Daily Archives: 24/02/2016

China: CHINA 2015/2016 (Amnesty International Annual Report)

Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and activists faced increased intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest, and violence.

The detention of lawyer Wang Yu and her family on 9 July marked the beginning of an unprecedented government crackdown on human rights lawyers and other activists. Over the following weeks, at least 248 lawyers and activists were questioned or detained by state security agents, and many of their offices and homes were raided. At the end of the year, 25 people remained missing or in custody, and at least 12 of them, including prominent human rights lawyers Zhou Shifeng, Sui Muqing, Li Heping and Wang Quanzhang, were held in “residential surveillance in a designated location” on suspicion of involvement in state security crimes.1 This form of detention allows the police to hold individuals suspected of such crimes for up to six months outside the formal detention system, with suspects denied access to legal counsel and families. Family members were also subject to police surveillance, harassment and restriction of their freedom of movement.

Human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was given a three-year suspended sentence on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and “inciting ethnic hatred”, primarily on the basis of comments he had made on social media. He was barred from practising law as a result of the conviction.