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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.
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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
Public Statement
30 May 2013

Tiananmen crackdown 24 years on, still waiting for justice and denied a voice

The vivid scenes of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops quashing unarmed civilians on 3 and 4 June 1989 in and around Tiananmen Square still haunt many people around the world. In the past 24 years, the Chinese authorities continue to reject calls from activists to hold an open and independent inquiry into this violent military crackdown.

While the Chinese authorities have demonstrated a superb ability to adapt to economic changes, they have shown stubborn resistance to reforms that would improve human rights. Chinese authorities continue to have a low tolerance for the work of human rights defenders and often persecute both the defenders and their families. For the past two years, the Chinese authorities have held Liu Xia, wife of Liu Xiaobo, under illegal house arrest. Chen Kegui, the nephew of Chen Guangcheng, faced an unfair trial after his uncle’s escape, while his family continues to receive threats and harassment. The government similarly persecutes many who continue to criticize the 1989 military crackdown or those who publically commemorate its victims.

Amnesty International reiterates the call for an open and independent inquiry into the 1989 military crackdown and urges the Chinese authorities to guarantee their citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and protected in the Chinese Constitution and the new Criminal Procedure Law.

Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration” while Article 2 of the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) states that, “The tasks of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China are to […] to ensure respect for and safeguard human rights, and to protect citizens’ rights to person, rights to property, democratic rights and other rights”.

Attempts to commemorate, discuss and demand justice for what happened 24 years ago are forcefully curbed. The 1989 crackdown remains a major official taboo in China. No public discussion of it is allowed.

While there have been repeated calls from exiles, the momentum to demand justice inside China has met different challenges. Increasing numbers of the Tiananmen Mothers, an advocacy group composed mainly of 150 parents whose children were killed in the 1989 military crackdown, have repeatedly urged the Chinese authorities to prosecute and punish the perpetrators but a number of them, have passed away due to advanced age. It is reported that at least four more members died in the past year, which combined with previous deaths reduce their original numbers now by 32, with many of the remaining members suffering from poor health.

In the newly released white paper on Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2012, issued on 14 May, the Chinese government acknowledges the importance of the internet as a channel “for citizens to exercise their rights to know, participate, be heard and supervise, as well as an important means for the government to get to know the public’s opinions”. However, for those who search online for “June Fourth” information, or seek to air their views on this subject in social media platforms, their attempts end in vain. The so-called “Great Fire wall” continues to bar Chinese citizens from accessing information not sanctioned by the government. Websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are blocked. Available social media micro blogging sites such as Sina Weibo are censored. A number of words and phrases such as “June Fourth”, “Zhao Ziyang”, “democracy” and “human rights” have reportedly been banned from posts. Any publication containing such words will be removed.

At times, the Chinese authorities impose harsh prison sentences on writers, bloggers, journalists, academics, whistle-blowers and ordinary citizens who peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression, including publishing articles or posting comments online that advocate democratic reform and human rights.

In the lead up to the Tiananmen anniversary activists often experience harassment from authorities including: detention, monitoring of telephones and travel bans both inside and exiting China. Shenzhen-based activist Yu Gang was not allowed to leave home on 27 May, and his telephone and internet services were suspended. Yedu, an online activist, has been placed under house arrest starting 28 May and has been denied internet access. Shandong-based human rights defender Li Hongwei and approximately a dozen people gathering to commemorate the June Fourth anniversary were interrogated by the state police. Reportedly Li Hongwei was the last one to be released after being detained for approximately seven hours. Zhang Xianling, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers Group, was warned by the police not to go to Hong Kong with her husband, who had been invited as an advisor for a musical event, on the pretext that “the city is chaotic recently.” The couple did not heed this warning and continued to make their travel arrangements but the organizer of the musical event later rescinded their invitation saying “June Fourth is coming, and they should not come (to Hong Kong) during this sensitive time.”

As the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown approaches, Amnesty International urges the Chinese authorities to

  • launch an open and independent inquiry into the 1989 military crackdown and hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable;
  • publicly acknowledge the human rights violations which occurred;
  • cease harassment and prosecution of those exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly including those seeking reassessment of the 1989 Tiananmen protests and commemorating its victims and;
  • provide compensation to victims of the 1989 pro-democracy protests and their families.

