China: Human Rights Watch WORLD REPORT 2019

January 17, 2019

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President Xi Jinping, born in 1953, has indicated his intent to rule indefinitely after China’s legislature amended the constitution in March 2018 to scrap term limits for the presidency. This move was also emblematic of the increasing repression under Xi’s rule.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also strengthened its power over the government bureaucracy in a major overhaul of central government structure in March. The party oversees a powerful new government body, the National Supervisory Commission, which is empowered to detain incommunicado anyone exercising public authority for up to six months without fair trial procedures in a system called “liuzhi.”

Human rights defenders continue to endure arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and enforced disappearance. The government maintains tight control over the internet, mass media, and academia. Authorities stepped up their persecution of religious communities, including prohibitions on Islam in Xinjiang, suppression of Christians in Henan province, and increasing scrutiny of Hui Muslims in Ningxia.

Human Rights Defenders

The case of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang is emblematic of authorities’ ruthlessness toward human rights defenders and those activists’ fortitude. Beijing police detained Wang amid a national crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists in August 2015; while detained he was reportedly tortured with electric shocks and forced to take medications. In July, Wang was finally allowed to meet his lawyer for the first time. Charged with “subversion of state power,” he could face life imprisonment if convicted. During Wang’s detention, Li Wenzu, his wife, along with families of other lawyers and activists detained during the crackdown, have campaigned relentlessly for his release despite having to endure incessant intimidation and harassment.

Authorities continued politically motivated prosecutions and disbarments of human rights lawyers. In January, police detained lawyer Yu Wensheng, charging him with “inciting subversion of state power” and “obstructing public duties.” Judicial authorities revoked or suspended the licenses of over a dozen human rights lawyers, and even some who retain licenses have been unable to find work due to police pressure on employers.

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/china-and-tibet

https://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/media/news/trial-of-mr-wang-quanzhang?fbclid=IwAR0LBoVUPsjE_dfUmTXg9x4dbwOZhy4kv_VuNjLZBDes6RiQCsSnbGkRvQc

https://www.hrw.org/zh-hans/world-report/2019/country-chapters/326274 (CHINESE)

https://www.hrw.org/fr/world-report/2019/country-chapters/326297 (FRANCAIS)

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