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Sep 25, 2015 • 12:41 am

March 2013 – Present: Since President Xi Jinping’s presidency began, CHRD has documented more than 1,800 cases of arbitrary detention and torture of human rights defenders, not counting ethnic minorities and members of persecuted faith groups who have also been subjected to mistreatment. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), detained in December 2008, remains practically imprisoned incommunicado.

March 2013 – Present: Torture remains endemic in Chinese detention centers and prisons. Despite legislation introduced before Xi came into power to make it easier to exclude evidence acquired from torture, authoritieshave not taken concrete steps to end impunity for torturers. Measures to prevent torture, like access to legal counsel or notifying families of detainees’ whereabouts, have been systematically deprived, and lawyers have been increasingly targeted for challenging such abuses.

March 2013 – Present: One particular form of torture that marks the Xi regime is the government’s retaliation against human rights defenders by depriving medical treatment in custody. Dozens of detainees and prisoners of conscience suffering from serious health problems or the effects of torture have been systematically denied adequate treatment and requests for bail or parole on humanitarian grounds.

March 2013 – Present: The continuous repressive policies against ethnic Tibetans, implementing measures such as sending Han officials to reside in temples, forcing resettlement of herders, criminalizing religious rites for those who engage in self-immolation protests, and collectively punishing entire villages for self-immolations;

March 2013 – Present: The ramped-up restrictions in Xinjiang, including treating ethnic Uyghurs as terrorists after violent incidents in Kunming and Beijing, and the banning of religious attire (beards and veils), fasting during Ramadan, and barring admittance to mosques of anyone under the age of 18.

March 2013 – Present: A sweeping crackdown on civil society activists calling for government transparency and anti-corruption measures, affecting more than 300 people and leading to the detention and imprisonment of 27 activists and lawyers involved in the New Citizens’ Movement, as part of Xi’s efforts to stifle freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

March 2013 – Present: Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, China has drafted and enacted a new National Security Law, adopted amendments to the Criminal Law, and introduced several draft laws—the Counter-Terrorism Act, the Overseas NGO Management Law, and the Internet Security Law. All of these pieces of legislation are attempts to legitimize ongoing restrictions on speech, religion, and escalating suppression of civil society. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticized the National Security Law, saying it “leaves the door wide open” for more restrictions on human rights and civil society. These moves also run counter to a recent resolution by the UN Human Rights Council, where China holds a membership seat, that call on Member States to stop targeting civil society in the name of counter-terrorism, NGO management, and national security (UN HRC 27/31).

April 2013, June 2014: Women human rights defender Liu Ping (刘萍) was detained. During her prolonged pre-trial detention, Liu was reportedly physically assaulted and subjected to other forms of mistreatment. She was sentenced to 6 ½ years for “creating a disturbance” in June 2014.

July 2013 – Present: The detention and imprisonment of New Citizens’ Movement founder Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a prominent Beijing professor and rights activist. Before that, Beijing police had subjected Xu to unlawful house arrest for over four months. Xu Zhiyong was sentenced to four years for “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” in January 2014.

August 2013 – Present: The detention of Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), a prominent human rights activist from Guangzhou. Formally arrested in September 2013, police accused Guo of organizing rallies in front of theSouthern Weekly headquarters in January 2013, organizing a campaign calling on the government to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and also leading an anti-corruption drive. There has still been no verdict following his trial in November 2014.

September 2013, March 2014: Activist Cao Shunli (曹顺利), for trying to engage with the UN, particularly for pushing for civil society participation in the 2009 and 2013 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China, was seized at the airport in Beijing as she was boarding a flight to Geneva on September 14, 2013. Officials repeatedly refused her lawyer’s requests for medical bail as her health worsened. She died in March 2014 after authorities denied medical treatment during a five-month detention. Since her death, the Chinese government has intimidated her family and refused to allow an independent investigation into her death.

November 2013 – Present: Though the government under Xi formally abolished Re-Education Though Labor (RTL), the thousands of victims who suffered under the abusive detention system have never been compensated and several female victims of the notorious Masanjia camp have been jailed for seeking justice.

January 2014: The criminal detention of professor Ilham Tohti (伊力哈木.土赫提), a moderate critic. He was sentenced to life in prison for “splittism” in September 2014.

April 2014 – Present: Veteran journalist Gao Yu (高瑜) was detained in April 2014 and, a year later, was sentenced to seven years in prison, after being convicted on a state secrets charge in April 2015. Gao, 71, is in urgent need of proper medical treatment for heart problems and high blood pressure, among other illnesses, but authorities have repeatedly rejected requests for medical bail.

April 2014 – Present: The demolition of buildings and removal of crosses of both official and underground Christian churches in eastern China, particularly in Zhejiang Province, and new directives that require official churches to establish a Communist Party office.

May 2014 – Present: The crackdown starting in the spring of 2014 on Chinese citizens commemorating the 25thanniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, which affected dozens of human rights lawyers and activists, some of whom remain in criminal detention today.

May 2014 – Present: Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) was criminally detained, and has now spent 16 months in custody without being brought before a judge. Pu’s health is worsening, in part due to inadequate treatment for his diabetes, high blood pressure, and prostatitis. His lawyers’ requests for medical bail have been denied.

May 2014 – Present: Guangzhou-based human rights lawyer Tang Jingling (唐荆陵) was criminally detained on suspicion of “creating a disturbance.” Police also took into custody two other Guangzhou activists, Wang Qingying (王清营) and Yuan Xinting (袁新亭), close associates of lawyer Tang in the “Non-violent Citizens’ Disobedience Movement.” The three men face the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.”

September 2014 – Present: The crackdown starting in the fall of 2014 against mainland Chinese citizens who showed support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong affected more than 100 activists and lawyers, some of whom remain in police custody.

March 2015 – Present: The harassment and forced closure of several NGOs working on disability and health rights, women’s and LGBT rights, anti-discrimination issues, and of a think tank working on tax reform and social justice issues. Several staff members of these organizations have been detained and are facing imminent trial, and others still face criminal charges after being released on bail, such as the Five Feminists.

July 9, 2015 – Present: The crackdown on human rights lawyers and their supporters has targeted more than 300 human rights lawyers and activists through detentions, summons for interrogation, and intimidation. Twenty-three lawyers and activists remain in criminal detention or have disappeared into police custody, including Wang Yu (王宇), who has been disappeared for more than two months after police broke into her home on July 9. Wang has represented women and girls in cases of sexual violence and discrimination, as well as prominent women activists.

July 12, 2015: Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a highly respected Tibetan religious leader, died in prison while serving a life sentence. He was in prison for over 13 years, during which he was not treated for a heart condition, high blood pressure, and other medical issues. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was persecuted for his support for the Dalai Lama, promotion of Tibetan Buddhism, and cultural and social development work in Tibet. At least two other Tibetans died in detention in the past two years. There have been no independent investigations into their deaths.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
China Aid
Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins

(Beijing—Oct. 8, 2015) A Beijing Christian, placed under residential surveillance in July, has been unable to speak with his family, who fear they will be unable to notify him of his father’s ailing health.

Liu Yongping, also known as Lao Mu, is a member of Beijing’s Yahebo Church who was taken by authorities on July 10 and placed under residential surveillance in Tianjin. The notice from public security bureau officers stated that he was suspected of causing disturbances.

