Amnesty International posted the following story in regards to the arrest of over 500 protesters in Hong Kong last week:

According to organizers, over 510,000 people took part in the 1 July protest march marking the 17th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

The previous day, student groups – the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism – who are both calling for “genuine universal suffrage” invited participants to join a sit-in after the march on Chater Road and in front of the Chief Executive Office in Central, Hong Kong’s business district. The protesters publicly announced both assemblies would end at 8 a.m. However, the police started to forcibly remove protesters from Chater Road at approximately 3 a.m.

In the early morning of 2 July, police arrested 511 people, mostly students, who took part in the sit-in at Chater Road. At 8am, the remaining approximately 50 protesters, left according to plan. Some of the 511 detained have complained that they were not provided with food and water and were not given access to legal representation for several hours during detention at the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Hang.

While the 511 have now all been released, twenty-five protesters who took part in the sit-in, most of them students, remain under investigation for “illegal assembly”, “organizing and assisting in an illegal assembly” and “obstruction in a public place”. These twenty-five were released on bail on 2 July but they are required to report to the police in late July and early August. They are at risk of having formal charges brought against them.

In the morning of 4 July, five members of Civil Human Rights Front, who organized the 1 July march were also arrested for investigation of delays during the march, mainly due to a slow-moving lead vehicle. It is uncertain whether the police will arrest more people for taking part in the protests.

Please sign a petition to Mr. Rimsky Yuen, SC, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice to demand the Hong Kong government to stop pursuing the charges against the peaceful protesters.

Amnesty International
28 May 2014

China: Persecution of Tiananmen activists exposes President Xi’s reform lies

The widespread persecution of activists in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown exposes the lie behind President Xi Jinping’s claims to be delivering greater openness and reform, said Amnesty International.

Dozens of activists have been detained, placed under house arrest or questioned by police in recent weeks for attempting to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protesters and civilians who were killed or injured in the crackdown.

“The 25th Tiananmen anniversary was a critical test for President Xi’s claims to be delivering greater openness. But Xi has opted for repression over reform,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, who is in Hong Kong this week to pay his respects to the victims of 4 June.

“The response by the Chinese authorities to the 25th anniversary has been harsher than in previous years, as they persist with trying to wipe the events of 4 June from memory.”

Those detained in recent weeks include human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang and prominent journalist Gao Yu. Others including Ding Zilin, spokesperson for the Tiananmen Mothers, have been placed under house arrest.

For 25 years, relatives of the victims have fought for justice at great personal cost. Most of the Tiananmen Mothers are now elderly, and a number of the original members of the group – both mothers and fathers – have passed away.

“China’s leaders must stop playing politics with history and instead deliver justice for the victims. These devastated families deserve a full and open account from their government,” said Salil Shetty.

“It’s not too late for Xi to change tack and we urge him to launch an open and independent investigation into the violent crackdown of 1989.”

Pervasive repression

Twenty-five years on from the bloodshed, the government continues to use any means necessary to prevent Chinese citizens from expressing opinions at odds with government rhetoric. It jails activists on trumped-up charges, and uses violence against those who seek to protect human rights within the current legal system.

2014 has seen a wider clampdown against citizens calling for reform – most notably those associated with the New Citizens Movement. Several leading activists associated with the network – whose calls for greater transparency and an end to corruption echo many of the calls made by the pro-democracy protests in 1989 – have received long prison sentences.

“This blatant disregard for the rule of law shows the government to be badly out of touch with the growing calls from Chinese citizens to participate in political life,” said Salil Shetty.

“If the leadership wants to demonstrate it is serious about living up to its promises to deepen reform, it must loosen its suffocating grip on freedom of speech and assembly.”

Amnesty International reiterates its calls on the Chinese government to:

  • Publicly acknowledge the human rights violations which occurred in the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989;
  • Launch an open and independent inquiry and hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable;
  • Provide compensation to victims of the 1989 crackdown and their families;
  • Cease harassment and prosecution of those commemorating or speaking out about the 1989 Tiananmen protests and those more generally exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
8 May 2014

China: Detention of journalist for leaking state secrets a ‘smokescreen’

The Chinese authorities are using trumped-up charges to target a prominent journalist who has been detained for disclosing state secrets, said Amnesty International.

Gao Yu, 70, is accused of sharing a ‘secret’ document with editors of a foreign website in August last year, Chinese state media reported on Thursday.

“Gao is the latest victim of China’s vaguely worded and arbitrary state secret laws which the authorities repeatedly use as a smokescreen to target activists,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

Gao is an outspoken campaigner for victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown. The past week has seen several prominent activists arrested ahead of the 25th anniversary of the crackdown on 4 June.

“The timing of Gao’s detention is highly dubious and raises serious questions as to the authorities’ true motives,” said Kultalahti.

Gao’s friends became concerned for her whereabouts when she failed to turn up to an event to commemorate the Tiananmen crackdown. State media have since confirmed that she was detained on 24 April.

