China: China Sees Rising Number of Rights Activists Charged With Political ‘Crimes’

February 16, 2017

A Chinese supporter of detained human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong wears a blindfold saying, "Jiang Tianyong, where are you?" in an undated photo.

The number of people detained and otherwise persecuted by the ruling Chinese Communist Party for “political crimes” rose last year, as the administration of President Xi Jinping brought a draconian suite of new laws limit people’s right to freedom of expression, association and religious belief, according to a new report.

During 2016, the government has increasingly targeted civil society and defenders of human rights, criminalizing their activities as “political” threats to “national security,” the overseas-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said in its annual report.

Human rights defenders were subjected to arbitrary detention, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, and torture, while their families faced punishment by association, the report found.

“Police systematically deprived [them] of due process rights, such as the right to a fair trial and access to independent legal counsel,” it said.

Meanwhile, a slew of new laws and regulations gave police even more powers to criminalize human rights activities, it said.



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