Shortly after Liu’s detention, his father became terminally ill and required hospitalization. As his condition has worsened, the family has gathered at the hospital but was unable to contact and inform Liu.

A friend of the family said: “You can say that his body was not good, but the fact that his son was arrested was certainly a major blow. After a short time, we heard he was ill. Initially, it was off-and-on, but recently it has become very serious. [Liu] may not be able to see his father one last time.”

Authorities seized others besides Liu on July 10, including Hu Shigen, an elder of Beijing’s Yahebo Church, and Ge Ping, also known as Gou Honggou. Authorities also suspected Gou of causing disturbances and placed him under residential surveillance in Tianjin. Hu’s current whereabouts are unknown.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Radio Free Asia

Five years after being awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, activists are calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to release his wife Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest at the couple's Beijing apartment since her husband's award was announced.

Beijing rights activist Hu Jia, a close friend of the Lius, said the Nobel award has had huge repercussions for the activist's entire extended family.

Liu Xia (r) and rights lawyer Mo Shaoping (l) arrive at her
brother Li Hui's trail in Beijing on April 23, 2013. AFP
"[Liu Xia's] brother was sentenced to 11 years in jail, which was entirely because of his connection to the Lius," Hu told RFA.

"But the worst persecution has been the way they have cut off Liu Xia's communication with the outside world, and silenced her," he said.

While Liu Hui has since been released from prison, he remains under bail conditions, and is an important form of leverage over Liu Xia, Hu said.

"Basically, they are effectively saying to Liu Xia that if she has any contact with the outside world, people like me, foreign diplomats or journalists, then they can put her brother back in jail again," he said.

"So she has no way to speak out either on her husband's behalf, or her own."

Hong Kong-based campaigner Richard Choi said his group, the Patriotic Alliance for the Democratic Movement in China, has been campaigning for Liu's release and on behalf of Liu Xia since her husband's sentencing to 11 years' imprisonment on Dec. 25, 2009 for "incitement to subvert state power."

"All Chinese citizens should speak out for Liu Xiaobo," Choi said, adding that 2015 Nobel medical prize-winner Tu Youyou should add her voice to those calling for Liu's release.

"I think Tu Youyou should also call on the Chinese government [to release him]," he said.

"Five years after Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize, I want to call once more on the Chinese government to release him immediately," Choi said.

"Chinese people should be proud of our fellow citizen, Liu Xiaobo, for winning the Nobel Peace Prize," Choi told RFA.

Hu said he is being prevented from leaving his apartment on Thursday, for fear he should use the day to carry out some form of protest on their behalf.

"Today is treated the same as Dec. 10; they are both taboo dates, and whenever they roll around, I am held under house arrest at home," Hu said.

"I heard the state security police talking about it, and they said I wasn't to be allowed to leave my apartment," he said.

Hu said he would mark the day at home in his own way, however.

Parole denied

In June 2014, the authorities turned down an application for parole from Liu's lawyers, who said he can't make a fresh request for another three years from that date.

In the application, Liu, 60, criticized the prison authorities for denying him the right to be in contact with friends and family, which is against China's Constitution.

However, he is unlikely to qualify for parole, because he has never admitted to committing any crime.

His lawyers say Liu still follows political developments in China, where the administration of President Xi Jinping launched a nationwide police operation that has detained nearly 300 rights attorneys, paralegals, and legal activists since early July.

Liu Xiaobo's continued imprisonment was cited by rights groups as an emblem of Beijing's poor record during Xi's state visit to the United States last month.

A literary critic and former professor, Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China" in a decision that infuriated Beijing, which says he has broken Chinese law.

He has been held since 2008 after helping to draft Charter 08, a manifesto calling for sweeping changes in China's government that was signed by thousands of supporters.

Reported by Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Photo: Children attending Quiotou
Church's summer camp this July.

(Source: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Chuzhou, Anhui—Oct. 8, 2015) The pastor of a house church in China’s eastern Anhui province spoke with China Aid on Tuesday following a 15-day administrative detention.

Lü Jiangyang of Quiotou House Church in Anhui province was taken by authorities on Sept. 20 and released Monday. He told China Aid’s reporter Qiao Nong that the public security bureau indicated that he engaged in cult activities but that his penalty notice made no mention of cults. Lü also said that authorities checked his bank account and said that he was in contact with overseas organizations.

“During my detention,” Lü said, “They said that in 2010, the church had a 30,000 Yuan (U.S. $4,700) bank loan that it did not pay off. They detained me for this reason, but after they took me, they didn’t find any evidence. So, instead, they framed it to say I was in a cult.”

When asked if he would file an administrative reconsideration for the lawsuit regarding the loan, Lü stated that he did not know if he was already past the time limit to dispute it, as the suit took place in May 2014.

Lü told the reporter that he fasted for five days in protest during the detention. He said he was urged to eat by the head of the police station and other leaders of Chouzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau and finally accepted food on the sixth day of his detention.

Lü had previously been detained in July 2015 for holding a summer camp at the church for elementary and middle school students.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Radio Free Asia

A petitioner detained by Beijing police at a gathering during last week's National Day holiday in the Chinese capital has described being tortured during his detention.

Li Xinhua was detained at a gathering of petitioners, ordinary Chinese who pursue complaints against the government, at the home of Ge Zhihui on Oct. 1.

"I was having a meal at a friend's home, when three police officers came bursting in," Li said. "I asked them to show some ID, and then several more came over."

A petitioner accused by the government of "blackmail" is held
in detention in Inner Mongolia, Oct. 2015.
(Photo courtesy of Center for Human Rights and Development)
"They threw me outside and broke my ribs, and my right arm has been in a lot of pain since then," he said. "A bit later, they took me down to the police station where they tied me by the arms, legs and waist to a metal chair and put manacles on me."

Li said he was kept in a small cell after that.

"They had realized I had broken bones, but they still forced me to wear manacles until Oct. 3, when they took them off and released me," Li said.

He said police had refused to allow any medical treatment for his injuries.

"They tried to pass the buck, and told me I could go and get treatment myself," Li said. "I said I didn't have any money and they ... said 'see a doctor if you want to.'"

Ge said she and Li had tried to complain about his treatment to various police departments in Beijing, to no avail.

"They're not likely to admit responsibility," Ge said. "The doctor has booked him in to hospital on Oct. 8, and they want a deposit of 40,000 yuan, and he's on subsistence payouts from the government."

"He doesn't have a cent, but his shoulder is in the wrong place and several ribs are broken," she said. "The doctor said he would be disabled if it's not treated."

Ge said Li was beaten up by officers from the Yuegezhuang police station in southwestern Beijing, including the head of the police station.

"They dragged him out of the apartment and beat him up, pinning his arms and kneeling on his neck and pelvis," Ge said.

"When they were done beating him, they detained him and kept me under house arrest here in my home," she said.

An officer who answered the phone at the Yuegezhuang police station hung up after hearing he had been contacted by RFA.

Calls to the personal cell phone of police station chief Zhang Zhanhui rang unanswered on Wednesday.

Repeatedly stonewalled

China’s army of petitioners say they are repeatedly stonewalled, detained in “black jails,” beaten, and harassed by authorities if they try to take complaints against local government actions to higher levels of government.

Many have been trying to win redress for alleged cases of official wrongdoing, including forced evictions, beatings in custody, and corruption linked to lucrative land sales, for decades.

Petitioners in Inner Mongolia said two of their numbers had recently been accused of "blackmail," in charges they say are a form of retaliation for complaints about them.