According to media reports, Gao is accused of sharing a Communist Party ideological paper known as Document No. 9. Freedom of the press and freedom of thought all come under severe attack in the paper.

“The information contained in Document No. 9 in no way merits being classified as a state secret. If Gao is being held for sharing this document she must be immediately released,” said Kultalahti.

Son missing

On Thursday morning, China’s state television, CCTV, broadcast a confession from Gao, with her face blurred out.

Her son, Zhao Meng, has not been heard from since 24 April and may be being held as leverage against his mother.

“The TV confession proves nothing, and is likely to have been made under duress. Such a confession negates any chance of a fair trial,” said Kultalahti.

China’s vaguely worded state secret laws should be revised to include a clear and concise definition of state secrets, to ensure that punishment is only levied for actual harm to a legitimate national security interest and to eliminate retroactive classification of information. These laws have too often been used to punish activists for the legitimate exercise of their rights.

Amnesty International
7 May 2014

The Chinese authorities must immediately release all those detained for trying to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, Amnesty International said, following a spate of detentions in the past week.

At least five prominent activists have been detained in Beijing, while several others have been questioned by police, as the authorities attempt to suppress critics ahead of the 25th anniversary on 4 June.

“These latest detentions show how far the authorities are prepared to go to silence those that seek to remember the 1989 crackdown,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

“Twenty-five years on the authorities have once again chosen the path of repression rather than accept the need for an open discussion about what happened in 1989.” said Kultalahti.

On Tuesday, Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent human rights lawyer, was criminally detained on suspicion of “picking quarrels”, after he attended a weekend seminar in Beijing that called for an investigation into the 4 June crackdown.

Four other activists that also took part in the event – Xu Youyu, Liu Di, Hao Jian and Hu Shigen – have been detained on the same grounds. Under Chinese law, police can now hold all five activists until after 4 June.

“All those detained for attempting to mark the 25th anniversary must be released immediately and unconditionally. The persecution of those trying to remember the victims of the Tiananmen crackdown must end,” said Kultalahti.

There are increasing concerns for a leading Chinese journalist that covered the 1989 crackdown and has campaigned for justice since. Gao Yu was last heard from on 24 April.

Several other prominent activists have been questioned by police in an attempt to deter intimidate them from speaking out.

This includes Zhang Xianling whose son, Wang Nan, was killed in 1989. Zhang, along with other Tiananmen Mothers, has spent the last two decades fighting for justice for the victims of the 1989 crackdown.

Hundreds if not thousands of people were killed or injured during the military crackdown against protestors in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The 1989 crackdown remains an official taboo in China. Attempts to commemorate, discuss and demand justice for what happened are forcefully curbed, with no public discussion allowed.

Amnesty International
26 March 2014

China: Fear of cover-up as Cao Shunli’s body goes missing

The Chinese authorities must immediately let the family of deceased activist Cao Shunli see her body, said Amnesty International, as fears grow the authorities will cremate Cao to destroy any evidence of her mistreatment in detention.

Cao’s brother, Cao Yunli, and the family’s lawyer, Wang Yu were prevented from seeing her body when they visited 309 Military Hospital in Beijing on Wednesday.

Hospital staff claimed that Cao’s body was no longer being held there and refused to disclose any further details. Officials also rejected requests by the family for copies of Cao’s medical records.

“It appears the authorities will stop at nothing to hide what really happened to Cao Shunli. This has all the markings of a cover-up on the part of the authorities,” said Anu Kultalahti, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

Cao died from organ failure on 14 March at the hospital after six months in detention. Repeated requests by Cao’s family for her to receive medical treatment for serious health problems were repeatedly denied.

“The very least Cao Shunli’s family deserve is to find out the truth behind her death. They must be given immediate access to her body and medical records. The authorities must not cremate Cao without the explicit permission of her family,” added Anu Kultalahti.

Since Cao’s death, the authorities have claimed she did receive appropriate medical treatment in detention. The family have said that Cao’s body was covered in black and purple marks when she died.

“There needs to be an urgent, thorough, transparent and independent investigation, including an autopsy, into the circumstances of Cao’s death. The authorities must punish those responsible, whoever they are,” said Anu Kultalahti.

Cao was detained last September in Beijing as she attempted to travel to Geneva to attend a human rights training programme. She had led attempts to allow activists to contribute to China’s national human rights report, as part of the ongoing review at the UN.

Chinese officials at the UN in Geneva objected to a proposed minute of silence in her memory during a review of the country’s human rights record last week. Senior UN officials, including the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and several governments have expressed concern over Cao’s death.

Amnesty International
Urgent Action
UA 30/14
17 February 2014

HEALTH FEARS GROW AFTER LIU XIA HEART ATTACK

The wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xia, who is under illegal house arrest in Beijing, had a heart attack in January and has been diagnosed with a heart condition. She has been prevented from receiving the treatment she needs in hospital and there are increasing fears for her physical and mental health.

Liu Xia, 53, had a heart attack and was admitted to Beijing Shijingshan hospital for emergency treatment shortly before Chinese New Year in January. The doctor suggested that she be hospitalized for two weeks for further examination and treatment, but she was returned home.

