Category Archives: Chinese dissidents

RFA: UN Calls For Probe Into Activist’s Death As Beijing Rejects Rights Report

Experts at the United Nations have called on Beijing to launch an independent investigation into the death of a Chinese human rights activist in a police detention center five years ago, as Beijing faces growing pressure over international criticism of its rights record.

“Cao Shunli’s case is emblematic of the struggle that many human rights defenders in China face,” the experts said in a statement on Thursday.

They said Cao, who was detained as she set out for Switzerland to take part in a U.N. Human Rights Council review in September 2013, had “paid the ultimate price” for her activism.

Cao died aged 52 on March 14, 2014, after being denied medical treatment for months while in detention, according to her brother and fellow activists who blasted the government for using medical care as leverage to silence critics.

Her lawyers had made repeated requests for her release to allow her to receive medical treatment, but no action was taken until she was seriously ill. She suffered from tuberculosis in both her lungs, cirrhosis of the liver, and uterine fibroids.

“Today, on the fifth anniversary of her death, we renew our call for an independent, impartial, and comprehensive investigation into her death, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice,” the U.N. experts said.

Rights groups and the U.S. State Department have pointed to the growing use by the ruling Chinese Communist Party of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and medical neglect of detainees in custody.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that China “is in a league of its own” when it comes to human rights abuses, citing mass detentions of an estimated 1 million Muslims and the repression of Christians, Tibetans, and other religious minorities.

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RFA: China’s Rights Activists Face Torture, Detention, ‘Disappearance’: Report

China’s human rights activists continue to speak out on behalf of victims of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s abuses of power, despite the threat of arbitrary detention, torture, and forced ‘disappearance,’ an overseas rights group said on Thursday.

“2018 was another year of harsh reprisals against human rights defenders by Chinese authorities for their peaceful exercise of and advocacy for human rights,” the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network, which compiles reports from groups inside China, said in its annual report.

“Types of retaliation included the use of torture, enforced disappearance, and arbitrary detention,” the report said, adding that the government had also threatened activists who tried to cooperate with United Nations human rights experts.

Anyone who tried to speak out for marginalized and persecuted communities, report violations, or complain about the perpetrators of rights violations “bore the brunt of government retaliation” last year, the report said.

The group called on China to release all ethnic Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims subjected to mass arbitrary detention in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

“End arbitrary detention of ethnic Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims in the [XUAR], and shut down internment camps and other indoctrination programs established under ‘counter-terrorism’ and ‘counter-extremism’ policies,” the report said in its recommendations section.

It also called for the release of all detained and imprisoned rights activists and human rights lawyers, and for those who mistreated or tortured them to be held criminally responsible.

“CHRD urges the Chinese government … to provide detainees and prisoners prompt access to proper medical treatment … and end the practice of enforced disappearance,” it said.

The report also said that wholesale violations of basic human rights had reached unprecedented levels under the administration of President Xi Jinping.

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RFA: Rights Groups Demand Release of Uyghur Professor Ilham Tohti on Fifth Anniversary of Arrest

ights activists and Uyghur advocacy groups on Tuesday demanded the release from prison of Uyghur academic and blogger Ilham Tohti in statements marking the fifth anniversary of his arrest on charges of promoting separatism and subsequent sentencing to a life term behind bars.

An outspoken economics professor who regularly highlighted the religious and cultural persecution of the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic minority in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Tohti was sentenced on Sept. 23, 2014 following a two-day show trial.

The court decision cited Tohti’s criticism of Beijing’s ethnic policies, his interviews with overseas media outlets, and his work founding and running the Chinese-language website Uighurbiz.net, which was shut down by Chinese authorities in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Germany-based Ilham Tohti Initiative urged Beijing to immediately and unconditionally free the jailed writer and professor, calling the conditions of his imprisonment a “calculated and cruel deprivation” of his rights to family visits and outside communication.

“All this is carefully engineered to punish the Uyghur scholar with degrading treatment and psychological torture, while at the same time keeping the attention on his plight from the outside world to a minimum,” the group’s president Enver Can said in a statement.

