restive province of Xinjiang, Adrian Zenz of the European School of Culture and Theology in Korntal, Germany, said in a report released Tuesday. Zenz is a leading authority on the current crackdown in Xinjiang.    [FULL  STORY]

Video evidence recorded by Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng prior to his detention contradicts Chinese authorities’ claims that he has voluntarily dismissed legal representation.

The News Lens
Date; 2018/04/26
By: David Green
Credit: Yu Wensheng

Video evidence has emerged that suggests China is either torturing suspects to force them to forego legal representation or misleading the public about their decisions, adding fuel to an international flare-up up over the government’s abuse of domestic law and international conventions against torture.

The video shows human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng attesting that he would “never give up the right to hire his own lawyer” nor “accept the lawyer designated by the government, unless I am tortured.”

It also confirms that Yu, one of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers and an outspoken advocate for political reform who endured almost 100 days in police custody in 2014-15, had previously passed power of attorney to his own lawyers, Liang Xiaojun and Zhang Weiyu.

“If they are not able to represent me, then my wife has the right to choose the lawyer for me,” the statement adds.    [FULL  STORY]
Date: April 21, 2018

In releasing the State Department’s global human rights report for 2017, acting Secretary of State

PHOTO: Mr Sullivan has been acting Secretary of State since the dismissal of Rex Tillerson. (AP: Susan Walsh)

John Sullivan also singled out Syria, Myanmar, Turkey and Venezuela as nations with poor human rights records.

Improved human rights in Uzbekistan, Liberia and Mexico were global “bright spots,” Mr Sullivan added.

The governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea “violate the human rights of those within their borders on a daily basis and are forces of instability as a result,” Mr Sullivan said in a preface to the congressionally mandated report that documents human rights in nearly 200 countries and territories.

Countries like these that restrict freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, allow and commit violence against religious, ethnic and other minority groups or undermine the people’s fundamental dignity “are morally reprehensible and undermine our interests,” Mr Sullivan added.

Business Insider
Date: Apr 8, 2018
By:  Alexandra Ma

The Chinese state is setting up a vast ranking system system that will monitor the behaviour of its

An internet cafe in Wuhan, China.

enormous population, and rank them all based on their “social credit.”

The “social credit system,” first announced in 2014, aims to reinforce the idea that “keeping trust is glorious and breaking trust is disgraceful,” according to a government document.

The program is due to be fully operational by 2020, but is being piloted for millions of people already. The scheme is mandatory.

At the moment the system is piecemeal — some are run by city councils, others are scored by private tech platforms which hold personal data.

Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behaviour. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.

Duo spent 17 hours in police custody despite cultural mission

Taiwan News 
Date: 2018/02/22
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A writer for the New York Times and his French photographer were detained by Chinese police for 17 hours after their visit to a Tibetan temple over the Lunar New Year.

Tibetan nuns in the Chinese province of Yunnan. (By Associated Press)

Reporter Steven Lee Myers and photographer Gilles Sabrie were visiting the Dzongsar Monastery in Sichuan Province to observe monks rehearsing a dance for the Tibetan New Year, or Losar.

However, a uniformed police officer appeared at the temple and said there were questions to answer, Myers wrote in his piece, which took the place of the originally planned cultural feature.

He described the incident as a “self-inflicted embarrassment” as all he had planned to do was to write about holiday traditions in the region.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: February 16, 2018 
By: Michael Martina

GUANGHE, China (Reuters) – For some in China’s ethnic Hui Muslim minority here, a recent ban

The sun rises over mountains and mosques in China’s Linxia, Gansu province, home to a large population of ethnic minority Hui Muslims, February 3, 2018. Picture taken February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Martina

on young people engaging in religious education in mosques is an unwelcome interference in how they lead their lives.

Their big fear is the Chinese government may be bringing in measures in this northwestern province of Gansu that are similar to some of those used in the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the giant Xinjiang region further to the west.

Well-integrated into society and accustomed to decades of smooth relations with the government, many Hui have watched with detachment as authorities have subjected Xinjiang to near-martial law, with armed police checkpoints, reeducation centers, and mass DNA collection.

But in January, education officials from the local government in Guanghe county, which is a heavily-Muslim area, banned children from attending religious education during the Lunar New Year break. That lasts for several weeks around the week-long public holiday period that started on Thursday.

