(L’Observatoire IDHAE Facebook)
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(L’Observatoire IDHAE Facebook)
July 20, 2017
For years, the fiery band of activists pushing for democracy in China looked to Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Nobel Peace laureate, as a source of inspiration. They created social media groups devoted to his iconoclastic poetry. They held up his photos at rallies, demanding justice and transparency.
But Mr. Liu’s death last week of liver cancer, after a final, futile attempt by friends to bring about his release, has dealt a withering blow to the pro-democracy movement. Some say it is now at its weakest point since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
“It’s a turning point,” said Yan Wenxin, a human rights lawyer in Beijing. “The feeling of powerlessness among activists has peaked.”
Under President Xi Jinping, the government has imprisoned dozens of lawyers, journalists and advocates and tightened controls over the internet. Now, the ruling Communist Party’s feverish attempts to erase Mr. Liu’s legacy have raised fears that Mr. Xi will intensify his campaign against activists pushing for ideas like freedom of speech and religion.
July 10, 2017
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has been busy traveling the world to deliver the message that China is a responsible power, ready for world leadership. The official Xinhua news agency said of his visit to Hamburg for the G20 gathering: “Chinese President Xi Jinping has demonstrated China’s readiness to join the rest of the world in building a better world for everyone.”
Within China, however, not everyone would agree that a better world was being built for them. Sunday [July 9] marked the second anniversary of the “709 crackdown” against human rights defenders, which began on July 9, 2015. According to China Change, an organization that works with Chinese democracy advocates, more than 300 human rights lawyers and activists have been detained, disappeared, temporarily rounded up and interrogated.
To mark the second anniversary, the China Human Rights Lawyers Group, founded in 2013, issued a statement in which it recalled the first arrests, that of Beijing-based lawyer Wang Yu and her husband, Bao Longjun, and their son, Bao Zhuoxuan.
“This was a prelude to the mass arrests of the July 9 sweep,” the group said. “After July 9, over 360 lawyers and citizens around the country were summoned and subjective to coercive, high-pressure interrogations. The family members of lawyers and rights activities were also implicated and subjected to constant threats and intimidation.”
These events have not gone unnoticed overseas. The New York City Bar Association also issued a statement marking the “709 Crackdown” on Sunday.
Inaugural China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day, Hong Kong, July 9, 2017
China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group chairpersn Albert Ho announced the inaugural Day for Human Rights Lawyers in China, followed by a moment of silence, a protest of 7 minutes 09 seconds by Hong Kong lawyers and lawmakers. Some prominent figures from the Hong Kong legal community were present, including Mr Mrtin Lee, Ms. Margaret Ng, Ms Audrey Yu and Mr Eric Cheung. The protest was also joined by a group of young lawyers from the Progrssive Lawyers Group.
July 8, 2017
Democracy campaigners yesterday announced plans to hold events tomorrow to draw attention to a 2015 Chinese crackdown on human rights lawyers and renewed calls for Beijing to release Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).
Human rights groups and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei called for the release of Wu Gan (吳淦), Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), Wang Quanzhang (王全璋) and other Chinese lawyers imprisoned following a crackdown on July 9, 2015, which saw hundreds detained.
“The 2015 crackdown shocked lawyers, non-governmental organizations and Taiwanese society in general,” Taiwanese China Human Rights Lawyers Support Network secretary Chou Ching-chang (周慶昌) said.
“We hope these events on the second anniversary of the crackdown will prompt the Chinese government to respond,” Chou said.
Chou led the groups to shout slogans calling for Beijing to release those it has detained.
Two documentaries on the lawyers’ work and imprisonment are to be screened tomorrow at the National Taiwan University Alumni Club next to the Legislative Yuan and at the Jhonghe District (中和) branch of the National Central Library in New Taipei City, with stalls and petitions set up at Number Four Park (四號公園) in Jhonghe.
臺灣聲援中國人權律師網絡 Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network was live, Facebook
August 9, 2016
Taiwanese human rights advocates and lawmakers yesterday held a news conference in Taipei to condemn Beijing for its conviction of three Chinese human rights activists and a lawyer for subversion, saying that last week’s trials — which featured the unprecedented sentencing of a defense attorney for subversion — were a gross violation of civil liberties.
Organized by the Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network, the news conference was attended by Democratic Progressive Party legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Wellington Koo (顧立雄); New Power Party Legislator Kawlo Iyun Pacidal; former Social Democratic Party convener Fan Yun (范雲); Taiwan Association for Human Rights lawyer Clarence Chou (周宇修) and Taiwan Association for China Human Rights chairman Yang Hsien-hung (楊憲宏).
Chinese lawyer Zhou Shifeng (周世峰) and human rights advocates Zhai Yanmin (翟岩民), Gou Hongguo (勾洪國) and Hu Shigen (胡石根) were convicted for subversion in trials held from Tuesday to Friday, and were handed down jail terms ranging from three to seven-and-a-half years.
While Chinese authorities claim the trials were open and transparent, none of the accused were allowed to defend themselves, nor were members of their families or the general public allowed in the courtrooms, and only foreign media known to be friendly to China were permitted to observe the proceedings, Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network convenor Kuo Chi-jen (郭吉仁) said.
“The Chinese judicial system is shot through with legal abuses and is a tool for suppressing human rights,” he said.
December 13, 2014
A group of Taiwanese lawyers formed a group called “Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network” on Wednesday — International Human Rights Day — and yesterday called on lawyers and the public to back Chinese lawyers who have been persecuted by the Chinese government for carrying out their duties and protecting the rights of Chinese.
The network has been established, the founding members of the group said, to support Chinese lawyers who once had bright futures, but chose instead to fight against the authorities for basic human rights such as the freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice and environmental protection. Many Chinese lawyers have had their licenses revoked, or undergone persecution and arrest.