Can said that Tohti’s family has not been able to visit him at the XUAR capital Urumqi’s No. 1 Prison for the past two years, and cited a report by rights group ChinaChange that claimed he had been held in solitary confinement and denied the right to communicate with friends and loved ones.

The Ilham Tohti Initiative urged China’s government to “unconditionally free Ilham Tohti, [as well as] his students and all innocent Uyghur intellectuals and writers” in prison or “political re-education camps,” where authorities have detained Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas throughout the XUAR since April 2017.

Beijing-based rights activist Hu Jia told RFA’s Uyghur Service Tuesday that Tohti’s situation—imprisoned and prevented from seeing his friends and family—“reflects the actual situation of the Uyghur people living as second class citizens under Communist Party rule in China.”

Hu said that in the time since Tohti’s family was last allowed to visit him, the health of the professor is unknown, and expressed concern that authorities “will allow him to die slowly, like they did to Liu Xiaobo,” the late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner who succumbed to liver cancer in July 2017.

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Ilham Tohti Deserves to be a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Ilham Tohti

Despite knowing the consequences for his actions, Professor Tohti still advocated for a lasting, peaceful relationship between the Han Chinese and the Uyghur people.
He spoke about ending the poverty of the people in Xinjiang (East Turkestan.)
He spoke about ending the restrictions on religious observance.
He spoke about ending the crackdown on Turkic peoples.
He spoke about the rights guaranteed under China’s constitution.
He spoke about Han and Uyghur living together in peace and harmony.
He was jailed and sentenced to life in prison.

This is a call to action to support the recognition of Ilham Tohti’s efforts to bring the people of China together and show the Chinese authorities we support the bridge he tried to build between people.

While online petitions and forms do make voices heard, a physical letter from constituents has a greater impact. Please take the opportunity to copy the text below or use your own words to call for non-partisan support for Ilham Tohti to be the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The following link will provide the means to find the address of your Representative and Senators in the US Congress (and in most cases, an email address as well):
https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

###
The Honorable (name)
Address

Sir / Madame,
I am writing this letter to urge you to support Ilham Tohti’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
A college professor at a government university, Ilham Tohti peacefully advocated for the rights guaranteed under the Chinese constitution; Chinese authorities sentenced him to life in prison.

Ilham Tohti spoke about poverty and how it could be overcome,
Ilham Tohti decried the crackdown against the Uyghur people and asked for change,
Ilham Tohti embraced friendship among all China’s people,
Ilham Tohti spoke about his rights under the constitution of the People’s Republic of China,
Ilham Tohti knew what his fate would be and that did not sway him from his goal of peace and friendship.

Please support Ilham Tohti’s nomination to be a Nobel Peace laureate and do not let his sacrifice be in vain. Ilham Tohti’s bravery and determination for peace and harmony embodies the ideals of the Nobel Peace prize.

Sincerely,

Free China: The Courage to Believe

An Open Letter on Ilham Tohti’s Life

The Governments of Australia, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, and the European Council:

We are a group of students, scholars and professionals from China and Chinese-occupied territories. We call upon you to urge China to release the well-regarded Uyghur human rights leader Prof. Ilham Tohti, amid reports of students, scholars and professionals dying in concentration camps and prisons in the occupied East Turkestan.

The Chinese occupation authorities have been cracking down on Uyghurs by widespread surveillance, restriction of the use of their language, elimination of cultural and religious expressions, forcible political indoctrination, family separation and mass incarceration. Prof. Ilham criticized such oppressive policies and called for dialogue, reconciliation and the autonomy China promised. Serving a life sentence now, he has suffered physical abuse and been banned from corresponding with his family.

In China’s “re-education” camps, “training classes” and other jails, notable detainees have been tortured to death, including Prof. Halmurat Ghophur, a prominent medical scientist, Imam Muhammad Salih Hajim, the first scholar to translate the Quran into Uyghur, and at least two students who had been forced to return from Egypt. Their deaths, together with other deaths yet to be found and exposed, make us extremely concerned about Prof. Ilham’s life.