Lawyers for petitioners Liu Yanwen and Zhao Yanbo, a married couple, said they have applied to the state prosecutor's office for the charges to be dropped.

"We happened to get a prosecutor with a conscience, who seems to be of the opinion that this couple did nothing that could be construed as blackmail," their lawyer Shu Xiangxin told RFA.

"They are not guilty, but the local officials in this place have been interfering in the case," Shu said.

Sichuan-based rights activist Huang Qi, founder of the Tianwang rights website, said the government routinely persecutes anyone who dares to use the country's "letters and visits" complaints system to highlight alleged wrongdoing.

"The authorities have been using charges of blackmail against petitioners, many of whom are asking for compensation for alleged wrongs done to them by the government," Huang said.

"The authorities are using it as a weapon to turn on petitioners," he said.

Reported by Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service and by Hai Nan for the Cantonese Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
By Sui-Lee Wee and Stephanie Nebehay│Filed Oct. 6, 2015, 1:03 p.m. GMT

Editor's note: This article is part of a series titled 'The Long Arm of China.' Click here to read another report from this series.

Part 2: Beijing is blunting scrutiny of its rights record at the venue created to protect victims of state repression – the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Its success is evidence of China’s growing ability to stifle opposition abroad.

Geneva – In a café lounge at the United Nations complex in Geneva, a Tibetan fugitive was waiting his turn earlier this year to tell diplomats his story of being imprisoned and tortured back home in China.

The 43-year-old Buddhist monk, Golog Jigme, had broken out of a Chinese detention centre in 2012, eventually fleeing to Switzerland. But his Chinese government pursuers hadn’t given up.
Marked man: Tibetan monk Golog Jigme, who escaped from
detention in China in 2012, addressing a side event during the
June session this year of the United Nations Human Rights
Council in Geneva. He and other activists say Chinese agents
are hounding them at the U.N. body.
Reuters/Pierre Albouy

As Golog Jigme prepared to testify in March before the U.N. Human Rights Council, a senior Chinese diplomat, Zhang Yaojun, was in the crowded café. Zhang stood just a few meters from the table where the bald monk was seated in his saffron robes.

“He just took a photo of me,” Golog Jigme said, gesturing at Zhang, who was standing with his smartphone in his hand. Zhang’s action violated a ban on photography in the halls of the United Nations, except by accredited photographers.

“When I was hiding in the mountains, the Chinese government announced a cash reward of 200,000 yuan (about $31,000) for whoever finds me,” said the monk. “Maybe he wants the cash reward.”

Zhang said later he was simply photographing the scenery and was unaware of the ban.

Golog Jigme’s caustic joke speaks to the disturbing nature of his encounter with Zhang. The surveillance of the monk, Western diplomats and activists say, is part of a campaign of intimidation, obstruction and harassment by China that is aimed at silencing criticism of its human rights record at the United Nations.

Geneva, site of the U.N.’s headquarters for handling rights violations, is a hub of that effort. The primary function of the council, whose rotating members are elected by the U.N. General Assembly, is to review countries’ human rights records.

More broadly, Beijing’s conduct here is an example of China’s growing capacity to stifle opposition in the international arena. The Communist government’s global reach is growing at a time when it is cracking down on domestic dissent and preparing a new, restrictive law on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in China. In July, Chinese authorities targeted human rights lawyers and activists, detaining or questioning 245 of them, according to Amnesty International.

Snapshot: Chinese diplomat Zhang Yaojun, shown here in
March, was accused of taking an unauthorized photo of
Tibetan dissident Golog Jigme at the U.N. Human Rights
Council building in Geneva. Zhang said he was taking a
panoramic shot of the space.
Reuters/Denis Balibouse
Photographing and filming critics like Golog Jigme is one tactic. Others include pressuring the United Nations to deny accreditation to high-profile activists and filling up meeting halls with Chinese officials and sympathizers to drown out accusations of rights abuses.

“As long as they feel the political costs of intimidating someone are lower than the benefit of hearing the criticism, the practice will continue.”Michael Ineichen, rights activist, on China’s conduct at the Human Rights Council.

“We are well aware of these problems, which unfortunately happen repeatedly - and are not confined just to China,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. He said he was “extremely concerned by the increasing number of cases of harassment or reprisals against those cooperating with the Human Rights Council.”

Beijing is also barring mainland activists from leaving China and travelling to Geneva, where the rights council last week concluded its third three-week session of the year. Activists who speak out against their country’s rights record in Geneva have to contend with another signature Chinese tactic: coordinated interference by diplomats and delegates from Beijing-backed non-governmental organizations. These astroturf groups are known as GONGOs, or government-organized non-governmental organizations, a play on the acronym NGO.

China has an army of GONGO officials at its disposal in Geneva, especially when its record is under review. According to a U.N. database, it has 47 NGOs from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau that are allowed to participate in meetings at the Human Rights Council. At least 34 of these are GONGOs, a Reuters calculation shows. These groups are either overseen by government ministries or Communist Party bodies, or have a current or retired party or government official as their head.

“We are well aware of, and disturbed by, the presence of NGOs that are not truly independent – again, from quite a few countries,” said U.N. High Commissioner Zeid. “But the Human Rights Council cannot do anything to prevent them from attending sessions when they enjoy official status.”

Evading scrutiny

China’s campaign is working, diplomats and activists say. The ruling Communist Party has succeeded in evading censure of its rights record at the U.N. in recent years. NGOs and alleged victims of human rights abuses on the mainland are struggling to make their voices heard.

“As long as they feel the political costs of intimidating someone are lower than the benefit of hearing the criticism, the practice will continue,” said Michael Ineichen, a director at the International Service for Human Rights. The NGO supports human rights defenders. The U.N. and member states, he said, must “increase the political costs so it’s no longer beneficial for China to silence people at the U.N.”

Ren Yisheng, minister counselor in charge of human rights at China’s mission in Geneva, denied his country was engaged in intimidating activists and silencing critics. China is currently one of the 47 rotating members of the council.

Olympic protest: Tibetan monk Golog Jigme, who said he was
arrested by Chinese authorities after making a movie on the
2008 Beijing Olympics, protesting in Lausanne, Switzerland,
where Beijing presented its candidacy for the 2022 Winter
Olympics in June.
Reuters/ Ruben Sprich
Ren said China was the victim of a double standard in Geneva. “I seldom hear the (European Union) criticize the U.S. for ... police brutality, Guantanamo, surveillance, the discrimination against minorities,” he said in an August interview at the Chinese mission. “I seldom hear the U.S. criticize the EU or other developed countries. Whenever they take the floor, they always focus on developing countries, including my country.”

Actually, Beijing is feeling less pressure from Western governments at the U.N. these days. No nation has brought a resolution against China since the Human Rights Council was formed in 2006. In the council’s predecessor body, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, 11 resolutions were brought against China from 1990 to 2005. Beijing blocked them all, except in 1995 when a resolution was brought to a vote but rejected, according to Human Rights Council spokesman Rolando Gomez.

Joachim Ruecker, Germany’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, is the current president of the council. He said he’d heard of reports of harassment of activists by China before he became president in January. But since taking up his new post, he said he had not been confronted with any new allegations regarding China.

Asked about the photographing of Golog Jigme, Ruecker said: “This case was not brought to my attention. If I do receive such complaints, or any other such case which might be perceived as an act of intimidation, I would follow up accordingly.”