It is unclear if the ban, similar to those used by the authorities in the Uighur communities, will continue after the holiday, but it appears to conform to new national regulations that took effect on Feb. 1 aiming to increase oversight over religion.    [FULL  STORY]

BBC News
February 1, 2018
By: John Sudworth

As Theresa May visits China, the UK government has raised concerns over religious freedom in the country’s mainly Muslim province of Xinjiang.

One man, who fled the country for Turkey, has told the BBC he’ll “pay for the bullet” to kill his family to save them from a detention camp.

John Sudworth reports from Xinjiang, where all filming and reporting by foreign media is tightly controlled.    [SOURCE]

State-run media calls British PM pragmatic for ignoring ‘noise and nagging’ from ‘radical public opinion’ while on visit

The Guardian
Date: 2 Feb 2018
By: Tom Phillips in Beijing

China’s state-run media has commended a “pragmatic” Theresa May for resisting calls to publicly challenge Beijing over Hong Kong and human rights during her three-day visit.

In an editorial on Friday, the third and final day of May’s tour, the Global Times newspaper said the prime minister had wisely “sidestepped” such issues as she sought “pragmatic collaboration” between Britain and the world’s number two economy.

“Some western media outlets keep pestering May to criticise Beijing in an attempt to showcase that the UK has withstood pressure from China and the west has consolidated its commanding position over the country in politics,” the Communist party-run tabloid claimed in its English-language edition.

“Certain democracy activists in Hong Kong also intervened,” the nationalist newspaper added, pointing to an article in the Guardian on Wednesday in which Joshua Wong urged May to challenge Beijing’s “relentless crackdown” on the former British colony.

However, the Global Times congratulated May for turning a deaf ear to such calls, which it attributed to “radical public opinion”.    [FULL  STORY]

npr News
Date: February 1, 2018
By: Leta Hong Fincher

When Xiao Meili entered her freshman year at the Communication University of China in

Xiao Meili, 28, is a feminist activist in Guangzhou, China.
Reuters Staff/Reuters

2008, she was inundated with sexist messages that made her feel bad about herself.

“In high school, we were never allowed to wear makeup, then when we started university, all of a sudden, becoming a ‘pretty woman’ became a very important responsibility,” said Xiao. “I tried hard but it was just impossible for me to live up to all these ridiculous standards placed on women.”

Ten years later, Xiao has become a prominent feminist activist and one of many Chinese women who have seized on the momentum of the global #MeToo movement against sexual harassment to call for change at home.

As the #MeToo campaign spreads from one university to another in China, it is demonstrating the extraordinary resilience of a feminist movement that has posed a unique challenge to China’s male-dominated, authoritarian regime. For the first time since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, organized feminist activists, independent of the ruling Communist Party, have tapped into a broad discontent among Chinese women and developed a level of influence over public opinion that is unusual for any social movement in China.

Gai in the spotlight. (Courtesy of iQiyi)

Date: January 19, 2018
BY: Zheping Huang

Last summer, hip-hop finally went mainstream in China thanks to a singing competition, The Rap of China, becoming an unexpected sensation. Problem: The government, not just fans, began paying more attention to the lyrics of Chinese rappers.

The show, a 12-episode series on the online platform iQiyi, garnered some 2.7 billion views (paywall) and turned dozens of young contestants into stars.

Among the celebrities it created is 30-year-old Zhou Yan, better known by his stage name Gai. His soaring popularity led to a recent appearance on The Singer—a music-contest show on one of China’s most popular TV channels—where Gai came in a solid third place competing against British pop star Jessie J and a lineup of veteran Chinese singers. His remake of the theme song to The Swordsman, a 1990 kung-fu flick, became an instant hit on China’s internet after he sang it on the show. “When his voice came out, I felt numbness in my head,” one viewer marveled on Weibo, a Twitter-like social network.

But reports emerged last night that Gai will no longer participate in the show, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) believed to have escalated its crackdown on vulgar rap lyrics. Gai’s staffers confirmed his departure to the news portal Netease (link in Chinese) without providing an explanation. Hunan TV, which airs The Singer, has yet to comment on the matter. Meanwhile the show has pulled Gai’s clips from various platforms, including YouTube.

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