Case updates:

The following individuals are still imprisoned for their peaceful web communications about the 1989 crackdown. Amnesty International considers them the prisoners of conscience and call for their immediate and unconditional release.

Chen Wei – On 23 December 2011, Chen Wei was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to nine years for 11 articles he had written in support of democracy and political reform. He was one of the leaders of the 1989 student democracy movement, for which he was imprisoned until January 1991. In May 1992, authorities arrested him again, this time for commemorating the anniversary of the 1989 student democracy movement and for organizing a political party. They sentenced him to five years for “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.”

Chen Xi – a veteran democracy activist from Guizhou province was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in December 2011 after being convicted of “inciting subversion of state power”, and 36 articles he had published on overseas websites advocating democratic reform were cited as evidence. He had earlier been sentenced to a three-year prison term for his activism during the 4 June 1989 democracy movement and was released in June 1992. In 1996, he was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in connection with his democracy activism He was released in 2005 upon completion of his term.

Zhu Yufu – a Zhejiang based democracy activist, was sentenced to seven years in February 2012 for “inciting subversion of state power” for writing a poem. He supported the students during the 1989 student democracy movement and afterwards was repeatedly summoned by the authorities. His wife Jiang Hangli has been appealing to authorities to release him on medical grounds due to his longstanding poor health, but these requests have been rejected. In April, his wife visited Zhu Yufu and subsequently said his head was swollen. She also reported that the prison authorities have cancelled his nutritious meals and have blocked him from sending and receiving letters.

Amnesty International
1 June 2012

Tiananmen – 23rd anniversary – Still no justice

On the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the Chinese military’s violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Amnesty International again calls on the government to hold an open and independent inquiry into the events of 1989.

Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed or injured on the night of 3 and 4 June when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) opened fire on unarmed civilians. To this day, the government bans public discussion of those events. Still, many brave Chinese have exercised their right to peacefully call on the government to re-investigate the events surrounding the bloodshed and to hold those responsible accountable.

One of those brave people was Ya Weilin, whose 22-year-old son was shot and killed that night. For more than 20 years, Ya Weilin and his wife, Zhang Zhenxia, signed petitions and joined demonstrations calling on the government to make amends to the 1989 victims and their families. Late last month, Ya Weilin, 73, hanged himself in a parking garage below his home. In a note his family had found just before his death, Ya Weilin wrote of his son’s death. He wrote that the government refused to hear his grievances and therefore he would fight with his death.

Ya Weilin served as an active member of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group formed to document the deaths in the 1989 massacre and force the government to re-investigate. Members of the group who have passed away since 2011 are profiled below. They all died waiting for justice.

Wang Peijing (王培靖)
Wang Peijing died following a stroke in February 2011. On 3 June, 1989 at 11 pm, her daughter Zhang Xianghong — then a student at the People’s University in Beijing — was walking home from a relative’s home with her brother and sister-in-law when she was hit in her left chest by a bullet fired by PLA troops. The next morning, 4 June, she died. She was 20 years-old.

Li Shujuan (李淑娟)
In February 2011, Li Shujuan suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 83. Her son, Ren Jianmin, was in his 30s at the time of the 1989 student-led demonstrations and simply passing through Beijing when he was struck by shots fired by the PLA. Ren Jianmin could not afford a hospital stay, so his relatives brought him back home to Hebei Province. His family had no money for medical care, and Ren Jianmin’s condition deteriorated. Shortly after the Mid-Autumn Festival of 1989, suffering from unbearable pain, Ren Jianmin committed suicide.

Pan Muzhi (潘木治)
Pan Muzhi died in July 2011 at the age of 84 after battling lung cancer. On 4 June 1989, her youngest son, Lin Renfu, was riding his bike when he was reportedly crushed by a PLA tank. Before he died, Lin Renfu had planned to travel to Japan for further studies after finishing his PhD. He was 30 years-old.

Xiao Changyi (肖昌宜)
Xiao Changyi, from Hunan Province, died in May 2011 at the age of 74. During the crackdown on the student-led democracy movement in 1989, Xiao Changyi’s son, Xiao Bo, was shot in the chest by the PLA and died. He was 27-years-old and left behind a wife and twin sons.

Ding Zilin of Tiananmen Mothers has said she will remember Xiao Changyi for his optimism. In a letter he wrote to her, Xiao Changyi said that finding justice and closure for the victims of the 4 June incident and their families “involves a long struggle, but I believe that it will ultimately be resolved. I also am determined.”