To save Prof. Ilham from today’s biggest ethnic cleansing and political murder spree, we appeal for your intense pressure on China’s anti-humanity regime. We look forward to the international community’s moral courage facing China which it used to show in the face of the Nazis.

to be a co-signer

China: Massive Numbers of Uyghurs & Other Ethnic Minorities Forced into Re-education Programs


Extrajudicial Detention & Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty in Xinjiang

Note: On August 10 & 13, 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will review China’s implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. China signed and ratified the Convention in 1981. The release below is based on a submission to the Committee from CHRD and a partner NGO, Equal Rights Initiative, highlighting major concerns over extrajudicial detention, including Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in re-education camps and China’s failure to implement Article 5 (a)(b)(d) of the Convention.

(Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders & Equal Rights Initiative – August 3, 2018) – The number of Xinjiang residents, especially ethnic Uyghurs, who are either detained in re-education camps or forced to attend day/evening “education sessions” for “de-radicalization” and indoctrination purposes in Xinjiang, may have possibly reached as high as a combined total of two to three million by June 2018, according to interviews conducted and data gathered by two NGOs, CHRD and Equal Rights Initiative.

Our findings show that, in the villages of Southern Xinjiang, about 660,000 rural residents of ethnic Uyghur background may have been taken away from their homes and detained in re-education camps, while another up to 1.3 million may have been forced to attend mandatory day or evening re-education sessions in locations in their villages or town centers, amounting to a total of about 2 million South Xinjiang villagers in these two types of “re-education” programs. The total number for Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR or Xinjiang) as a whole, including other ethnic minorities and city residents, is certainly higher.

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Chinese Police Threaten Muslim Poet Who Tweeted About Xinjiang Camps

A prominent Muslim poet has been visited and threatened by police after tweeting about the mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s political “re-education camps.”

Cui Haoxin, a member of the Hui Muslim ethnic group known by his pen-name An Ran, received a visit from the local state security police after he sent and retweeted posts from his Twitter account about the detentions.

“Chinese police raided my home and warned me not to use my social media account, such as Twitter and Facebook,” Cui wrote in a blog post about the Aug. 16 visit. “Five policemen went into my home and talked with me for two hours. The threat is real!”

“Recently a meeting of the U.N. discussed re-education camps that hold several million Muslims in China,” he wrote. The U.N. has estimated the numbers detained at around one million. “Today this discussion happens between Chinese police and me.”

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A Call for a UN Investigation, and US Sanctions, on the Human Rights Disaster Unfolding in Xinjiang


It is now clear, from numerous reliable sources, that shocking human rights atrocities are being perpetrated in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China (XUAR).

The Communist Party authorities have established a large number of political re-education centers in Xinjiang, detaining people without any judicial process, stripping them of their personal liberty, imprisoning them, and detaining them for indeterminate ‘sentences.’ Estimates of the numbers detained range from hundreds of thousands to over a million, primarily targeting Uighurs, but also Kazakhs, Hui people, and other minorities who follow Islam. Among those detainees are peasants, workers, university, college, high-school and middle-school students, teachers, poets, writers, artists, scholars, the head of a provincial department, bureau chiefs, village chiefs, and even Uighur police officers. Uighurs overseas, as well as their family members and Uighur students who return to China after studying abroad — and even Uighurs who have simply visited abroad for tourism — have been particular targets of attack.

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Ai Weiwei on Tibet

From the Tibet Society:

ai-weiwei-2015-2

On the 16th of September, Ai Weiwei was in London and during a Q&A session was asked ‘how the Chinese felt about the oppression of the Tibetan people.’

His carefully worded answer:

“Tibet, and also some related situation like minority situations, [is the] result of this whole system. If the system is not changed, if the political situation is not changed, I don’t think Tibet has a chance for the condition to change.”

“It’s a very sad situation but I think it is lacking of communication, lacking of sincerely understanding of humanity or respect of different culture and language. This not only happens to Tibetan people but also happens to Chinese. It’s just the general condition.”

For Freedom!