Domestic crackdown

Under President Xi Jinping, China is conducting what activists say is the worst domestic crackdown on human rights in two decades. Close to 1,000 rights activists were detained last year – nearly as many as in the previous two years combined, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, a coalition of Chinese and international NGOs.

The number of activists barred by China from going to Geneva is also rising. In 2014, authorities prevented 10 people from travelling to the U.N. by refusing to issue passports, confiscating travel documents or threatening reprisals, according to Thomas Shao, an independent Chinese rights activist in London. Six were blocked in 2013 and four in 2012, he said.

One of the activists prevented from attending in 2013 was veteran rights advocate Cao Shunli. She was detained in September that year at the airport as she was leaving Beijing to head to Geneva for a training session.

The next month, authorities told Cao to sign an official arrest document charging her with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” though she refused to sign it, the watchdog group Human Rights in China said soon afterward. That June, Cao had organized a sit-in outside the foreign ministry in Beijing, demanding that activists be allowed to participate in preparing China’s human rights report to the U.N.

Cao suffered from liver disease and later contracted tuberculosis in detention, according to her lawyer, Wang Yu. Her family and lawyers complained she was being denied essential medical care. On March 14 last year, her family arrived at a military hospital in Beijing to learn that the 52-year-old activist had died. Her death rocked China’s fledgling rights community.
Blacklisted: China regularly asks the U.N. to bar Uighur
leader Rebiya Kadeer from attending sessions of the Human
Rights Council.
Reuters/Mick Tsikas

The Chinese mission’s Ren said Cao refused medical treatment. She was barred from traveling because she organized protests outside the foreign ministry, said Ren. “By gathering so many people to provoke that trouble and make social disorder,” Ren said, “she had already violated the law.”

In March last year, China blocked a request by NGOs for a minute’s silence at the U.N. in Geneva to commemorate Cao’s death. One Western diplomat, who asked not to be named, said China successfully used its economic leverage to convince countries to oppose the idea.

“This gave China a new level of confidence about what they can do (at the rights council) if their core interests are at risk,” said the diplomat, who has observed Chinese officials snapping pictures of NGO members.

China's blacklist

Beijing also exerts pressure on the U.N. to deny accreditation to high-profile activists outside China.

Two U.N. officials, who spoke on condition they not be named, said Beijing regularly urges the U.N. to bar at least 10 activists from attending the Human Rights Council sessions. Beijing brands these people as “splittists, terrorists or criminals,” one of the officials said.

Crackdown: Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, activists say
authorities are conducting the most far-reaching domestic
campaign against human rights in two decades.
Reuters/Carlos Barria
Those on Beijing’s black list, the officials said, include the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and two leaders of the World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa and Rebiya Kadeer. The most recent instance was ahead of September’s council session, they said.

The two U.N. officials said the organization tells Beijing that these activists do not pose a security threat. This year, Isa said he attended sessions in March, June and September, but Kadeer did not.

Ren said China sends a “note verbale,” or diplomatic communication, to the council when it sees that Kadeer or Isa are attending. China has evidence that the World Uyghur Congress is linked to terrorist activity and this constitutes a “threat for the Council,” he said. Council spokesman Gomez said the U.N. had “never prevented” the Uighur body from attending meetings in Geneva. The Uighurs are a Muslim ethnic minority that resides largely in western China.

The U.N. takes measures to protect some China critics. Isa of the World Uyghur Congress said he was shadowed by a U.N. guard during his visit to the council in October 2013, when China was under scrutiny as part of a periodic review of its rights record. Two veteran U.N. security guards confirmed that Isa is one of the Chinese activists who are regularly assigned special protection.

For those activists who make it to Geneva, the Chinese state is never far away. Besides Golog Jigme, seven other activists who have spoken out against human rights abuses in China told Reuters they have also been photographed without their consent at the council.

A foreign passport is no protection. Ti-Anna Wang, a Canadian citizen, is the 26-year-old daughter of jailed Chinese dissident Wang Bingzhang. She said she was unnerved in March 2014 when an official from the China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture, one of Beijing’s GONGOs, photographed her during a meeting of the council.

“As long as they feel the political costs of intimidating someone are lower than the benefit of hearing the criticism, the practice will continue.” 
Michael Ineichen, rights activist, on China’s conduct at the Human Rights Council.

“He had a tablet that was hidden inside his jacket and the camera part was pointing out,” Wang said.

The Tibetan culture association describes itself as an NGO. But according to its website, many of its top executives are also government or Communist Party officials. In 2010, Jia Qinglin, then a member of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, China’s supreme ruling body, told the association’s members that they had to “expose and criticize the reactionary nature of the Dalai (Lama) clique splitting the motherland.”

Two letters reviewed by Reuters show that in Ti-Anna Wang’s case, the U.N. council took action. According to a letter dated March 24, 2014, a Chinese delegate of the Tibetan association, Yao Yuan, had his accreditation revoked by the U.N. for taking the pictures. The lack of a response from China to that letter prompted a second letter two months later, saying that Yao’s badge and accreditation would “remain revoked until further notice.” Wang isn’t referred to by name in the letters, which were written on official U.N. stationery.

The China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture did not respond to questions about the incident.

Shaken: Ti-Anna Wang, a Canadian citizen, said she was
unnerved after a Chinese official photographed her last year
during a council session with a partially concealed tablet
device. Wang is the daughter of jailed Chinese activist Wang
Reuters/Hyungwon Kang
Activists say China is sometimes using sheer numbers to stymie criticism. Ineichen, of the International Service for Human Rights, said he watched a Chinese diplomat “directing individuals who were posing as NGO staff, to basically occupy as many seats as possible,” at a review last year of China’s record on economic, social and cultural rights.

‘I meant no harm’

It was three hours before Golog Jigme was set to deliver his speech at a side event of the Human Rights Council session when he spotted Zhang photographing him in the Serpentine café. The café is situated two floors below the domed room where the council meets.

After snapping the picture, Zhang walked away and bought a sandwich, taking it outside to a terrace. The following day, as Zhang emerged from a council session, a Reuters reporter approached the Chinese diplomat and asked him about the incident. He denied photographing the Tibetan. Zhang said he was simply taking a panoramic shot of the space and was unaware it was against U.N. rules.

Zhang said he was based in Beijing but declined to give his title. He is listed as first secretary in the Department of International Organizations and Conferences in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the roster of delegates for the Human Rights Council session that Beijing submitted to the U.N.

“I meant no harm,” Zhang said, taking out his phone and quickly swiping through the stored images. “I did not take his picture, I can definitely tell you.” He declined to show Reuters the images.

Ren offered a different explanation: “The Serpentine bar has a big glass window,” he said. “He might be taking the view of Mont Blanc. Who knows? I mean, there happened to be a monk sitting there.”

In Geneva, Golog Jigme was the first to speak at the side event. Two Chinese diplomats and a representative from a Chinese GONGO were in the audience. The monk described how he was detained and tortured.

The State Council Information Office in Beijing did not respond to questions about Golog Jigme’s arrest or his allegations of torture.

Murder charge

After Golog Jigme spoke, rights activists followed with speeches criticizing China’s treatment of Tibetans, Uighurs and ethnic Mongolians.

The moderator then called for questions. Liu Huawen, a representative from an organization called the China Society for Human Rights Studies, raised his hand.