Yang Yinshan (杨银山)
Yang Yinshan died in July 2011 of unknown causes. He was in his 80s. Yang Yishan’s son, Yang Zhenjiang, worked at a Beijing hotel in 1989. On 4 June, a bullet fired by the PLA struck an artery in his left leg. Yang Yishan died after arriving at hospital. He was 32 years-old.

Yuan Kezhi (袁可志)
Yuan Kezhi died in August 2011 at the age of 95. On 3 June 1989, her only son, Yuan Li, was shot in the throat by the PLA and died. He was 29, and had worked as an engineer.

Two years ago, Yuan Kezhi told Ding Zilin, “China will become a country ruled by law and the whole country will have to re-evaluate the pro-democracy movement from a legal perspective.”

Ya Weilin (轧伟林)
On 25 May, Ya Weilin, 73, hanged himself in a parking garage below his Beijing home. On 3 June 1989, his 22-year-old son, Ya Aiguo, was shopping west of Tiananmen Square when he was shot in the head by PLA troops. Ya Aiguo’s parents finally found his dead body two days later in the No. 301 Hospital in Beijing. They buried him in their hometown of Tianjin.

Before Ya Weilin’s suicide, he and his wife, Zhang Zhenxia, had served as active members of Tiananmen Mothers. In the face of police intimidation and surveillance, the couple signed petitions and participated in protests hoping to persuade the Chinese government to re-investigate the killings of civilians in and around Tiananmen Square on 3 and 4 June 1989. Before his suicide, Ya Weilin’s family members found a note he had written with his name, work unit and information on his son’s death. He also wrote in the note that his grievance had not been addressed for more than 20 years and that he would fight the government’s inaction with his death.

Amnesty International calls on the Chinese authorities to:

  • Launch an open and independent inquiry into the 1989 military crackdown and publicly acknowledge the human rights abuses which occurred. In particular, the National People’s Congress, based on Article 71 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, should appoint committees of inquiry into the 1989 military crackdown;
  • Provide an accounting of all of those individuals killed and injured during the military crackdown and release those who still remain in detention for peacefully exercising their human rights in relation to the 1989 pro-democracy protests;
  • Acknowledge the legitimacy of the 1989 pro-democracy protests;
  • Cease harassment of those individuals and activists seeking reassessment of the 1989 protests and those wishing to commemorate the 1989 events;
  • Provide compensation to victims of the 1989 pro-democracy protests and their families for their loss during and after the military crackdown on 3-4 June 1989.

For further information: Tiananmen Mothers http://www.tiananmenmother.org

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENT
2 June 2011

China: Tiananmen, 22 years on, the repressive patterns continue

It’s been 22 years since the People’s Liberation Army fired on peaceful protesters in Beijing and other cities , killing hundreds, if not thousands, of students and other ordinary people who had gathered to demand a more open and responsive government.

In the two decades since the harsh crackdown on the unarmed protestors, the Chinese government has deflected any calls for an open and honest accounting of what happened in and around Tiananmen Square on June 3rd and 4th. What many call a massacre, the Chinese Communist Party now calls a mere “political disturbance.” This week, China opened up its secret national archives, but justified keeping any of the historical documents on Tiananmen Square (and other unpleasant disturbances) under wraps, lest they damage anyone’s “privacy” or “reputation.”

But the brutal tactics and ensuing crackdown employed by the government to suppress the student-led democracy movement of 1989 are not only history. They are a continuing tool used to suppress even the possibility of a challenge to the Communist Party’s monopoly on power. Their use regularly undermines freedoms of expression, association and assembly enshrined in China’s own constitution.

Recently, the government has responded to the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa by intimidating, threatening or detaining anyone it deems a potentially outspoken critic.

Since late February, Amnesty International has documented more than 130 cases of activists, bloggers, lawyers, and others who have been detained by police, subjected to monitoring and intimidation by security forces, or who have disappeared. Some are veterans of the 1989 student democracy movement who have once again found themselves the victims of persecution. Many face vague, potentially catch-all, charges of “inciting subversion” like the “counter revolutionary” charges imposed so liberally in the 1989 crackdown. They include:

Chen Wei: Sichuan activist taken away by police on 20 February, since charged with “inciting subversion of state power”.

