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


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.


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:


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

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.”


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.

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.

This film is unbearable to watch. There was no actual scenes of torture but the finer details described by a former labor camp detainee were too much for me. The worst of human cruelty is on full display in the Masanjia Women Labor Camp. Besides the long hours of work, detainees were beaten, tied up to a chair or iron bed for days (no food or bathroom breaks), given very little food if any to survive, asked to pay huge sum to gain early release, in addition to paying for daily necessities out of their own pocket. The Masanjia camp had even paid to acquire detainees from other provinces. It sounds so remote, so unreal but I have reason to believe it’s all true. The filmmaker Du Bin was taken away by plainclothes police on May 31 and no one has heard from him since. The family has not been informed of his whereabouts.

There is so much to admire China from the surface. But deep inside, what happened to moral values, respect, and empathy? The Cultural Revolution has more than destroyed traditional Chinese manners. The ripple effects are carrying on today with a vengeance.

The US and Chinese presidents will be meeting today for the first time since President Xi Jinping took office. I was part of a team that wrote a letter to Obama calling on him to address human rights with President Xi. Click here for the AIUSA press release.

Through a former Amnesty prisoner of conscience, the letter was shared with Geng He, the wife of human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng.

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.

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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