“We should not just talk about your story, but we better have solid evidence and resources and information,” Liu said in a challenge to the monk’s account. Other countries also deprive criminals of political rights, Liu said.

Founded in 1993, the China Society for Human Rights Studies describes itself as the “largest national NGO in the field of human rights in China.” It’s headed by Luo Haocai, a former vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top parliamentary advisory body.

Liu told Reuters he did not have much contact with the Chinese mission in Geneva. “We are not so stupid as to bully minorities,” he said.

Video: 'Caving in to China' 

China denies it’s trying to intimidate critics of its human rights record, saying it
is the victim of a double standard. Reuters/Eve Johnson

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Radio Free Asia

A Shanghai-based rights activist who once spent months camped out at Tokyo's Narita International Airport after being repeatedly denied re-entry to China has now been refused permission to leave, he told RFA on Tuesday.

Feng Zhenghu, a prominent economist-turned-activist, spent 92 days camped out in the Tokyo airport's immigration hall in 2009-2010 before finally being allowed back home to China following an overseas trip.

Now, he has been told he can't leave China.

Feng Zhenghu is shown at Shanghai's Pudong Airport
Oct. 5, 2015.
Photo courtesy of Zhenghu
"This is the first time I have tried to leave the country in five years, and I had thought there wouldn't be a problem," Fen told RFA on Tuesday after being refused permission to board China Airlines flight CA919 to Japan, at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.

"The excuse given by the Beijing police department said that [my departure] would likely harm state security," he said.

Feng's friend Chen Qiyong said he had tried to remain in contact with Feng inside the airport, but that all calls had been cut off.

"When he came out, he said that the state security police wouldn't let him use his phone," Chen said. "They also said it was a decision that came down from Beijing."

Nationwide operation

Feng said he believes the travel ban is part of a nationwide police operation targeting lawyers and rights defenders who use the legal system.

"I think this has to do with the continuation of the huge operation to detain and summon lawyers, as well as rights activists," he said.

According to the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group, at least 288 lawyers, law firm staff, human right activists, and family members have been detained, questioned by police, forbidden to leave the country, held under residential surveillance, or are simply missing.

While 255 have since been released, the rest remain under some form of surveillance or criminal detention in a crackdown that began with the detention of Beijing-based rights lawyer Wang Yu and her colleagues at the Fengrui law firm on the night of July 9-10, it said.

Others barred from leaving

Guangdong-based rights lawyer Liu Zhengqing, who was himself prevented from leaving China last month, said more than a dozen people have been declined permission to leave for exactly the same reason in recent weeks.

Rights lawyer Wen Donghai said that authorities have acted illegally in preventing people from leaving the country.

"It is the right of a citizen to have the freedom to travel, and the government has no power to interfere," Wen said. "But they are using the trumped-up excuse of state security to stop them."

He cited the case of Wang Yu's teenaged son Bao Mengmeng, who was refused permission to leave China to study overseas.

"I am extremely angry about that ... but it is unlikely that he will try again, because he's just a kid, and his parents are detained right now," Wen said.

Since being allowed home in 2010, Feng has continued to speak out on behalf of petitioners, ordinary Chinese who pursue complaints about the government, often for decades and in spite of extrajudicial detentions, beatings, and other forms of mistreatment.

In 2012, the authorities detained him without legal procedure for 268 days under house arrest at his Shanghai apartment.

Reported by Wen Yuqing for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Qiao Long for the Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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By Sui-Lee Wee and Stephanie Nebehay

Editor's note: This article is part of a series titled 'The Long Arm of China.' Click here to read another report from this series.

Golog Jigme says his troubles started after he made a documentary with a Tibetan filmmaker exploring how Tibetans felt about the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The footage was smuggled out to Switzerland, where it was made into a film called "Leaving Fear Behind." Soon after the Olympics, the Tibetan monk was arrested by Chinese authorities on charges of divulging state secrets and inciting separatism, he said.

Dying for Tibet: A woman throws a white scarf over Tibetan
Buddhist nun Palden Choetso as she burns on a street in Daofu
in Sichuan Province, China, in November 2011. A wave of
self-immolations by Tibetan protesters has shaken China.
Reuters/Students For A Free Tibet via Reuters TV
On March 16, in the building of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, he described in detail how Chinese security officials beat him severely many times, breaking his ribs and dislocating his knee joints. His voice rising, he spoke about how he was chained to a "tiger chair" – a chair that kept his hands and feet shackled – for 10 hours when he was detained the first time.

He showed a Reuters reporter indents on his wrists, which he said were scars left from being chained to the "tiger chair." Reuters was not able to independently verify Golog Jigme’s account of his treatment.

Released after seven months, he was detained again in 2009 for four months, he said. In September 2012, he was arrested again and accused of instigating a wave of self-immolation protests and revealing state secrets. Since 2011, 142 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against China's policies in Tibet, according to the International Campaign for Tibet.

While in custody, Golog Jigme said police officers told him they would transfer him to a military hospital to receive injections, even though he was not ill. The monk said he believed they intended to kill him, so he decided to escape. On September 30, 2012, he was going to the bathroom when he found a pin on the ground, he said.

Tibetan plea: Members of the Students for a Free Tibet
organization display a banner in front of the European
headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva in October 2013.
Reuters/Denis Balibouse
He used the pin to open his leg cuffs, fled the detention centre and hid in the mountains of Gansu province for two months. From the mountains, Golog Jigme said he first headed to the western province of Qinghai and then to exile in India, before arriving in Zurich in January this year. The monk said he did not want to divulge all the details of his escape route.

The foreign ministry in Beijing and the governments of Gansu and Linxia - the city where Golog Jigme was detained - did not respond to questions from Reuters.

While hiding in the mountains after his jailbreak, Golog Jigme heard that he had been charged with murder. Chinese authorities are charging some Tibetans with murder if they are accused of inciting self-immolations, according to a document issued jointly by China’s top court, prosecutor’s office and public security authorities.

The accusation was baseless, the monk told the Geneva audience. He considered setting himself on fire in front of a police station, he said, “as a protest and to prove my innocence.”


The Long Arm of China

By Sui-Lee Wee and Stephanie Nebehay

Photo editing: Thomas White

Design: Catherine Tai

Video: Eve Johnson

Editing: Peter Hirschberg and David Lague

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The Epoch Times
By Sarah Le, Epoch Times | October 5, 2015
Last Updated: October 5, 2015 9:21 pm

Much of today’s news coverage of China is optimistic, focusing on what analysts perceive as steps the country is taking toward a more developed legal and financial system amidst continued economic growth.

At a human rights seminar at California State University, San Marcos, on Oct. 1, a diverse five-member panel gave a very different testimony about what they call the “real China.”

Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015, speaks at a human
rights seminar at California State University, San Marcos,
Calif. on Oct. 1 (Andrew Li/Epoch Times)
The forum was organized by the Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS) in response to recent disturbing events in China, including what’s been dubbed “Black Friday,” a day that coincidentally has nothing to do with shopping and everything to do with the mass arrest of at least 200 human rights lawyers on July 10. CGS states their sources say the number is closer to 2,000.

The forum also corresponded with Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the United States, which was entrenched in talks of economic development and climate change initiatives.

“This is precisely what the Chinese government wants Western countries to focus on: how China is making new laws and to believe China is making progress towards rule of law. I used to believe that too,” said Chinese human rights attorney and panel member Yong Feng Peng.