Ding Mao: Also a Sichuan activist, and founder of the Social Democratic Party, denied legal recognition. Police detained Ding Mao on 19 February and he has also been charged with “inciting subversion”.

Li Hai: Police arrested Li Hai on 26 February on suspicion of “provoking trouble” for publicizing the Jasmine Revolution in the Middle East. He is currently under surveillance and awaiting trial. Li Hai was imprisoned in the mid-1990s for “divulging state secrets” after compiling a list of people imprisoned after the 1989 Tiananmen protests.

Wang Lihong: A former doctor, Wang Lihong was placed under surveillance on 20 February and detained the following day. She has been charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb public order”.

The Chinese government increasingly uses the charge of “inciting subversion of state power” to jail critics. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and activist Liu Xianbin, both of whom helped to draft Charter 08, the political manifesto that calls for peaceful political change in China are serving prison sentences of 11 and 10 years respectively for inciting subversion. Both previously served prison time for their role in the 1989 student movement.

Other activists who have recently been charged with inciting subversion include activist Hu Jun and writer Ran Yunfei.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Public Statement
2 June 2010

China: No Investigation, No Redress and Still No Freedom of Speech!
Human rights activists targeted for discussing the Tiananmen Crackdown

Twenty-one years since the military crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Tiananmen Square on 3-4 June 1989, the Chinese authorities still refuse to hold an open and independent inquiry. Instead, they continue to prosecute citizens who criticize the crackdown or commemorate its victims, accusing them of “inciting subversion” and imposing lengthy imprisonment after unfair trials.

In 1989, millions across China gathered peacefully to pursue fundamental freedoms promised in the Chinese Constitution. Their demands remain highly relevant today. As the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Crackdown approaches, Amnesty International once again urges the Chinese authorities to uphold the Constitution by guaranteeing freedom of expression.

Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.” The Chinese government’s National Human Rights Action Plan 2009-2010, released in April 2009, also states that “the state will guarantee citizens’ rights to criticize, give advice to, complain of, and accuse state organs and civil servants”. Yet Chinese citizens continue to risk severe punishment if they publish or circulate materials the authorities deem unwarranted criticism.

Liu Xiaobo, a former participant in the 1989 pro-democracy student movement was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment on 25 December 2009, for initiating and signing Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political accountability and human rights protection. Articles he wrote about 4 June 1989 were cited in his verdict as evidence of “inciting subversion”.

Freedom of expression and association are fundamental rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which China signed in 1998 but has not yet ratified. Amnesty International urges the Chinese government to stop suppressing citizens who exercise these fundamental rights.

The 1989 crackdown remains a major official taboo in China. Any public discussion is strictly prohibited. The “Great Firewall”, the official internet filtering and censorship system, prevents Chinese citizens from accessing any online information related to the crackdown and other sensitive topics, unless they know how to climb over the Wall through proxy servers.

4 June 1989 is remembered in public events held every year in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Amnesty International Hong Kong Section (AI HK) criticised unwarranted police curtailment of commemorative activities organized by The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (The Alliance) on 29 and 30 May. The organizers had followed procedures for regulating public assemblies, but the police claimed additional ‘entertainment’ licences were required, confiscated exhibits including two statues of the Goddess of Democracy and arrested 15 people.

Case updates:

The following individuals are still imprisoned for their web communications about the 1989 crackdown:

Tan Zuoren, a Sichuan-based environmentalist was sentenced to five years in prison on 9 February 2010 for “inciting subversion of state power”. He was convicted for criticizing the Chinese Communist Party and the government, including their handling of the 1989 crackdown, in articles and diaries posted on-line and on overseas websites.

Hu Jia, was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to three and a half years in prison in April 2008. The verdict issued by Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court accused him of publishing articles related to the 1989 pro-democracy movement.

Shi Tao, a journalist and poet based in Hunan province, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2005 for “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities” for sending an email, through his Yahoo email account to foreign websites, summarizing a Chinese Central Propaganda Department communiqué on how journalists should handle the 15th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown. His conviction was partly based on information provided to the Chinese authorities by the Internet company Yahoo!.