On 8 February, she went back to the hospital under police escort, where she was diagnosed with a heart condition, which the doctors said required further treatment. Her family completed all the necessary forms and paid the hospital fees, however the hospital refused to admit her. She was returned home, where she continues to suffer from a high fever.

Liu Xia’s physical and mental health is worrying after a long period of isolation, and she is in need of proper and comprehensive medical treatment. In addition to her heart condition, it is believed she is suffering from severe depression. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since 8 October 2010, following the announcement that her husband, Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Please write immediately in English, Chinese or your own language:

  • Demanding that the authorities ensure Liu Xia has immediate access to any medical treatment she requires;
  • Calling on the authorities to lift all restrictions on her freedom of movement and expression.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Liu Xia, a poet and artist, remains under tight surveillance and prisoner in her home in Beijing since 8 October 2010, following the announcement that her husband, Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She cannot leave her home and is not allowed visitors.

Liu Xiaobo, prominent Chinese scholar, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. The Beijing Municipal No 1 Intermediate People’s Court sentenced him on 25 December 2009, after a two-hour trial on 23 December 2009, based on writing six articles distributed on websites hosted outside mainland China between 2005 and 2007 and devising Charter 08, soliciting signatures to it and publishing it online. Following her husband’s imprisonment, Liu Xia has been under illegal house arrest in Beijing. They are human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.

Since December 2012, her friends have been able to visit her from time to time but have to negotiate with the police standing guard outside her home. A Hong Kong journalist who tried to visit her at the end of March 2013 was beaten and briefly detained. Liu Xia’s brother, Liu Hui, was charged with fraud and tried on 23 April 2013. According to Liu Xia, who was able to attend the trial, the charge is political motivated and an additional way to put pressure on the family. There are increasing concerns for Liu Xia’s mental health, and it is believed she is suffering from severe depression.

Amnesty International has created a bi-lingual tumblr page for people to send messages or post photos to show their solidarity with Liu Xia: http://messagesforliuxia.tumblr.com/

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 31 MARCH 2014 TO:

Director of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau
Fu Zhenghua
No.9, Dongdajie, Qianmen,
Dongcheng District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
Fax: 011 86 10 6524 2927
Salutation: Dear Director

Dean of Beijing Shijingshan Hospital
Liu Peng
Shijingshan Hospital
No. 24 Shijingshan Road,
Shijingshan District, Beijing
People’s Republic of China
Tel: 011 86 10 88429999 (Chinese only)
Salutation: Dear Professor

And copies to:

Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee
Guo Jinlong Shuji
Beijingshi Weiyuanhui 3 Taijichangdajie,
Dongchengqu, Beijing 100743
People’s Republic of China
Tel: 011 86 10 65121118 (Chinese only)
Salutation: Dear Secretary

Also send copies to:

Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 495-2138
Email: chinaembassy_us@fmprc.gov.cn

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
26 January 2014

China: Xu Zhiyong four year jail sentence “shameful”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The persecution of those associated with the New Citizens Movement demonstrates how fearful the Chinese leadership are of public calls for change.

“Xu Zhiyong’s calls for justice and accountability are entirely legitimate. He is a prisoner of conscience and he should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Background

Last week a further two activists stood trial in Beijing for their activities linked to the New Citizens Movement; with another four are due to be tried on Monday.

Xu Zhiyong has described the “New Citizens’ Movement” as a peaceful cultural, social and political campaign.

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

Suggested activities for “New Citizens” include; practicing “New Citizen Responsibility” by rejecting corruption and by doing good for society; participating in civic life by holding meetings to discuss the political situation; helping the weak; and uniting to share and coordinate work.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
9 October 2013

China: End “outrageous” police violence against Tibetan protesters

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

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

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

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

The protesters had gathered to demand the release of a local Tibetan who had been detained on 29 September after speaking out against authorities’ efforts to force local families and monasteries to fly the Chinese flag.

According to the International Campaign for Tibet 40 others were detained on the same day, some of whom remain in detention and the whereabouts of the others remains unknown.

The 6 October incident is the second time in recent months that security forces have fired on a peaceful gathering of Tibetans. On 6 July, in Tawu, Sichuan province, at least ten Tibetans who had gathered to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday were injured.

Since the Tibetan mass protests of 2008 against Chinese rule, the Chinese authorities have stepped up repression in Tibetan areas and imposed intrusive, pervasive, military and security controls on the local population.

The authorities also continue to subject Tibetans to humiliating “patriotic education”, which forces them to denounce the Dalai Lama and express support for the Chinese Communist Party.

“Across the Tibetan region the situation remains tense, and the Chinese authorities are doing nothing to improve it by continuing to deny Tibetans their most basic human rights. The daily harassment and humiliating treatment have to end,” said Corinna-Barbara Francis.

About me & Disclaimer

I am a volunteer for Amnesty International USA. The opinion expressed on this blog does not represent the positions, strategies or opinions of AIUSA, AI headquarter in UK, or any other organization on planet earth.

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