“My personal experience, however, gave me a completely different reality.”

‘Ruled by Lies’

Peng, as a former attorney with the Hebei Hope law firm in Hebei Province, is a first-hand witness of the treatment of human rights and democracy advocates, those who protest being forcibly evicted from their homes, and persecuted religious and spiritual groups in China, especially the meditation practice Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa.

For the past 16 years, Falun Gong practitioners have been often arrested for doing simple exercise movements, reading certain books, or having so-called incorrect thoughts. They are placed in forced labor camps, tortured, and pressured to renounce their faith.

Peng said after years of unsuccessfully doing his best to defend these people in China who had clearly been wronged, he felt he had been doing anything but actually practicing law.
China is not ruled by law, but ‘ruled by lies.’
— Yong Feng Peng, human rights attorney
He said China is not ruled by law, but “ruled by lies.”

The most shocking example of the mistreatment of these “prisoners of conscience” is a regime-sanctioned program where prisoners are tissue matched to patients in need of organ transplants and killed on demand in a lucrative process called organ harvesting. The organs are sold to wealthy Chinese and medical tourists.

According to Amnesty International, China executes more people than the rest of the world combined.

“China lied for years and said they weren’t using any of these organs for transplants,” said panelist Professor Greg Autry from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, co-author and co-producer of the book and film “Death by China.”

“But everybody could see from the data that being an organ donor was not a popular thing in China for a number of historical reasons, and they didn’t really have an organ donor list.”

Chinese authorities finally admitted in 2009 that most organ transplants came from prisoners.

A Modern-Day Holocaust

“It’s almost hard to believe this,” said Autry of the practice of organ harvesting in China. “But Americans couldn’t believe the stories that were coming out of Nazi Germany before and even during the World War II. It wasn’t until after, when the camps were liberated, that we saw [everything].”

Also on the panel was former Canadian parliament member and Nobel Prize nominee David Kilgour, who has researched allegations of forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China for a decade.
When you talk about the Holocaust, it’s astonishingly similar.
— David Kilgour, former Canadian parliament member
“When you talk about the Holocaust, it’s astonishingly similar,” said Kilgour.

Kilgour, along with Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, estimated that 40,000 to 60,000 people were killed by the year 2005 for their organs in China. Another researcher, Ethan Gutmann, estimated the death toll to be 65,000 from the year 2000 to 2007 in his book “The Slaughter.” The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

Kilgour shared the direct account of one organ recipient from an undisclosed country who traveled to China. The recipient said doctors checked a list of names, left for a few hours, and came back eight times with eight different sets of kidneys before finding one that matched the man’s blood and tissue type. It was clear that eight people had been killed so this man could have a kidney transplant.

A resolution was introduced this summer in the U.S. Congress condemning China’s organ harvesting crimes by Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida. According to, the bill has 120 co-sponsors.

“I think it’s important to do the right thing and condemn the organ harvesting both at a personal level and to have our government have the courage to stand up and do this,” said Autry. “I applaud the members who are willing to take a stand on this issue.”

However, Autry said Americans should put pressure on companies who have outsourced to China, since they help provide funding to the Chinese regime for such crimes.

Oppression Beyond China

Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015, who flew in from Toronto, was also on Thursday’s panel. She was crowned in May and plans to attend the Miss World contest on Dec. 19 in Sanya, China, even though her outspoken human rights advocacy has raised questions about whether she will be allowed into the country.

Nine years ago, Lin was told by a former Miss World Canada that pageantry was a good way to advocate for a noble cause. Lin took that to heart, and now speaks out for those persecuted in China, such as Uyghurs, Tibetans, Christians, and Falun Gong.

After Lin was crowned, she said her father in China was happy. But just a few days later, he contacted her and asked her to stop talking about human rights. He said Chinese security forces had come to see him.
My father begged me in a text message, ‘Would you please leave us a way to survive in China?’ And that really broke my heart.
— Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015
“My father begged me in a text message, ‘Would you please leave us a way to survive in China?’ And that really broke my heart,” she said.

She said she spent a week crying, not knowing what to do. But finally, she decided she could not give in, or else the oppression would never stop. She realized the best way to help her father was to bring international attention to the issue.

Lin shared her story with Canadian media and then wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post. Other major media groups also covered the story.

Lin said the convictions of Falun Gong practitioners who have been tortured in China have touched her deeply.

“What inspired me was not how much hardship these people went through,” she said. “It’s that they still have a very positive outlook, and they face the world still with compassion.”

Hope for China and the World

Lin said she is not only speaking out on behalf of those who are persecuted, she is also hoping to awaken the conscience of people like her father, who have been through such terrors as the Cultural Revolution and are immobilized by fear.

“Their minds and beliefs have been so confined to a point that they don’t even remember that they have a choice,” she said.
Their minds and beliefs have been so confined to a point that they don’t even remember that they have a choice.
— Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015
Dr. Chen shared a similar goal of also touching the hearts of those outside China. He believes many Western politicians and media groups self-censor themselves and turn away from China’s human rights issues because of business and economic interests. However, he said they would eventually have to choose how to respond to the wealth of evidence of the horrifying crimes perpetrated by the Chinese regime.

Dr. Chen also said Falun Gong practitioners in China and around the world have been persistent in exposing the abuses they have faced, somewhat changing the situation in China. On May 1 of this year, China’s Supreme People’s Court began to accept written complaints without exception, instead of automatically dismissing them as they did in the past.

Since then, nearly 180,000 people have brought complaints against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for beginning the persecution of Falun Gong in July 1999.
I believe the future of China’s human rights is now, because the tide has turned. It is those who are against history who are at risk, including many of our political leaders in this country.
— Dr. Shizhong Chen, president, Conscience Foundation and FGHRWG
“I believe the future of China’s human rights is now, because the tide has turned,” said Dr. Chen. “It is those who are against history who are at risk, including many of our political leaders in this country.”

Panelist Greg Autry urged more people to pay attention to human rights in China and understand that the issues do affect their lives.

“When you don’t pay attention to the sufferings of others, you compromise your own integrity,” said Autry. “At the same time, you also put your own rights at risk.”

The human rights panel on Thursday was attended by local community members, university students, and high school students, many of whom had never heard of the issues discussed.

Alex Raydan, a senior at Rancho Buena Vista High School, attended the event with his friends to get community participation credits for class. He said he learned a lot and the event was deep and touching.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of [Falun Gong], and I’m really shocked that I haven’t before, because this seems like a very important global issue,” he said. “I’ve really gotten motivated to say something or start acting in a way that will help the situation in China.”

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The Tibet Post International
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 21:35│Yeshe Choesang, Tibet Post International

Geneva — During the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, on 21 September 21, Luxembourg speaking on behalf of the EU and the United States, expressed deep concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in China, Tibet and Eastern Turkestan (Ch: Xinjiang).

The criticisms came under Agenda Item 4 of the session titled 'Human Rights Situation that requires the Council's attention'.The EU Delegation Mr Jean Marc Hoscheit, condemned the human rights situation inside China including inside Tibet and Eastern Turkestan.

It said, "In China, the recent mass arrest of human rights lawyers and human rights defenders has raised serious questions about its commitment to strengthening the rule of law."

A general view of participants during Geneva Peace Talks,
18 September 2015, UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
"China should release all those detained for seeking to protect the rights of others and for exercising their freedom of expression and association, including Liu Xiaobo, Ilham Tohti, Gao Yu and Pu Zhiqiang," it said.