Other individuals previously imprisoned for expressing their opinions on the 1989 pro-democracy movement and crackdown have been subjected to tight surveillance and harassment by the Chinese authorities since their release, particularly around the anniversary of the crackdown. These include Xu Yonghai, Jiang Qisheng, Sun Baoqiang (f), Yan Kun and Zhang Lin.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PRESS RELEASE
November 13th 2009

China: Obama must press China to uphold human rights

President Obama must use his first official visit to China to urge the authorities to reverse the sharp rise in human rights violations in the country, Amnesty International has said.

The organisation reminded President Obama in an open letter that he has a responsibility to publicly push for an improvement in China’s poor human rights record during his scheduled visit to China next week.

Thousands of Chinese activists and human rights lawyers continue to face arbitrary detention, harassment and imprisonment following unfair trials while the authorities continue to execute more people than the rest of the world combined.

“The Chinese government has stepped up efforts to silence any internal criticism or challenge, despite the country’s massive economic growth. President Obama must take this opportunity to show that the US views human rights as a central plank of its relationship with China,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

Amnesty International continues to monitor the cases of many individuals who are being held in administrative detention, including the “re-education through labour” detention system, where detainees can be locked up for up to four years without trial.

Torture by law enforcement personnel is endemic, resulting in many prisoners’ deaths while in custody.

Human rights lawyers are harassed, intimidated, assaulted, abducted, forcibly disappeared, placed under surveillance and house arrest and faced criminal charges for protecting the rights of others.

In the first half of 2009 alone, Amnesty International documented the cases of at least four human rights lawyers who were threatened with violence; at least 10 who were prevented from meeting with or representing their clients in courts, and at least five who were briefly detained, one for one month, because of their human rights work.

The announcement this week that authorities had executed eight Uighurs and one Han Chinese for their alleged role in the July riots are further proof of the urgent need for the US administration to push China for an independent, impartial, and transparent investigation of the events surrounding the July riots.

Uighurs and other ethnic minority and religious groups such as Tibetans and Falun Gong practitioners continue to be ill-treated and face persecution for their beliefs.

“Despite China adopting a human rights action plan after hosting the Olympic Games last year its government needs to show the world that it is serious about meetings its obligations under international human rights law,” said Sam Zarifi.

Amnesty International calls on China to show its commitment to human rights by immediately meeting the following benchmarks:

  • Abolition of the “Re-Education through Labour” detention system. There is a strong domestic call in China for the reform of the system. In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, an open letter calling for its abolition solicited 15,000 signatures.
  • A public and independent investigation of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators. Human rights defenders and activists face police harassment and surveillance when they press the authorities to take responsibility for the crackdown in 1989.
  • A lifting of all restrictions and obstacles to freedom of worship. Thousands are detained for their religious activities.
  • Cessation of the repression of Tibetans and Uighurs and respect for their ethnic, cultural and religious identity. Tibetans and Uighurs has been the target of systematic and extensive human rights violations. These include arbitrary detention, torture, severe restrictions on freedom of religion and employment discrimination.

It also calls on President Obama to urge China to:

  • Release Shi Tao, a journalist who was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on charges of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities” due to an email he sent to a US-based website. Court records show that one of the evidence was Shi Tao’s account holder information provided to the police by Internet company Yahoo! Inc.
  • Release immediately and unconditionally those detained solely for engaging in peaceful protest, including support for the Dalai Lama, the independence of Tibet, or greater autonomy for Tibet.
  • Release prisoner of conscience Ablikim Abdiriyim, son of Uighur activist Reibya Kadeer. He is serving a nine-year sentence in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) on charges of “instigating and engaging in secessionist activities.” There are serious concerns that he may have confessed under torture. Ablikim Abdiriyim was detained with his siblings and several family members in May 2006. Their detention prevented them from meeting with a United States Congressional delegation on a scheduled visit. His brother Alim Abdiriyim is also in prison on charges of tax evasion, which may be politically motivated.
  • Ensure lawyers’ rights to carry out their legal work without harassment, intimidation, violence or fear of criminal prosecution.

It’s been difficult to keep up with thousands of media reports published this week about the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Many new videos were created as well. Here is a sample of them.

Zeng Jinyan, the wife of imprisoned activist Hu Jia, was prevented from leaving her home this week. She did not have any planned activity for the Tiananmen anniversary. She was only going to go to her mother’s birthday celebration and the police forced her and her daughter back into their apartment. She became very upset after that incident. Reuters had a phone interview with her about it:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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