August 23, 2016
A UN expert accused China Monday of staging a “pincer movement” to curb the influence of lawyers, activists and non-governmental organisations and limit their ability to protest against abuses.
While China has made significant progress towards its ambitious goal of eliminating poverty by 2020, it has often ignored the harm done to individuals as it pursues greater economic development, said Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
At the same time, he said, Beijing has cracked down on civil society, limiting the space for individuals and groups to influence public policy and air grievances.
Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, the ruling Communist Party has arrested hundreds of activists and lawyers in a sweeping campaign that has closed avenues for the legal activism which emerged in recent years.
Recently introduced laws have combined with police action against protesters and lawyers in “a pincer movement designed to systematically narrow and control the space for citizens to express discontent over matters such as land rights, workers’ rights and environmental threats”, Alston wrote in a statement.