"China should also promote an enabling environment for civil society activity and take into account deep concerns about the draft law on foreign NGOs and the recently adopted national security law.

Lastly, the EU urges China to address the root causes of unrest and foster dialogue with and between different ethnic groups, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang," the EU delegation stated.

The US Permanent Representative Mr Keith Harper delivered a statement which called upon the Council's attention and commented "China has detained nearly 300 lawyers and activists since July; we call for the immediate release of 27 who are still in custody, as well as Ilham Tohti, Shokjang, Zhang Kai, Pu Zhiqiang, Gao Yu and Liu Xiaobo."

"Draft NGO and national security laws unreasonably constrict civil society. We urge China to cease undue restrictions on religion in Tibet and Xinjiang and stop church demolitions and cross removals in Zhejiang, which contravene international standards," the US Representative said.

Other countries, including Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, France, UK, France and Switzerland, have stood by the EU statement, expressing concern over "human rights violations" in China, Tibet and Eastern Turkestan, especially the recent abductions and detentions of "human rights lawyers and activists."

Simultaneously, on behalf of the Society for Threatened People, NGO in Special Consultative Status, Mr Dawa Tsultrim from the Office of Tibet, Switzerland, delivered an oral statement during the 1st session under Agenda Item 4 and submitted a written statement.

Germany raised concerns over about the human rights situation in China and urged China to reconsider the adoption of laws that would restrict freedom of expression.
Mr. Frank Jarasch, Counsellor and Head of Political Affairs of Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN said, "Germany alliance itself with the statement made on behalf of the EU. Germany is worried about human rights situation in China and it has continued to deteriorate.

"We urged the government to immediately release all detained human rights defenders. We remained particularly concerns about the situation of journalist Gao Yu, lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and Uyghur professor Ilham Tohti," Mr Jarasch said.

"We also urge the government to reconsider the draft law for foreign NGOs. This law in conjunction with the recent draft national security law and draft counterterrorism law, which potentially restricts independent civil society and freedom of expression," he added.

Switzerland expressed concerns about the human rights situation in China. "Switzerland remained concerned with the reactions of the Chinese authorities against more than 200 lawyers and their families in China. We call upon the Chinese authorities to guarantee their fundamental rights, includes the right of access to a lawyer," said Ms Barbara Fontana.

United Kingdom raised concerns over the human rights situation in China. "UK remains concern by restriction of freedom of expression in China. That incldudes recent detention of defense lawyers such as Wang Yu. We urge authorities to release all these individuals to hold their peaceful expression of views," said Mr Ian Duddy.

Belgium then raised concerns over human rights violations in China. It called on "China to put an end to repressive measures against political opponents and activists."

Human Rights Watch said that the Council had demonstrated inefficiency in human rights protection all over the world. "China, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan also required further attention of the Council. "

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues called on all States to urge China to cease its targeting of human rights defenders and to immediately release those arbitrarily detained.

"The Chinese government embarked on a sweeping and systematic effort to harass, detain, and silence human rights defenders and lawyers, their supporters and colleagues, and even their families," Mr Nicolas Agostini said, adding: "The Council should speak out strongly against such blatant backpedalling on human rights by a Member State."

"We call on all States to use the platform of the Council to urge China to cease its targeting of human rights defenders; immediately release all those arbitrarily detained; respect and enable the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly; and provide for transparent investigations and adequate remedies for those affected," Mr Agostini further added.

In response, China said that "human rights issues should not be used for interference in other countries' internal affairs." China also refused accusations made during the session, including on China's ethnic policy.

The Human Rights Council said "speakers have raised allegations of human rights violations in countries and regions around the world and reiterated the Council's responsibility to address all situations of concern" that require the Council's attention.

The delegations "voiced concerns over restrictions on freedom of expression in a number of countries, and condemned attacks against civilians in conflict situations," the UNHRC said, adding they also "raised concerns relating to specific country situations."

The UN Rights Council also said that "Several speakers reiterated their concerns over the politicisation of this agenda item of the Council, and expressed support for a non-selective and dialogue-based approach instead."

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John Boozman; United States Senator for Arkansas
Sep 29 2015

With the Pope’s visit to the nation’s capital recently dominating the news headlines, you may have missed the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This visit comes at a time of great tension in US-China relations.

The downturn of the Chinese economy has directly impacted American businesses and our stock market, while creating uncertainty in the global economy. China’s new military developments in the disputed waters of the South China Sea have elevated anxieties in the region and around the world. The cyberattacks aimed at our government threaten our national security and undermine the basic level of trust necessary for future cooperation between our two nations.

Added to an alarming situation is an issue being left off the table by the Obama administration.

Human rights in China are under attack.

Under President Xi’s watch, China has advanced new laws to encourage media censorship, inhibit public dissent and legitimize religious, political, and ethnic discrimination. The State Security Law, the draft Cybersecurity Law and the draft Counterterrorism law, for example, contribute to a heavy-handed legal framework that stands in stark contrast to many of the freedoms we as Americans hold most dear.

Civil society faces pressure from all angles, as numerous non-governmental organizations face the prospect of closure and relocation in response to an ever more stringent regulatory atmosphere.

Religious communities and ethnic minorities find themselves increasingly marginalized as places of worship and religious symbols are systematically destroyed.

Involuntary abortions and, in some cases, sterilizations are forcibly performed on those who disobey government mandated reproductive restrictions.

Public dissent is largely nonexistent, as those who champion the freedom of speech or assembly are met with swift punishment. Activists, community organizers and human rights lawyers have time after time been victims of state sponsored harassment, commonly in the form of arbitrary charges and detainment. Since July, more than 250 human rights lawyers have been rounded up and jailed in one of China’s most recent attempts to quell public discourse.

Journalists in China fight an uphill battle as well, facing obstacles with the visa process, including delays and the constant threat of revocation. Access to reliable, impartial information in the country has always been an issue for its citizens and has become more difficult in recent years. The so-called “Great Firewall of China” is a barrier between the world’s largest market of Internet users and a range of social media sites and news outlets.

China’s failing human rights record is not only a concern for the people of China, but for anyone who values the fundamental principles from which our own nation was built. The freedoms of expression, press, assembly and religion, to name just a few, are essential in any modern society. People around the globe should live with these basic human rights.

We have a moral obligation to highlight these injustices and use our influence to change these policies. My colleagues recently launched the #FreeChinasHeroes Twitter campaign to spotlight cases and raise awareness of this injustice during President Xi’s visit. This, along with other efforts to call attention to human rights abuses in China, will hopefully help to bring change. The juxtaposition of the Pope's message to Congress pressing us to respect human life, with President Xi's record of abuse, can help shine a light on a problem too important to ignore.

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Zhang Kai
(Stock photo courtesy of Zhang Kai)
China Aid
Translated from Chinese by Brynne Lawrence and Carolyn Song. Edited in English by Ava Collins

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Oct. 5, 2015) The father of noted human rights lawyer Zhang Kai has released a testimony regarding his son’s work defending churches against cross demolitions in China’s coastal Zhejiang. Within are his reactions to his son’s mission and his difficulty in finding information regarding his son’s condition or secretive detention. A translation of his testimony can be found below:

Zhang Kai and two colleagues of his were taken away in the dead of night on Aug. 25. As Zhang Kai’s father, I was informed the next day by asking his lawyer friends. It is shocking, confusing and unbelievable. Just the day before, Zhang Kai was happily telling me over the phone: “Today churches and Wenzhou local authorities reached a consensus; crosses will not be demolished anymore!”

In a moment of half-belief, half-doubt, Yang Xingquan, the director of Zhang Kai’s Beijing Xinqiao Lawyers’ Affairs, released a “Stern Statement” on Aug. 26, strongly protesting Wenzhou authorities’ arrests of legal lawyers. Many lawyers and religious people I didn’t know expressed their comfort and concern towards me and said they would like to fight for Zhang Kai’s rights, but the development of the events remains unknown. I signed Lawyer Li Guisheng from Guizhou Hengqian Law Firms to represent Zhang Kai, and our whole family is waiting for the official notice and response from Wenzhou police, but nothing is known.

We feel that we cannot wait to hope again! On Aug. 31, I departed on a journey to look for my son in Wenzhou. Wenzhou is not a small city, and it was very hard to find anything about Zhang Kai’s current situation there. Before I came, lawyers from many places had already hurried to Wenzhou. They all wished to see Zhang Kai but could not. They wanted to know his specific situation, but police did not grant them this request or inform them.

On Sept. 2 at 11 a.m., under the accompaniment of lawyers, I went to Wenzhou’s police station and met briefly with two sergeants to ask questions.

I asked what time Zhang Kai was taken, to what location, and for what reason. They told me: “Zhang Kai is suspected of gathering a crowed to disturb social order and is a threat to national security. The police already sent you a notice on the 27th.”

I said, “As of today, I haven’t received the department’s notice. Where are you keeping him? Can I see him? What problem is he suspected of?”

“The place he’s being detained is a secret,” they said. “Neither you nor lawyers can see him. His information will be made public after the investigation.” Then they added, “You should teach your son better. He can’t behave disruptively. Your coming here is useless. If you have anything else to discuss, you can get a lawyer after this.”

Starting on Sept. 3, the lawyers accompanying me came to Wenzhou’s outer district to collect information on Zhang Kai’s work in Wenzhou. The same day, Zhang Kai’s mother, who is in Hohhot, received a notice in the mail, which said: “According to the provisions of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China Article 73, authorities have put [Zhang Kai] under house arrest on 08/27/2015 for gathering a mob to disturb social order [and] for stealing, prying, purchasing, and illegally gathering state secrets or intelligence. [Inscribed] Wenzhou City Police” followed by the official seal and date.

I stared at this notice, which had taken eight days to arrive, and read it repeatedly, attempting to find the reason behind Zhang Kai’s charges and the possibility [of them being correct] by comparing them to everywhere he’d been in Wenzhou. Zhang Kai’s work was to get people together so he could spread the knowledge of the law. Wherever I go, people say: “Zhang Kai incessantly explains the law everywhere he goes,” or “Whether he was in the streets, in villages, in churches, or just meeting people by chance, he was explaining the law.” More and more, the people wanted to hear him explain the law. He gathered large crowds to study and explain the law. He was preparing a gathering for a law training class, which would go into publicizing common law and discussing the special topic of law and code, but the local authorities canceled it.

In order to allow more to people study, understand and protect the law, Zhang Kai was the editor-in-chief for “The Manual for Preserving the Rights of the Cross.” This hardcover printed book was sent to many Wenzhou churches. Everybody seemed to have one. This manual, using the form of questions and answers, looked into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, Administrative Enforcement Law, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Urban and Rural Planning, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Supervision, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Assemblies, Processions and Demonstrations, and other items, including a collection of 28 basic legal clauses, with replies centering on demolitions, law enforcement, protection, and various aspects of preserving human rights’ “eight big questions.” This manual, which was interpreted carefully and read loudly, has greatly increased awareness of the law among church members. Local people raised their voices together, saying: “Listen to Zhang Kai’s common law training. We came to understand that, originally, there are legal roots for and against cross demolitions…” A brother surnamed Yang said: “The day several hundred people destroyed the cross, I protested and yelled: ‘The way you work needs to be in accordance with the law!’ but the destructors replied as they wished, saying, ‘What is the law? We are the law!’” As a result, brother Yang was detained for more than ten days for using his electric bicycle without a license, even though electric bicycles don’t need licenses.

Zhang Kai and a crowd of churches fearlessly protested illegal demolitions and publicly preserved rights according to the law. According to my understanding, in the last two years, Zhejiang province’s government has destroyed approximately 1,000 Catholic and Protestant church crosses. The situation is not always the same for these demolitions. Many have certificates, some don’t. Some are authorized, but not for demolition. These procedures should be in accordance with the law. At night, they resort to stealing, demolishing, breaking doors, pounding on walls, intimidation and raids. Protestors face authorities, who do not acknowledge the historical background and objective reality and take actions that illegally destroy rights. Zhang Kai and a crowd of church members were indignant and organized a powerful protest against the demolitions. They carried out a collective protection effort, alternating who was on duty as they guarded the cross by singing, praying, shouting slogans and other methods. In regards to preventing open conflict, an insider said: “As Zhang Kai has already repeatedly emphasized, a nation that preserves human rights is a rational civilization and definitely will not fight over [something trivial]. Christians want to respect themselves and also cherish the place they live. They will pay the small price, fight for grand results and fight for common order and the safety of the people on both sides” The person also gave an analysis, saying: “The government sends around 300-1,000 people to demolish crosses with wide-scale mechanical coordination, which means a high expense. The average city spends 1,000,000 Yuan (U.S. $156,00), but we paid with enormous emotion and lesser manpower…”

Many people said that Wenzhou has many people who commend Zhang Kai as a hero and a warrior brimming with passion. But he is also very rational and steady. Zhang Kai often said to those around him: “Our every action needs to be in accordance with Jesus Christ’s decrees and inside the law’s permitted limits. Demonstration parades are permissible, but you must listen and be subject to legal procedures.”

At this time, I am silent and continuously pondering. Kai, my son! How many times have you promised: “I am certain that I want to support the Lord’s impartial justice and work in accordance with the law. Dad, be confident; your work cannot violate the law. More and more, I believe the government’s actions can be in accordance with the law. I believe that the government can support the Lord’s equitable justice.” But now you have been detained, and since you were taken into that situation, we know so little…

On Sept. 4, I made a trip, driven by purpose, to Xialing Church, where Zhang Kai lived and worked until the police arrested him. It is enclosed on three sides and surrounded by a garden with three floors. The church members were there to receive me. Before my eyes, the tattered remnants from after the demolitions were strewn along the steps in front of the main gate and along the sides. As we talked and walked, one of the church members told me: “Zhang Kai came here for many meetings, prayers and legal announcements. Here, he also often met with multitudes to give advice and have discussions. He was always very busy, and his work would often go deep into the night, sometimes even all night.”

After 10 p.m. on Aug. 25, approximately 10 police officers suddenly came over the wall and entered the courtyard, breaking into the residence where Zhang Kai lived with his two assistants. First, they captured them, then brought them to the lower floor’s gate and searched their room for approximately one hour, confiscating computers, cell phones and other items. They took them all away. At this time, I am heavy-hearted when I think of them. This residence, where [they] labored and lived, turned into a corral.

I have brought a Bible and several changes of clothes for each of them. I am prepared to go back to Wenzhou’s Municipal Public Security Bureau to ask again about their situation.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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